How to Master the Art of Selling

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After failing during the first six months of his career in sales, he learned and applied the best sales techniques, then earned more than one million dollars in just three years. What turned Tom Hopkins around? The answers are between the covers of How to Master the Art of Selling. It tells the reader what the profession of selling is really about and how to succeed.

The man who turned a failing sales career around and became a millioniare tells readers how they can ...

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After failing during the first six months of his career in sales, he learned and applied the best sales techniques, then earned more than one million dollars in just three years. What turned Tom Hopkins around? The answers are between the covers of How to Master the Art of Selling. It tells the reader what the profession of selling is really about and how to succeed.

The man who turned a failing sales career around and became a millioniare tells readers how they can learn to succeed in the sales profession.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446384032
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/1/1982

Meet the Author

In 1976, Tom founded Tom Hopkins International, Inc., and dedicated his life and his company to teaching and inspiring others through his seminars, books, audio and video training programs. Today, over 35,000 corporations and millions of professional salespeople through the world utilize his professional sales training materials.

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Read an Excerpt

How To Master The Art Of Selling

By Tom Hopkins

Warner Books

Copyright © 2005 Tom Hopkins International, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-69274-3

Chapter One

What the Profession of Selling Really Is

I learned a long time ago that selling is the highest-paid hard work-and the lowest-paid easy work-that I could find. And I also found out another exciting thing about selling-the choice was mine, all mine. By myself, I could make it the highest-paid hard work, or I could let it be the lowest-paid easy work. I discovered that what I'd achieve in my selling career was entirely up to me, and that what anyone else wanted wasn't going to make much difference. What anyone else would or wouldn't give me wasn't going to make much difference, either. The only thing that really mattered was what I did for myself, and what I gave to myself.

Will you agree with me on that? I hope so, because the whole point of this book is that the skills, knowledge, and drive within you are what will make you great, and that these qualities can be expanded and intensified-if you're willing to invest time, effort, and money in yourself. Is there any better investment than in yourself? Most of us know there isn't, but many of us don't act often enough, or decisively enough, on that belief.

You are your greatest asset. Put your time, effort, and money into training, grooming, and encouraging your greatest asset.

Let's talk about some of the advantages of selling.

The first advantage and the reason I love selling is its freedom of expression. Sales is one of the few professions left in which you can be yourself and can, in essence, do what you want to do. This freedom you've won for yourself by successfully competing where resourcefulness and perseverance are demanded and highly valued. No activity is more vital to the economy's health than selling; no activity is more dependent on individual initiative than selling.

The second advantage of selling is that you have the freedom to become as successful as you'd like to be. In this profession, no one limits your income but you. There are no income ceilings.

You may question this statement. You may think the limit is the highest income anyone has yet made selling for your company. Does that mean it's not possible to earn more? Of course not. But it does mean that all the salespeople in your company who aren't earning the highest income aren't applying all the strategies and techniques of the Champion.

The third advantage of selling is that it's a daily challenge. You can go into almost any business and have no challenge. That's never the case in selling, where every day you're confronted with new challenges. Let that fact refresh you, not weary you. Glory in it. Our overregulated and highly organized society provides few lucrative work activities where the end of each day isn't known before that day dawns. You are privileged to be involved in one of those precious few activities where freedom and challenge aren't rarities, they're constant companions. In sales, you never know what opportunities the day will open up, what prizes you can win-what catastrophes may befall you.

To the salesperson, every day is an adventure. Working at this profession, we can go from the heights of exhilaration to the depths of discouragement within forty-eight hours-and climb back to the heights again the next day. Isn't that exciting?

Say yes.

Every morning, tell yourself that challenge is exciting, it's fun, and you look forward to it. Tell yourself that-and mean it. Psych yourself up to enjoy challenge. Then go on the prowl for it, find it, and overcome it. If you want to be better than average, do that. If you aspire to greatness, you won't hesitate. The shortest route to high earnings goes straight through the challenges you'll encounter.

The fourth advantage of selling is that it offers high potential returns from a low capital investment. What does it cost to gain entry into this profession that has no income ceiling? Compare whatever you think that cost is to the investment required for one of the fast-food franchises that have been so successful. Typically, owners of a new location invest three hundred thousand dollars or more, work long hours, and pay themselves a small salary. All of this is done in the hope of a sixty-thousand-dollar return on invested capital the second year.

