In The Ultimate Sales Machine, Chet Holmes defines and highlights twelve key strategies for running a successful business. These include the importance of having a strategic mission statement, focusing on the right target market, understanding your customer base, and much more!
This summary of ‘The Ultimate Sales Machine’ on our blog is detailed as it is that of a much-celebrated sales book. But you before that we’ll know a bit about the author, Chet Holmes.
Table of Contents
Chet Holmes was a star salesperson, corporate trainer, strategist, lecturer, and business growth, expert. Holmes worked for nine divisions of a Charlie Munger company and doubled the sales. He turned the strategies and principles he used into 65 training products and this book – The Ultimate Sales Machine. It was a New York Times bestseller. Chet Holmes also designed several advertising campaigns and sales systems for different industries. He shares some background information about himself and his experiences leading sales teams at Fortune 500 companies, where he witnessed firsthand what led to their success or failure.
In this book, Holmes provides proven strategies for different spheres.
For management, he says that you should teach your employees to work smarter and not harder.
For marketing, he says that you should leverage the power of advertising, events, public relations and make the most of your website.
As for sales, he advises that one has to work on making every sales interaction seem perfect.
Here is the book summary with 12 key strategies to Run a Successful Business that Chet Holmes talked about in the book.
The author highlights time management strategies, emphasizing the importance of understanding how to make the most out of each minute.
When you manage time well, you can optimize your actions and reduce redundancy. The author has mentioned a 6-step schedule to manage time. It will help you get more work done by doing away with steps that you don’t require.
When you take immediate action with all that you do, you can reduce repeated actions.
For instance, you can use this strategy in responding to emails. You first have to decide whether you have time at hand to respond to emails. If yes, you can work on it or set aside the time to work on it. In case you don’t have the time, don’t attempt to reply to the email. Wait till you are free.
By preparing a list, you can focus on items having high priority and organize your work schedule.
Chet Holmes says that you should make a to-do list every day and mention six essential things you need to complete. Get started with a master list containing all that you need to work on. From this list, select six items every day and add them to your daily list.
The author says that planning the amount of time you will allocate to each task on your list will ensure that you can address all the items.
For every workday, it should not be beyond 6 hours. Keep some extra time to handle unexpected or urgent issues.
To accomplish the important tasks, you have to plan your day.
You have to prioritize the tasks so that you can do the one that is important first. It would be better to make an hourly calendar.
The time management guide has a question at its end – “Will throwing this away hurt?”
You can ask this question when there are emails, messages, or letters coming to you. You can get rid of thighs that you don’t require and the ones that you can get again in the future without any hassle. In case it is meant for someone else, it is better to forward it to them asap.
The Takeaway: Make sure that you utilize your limited time well.
It is essential to give your employees an in-depth look at your company’s objectives if you want to raise standards. Regular training of employees would do that. Holmes offers tips on training employees, and it involves repetitious movement to equip employees to become perfect at their job.
There is an emphasis on choosing the proper training methods. For subjects with lots of information and data, the lecture format would work. Group questions training helps make things easier to remember. Demonstration training helps in teaching people about performing a particular task. It is even better when followed by role-playing training. Then there is hot-seat training to enhance the skills of employees in areas they already got trained. It involves making an employee perform skills and then questioning them till they see what they need to work on.
The Takeaway: Maintain high standards and train every employee well.
Here the author feels that the meetings in companies involve the communication of news, information, and ideas. Holmes also says that every meeting has to resolve a problem or help improve the business.
For example, in place of calling a meeting to discuss a drop in customer satisfaction, you should call one for finding ways to boost it.
The meeting should have the same first every time. It is better to write down the purpose of the meeting as a question.
Every employee can write down their answers to it and share them. Ultimately, you can choose the idea that seems to be the best solution for the problem.
The top talent of the company can try the most promising ideas first. When there are positive results, you can go ahead with testing the concept. Documentation of each step and filing it in the training manual is better. In the next meeting, you can discuss the results and work towards improving the idea.
These steps will enable you to use meetings to boost your business.
The Takeaway: Conduct and get booked with sales meetings regularly to pass on the information to employees and to train them.
In this strategy, Holmes shows you how to create an opportunity to reach potential customers.
He says that there are 3 types of executives
1. The tactical executive
2. The strategic executive and
3. The ideal executive
The top 1% is an ideal executive who uses both tact and strategy to think.
Holmes observes that a marketing strategy based on education works most often in reaching buyers.
