Chet Holmes — The Ultimate Sales Machine Book Review
Today I’m reviewing the excellent book of Chet Holmes: The Ultimate Sales Machine. The Ultimate Sales Machine by the great sales and marketing guru Chet Holmes is based around a simple premise: that mastery isn’t about doing 4,000 things, but about doing few things 4,000 times.
Mastery is a direct result of pigheaded discipline and determination.
The Ultimate Sales Machine is the legacy Chet Holmes left to help sales staff all over the world, by giving them strategies to relentlessly focus and execute on, in order to increase their sales.
Chet Holmes is a selling superstar and a marketing guru.
After doubling sales for 9 divisions of a Charlie Munger company, Chet looked back at what principles and strategies he had used to make it happen.
Most business owners find it difficult to delegate and build systems.
WarningThis should be a priority — as doing so can provide you with more time to work on revenue generating activities. If you’ve ever faced this problem, this book is for you.
No matter how good your company is doing, it probably can do a lot better.
Interestingly enough, the strategies you need to employ are pretty much the same even if it is not doing good at all. And according to Chet Holmes, you only need to focus on some of them to become The Ultimate Sales Machine.
As Chet Holmes notes in the earlier chapters, the advice he gives is stuff EVERYONE has heard before. But what makes the difference in this book is how Chet Holmes gives you practical examples so you can see them in action.
Now, let’s summarize the book The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes. We will find there the key principles to improve a company strategy, sales and productivity.
Time Is Gold
Your time must be managed well because your business is tightly coupled with the time at your disposal. Your results are directly tied to your ability to get stuff done.
If you are constantly distracted and not working on important things — you’re obviously not working efficiently.
If you spend just 15 minutes a day revisiting, relocating or rereading your documents or emails, for 300 days a year, you will lose 75 hours of work per year, more than 2 35-hour work weeks!
In particular, you will want to eradicate “Got-a-Minute” meetings.
Chet Holmes explains that working in an office and having team members you delegate tasks to can leave you open to costly distractions. He proposes that you restrict team members from coming to you at any time of day.
Ideas change as people brainstorm. This process is drawn out and time is wasted needlessly if you do this on an individual basis.
Instead, break up your business into impact areas and their respective team members. When you gather everyone to discuss specific issues, you streamline the brainstorming and information distribution process.
It’s time you started each and every one of your days by already knowing what you want to do — and what you’ll ultimately end up doing. In order to do this, use the Ivy Lee method and make each night a list of 6 tasks you’ll work on the next day.
We waste a lot of time checking emails and not taking action on them. The first tip you need to apply is if you touch it, do something about it.
If you read an email, respond to it right away. Otherwise, at least bookmark it for later action because the important thing is that you do something about it.
Prioritizing is key in managing your time effectively. Some people only want that euphoric feeling they get when they cross off items from their list.
WarningMost people tend to put the most difficult tasks at the end of the day because these tasks typically require more concentration. Nevertheless, the end of the day is often when time and energy are scarce, so put the toughest tasks first.
Policy Is Legacy
A lot of companies have sales trainings, but they’re annual events. What’s more, the topic often changes from year to year. But how can you possibly master the pitch for the upsell from one hour of training?
Train your sales staff, and train them often. Allow continuous professional development so that your team becomes increasingly efficient.
WarningIn addition, Chet Holmes explains that businesses should hold regular, highly productive, workshop-style meetings dedicated to improving every aspect of your business. And that an organization should remain focused on the “three Ps” — planning, procedures, and policies.
If you take the time to sharpen skills and improve knowledge of your employees, your business will start working better and faster — like a well-oiled selling machine.
When you set high standards throughout your organization, employees perform better and results are somewhat predictable because training and skills are consistent. This not only gives your sales staff less excuses to underperform, it also makes people feel treated well and taken care of.
Hot seats are a great extension to workshops and training sessions. Once you narrow down the improved procedures for yourself and employees in your office — work with them individually. Put them in the “hot seat” to drill down the smallest and most important details. This will bring your team to expert status on your best practices.
Let’s face it: no one becomes better without training, and, after a while, even the best ones tend to stagnate unless they are continually pushed forward.