You can launch yourself into a sales career for a tiny fraction of the franchiser's investment and, by applying the systems in this book, have greater earning power sooner. This enormous leverage on the small investment that getting into selling requires has always fascinated me. What an exciting prospect!

The fifth advantage of selling is that it's fun. Do you know how many people aren't having fun with what they're doing for income? My philosophy is that if it's not fun, it's not worth doing. Life was meant to be fun, and there's no reason not to have some of it while you're earning a nice income for your family.

The sixth advantage of the selling profession is that it's satisfying. You feel good when your client owns your product. It's a thrill to know you've helped people when you go home at night and can say, "I got another family happily involved in what my company provides."

When an executive or official approves your purchase order, it's exciting and satisfying to know you've helped that organization carry out its purposes, save money, make more money, or provide its employees with better benefits. The people you serve benefit in direct proportion to your ability and skills. The better you are at sales, the more you benefit others-your clients, your family, and the nation's economy.

No one limits your growth but you. If you want to earn more, learn more. That means you'll work harder for a while; it means you'll work longer for a while. But you'll be paid for your extra effort with enhanced earnings down the road.

Most people in this world have jobs and professions-existences-that can't fulfill their potential. The scope of their labor is confined to narrow limits; their toil hinders rather than fosters their growth; they dislike everything about their employment except the sense of security its familiarity has bred in them. So instead of venturing into what they don't know and might love, they allow themselves to be trapped by what they do know and don't like.

Professional salespeople recognize no limits to their growth except those limits that are self-imposed. They know that they can always reach out for more. They know they will grow in direct proportion to their competence. And they have little fear of the unknown in change because overcoming the unknown is their daily work. That's the seventh advantage of being a professional salesperson: It stimulates your personal growth.

To earn more, develop more competence. Study this book's sales skills. Study your product or service. Study your customers and your territory. Keep up with technology-at least those aspects of it that help make you more productive. Practice growing your skills at every opportunity. Do what you know you should do. Follow that program, and you can't fail to push your earnings to a much higher level.

That's my purpose in life-to help you make more money. Please don't let me down-develop more competence, earn more money, get your share of life's good things. Developing competence is the only way. I know many salespeople making several hundred thousand dollars a year, and some making more than a million dollars a year, and I'm always intrigued by the variety of their backgrounds, the diversity of their personalities, and the range of their interests. Yet they have many things in common, foremost of which is this quality: They are competent. They know exactly what they are doing. This book, like my seminars, is aimed at helping you learn how to become competent.

Please notice that I said learn.

There's an obstacle to learning how to become competent that we meet with here.


So many of us believe in this that we've come to look on it as an old friend. It's a tempting devil. It lets us avoid taking full responsibility for our own performance. This common fallacy is a destructive idea that I'd like to eliminate from your mind right now.

Having trained more than three million salespeople on five continents, I've met a lot of strong individuals who are on the fast track. I've met with large numbers who haven't put their foot on the lowest rung of their potential yet. And sadly, many of these people never will climb very high on their potential's ladder because they are firm believers in the myth of the natural-born sales wonder.

The myth cuts two ways.

A few believe they're naturals. That's great for confidence, but it's often the source of raging overconfidence. When this overconfidence persuades people that they don't have to bother learning to be competent like ordinary mortals, they trap themselves far below their potential.

Many more people believe they're not naturals, think it's hopeless to work at becoming competent-and trap themselves far below their potential.

"I'm just not a salesperson by nature. Wasn't born with the golden touch like Joe Whizzbeau over there. If I'd been born with his wit, charisma, and bear-hug personality, I could tear 'em up, too. But I wasn't, so I'm never going to make it big in sales."

Don't be too quick to say you're free of this myth. I hear it far too often from my seminar audiences to take it lightly. In fact, I'm convinced that most salespeople who operate far below their potential suffer from it. Let's attack this dangerous idea now and get rid of it.

There never has been a great salesperson who was born great. Imagine a woman in the delivery room. Her newly born infant is saying, "Make yourselves comfortable, folks, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me." Pretty silly, isn'it it? The little feller has a long way to go before he can even start learning how to walk, talk, and operate without diapers. He's got a lot to learn, and if he's going to be a great salesman, he's got it all to learn. Psychologists still argue whether it's instinct or learning that causes us to jump at a sudden loud noise, but they agree that everything about selling is learned.