The buyer shows more interest in your product or service when you offer to educate them. Also, useful information will make the buyer think that a sales rep is an expert in the field.
Instead of pitching your product or service to the buyer, you can strategically present information.
In education marketing, the focus is on building long-term relationships with clients instead of simply selling the product.
In the book, Holmes gives an example of education marketing using a shoe-selling pitch. He says that if you choose to sell shoes by cold calling, you will be able to sell to a handful of people looking to purchase shoes. On the other hand, if you reach out to prospects and give them a free brochure about feet and their health, you will reach out to those who want to purchase new shoes and also build a connection with future customers. Even those who are not interested in buying shoes will start thinking about it and probably decide to buy new shoes sometime soon.
With a sales pitch, you can make customers make a purchase, but with an educational marketing pitch, you provide better value to the prospect, build a connection and choose to solve their problems. This can make prospects interested in the product or service.
The Takeaway: Educate the prospect and provide the value.
This strategy is all about hiring the right talent for your company. According to the author, superstar employees prove their worth even when the situation is against them, such as lack of tools, inadequate resources, and no training.
You must hire such superstar employees regardless of the size of your business and what the job post is.
Holmes mentions the steps to find, interview and hire the employees who can help your business succeed.
Firstly, you need to do is design an ad stating your requirement to attract the talent you are looking for. The author says that you will attract only average candidates when you place an ad for average employees. Therefore, target your ad at a superstar employee.
Subsequently, upon getting the applications of some prospective applicants, you should conduct interviews. After getting solid information about their skills and background, see if they possess the personality and character to excel. Also, find out their strong points and see if they have qualities like confidence, self-reliance, empathy, ability to influence, stay compliant, or be dominant.
Finally, after you sense that you have got the perfect employee, choose to end the interview with an attack. This will help you know whether you can call the candidate a superstar employee. Holmes says that superstar employees know what they are and won’t run away from a challenge.
The paramount quality of a superstar employee is that they have a lot of confidence in their abilities and believe that they emerge as winners regardless of what the job is. Indeed, having such employees will take your business to new heights.
The Takeaway: Choose to hire A-graders as your employees.
With the ‘best buyers’, there is a reduction in sales efforts and increased sales.
As per the author, you have to find the best buyers to avoid wasting your time pursuing the wrong people.
For example, a business dealing in research aids may reach out to the librarian of a firm who uses it, but it can be wrong as the librarian is less likely to be the decision-maker.
Businesses have to pitch their products to the actual ‘best buyer’ who can decide immediately. In the above example, the right person may be the management committee of the firm.
The Takeaway: Choose to target the best prospects.
As per Holmes, there are 7 musts of marketing that can propel your sales efforts, and they are the following:
2. Corporate literature
3. Direct mail
4. Public relations
5. Market education
6. Personal contact
7. The internet
To succeed, a business must have a concrete advertising plan. In addition, it has to grab the attention of prospects, generate responses, focus on value, and possess a call to action. Also, the ads need to have an attention-grabbing headline that focuses on value and makes the customer take immediate action.
Use the internet not just to generate leads but also to build a bond with prospects. You can also offer free resources to build brand loyalty. It would help a customer think of you first when they want to purchase your product or service.
The Takeaway: Sharpen your marketing tactics.
Holmes says that the way you present your information takes precedence over what the information is. Moreover, boost your success with an excellent presentation. Following strategies are how you can increase it,
1. Add only 3-4 bullet points.
2. Highlight the important information
3. Avoid spending too much time in one section. Move forward at a faster pace to keep the audience engaged.
4. Add factual information to make it look more relevant and give credibility to your product or service.
5. Make use of stories with images and graphs as people tend to connect better with how your solution resolves problems.
6. Focus on the needs of customers and solve a problem.
The Takeaway: Improve your presentations and see how your sales improve.
This strategy is a continuation of strategy number 6 and shows how you can identify ‘best buyers’.
Strategy number 9 gets you tips and tactics to get your top-level clients that the book refers to as ‘Dream 100’ clients.
1. Send gifts and letters to your Dream 100
Send small gifts to your Dream 100 clients once a month so that they keep your brand in their minds. You can also send a letter with the gift, and don’t forget to add the offer’s details and how the client can reach you.
2. Create a calendar for your Dream 100 and follow up with them
After deciding what you should give your clients every month, create a calendar with a mailing date and the name and contact of the dream client. You can reach out to them some way every month and then follow up over the phone.