By the new ideas and strategies, by the fact that they’re learning, by the new-found youth — you name it! Either case, training is essential and it never stops.
When facing challenges, get everyone to feel the pain and ask how many people in the room would like to solve these challenges. Addressing questions to the group get’s buy-in.
What if there were ways to solve these challenges but they required you to gain an entirely new learning curve? How many here would look forward to the new learning curve?
Stadium Pitch Is a Bitch
Superstar salespeople play a longer game than average joes. They start from a mindset where they genuinely seek to make people’s lives more enjoyable. When they become a trusted resource, even a friend, the sales will inevitably follow.
Don’t just sell your product, sell the whole store.
WarningIf you really want to serve your market, do some research that will benefit them. This is called education-based marketing, and it works so well, because it establishes a real connection between you and your customers.
The value-first-sell-later approach always works in sales.
By reframing the entire sales process as a way to add value, Chet Holmes was not only able to consistently get access to decision makers, he also got them to view him as a trustworthy resource.
The problem with the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is that it is focused on you. It asks the question “what is special about us or what do we have or do better than our competitors?” Move from being focused on yourself to being focused on your buyer.
Leverage education to grow trust with your prospects. You can do this with both sales and press.
WarningFocus on educating your consumers around your market rather than selling your services. Chet Holmes also believes educational content is better for press and your listing presentation.
Educating your clients allows you to increase their interest in buying. If the information you give is good and useful, it automatically gets you from seller to expert, relative to your competitors.
If you act strategically, you will find a way to take advantage of this information so that you can sell your services much better than a simple scripted business pitch. One of the most strategic things you can do is find market data that makes your products or services more appealing.
Superstars Are Cheap
If you want to build the Ultimate Sales Machines, one of the key pieces of the puzzle is to understand the personality profile of talented people. You must learn how to recruit and keep them.
Poor recruitment costs a company an average of $60,000, while most hiring decisions are made after a one-hour interview.
WarningSolitary entrepreneurs might think they are not in a position to hire anyone, let alone superstars. But just think what a superstar salesperson could do for your company if you hire him/her at a low base salary and with excellent commissions: how fast could your business grow?
As long as you’re willing to pay, you might be shocked to find there’s someone perfect who will build your company for you as long as you share the wealth as they do so.
The key to keeping superstars is never say no to them. Instead, redirect their energy or give them a few hurdles to jump in order to get what they want.
The more you challenge superstars, the more you encourage them to overachieve. But don’t forget to compliment them when they meet and exceed your challenge.
For sales, that means you’ll have to find people that have the sales personality mentioned in the book.
That means people who are dominant, I mean people who have a strong ego, that is important to cop a lot of rejections while still being confident. These people are also influential, they need to be empathetic, high energy, persuasive and great communicators.
To attract superstars and top producers, you will use the highest possible salary. With average salary’s you will only attract average salespeople.
WarningWhen they apply for the job, reject them. If they crumble and go away before you hire them, you see what they are made of: A superstar will question your reasoning and may even tell you that you are wrong.
Advertising Is King
The most effective ads have a headline that follows this important rule: “Tell me what you want to tell me in 3.2 seconds”. The headline should explain the benefit of the product and focus on the prospect using you or your rather than focusing on yourself by using the word we.
The most important thing about an advertisement is whether or not it attracts attention. It must be distinctive.
Advertisements that generate the best response rate captures attention and keeps it. The use of shocking or surprising images is excellent for this.
In addition, Chet Holmes’s cheap gift strategy works well as a way to build awareness and familiarity. It’s like long-range bombing before you send in the troops.
So when he eventually makes personal contact, the prospect will already have heard of him in some way and be more receptive to an approach. It’s part of a commitment to break through the clutter and win their attention.
Most brochures are a waste of money. They are totally focused on you instead of the buyer. They are ego pieces. Instead say something like “The five most dangerous trends facing apartment building owners and how to maximize your apartment building asset”.
Giving a call to action, a reason to act now is always important.
WarningIt has been proved that a reply coupon at the bottom right of the advertisement increases the response rate. It may be just a small rectangle that says “Yes, send me more information”.