So stop excusing yourself from the hard work of learning how to be competent in your sales career. It doesn't matter whether you think you're a wonder or a nonwonder; you still have to pay the learning price.

And you never stop learning and reviewing. Professionals work on the basics once every year. That's where we're going to start.


What so few of us are willing to accept is this fundamental truth: Great salespeople, like great athletes, simply do the basics very well. Some of us would like to believe that there's a shortcut around the basics; that, if we could only find it, there's a secret formula out there somewhere for just sitting back and letting the money roll in. The sooner you get rid of that illusion, the sooner you can get on with reaching the heights you want to reach through effective use of the basics.

1. Prospecting. If you're like most of the people in my seminar audiences, just hearing the word prospecting makes you a little nervous. Don't think that way. If you don't like to prospect, it's because no one has taught you the professional way to do it. I'm going to.

2. Making original contact the professional way. We all meet new people all the time-in social situations, at events for our children, at church, in nonsales business settings. The key to success in selling is to refine your skills during these initial contacts to become memorable to the other folks and to remember as much about them as possible so you can impress them even more on your second meeting-which, hopefully, will be a selling situation.

3. Qualification. Many salespeople spend most of their time talking to the wrong people. If you do that, it doesn't matter how eloquently you present your service or product. Your earnings are going to be low. I'll show you how professionals make sure that they invest their time with the right people who can make yes decisions, instead of expending it on the wrong people who can only make no decisions.

4. Presentation. After you qualify and know that this person has a need for your product or service, it's time to move on to the fourth basic, which is the presentation or demonstration. You must present your product in such a way that your prospects see it's just what they had in mind all along.

5. Objection handling. The fifth basic method of developing your competence is to learn how to handle objections effectively. Maybe you've had prospects who want to wait and think it over; prospects who already have one of whatever it is you're selling; prospects who've been doing business with your competitor for years. Have you ever heard any of these things? If you've been in sales longer than a week, you undoubtedly have. Read on. You'll find material that'll make you smile the next time you hear these objections. You'll smile, bore in-and close a delightful number of such sales. But there's a price to pay for that smile: You've got to learn the concept, adapt the idea to your offering, and learn the words that make it work.

6. Closing the sale. Many average-to-good salespeople prospect, make contacts, qualify, present, and handle objections so well that they manage to get by without learning to close competently. And that, of course, is what keeps them from being great. Closing contains elements of both art and science, and those elements can be learned.

7. Referrals. After you've satisfied the needs of your client and closed the sale, you have earned the right to your next prospect. By that I mean getting referral business from each and every client. That is the seventh and final basic. If they're happy, they'll want someone else to be happy, too. I'll teach you simple steps to getting solid, qualified referrals every time, if you're willing to learn.

But many of us have forgotten how to learn, so let's quickly review the steps to learning that apply not only to everything in this book, but to anything you choose to study.


Money study-I call it that to emphasize how vital it is to learn how to acquire new knowledge quickly and thoroughly. Knowing how to learn fast is the key to rapid personal growth and quick sales success. As adults, it's easy to fall into the habit of skimming over new knowledge, of avoiding any organized effort to grasp and hold new knowledge. That's no good at all. That's how you achieve the status of being average. Superior earning ability grows out of the superior performance that superior learning makes easy. The place to start being superior is to acquire and use a superior learning system. Here it is:

