Claude Whitacre author
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Classic Book On Selling By The Established Sales Training Master
Reviewed in the United States on May 1, 2014
As a sales book author myself, I'm always looking for the great sales ideas that I can share with my students and clients.
This book by Tom Hopkins was the first sales book I ever read that really covered the entire art of selling for me. It changed how I sold.
I got my first copy of How To Master The Art Of Selling in 1981. At the time, I was doing well, selling vacuum cleaners in people’s homes. I remember buying the book in a bookstore (remember those?) and reading it over a long weekend.
The book changed everything about how I sold. Sure, I knew some closes, I had a way to prospect, and I knew how to demonstrate my product. But this is the first time I was seeing all this written down in a comprehensive book. A serious study of the techniques of selling. The book drew me in…I was engaged.
There have been several editions of this book. I was reading the first edition, in hardback. But the newest edition is the 2005 version. There are updates, and so I’m going to review the 2005 version.
Hopkins gives a short introduction about the profession of selling; Why it’s a great and honorable profession, and the advantages of seeking out a career in sales.
A large chunk of the book is invested, wisely I think, in asking questions. Some of this is Qualifying. And I have to admit, this is where the book helped me the most. What questions do you ask to make sure that you are talking to the right person. What questions do you ask to make sure that they have the money…and the ability to buy…before you even start your presentation. The technique of “Bracketing up for money” I took directly from the first edition of the book, used it word for word, and I saw a huge jump in my closing percentage.
He spends time on “Tie Downs”, which are ends of sentences, that turn the sentence into a question, and gather agreement from the prospect. I’ve used these in my selling, and find that they help hold the prospect’s attention. But if you use them more than a few times, they become obvious and irritating. Just use them in moderation.
There is a section on how to see rejection. This is a series of views on how to see rejection. The work comes from the book Anatomy Of A Salesman by Art Mortell…which is a great book by itself. And I wonder why it isn’t a best seller. It takes the fear out of prospecting. It also helps overcome the fear of rejection. The techniques in this section work. I’ve used them in my own life, and they helped me get over my fear of rejection.
The section on non-referral prospecting is revealing. There are several places to find perfectly good prospect, before you ever ask for referrals. These sources are covered nicely in the book.
The real strength of this book are the sections of types of questions, that lead to a close, and the closing questions themselves. Although I don’t use these in their presented form, you can learn a lot by reading the questions, and knowing why you should ask them. I won’t spoil it here, but the closes presented are strong stuff. This is old school closing, from a master of the craft.
The section on referrals is weak, but I imagine it’s because the author wants to appeal to salespeople in every field, and so he leaves out techniques that are only going to apply to a few businesses.
Do I use these techniques today? Not so much. My selling is pretty advanced, and my prospecting method makes the selling pretty easy. But for salespeople who haven’t taken serious sales training? This book is a goldmine. And everything taught in the book works.
I remember the end of that weekend in 1981. That week, I put what I learned to use, and saw my sales increase dramatically. Buy then I was already doing much of what was in the book. But the book taught me why I was doing it, and it helped me polish my methodology. And a few techniques, I learned for the first time, right from the book, and used them as is for a few decades.
A must for any sales person’s library. This is a book you study.
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