Salesmanship expert Tom Hopkins, who will present seminars in Oxnard and Ventura next week, used to be a real estate agent in Simi Valley. During an eight-year stretch in the 1960s and 1970s, he claims to have sold 1,153 houses.
Could he do as well today, given the slow market?
"I don't think so," he said. "Today's prices are simply too high for that kind of volume to be possible. In those days, you could buy a house in Simi Valley for $25,000 or $30,000. Now, the same house costs six or seven times as much.
"Prices, not the economy, are the main problem in home sales today. We had higher unemployment figures during the '60s than we have now, but in those days you could get a repossessed house for $100 down. I know. I bought some of them myself that I later sold at a profit."
Hopkins said the best salesmanship he's witnessed recently was the work of an airline flight attendant.
"A passenger was furious because he wasn't allowed to use his laptop computer while the plane was taking off.
"The attendant explained that it was a new FAA policy, that the agency was afraid the computers might interfere with navigation.
"Her explanation was fine, but what calmed the passenger down was that she got down on her knees. She made it a point not to look down on him. That's salesmanship."
Hopkins, who is now based in Scottsdale, Ariz., will conduct an all-day seminar next Tuesday at the Oxnard Community Center. Tickets are $159 in advance and $179 at the door. Those who attend will be admitted free to a follow-up session the next day at HarborTown Marina Resort in Ventura.