1. Impact.]


Excerpted from How To Master The Art Of Selling by Tom Hopkins Copyright © 2005 by Tom Hopkins International, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xv
1. What the Profession of Selling Really is 1
Lowest Paid Easy Work 1
The Sky's the Ceiling 1
Let This Fact Refresh You 1
Getting High from Low 2
The Fun Philosophy 2
Toil that Hinders Your Growth 2
The Myth of the Natural Born Sales Wonder 3
As Great as You Want to Be 4
Money Study: The Learning to Earn Fast Fivesome 5
1 Impact 5
2 Repetition is the Mother of Learning 5
3 Use it or Lose It 6
4 Accelerate into Superperformance 7
5 That Neat Little Thing 8
Your Primary Tool 8
2. The Twelve Sources of Sensational Selling Success 11
1 Looking at Them 11
2 Honest Pride 11
3 Down the River and Over the Falls 11
4 Fighting the Good Fight 12
5 Only One Person 12
6 Itch to Get Rich 12
7 Desire and Pain 12
8 The Very Blood of Achievement 13
9 Fate's Fickle Fumblings 13
10 People Who Hate People 14
11 Situations in Stride 14
12 Empty Your Purse 14
Why You Can't Fail 14
Enough Cold Morning Desire for Sunshine Wants 15
Spr Makes the Difference 16
The Purchase Path 19
3. Question Right and Sink Your Teeth Into Sales Success 21
The Standard Tie-down 21
The Inverted Tie-down 23
The Internal Tie-down 24
The Tag-on Tie-down 24
The Alternate Advance 26
Reflexive Closing Questions 28
Discovery Questions and Leading Questions 34
Never Ask a Say-no 34
How to Take Command 35
Three Principles for Questioning Power 36
Twelve Pointers on Questioning Technique 39
4. Creating the Selling Climate 41
Sell the Benefits They'll Buy 41
Sell the People Who Can 42
But Don't Try to Sell Logic 44
And Catch Change on the Move 44
Replace Rejection Words With Go-Ahead Terms 49
Use the Triad Concept to Multiply Your Effectiveness 59
Use the Senses to Sell the Emotions 61
5. Why Don't I Do What I Know I Should Do? 64
The Cutting Edge 65
How You Get Depressed 65
The Motivators 67
Achieving Non-achievement 68
Can You Afford Popularity? 69
Become You 71
The De-Motivators 72
How You Can Control Fear 74
Three Truths All Great Salespeople Know 76
Our Primtive Reasons for Fighting Change 77
Make it Work for You 77
6. Learn to Love No 83
When Your Prospect Explodes 84
The Formula for Rejecting Rejection 85
The Champions' Five Attitudes Toward Rejection 87
1 Learning Experience 89
2 Torpedo 89
3 It's Hilarious 91
4 Opportunity 92
5 Playing the Game to Win 92
The Creed of the Champion 93
7. Referral Prospecting Non-Referral Prospecting 94
Twenty/See the People 95
Know Your Ratios 96
Referral Prospecting 99
Card Referral System 101
CRS in Action 101
Non-Referral Prospecting 107
Technique 1 Itch Cycle 107
Technique 2 Orphan Adoption 112
Technique 3 Technical Advancement 115
Technique 4 Local Publications 117
Technique 5 Claim-Staking 119
Technique 6 Swap Meet 120
Technique 7 Service Your Service Department 122
Five Ways to Hover Until You're Ready to Fly 124
8. How to Find Fortune and Felicity with the Phone 127
The Name Close 129
Drop the Second Anchor 130
Outgoing Calls 130
A Little Challenge for You 132
The Windup Appointment Close 135
Where to Find Good Lists 136
Scoring Systems 136
9. A Spectator Sport Buying is Not 139
Client-participation 140
Three Formats for Selling 142
10. Put Champion Selling Power in Your Presentations and Demonstrations 145
Preparation for the Close 147
He Bragged About the Problem 149
Glamour Words 149
Learn Many Different Lingoes 151
In Less Than 17 Minutes 153
The Power of Planned Presentations 153
How to Do It 157
Working With the Pre-planning Form 159
Visual Aids 166
How to Make Them Pay Off 168
Proof Letters 171
How to Use Printed Literature 171
Video Equipment 172
Instead of Fighting Boredom 172
Never Take Down Until 173
11. Finessing the First Meeting 174
Our Main Goal 175
To Shake or Not to Shake 176
The Referred Lead 177
The Non-referred Situation 178
Opening Involvement 179
12. Qualification is the Key to Quota-Busting 180
Have Now 181
Like Most 181
Altered or Improved 182
The Final Decision 183
Fortunate Today 183
Bracket-in for Product or Service 184
Bracket-up for Money 184
The BUFM Formula 185
Un-price, a Popular Non-technique 186
13. The Objection Connection 187
An Integral and Expected Part 187
Minor Objections are Defense Mechanisms 188
Conditions 188
It's My Fault 189
Two DON'TS and One DO that All Champions Live By 190
Lead and They'll Do It for You 190
The Objection Handling System 191
Four Shock Treatments 193
Put the Shoe On 193
Change Their Base 194
Question Down 195
Review Their History 195
14. Closing is Sweet Success 198
When Do You Flash? 199
Make Your Proof Letters Talk 199
Test Closes 201
Alternate Advance Test Close 201
Erroneous Conclusion Test Close 202
Porcupine Test Close 202
Steer Safely 203
The Crash and Burn Close 203
Moving to the Major Close 204
The Process of Helping People 204
Close Through Their Eyes 206
When? Where? 207
The Priceless Dozen Plus Two 209
Wear the Suit of Lights 210
15. Twelve Power Closes for Aspiring Champions 213
1 The Basic Oral Close 213
2 The "Let me make a note of That" Close 213
3 The Ben Franklin Balance Sheet Close 215
When They've Heard It 217
4 The Sharp Angle Close 219
5 The Secondary Question Close 220
Bridging 223
6 The Higher Authority Close 224
The Case History Approach 226
7 The Similar Situation Close 226
8 The Dear Old Mom Close 227
9 The "I'll think it over" Close 228
Make Them Squeak 229
10 The Reduction to the Ridiculous Close 230
Ridiculous--and Fantastic--Figures 233
11 The Negative Close 233
12 The Puppydog Close 235
16. A Clutch of Moneygrabbers 238
8 Wasy That Turn Little Dollars Into Big Dollars 238
System 1 Multiply Money 239
System 2 Add-on 240
System 3 Bunches of Bananas 241
System 4 Dig Through the Mountain 242
System 5 Make Your Cards Work 242
System 6 Be a Walking Ad 243
System 7 Recoup on the Recontact Route 243
System 8 Costs Little, Works Like Wings, and Isn't Used Much 245
17. How to Perspire Less and Profit More from Paperwork 250
Paperwork Aimed at Controlling You 250
Paperwork that Helps You 251
Handling the Stuff Fast 252
Four Files You Need 253
18. Fortune Building Starts with Time Planning 256
Followup System 257
Daily Work Plan 257
Personal Rewards 258
How to Schedule Your Time for Greatest Selling Impact 258
Live by These Twelve Words and Your Success is Certain 260
19. How to Sell Your Way Out of a Slump 261
The Choice is Yours 262
Neggies 263
Do Yourself a Favor 264
The GOYA Formula for Unslumping 265
20. The Most Necessary Skill of All 271
What Made Tommy Run 272
Twenty Ways to Turn Wishes Into Reality 273
21. How to Sell to the Most Important People You Know 278
22. Five More Power Closes for Aspiring Champions 282
1. The "No" Close 284
2. The "It Isn't in the Budget" Close 285
3. The Personal Inflation Close 286
4. The Business Inflation Close 286
5. The State of the Economy Close 287
Index 289
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2006