When you call the client, you can talk in detail about the mail you sent and answer the questions that prospects have regarding your solution.
3. Meet the prospect
After getting the chance to meet in person, use strategy number 4, i.e. educational marketing. You can subtly provide the solution to the potential client’s problems.
The Takeaway: Perfect the sales process of your company.
When you reach out to your dream client, you should use the opportunity to the fullest. As per The Ultimate Sales Machine, sales has 7 stages in it, and they are the following:
1. Building rapport with the prospect
2. Qualifying your prospect based on need
3. Building value by matching your product or service to your prospect’s buying criteria
4. Creating a strong urge
5. Overcoming the objections prospects have
6. Closing the sale
It would help if you then created a strong connection with the client.
The Takeaway: Improve your personal selling skills
The strategy has its base on two essential topics,
The first one is what the author calls ‘post-purchase dissonance’. It occurs when a buyer cancels an order that is complete.
The second thing that Holmes focuses on is that you won’t usually make money on the first transaction. You would instead earn on the transactions you do after that. That depends on the type of bond you have with the prospect from the beginning. You have to become the prospect’s friend and have a long-lasting relationship with them to carry out such transactions.
The Takeaway: Build a strong bond with clients and follow up with them.
This strategy helps with finding out how effective your efforts are from the last 11 strategies. It helps in customizing your goals to succeed.
Here, ‘The Ultimate Sales Machine’ says that you should turn your goals into everyday affirmations. Doing so will bring them into your subconscious, and you will work towards achieving them.
Writing down your goals will make the brain think that it is reality.
Lastly, you have to focus on improvement by finding out how effective your sales strategy is. You can make a chart that has all the calls follow-ups and the results. If the results don’t appear after a specific time period, you must overcome the objections better.
The Takeaway: Set your goals and measure your performance from time to time.
Chet Holmes presents 12 strategies in the book to help salespeople change their approach towards selling. By executing them it is possible for organizations to give their sales a boost. The author says that mastery doesn’t mean doing 4000 things, you can instead do 12 things 4000 times.
Here are the three main lessons that the book has to offer
Education-based marketing works well. Instead of selling, you must try to educate prospects.
As per the book’s example, imagine you are standing in front of a stadium filled with prospects. Choosing the sales pitch method would not be the right thing to do as you cannot reach everyone. Instead, it would help if you choose to educate the people about something that will be useful to them.
If you happen to be dealing in furniture, instead of selling your sofa to the crowd, offer something helpful such as ‘how to enhance productivity by choosing the right type of furniture.’ This way, you will get more people to show interest in purchasing your furniture.
Hiring the right people is essential across all industries. According to The Ultimate Sales Machine, the people you hire in sales should have the following characteristics, regardless of the age of the candidate and industry experience.
A strong ego – They have to be strong enough to face more than a dozen rejections and still aim at closing deal number 13.
An influential behavior – Your sales staff must be good at communication, energetic, empathetic, and good at persuading people.
It is essential to know your prospects well and build a relationship with them. Building a good relationship with prospects may be difficult but is advantageous. Also, it will help you suggest to them the right product or service based on their needs.
When you put yourself in the client’s shoes, you will realize that you will want to deal with sales reps you know well. That is why it is essential to have a cordial relationship with your prospects.
You may be a middle-aged executive heading a sales team or a young entrepreneur who just began. It is also for those who are not able to give a good business presentation. As you can see in this ‘The Ultimate Sales Machine’ blog post, this book is for everyone in the world of selling. You can checkout this book here.
The Ultimate Sales Machine is a must-read as it has tested strategies to teach salespeople how to work smart instead of working hard and how to perfectly nail every interaction. In addition to this, the book has strategies to get better outcomes from websites, advertising, trade shows, and events. Also, you can use the strategies to improve each area of your business.
The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes is an endowment to salespeople all over the globe. Firstly, in our summary of ‘The Ultimate Sales Machine’ on our blog, you can see how essential this book is for salespeople. Also, it has 12 strategies to help increase focus and boost sales. Even by applying just one of the strategies, you can see dramatic results.
At this time, if you want to turn your business around and outsell the competition, this book is for you. Furthermore, the book has loads of strategies that successful companies need to market their products well online or offline. Whether you’re a startup trying to get off the ground or an established company that needs some fresh ideas on how to take things up a notch, these key skills are essential if you hope to be as successful as possible when it comes time for making sales.
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