In his introduction, Hopkins notes that during a downturn, the salesperson's job is more vital than ever. When things get tough, would-be buyers stop shopping for anything other than necessities. Hopkins asserts that, during a downturn, it's the salesperson's job to help prospective customers to recognize their need for and ability to afford other items.
I couldn't agree more with that statement. Salespeople who can't sell in tough times are not good salespeople, in my opinion. A good salesperson should be able to sell in good times and bad times.
Having read the introduction, I was curious to see what techniques Hopkins might offer that could enlighten me on good selling practices during economic down times.
For other reasons, dating back to the summer of 1981, I was interested to see what Hopkins had to say about selling during an economic downturn.
My first job selling was a summer job in 1981 that involved going door-to-door selling home improvement projects to homeowners. The boss of the company gave me a copy of Hopkins' How to Master the Art of Selling. I read the book, put the principles into practice, and became a pretty decent salesperson, winning the summer sales contest for the company. So, I'm absolutely a Tom Hopkins fan and was excited to give his newest book a read.
I wasn't disappointed. Hopkins starts off by discussing the various causes of tough times. It's not just economic down times that can challenge salespeople. In addition to economic cycles, challenges can emerge from changing demographics, advancing technologies, industry dynamics, natural disasters, competitor moves, personal setbacks and a number of other reasons. The idea is that tough times are part and parcel of life, so salespeople need to know how to excel when the going gets tough, for whatever reason.
The key to selling success in down times, says Hopkins, is great service. Putting anything ahead of the needs of your client is a recipe for disaster.
The book explains in great detail how to stay on top of your selling game, even in tough times. Now more than ever before, Hopkins notes, you've got to be focused on personal improvement. You've also got to avoid pitfalls of selling in a down economy. For example, it may be tempting to sacrifice your ethics to get more sales, but that is a mistake you don't want to make as it could wreck your reputation and your future earnings potential.
The book is jam-packed with great tips on things like building trust with prospects, keeping your existing book of business, finding qualified clients, reducing sales resistance, converting clients from the competition, and closing a sale in an economic environment in which would-be customers are flooded with fear.
If you sell for a living, this book will serve you well in good times or bad. It's an excellent read to reenergize your selling juices and get you thinking about taking your sales skills to a higher level. If you are a sales manager, you'd do well to buy this book for every member of your sales team.
There's no reason for a salesperson to "ride out the storm" during this bad economy. Read this book and your focus will shift from survive to thrive.
Rain or shine, it's mastery of the fundamentals described in this book that will get you on a path to selling success.