Get Buyers to Answer Their Own Concerns

The most important “do” of addressing concerns is: Get the other person to answer his own objection. That advice may sound tricky to follow, but here’s why it’s so important: You’re trying to persuade your prospect, so he’ll be likely to have reservations about anything you do or say. Why? Because anything you say must be good for you, too. Until the prospect realizes that you’re acting in his best interest, he will doubt you.

When you say it, a prospective client tends to doubt it. When he says it, the buyer believes it to be true. And that’s why you want to get your prospect to answer his own objections — because he’s much more likely to believe himself than he is to believe you. All you need to do is provide the information that answers his concern and let him draw his own conclusions. You let him persuade himself.

35053You may need to nudge a client a little by asking a question to get him to state the desired answer: “How do you see that feature impacting your company’s level of efficiency, Josh?” It’s much more powerful when he answers than if you just say, “That feature will increase your company’s efficiency by 20 percent.” See the difference? Take advantage of the strategy, and you’ll close more sales because your clients will be convincing themselves.

This technique often works well when you persuade a married couple (children, take note). When one partner objects to something, don’t respond immediately. Average persuaders are quick to defend their offering. But there’s a better way: Learn to sit tight. Many times, one spouse jumps in with the next comment, and you have a 50/50 chance that the originally silent spouse will answer the objection for you. If the second spouse agrees with his partner’s objection, then you know you’ll have to work a little harder to overcome it. The point is that these two people already have a positive relationship (you hope) and trust each other’s judgment. Being quiet while they think it through can cause the objection to evaporate into thin air right before your eyes.

When something important to you is hanging in the balance, being patient is difficult. During such moments, seconds feel like hours, and you can quickly become very uncomfortable. To keep yourself from jumping in too soon, try this trick. Silently count to 20 or 30. Or you may want to count the seconds by saying to yourself, “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three,” and so on. (Just remember to count to yourself, not aloud.) Some salespeople recite a short poem to themselves to kill that time. Just don’t let your mind wander off from the matter at hand. Whatever method you choose, just be careful not to let them see your lips move.

What you never want to do when you’re waiting for a response is look at your watch or at a clock in the room. Even a slight glance at a timepiece can distract the prospects because they’re already looking at you, waiting for your next move. So practice waiting until you’re comfortable with it.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. Excerpted from Selling for Dummies, 4th Edition (Wiley).

Poor Time Management Is a Career Killer

clockI’m sure you realize that poor time management is a career killer. Click the following link to watch a special video message and learn how you can manage your time more effectively: Poor Time Management in Sales

You see, we all have 86,400 seconds in a day. No one has any more, no one has any less. The key to great income, great financial independence in the future is making those seconds productive and not waiting for business but going out and making it happen.

Too many people in selling careers fail simply because they haven’t mastered the ability to control their time. They have a strong desire to retain the freedom offered in a selling career, but they don’t have the strength to master their time effectively.

Managing your time in selling is an awesome responsibility. If you are willing to accept that responsibility, you must also create a burning desire within yourself to master time-management techniques. You must develop a tremendous pride in your ability to manage time in order to do it well. And, time management is really self-management. We all have the same amount of time each day. It’s how we use it that matters. When you invest as little as 10 minutes at the end of each day to plan what you want and need to accomplish the next day, you’ll be more productive and reap the rewards of greatness.

To determine whether or not you’re handling your time well, ask yourself this question, “Based on my overall production, which is a reflection of my ability to properly manage my time, would I buy stock in me?” If your answer is no, you’ll need to learn to control your time and temper your freedom or you’ll find yourself becoming a “job jumper,” possibly jumping right out of sales entirely.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International Inc.

Self-Discipline, the Foundation of Self-Improvement

What is the one thing you must have in order to succeed? It’s a little thing called self-discipline—something that’s little only in the sense that it’s yours any time you choose to employ it. In its effect on your life, having self-discipline makes a tremendous difference—a difference too great to measure. It’s not something you’re given not something you inherit. Self-discipline is something that you acquire by yourself and for yourself. You get it from the inner person—from the voice that talks to you all the time.

SP001708Self-discipline is the foundation of self-improvement. It channels your resources of time, energy, and money into the habit of learning and growing towards something new and better each and every day. I believe in surrounding myself with happy and successful people. I believe that happiness and self-discipline are found together and that together they are the fountain of greatness.