Chet Holmes has successfully applied the “shy yes“ concept, which uses the analogy that a website is like wanting to seduce someone: if you ask someone you meet for the first time to marry you, chances are you’ll be hit with a no.
However, if you suggest going for a drink, you can get a yes. So, rather than directly trying to sell something to someone on your site, first try to get their email address, in exchange for a newsletter filled with interesting information and start building a relationship with them before offering them your products.
Dream 100 Is Super Move
People want to overcomplicate marketing. Here’s the most elegant way I’ve discovered to simplify marketing: Make a list of your target 100 customers, go out and try to get them.
What type of clients are qualified to be part of your top 100?
WarningYou need to know as much as possible about your clients and put all this information into a database, to identify the most profitable, the criterion or criteria that make them profitable, and to be able to search for prospects who share these criteria.
Actually get to know your potential clients. Build a relationship with them because if you know the client, you’re in a far better position to suggest the product or service that’ll best suit their needs.
Building rapport fits in the category of ‘things we know, but don’t do’. We all know the added benefits of building that relationship with every prospect, but time does get in the way.
Ask yourself the question, “Who are 100 people I can hit up to sell this product?” List as many target customers as possible. If 100 is too many for your right away, list 10. The key is to define, in exact detail, who you want to target.
Just pick out the 100 biggest customers who need what you sell, and put a lot of time and effort into your pitch to them. Go there, get to know them, meet them.
And when the time comes, talk to the right person. When you get through, don’t turn into a salesperson, do maintain your authority, have a fantastic 2 minute opening worked out. Be clever, be confident.
Find out who controls the budget, get to know them, and convince them of the benefits, saved time and money of your product.
WarningIt’s much easier to spend 10 hours making one new friend at another company, who might buy 300 units, than it is to spend 100 hours talking to every random Joe on the street, trying to sell them a single piece.
High Octane Closes Deals
Chet Holmes believes that the right training can completely change a sales organization. He notes that most organizations that hire him have poor sales because their team isn’t adequately prepared, not because they are inherently crappy salespeople.
This means breaking down the sales process into chunks and drilling for specific parts. What are the sales team’s main problems?
WarningIt’s easier to improve every parts in isolation rather than just looking at the entire process and trying to fix everything at once. This also means repetition drills in order to build a foundation from which to build higher-order skills.
According to Chet Holmes, following up is what makes the difference between a good and a great company.
Because, building an emotional relationship with your client goes a long way. And, ultimately, can make all the difference because selling is a science.
Let’s be clear on one important point: your buyers will be much more motivated if their current situation becomes unacceptable. To create desire, you need to motivate your buyers by using a combination of problems and solutions, even if you are the one who points out problems that they had never considered before.
Qualifying buyers is crucial and means that you have to find what they are looking for in your product or service and what factors will influence their buying decision.
For this, you need to create six to ten questions you would like to know about each prospect. Have the sales representatives learn these questions until everyone can recite them by heart.
After discovering the buying criteria of your client or prospect, you must build value around your product or service.
You can ask them, “What do you know about us, by the way?”. This is the moment when you have your little one- or two-minute speech that builds value and lets them know your reputation on the market.
This book is perfect for anybody who owns a business, or is looking to expand their sales team. I would also give this book to a salesperson that is wanting to improve their results.
Is this book worth your precious time? Most definitely.
This willingness to offer a comprehensive system is commendable and presents a certain interest compared to information that is otherwise scattered in other books. It thus offers a guide for any business owner or any sales manager who wants to give a big boost to their business by making them focus on the various essentials.
But it will require the commitment to spend time working on the many exercises interspersed through the book.
WarningI really liked his emphasis on the need for pigheaded discipline and determination, which is essential to put into practice the concepts, methods, tips and tricks recommended in The Ultimate Sales Machine and, in fact, in all other books — including all those reviewed on this blog.
This book is amazing for learning the fundamentals of good business practices. Remember, don’t think about gimmicks or fast tracks, they never work.
Instead make sure you are optimizing your productivity. Consistently train yourself and team. Work together to develop better processes and systems.
If you just want to learn how to sell more, get the blinks. If you’re in for a great story and lesson about life, get the book!
Have you read The Ultimate Sales Machine? What did you think? Do you have any favorite personal development books? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!