These days a sales book that I had bought long ago fell in my hand.
I confess, I had never opened it.
(By the way: does it happen to you to buy books and then not read them? Let’s shake hands).
It’s a book that at the same time I LOVE and HATE. “Odi et amo“, said Catullus…
What’s the book?
Author: Tom Hopkins.
For those who don’t know him, I could say he’s like the Maradona of sales training.
Original title: How To Master the Art of Selling.
Very cool (the Italian title, “Dottorato in vendite”, not so much).
Anyway, Catullo says: “Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris“. For what reason I do it, perhaps you’ll ask yourself.
So why DO I HATE this book?
I hate it because, at the first superficial reading, it’s anachronistic.
An example? Page 39:
By tie-down we mean a question posed at the end of a sentence that requires an affirmative answer, for example, “Saving fuel is important, isn’t it?”
Now, with all the respect for Tom Hopkins (I repeat: a Maradona, in his field), can you imagine one of us saying something like in front of a customer that today?
I hate the book because it has old examples.
I hate the book because they sound inapplicable in Italy.
I hate the book because they sound unavailable in business-to-business sales.
But then how can I also LOVE IT?
To be fair, another example. Pages 154 and 155.
There’s this little drawing, which can be understood after reading the following explanation by Hopkins:
The techniques are useless if you don’t use them. […]. “The secret is to have 20 belly-to-belly meetings a day. Bring your belly closer to the belly of 20 people every day and you’ll soon be living a great life.
Okay… true… today 20 belly flops a day is a difficult target to achieve. Hopkins himself specifies later that they could be telephone meetings, or on the web, etc..
But the concept remains sacrosanct. And even if it seems simple, trivial, almost obvious…
…is the heart of the sales process!
And this is just one of the gems I found in the book.
So “Chapeau!, Mr. Hopkins”. I hate it and love it. But more I love 😉
Each of us may be the master of all techniques, but in the end if you want to win in the sale game, you need one thing more than any other:
And the more we meet with them, the better.
But, if we don’t meet anyone, why do we need the techniques?
I’ll add one thing: if you have to choose, it’s better to meet 20 customers without having the techniques, than to meet 0 customers with the perfect techniques.
This, moreover, is one of the promises of our sales & marketing automation system: by applying the system you will multiply sales even if you are not a born salesman and if your salesmen are not phenomena.
How is this possible?
Because the system explains how the company can get 20 qualified belly flops a day, and then helps the owner or sellers to deal with them successfully, making up for any gaps in sales techniques.
To find out more, here is the link:
Behind the reflection I shared today there is also another important moral, which goes beyond the sale. But I’ll come back to this in the next few days.