How to Sell to an Idiot: 12 Steps to Selling Anything to Anyone



Selling to customers looking to get the most bang for their buck is a difficult feat. The only customers tougher than hagglers are the ones so uninformed about what they are buying, they don't even realize when they are getting the deal of a lifetime.

In How to Sell to an Idiot, authors John Hoover and Bill Sparkman show you how to ignore your own inner idiot and start selling more by doing less of what doesn't work and ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (15) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $8.50   
  • Used (9) from $1.99   
Sending request ...



Selling to customers looking to get the most bang for their buck is a difficult feat. The only customers tougher than hagglers are the ones so uninformed about what they are buying, they don't even realize when they are getting the deal of a lifetime.

In How to Sell to an Idiot, authors John Hoover and Bill Sparkman show you how to ignore your own inner idiot and start selling more by doing less of what doesn't work and more of what does. Along with a wealth of proven sales guidance and effective techniques, you'll learn how to:

  • Use idiot-proof planning and preparation to make prospecting far more effective
  • Use idiot-speak to connect with prospects and gather vital information that makes selling easy
  • Spice up your sales pitch for faster closings and larger sales
  • Wring referrals out of clients like water from a sponge
  • And much more!

"Selling is an act of compassion. Sales professionals must believe that their products and services will improve the quality of their customers' lives. Hoover and Sparkman get that. Selling must also be fun-for the salesperson and the customer. How to Sell to an Idiot makes it clear that the first laugh of the day must be at ourselves."
—Roger P. DiSilvestro, former Chairman and CEO, Athlon Sports Publishing and coauthor of The Art of Constructive Confrontation

"How to Sell to an Idiot hits the bull's-eye. Great practical steps that will help anyone in sales reach the goal line. Truly a creative approach with fresh new ideas delivered with humor."
—Charles S. Dreyer, Director of Sales-Southern California Coastal Region, K. Hovnanian Homes, a Fortune 500 company

"How to Sell to an Idiot provides an entertaining and creative look at the formula for sales success. Insightful and fun, you'd have to be an idiot not to add this book to your resource library!"
—Chip Cummings, international speaker, marketing expert, and author of Stop Selling and Start Listening

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471718543
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/2/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

JOHN HOOVER, PhD, is an organizational behavior specialist, author, consultant, popular speaker, and seminar leader. A former executive in the Disneyland Entertainment Division, he has consulted with such clients as Boeing, Delta Air Lines, Hilton Hotels, IBM, Motorola, and Xerox. He is also the author (with Roger DiSilvestro) of The Art of Constructive Confrontation: How to Achieve More Accountability with Less Conflict, from Wiley.

Visit or

BILL SPARKMAN is one of America's top sales trainers and motivational speakers. His approach to business and life has thrilled audiences since 1987. His "clipboard" style of educating was developed after a successful career in the world of sports as a player and coach. Fire up your sales team; Bill makes learning fun!


Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Click to read or download
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

About the Authors.



1 Step One: Be Prepared or Be the Idiot.

Need and Intent.

Mental Preparation Made Simple (or Mental Prep for the Simple).

Choosing In: The Cure for Cluelessness.

Simple versus Easy: The Inner Idiot Rears Its Ugly Head.

Preparation and Passion.

Preparation and Product Knowledge.

Preparation and the Written Plan.

Planning Is Not Procrastination.

Preparation and Motivation.

Preparation and Personality.

Chapter One Summary.

2 Step Two: Connect with the Clueless.


Your Story.

Your i-Customer’s Story.

Who versus What.

Personality is Job One.

Components of Connection.

A New Skill Called Connecting.

The Great Balancing Act.

Takers versus Exchangers.

Chapter Two Summary.

3 Step Three: Confuse to Clarify.

Confusion as a Tool.

Surgical Questions.

The Right Questions Trump the Right Answers.

Set the Stage and Play the Part.

From the Mouths of Babes.

Personality-Based Questions.

Big Success Comes from Small Steps.

Chapter Three Summary.

4 Step Four: Play the Match Game.

Put it in Reverse.

Bring it Home.

Matching Means More Selling, Less Talking.

The Next Step.

More Lessons from Children.

The Match Game and Personalities.

Chapter Four Summary.

5 Step Five: Showtime.

Entertainment versus Boredom.

Entertainment versus Filling Needs.

Be Energized.

Razzle-Dazzle Them.

Presenting in Style.

Presenting with Structure.

Presenting with Technology.


More Lessons from Children.

Personality-Based Entertainment.

Chapter Five Summary.

6 Step Six: Ask for the Business.


Asking is Action.

Ask with Confidence.

Let Go of the Outcome.

The Secret to Closing.

The ABCs of Listening.

More Lessons from Children.

Personality-Based Asking.

Chapter Six Summary.

7 Step Seven: Circle Around and Make Another Pass.

Get Out There and Fail.

Learn to Love the Lessons.

Turnaround Questions.


Don’t Be the Monkey.

More Lessons from Children.

Personality-Based Objections.

Chapter Seven Summary.

8 Step Eight: Annoy Them a Little and Ask for the Business, Again.

Teaching the Customer How to Buy.

Failure Is Your Friend.

Pesky Persistence.


It’s in the Cards.

More Lessons from “Never, Never, Never”-land.

Personality-Based Annoyance.

Chapter Eight Summary.

9 Step Nine: Appreciate.

The Selling Cycle.

Make it Memorable.

The Battle for Mind Share.

The Present.

More Lessons from Children.

Personality-Based Appreciation.

Chapter Nine Summary.

10 Step Ten: Get a Referral.

Fear Not.

Build Champions.

Get Some Help.

Get Them Talking.

Get an “A” for Asking.

More Lessons from Children.

Personality-Based Referrals.

Chapter Ten Summary.

11 Step Eleven: Follow-Up.

No Competition.

We Have Seen the Competition and It Is Us.

Put Follow Up into Your Mix.

Time Has Nothing to Do with It.

Pre-Sale, Pre-Delivery, Post-Delivery Follow-Up.

It’s Research.


More Lessons from Children.

Personality-Based Follow-Up.

Chapter Eleven Summary.

12 Step Twelve: Practice.

Don’t Succeed at Being Average.

Be Impatient.

Perfect Practice.

Dangers of Perfection.

Caring Equals Change.

Flat Tires Need Changing.

What are Friends For?

Final Lessons from Children.

Personality-Based Practice.

Chapter Twelve Summary.


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)