Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tom Hopkins Influences Owner of Winston-Salem, NC Car Dealership (Frank Myers Auto Maxx)

I remember 1994 like it was yesterday...I was a young car salesman and I thought I knew everything. Selling a whopping 8 cars a month at the family auto dealership with no wife, no kids and a handful of bills made me feel like the King of the World!

However, as anyone that has had a successful career in automotive sales knows, the proverbial light bulb had yet to go off. I didn't get "it" and hadn't yet realized that I wanted "it".

It is my humble opinion that anyone that sells, has sold, or has attempted to sell cars fall into one of three categories.

The first category is the person that will never get "it". While professional sales is a learned skill, the folks that fall into this first category just doesn't comprehend the art form and probably never will. These poor souls should have never been hired in the first place.

The second category of people are the ones that frustrate me the most. They are the ones that get "it" but choose not to do anything with "it". Whether because of laziness, personal problems or just a better-than-that attitude, these people tend to be cancers that will pollute the rest of your staff if you're not careful.

The third category is the one that I fell into. The people in category three are the ones that always perform OK or above average. However, something will strike a chord with them one day and they will get "it". When that day occurs, they automatically get hungry to learn more and strive to do better each day. They'll go from 8-9 car months to 12-15 car months in what seems like overnight. That day for me was the day that I attended the Tom Hopkins Boot Camp in Tampa, Florida.

I first met Tom Hopkins at a Success seminar in Winston-Salem, NC. His approach to sales and word tracks intrigued me. After the seminar, I went to Toms' table, put my name on his mailing list and bought his classic book "How To Master The Art of Selling". The book blew my mind! I had never heard things said the way Tom taught me to say them. It didn't take me but a few days to finish the book and, needless to say, I was hooked as a fan for life.

The next week, I received an invitation in the mail to attend Tom Hopkins' Boot Camp in Tampa, Florida. Since I was as broke as a convict, I begged my dad for the money. My dad, who always wanted to teach me one of life's many lessons, agreed to loan me the money (YES...he made me pay it back with INTEREST! If I remember correctly, he even made me do a payroll deduct). Thanks for the loan AND the lesson, Dad.

So I was off to Tampa...scared of what was ahead but still very excited about the opportunity to learn more from Tom. Looking back on those 3 days, they were the beginning of my love for the almost lost art of sales. I vividly remember not being able to sleep due to my mind racing a hundred miles an hour. The thoughts of how dangerous I was gonna be when I got back made me feel strangely confident...like I was "the man"! LOL. And I loved it!

The look on my young face in the picture above says it all. I was grinning from ear to ear because I was actually excited about...*GASP-CHOKE*...learning?! 15 years later, my wish it that I can be a mentor that fills my employees and other Sales Professionals with the enthusiasm to learn about the art of selling just like Tom Hopkins did for me.

And, just in case you are wondering, I STILL know The Champions Creed by heart:

"I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed.
And the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep trying." by Tom Hopkins