People who achieve success share at least this one thing called self-discipline. Regardless of the endeavor—whether they are professional people, students in school, business owners, corporate executives, athletes or whatever—the one characteristic that is common to all succeeders is self-discipline. [Read more…]

How to Be Ready When It’s Time to Close

The actual closing of the sale is by far the most important step in the selling process. That’s why it’s critical that you know how to be ready when it’s time to close. Without that final commitment, you haven’t sold anything, have you? When you’re a pro, closing should be the most natural part of the process. Everything else you do leads to that point.

I teach lots of techniques for prospecting, meeting people, qualifying, presenting, demonstrating, and addressing concerns—and they’re all important. But, unless you can close, you’re like a football team that ca4.1.1n’t sustain a drive long enough to score.

The biggest complaint I hear from most salespeople is that they don’t know when to start closing. Those people just don’t understand the simple fact that a true Champion salesperson is closing all the time. He or she is constantly trying test closes and will go into the final closing sequence anytime they sniff the sweet smell of success (such as when they hear the client start talking as if they already own the product or when the client relaxes his or her body language or even when they begin asking more questions).

The problem with too many salespeople is they get so wrapped up in the steps in their selling sequence that if the prospect wants to go ahead with the purchase before they’re finished presenting, they lose their momentum and go tripping awkwardly into the close, which can cause tension and make the buyer hesitate or decide to re-think their decision.Believe it or not, there are buyers out there who will get sold fast. If you keep talking instead of closing, you’ll run the risk of un-selling them just as fast. So, during every step of the selling cycle, you must keep one eye on the prospect at all times watching for cues as to their readiness to go ahead.

Okay. They’re ready. Where are your closing materials?

To become a top professional in selling, you must always have your closing materials with you. You must be ready to close anywhere and at any time. I’m sure you’ve heard of sales being closed at lunch, on the golf course, or at the health club. I even have a student who closed a sale in a barn while the farmer was milking cows.

The salespeople who closed those sales and kept them closed were ready, willing, and able when the client was. They were able to change gears and move to their paperwork smoothly. The salespeople who lost those sales didn’t have their closing materials, or tried to manipulate the ideal closing setting and the client cooled off by the time they were ready to take the order.

Why make things so hard on yourself? A supply of closing materials should take up permanent residence in your briefcase, club locker, car trunk, home and office desk. Keep these forms handy everywhere you go.

Careful thought must be given to the how and when you’ll produce your closing materials. Many prospects will tighten up and try to change gears if they see you pulling out forms or reaching for your tablet. Don’t risk upsetting the emotional balance that’s tipped in your favor. Keep a clean, crisp form under a few pages of your presentation binder, notebook, or time planner at all times. It will be easily accessible and not require a lot of motion on your part to get it out. Nothing should distract your attention from the client’s every word or movement when you can see that they’re ready to close.

If at all possible, get into the habit of writing brief notes during every presentation. Your prospect will get used to seeing you writing and not be put off when you begin writing on the actual agreement.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Defining Success

LS001922Before you can achieve success, it’s critical that you invest some time in defining success.

At the age of six, Corinne Archer* started putting in long hours training in her sport. Long before she entered her teens, she had fixed her mind on a single goal: to win an Olympic gold medal. From then on, she crushed everything out of her life that didn’t contribute to her goal. Every available hour went to practice. Trophies and honors piled up as the years went by, but they meant little to Corinne beyond making her dream of winning the gold medal seem a little more real.

After eleven years, the big day finally came, and Corinne Archer arrived at the Olympics to meet the world’s toughest competitors. The contest was grueling, but she won. At seventeen, Corinne stood at the highest pinnacle she could ever hope to attain by her own definition of success. The gold medal, whose pursuit had dominated two-thirds of this young woman’s life, was now hers.

Corrine left the victory stand in tears—of joy, or so everyone thought. [Read more…]

Vital Telephone Skills for Sales Pros

Telephone SkillsYou might think that everyone knows how to use a telephone and that the topic of Vital Telephone Skills for Sales Pros is antiquated. For some, possibly you, that may be true. However, based on the calls received by me, my wife, and members of my staff, there is a great lack of skill in the general selling populace. Because of our experiences, even recently, we all agreed this topic should be addressed.