    Incredible. This book is for anyone that is not just in sales, but anyone that wants to become successful in life. I am not in sales put I have used this book to drastically improve my life on so many levels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2005


    The pro's do the basics expertly and consistently. If this isn't the best book on excellence in selling then I will leave the profession ( in the Bentley Tom Hopkins showed me how to earn ). BUY THIS BOOK !!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2004

    I also believe this is 'the salespersons bible'

    I have read, highlighted and then used MANY of the suggestions in this book over the last 10 years of my sales career. I have been successful numerous times due to the solid 'coaching' that prompted me to become a 'Champion'. I highly recommend this book as a tool to be read and re-read. It makes selling fun and productive!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2003


    Interesting that you should put Tom Hopkins down to promote yourself. Bad PR MR. Seidman.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2004

    Very old, dated material.

    Sure, sales basics shared in this book are a good foundation to read and understand. Sales has changed by large measures, however. We cannot employ all the 'tactics' expressed in this book or we may find ourselves like the dinosaurs. Extinct. If you are lookin for a book on 'How to sell cars' look further. This is not your answer.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2000

    'The Salesmans Bible'

    I would definately recommend this book to anyone who wants to enter the field of sales. It covers everything from soft closes to the most complicated closes you could possibbly face in your selling carreer. This book covers so many different aspects of the selling environment it is hard to make a concise review, but I will promise one thing, if you read it you will succeed in any selling field you may choose.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2000

    Old techniques = Useless techniques

    This used to be a great reference book for selling. Unfortunately, that is no longer true. Buyers are so used to dealing with the techniques mentioned here that the buyers can actually get angry when these selling strategies are attempted. If salespeople want to master their craft, they need to be viewed as different from the old image of a peddler. If you attempt the tricks in this book, you'll brand yourself as an amateur.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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