*A Book Review*

How to Master the Art of Selling

By Tom Hopkins

by Michael C. Gray

January 3, 2003

Tom Hopkins's book on selling is considered by many to be a must for your sales library.

Mr. Hopkins started in sales after making the decision not to continue his college education. His father's response was, "Son, I'm always going to love you, even though you'll never amount to anything." After this motivational speech, young Tom made the decision he had to succeed.

Initially, he almost had to quit because he didn't have a clue about what he was doing. Then he went to a sales training course by veteran sales trainer J. Douglas Edwards. Finally he had the sales tools that he needed and became a leading real estate salesperson. After he became successful in selling, Mr. Hopkins made a personal goal to become Mr. Edwards successor, and J. Douglas Edwards accepted Mr. Hopkins as his protégé.

Today, Tom Hopkins is one of the leading sales trainers in the world, inspiring and teaching huge audiences of enthusiastic students.

In How to Master the Art of Selling, Tom explains each of the steps of the sale – prospecting, approach, qualification, presentation, answering objections and close. He also covers time management, record keeping systems for follow up sales and goal setting. Many sales skills are shown as "techniques" that can be scripted for use by the student of selling.

Here are three things that I especially liked from Tom Hopkins' material.

  1. Qualification of the prospect isn't just about the about the ability of the buyer to buy the product or service. It's actually about finding out the prospect's needs and wants to find out whether a presentation should be made to this person and whether this is the appropriate person in an organization or family - the decision maker - to make the presentation to. Understanding this helps to avoid wasting an enormous amount of time for the salesperson and for customers. The qualification process is very similar to diagnostic questions asked by a doctor before making a prescription.
  2. Selling is largely a process of leading the customer, using questions, to discover the product or service is what he or she wants and make the decision to get it.
  3. Successful salespeople spend a lot of time before meeting with customers preparing for the interview learning about their customers and structuring a presentation that is likely to appeal to their customers' interests, including anticipating what the customers' objections will be and planning how to respond to those objections and lead the customer to the sale.

Each of us needs to develop selling skills to better understand others and to "sell" our ideas, products and services. How to Master the Art of Selling is a valuable reference to help in this effort.

Buy it on Amazon: How to Master the Art of Selling.

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