The pathway to riches is that opening in the front of your head called a mouth and one of your biggest assets is the telephone. Most appointments are set by telephone and there are certain steps to follow to do it well. [Read more…]

How to Hold an Open House – Real Estate

House for SaleMany new or unsuccessful people in real estate don’t understand how to hold an open house. Nor do they understand that open houses often are better for listing than for selling.  When done well, holding houses open is a marvelously effective listing technique, but it’s not done well very often.  Doing it well enough to make big money requires work the week before.  Unless you do that work in time, your weekend open house has little chance of being worthwhile.

I would like to share with you some techniques you may not currently be using when holding your open houses.  This simple step-by-step process can provide you with great opportunities for listing and selling houses. [Read more…]

How to Sell to Couples

In consumer sales, you will often have the opportunity to sell to couples the opportunity of owning your product or service. In many cases, they will close each other on the sale. That’s my favorite time! When one or the other spouse is favorable to the decision, don’t jump right in to close. Wait to see how they work through the decision.

There will, however, more likely be  times when they’ll both sit on the fence. When that happens, I suggest trying The Best Things in Life Close. What you do when using this close is to compare this buying decision to other decisions they have made and have been happy with. It’s especially helpful when they’ve admitted they want the product, but they’re just struggling with saying “yes.”

Here’s what I recommend you say: “Isn’t it true that the only time you have ever really benefited from anything in your life has been when you said ‘yes’ instead of ‘no?’ You said ‘yes’ to your marriage (optional — and I can see how happy you are). You said ‘yes’ to your job, your home, your car — all the things that I’m sure you truly enjoy. You see, when you say ‘yes’ to me, it’s not really me you are saying ‘yes’ to, but all of the benefits that we offer. Those are the things you really want for your family, aren’t they?”

Of course, you would not use the optional phrase of “and I can see how happy you are” if the air is charged with disagreement. However, if they do come across as a happy couple…a united front, give it a try. These words have been proven to change the mood of the sale quickly and help buyers say ‘yes.’

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Understanding Your Nut

Understanding your nut requires that you sit down at least once — preferably right now — and list out all of the expenses of your monthly life. If you don’t do this regularly, the number might surprise you. It’s funny how little things like daily coffee at your favorite corner place, occasional donuts for the office, and grabbing milk at the quick mart instead of on sale at the supermarket add up. Be honest and give yourself a real number–your current “nut”–that needs to be cracked every month in order to maintain your current lifestyle.

The necessity of cracking the nut every month can be a lift or a drag on your productivity. Getting through every month requires that you get your hands on a certain amount of money. The least amount of money that will keep unpleasant things from happening is your nut.

Some people work best with a big nut to crack. They relish the pressure. It makes them feel more vital, and spurs them on to greater achievement.

Everybody doesn’t react this way. Lots of very effective people are pressure sensitive. Very little of it makes them try so hard that they drive success away. Other pressure-sensitive people become so cautious that their productivity suffers. Instead of spurring these individuals on to greater achievements, money pressure destroys their confidence, shrivels their ingenuity, and exhausts them with sleepless nights.

Here’s a success secret: Discover what works best for you. Then arrange your life so that you’re working under that exact amount of money pressure. You’ll have to learn what monthly nut will put that amount of pressure on you by experiment. When you’re studying this question, don’t give any weight to what you think should motivate you. The only thing that’s important here is what actually does motivate you to higher production.

I’ve known salespeople who simply wouldn’t work effectively unless they were about to have something foreclosed or repossessed. Then they’d suddenly switch on the hard work and become enormously creative and effective. Other people I’ve known lost all their flair for success under a surprisingly small amount of money pressure.

For most of us, the best-sized nut is one that we have to strain to crack, but it’s not one that’ll bend our bones. Then as we get stronger, as we gain in experience and skill, most of us need a larger nut to crack if we’re to keep up our pace.

Know exactly what your nut is at all times. Review it every 90 days and decide whether its size is helping or hurting your march toward greater success. When you’ve made that decision, change your lifestyle to bring what you’re committed to spend in line with what makes you earn the most.

If you work better under money pressure, leverage your investments and buy your rewards and luxuries on credit. Do this within reason, of course, and keep a wary eye on the general condition of the economy at all times.

If you perform best without money worries, never buy anything on credit unless you really structure the plan of how to pay for it. Be more prudent and frugal with your money. Have an amount put away that can cover your actual nut or obligations. It lets you work more relaxed and creatively. Rent until you can buy for cash; invest with cash only; buy luxuries with cash only. Above all, keep the nut you have to crack every month thin shelled.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International. Excerpted from The Official Guide to Success book.

Sending Thank You Notes

I learned the value and power of sending thank you notes early in life.

A Lesson from Mom

When I was a young child, my parents occasionally went out with friends for dinner. Invariably, when my parents returned from an evening out, I saw my mother sit down at her little desk in the hallway as soon as she got home and begin to write.

One night I asked her what she was doing. Her answer came straight out of Emily Post: “We had such a wonderful time with our dear friends this evening that I want to jot them a note to thank them for their friendship and the wonderful dinner.”

My mother’s simple act of gratitude, expressed to people who already knew that she and my father appreciated and enjoyed their friendship, helped to keep my parents’ friendships strong for their entire lifetimes.

Having an Attitude of Gratitude

Because I understood that building relationships is what selling is all about, I began early in my career to send thank you notes to people. In fact, I set a goal to send ten thank you notes every day. That goal meant that I had to meet and get the contact information for at least ten people every day. I sent thank you notes to people I met briefly, people I showed properties to, people I talked with on the telephone, and people I actually helped to own new homes. I became a thank you note fool.

And guess what happened?

By the end of my third year in sales, my business was 98% by referral! The people I had expressed gratitude to were happy to send me new clients as a reward for making them feel appreciated and important.

How to Express Appreciation

I understand that you may not be comfortable at first with starting the Thank You note habit. The trick is to keep the notes short and simple. A thank you note is not a dissertation.

To help you get started (aka eliminate any excuses) I invested time writing out ten situations in which sending a Thank You note is appropriate. Then, to help you even more, I’ve drafted the notes for you. Use my words until writing thank you notes becomes so natural to you that you can dash one off in less than a minute.

1. Telephone contact Thank you for talking with me. In today’s business world, time is precious. You can rest assured that I will always be respectful of the time you invest as we discuss the possibility of serving your needs.

2. In Person Contact Thank you. It was a pleasure meeting you, and my thank you is for the time we shared. We have been fortunate to serve many happy clients, and it is my wish to some day be able to serve you. 

3. After Demonstration or Presentation Thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss your upcoming needs with you. We would be honored to serve your needs now and into the future. We believe that quality, blended with excellent service, is the foundation for a successful business.

4. After Purchase Thank you for giving me the opportunity to offer you our finest service. We are confident that you will be happy with your new ______. My goal is now to offer excellent follow-up service so you will have no reservations about referring others to me who have similar needs as yours.

5. For a Referral Thank you for your kind referral of John and Mary Smith. You may rest assured that anyone you refer to me will receive the highest degree of professional service possible.

6. After Final Refusal Thank you for taking your time to consider letting me serve you. It is with sincere regret that I was currently unable to assist you. However, if you need further information or have any questions, please feel free to call. I will be happy to keep you posted on new developments and changes that may benefit you.

7. After They Buy From Someone Else Thank you for taking your time to  consider our product and service. I regret being unable, at this time, to prove to you the benefits we have to offer. I will keep in touch with the hope that in the years ahead we will be able to do business.

8. After They Buy From Someone Else, But Offer to Give You Referrals Thank you for your gracious offer of giving me referrals. As we discussed, I am enclosing three of my business cards. I thank you in advance for placing them in the hands of three of your friends, acquaintances, or relatives that I might serve. I will keep in touch and be willing to render my services as needed.

9. To Anyone Who Gives You Service Thank you. It is gratifying to meet someone dedicated to doing a good job. Your efforts are sincerely appreciated. If my company or I can serve you in any way, please don’t hesitate to call.

10. Anniversary Thank You Thank you. It is with warm regards that I send this note to say hello and again, thanks for your past patronage. Please call me with any questions you have about your ________ or the latest advancements in our newer models.

Personally, I believe the hand-written note, posted in the mail is the most powerful. But, if that truly doesn’t work for you,  it’s better to send the message via email than not at all. Ideally, you will get the note off within 24 hours of meeting with the people.

The power of expressed gratitude is immense. Put this tool to work for you today!

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.   800-528-0446   info@tomhopkins.com
For reprint permission, contact Judy Slack – judys@tomhopkins.com.