Book Summary: The Ultimate Sales Machine

Chet Holmes is a legend in the field of sales.

So, according to Holmes, if you want to be successful in business and sales, you must have two things.

The first essential is what he refers to as "pigheaded discipline." He originally titled this book "The Pigheaded Executive Wins Every Time," which was good.

The second important factor is to concentrate on mastery. Four thousand repetitions of 12 different items will yield considerably better outcomes than 4,000 other things.

What are those 12 things, exactly? That's what we'll be doing for the rest of our time together today.

Time Management Secrets of Billionaires

A female preparing the project timeline and time management to increase productivity.

This section focuses on increasing your productivity. There are never-ending demands on your time as a leader. So devising a technique to optimize your influence each hour is crucial.

You have three options for accomplishing this.

  • First, determine your company's most critical impact areas. Inside sales, outside sales, marketing, H.R., special initiatives, and so on are all possibilities. You get my drift.
  • Second, schedule a weekly meeting for each of those areas, and require that any concerns that aren't "hair-on-fire" crises be addressed at that meeting.
  • Third, ensure that each meeting has a well-defined plan covering all of the important problems that need to be addressed.

By leading nine corporation divisions for a billionaire (and one of my intellectual obsessions, FWIW), Charlie Munger, Holmes discovered this.

Institute Higher Standards and Regular Training

A female leader training her staff by showing the computer screen, providing higher standards and providing the learning mindset.

Training should be a top concern if you want to reprogram your company to function like a perfectly tuned machine.

According to a Harvard Business Review study, only 10% of the population has what's known as "the learning mindset," according to a Harvard Business Review study. The other 90%? To save them from themselves, we'll have to put in a lot of effort.

This is accomplished by purposeful and ongoing training. You'll find yourself dealing with the same challenges and problems repetitively if you don't have it.

Instead, by repeatedly training the same behaviors, you will begin to develop the desired behaviors, which will lead to success.

There are several methods to deliver training. But incorporating participants in either workshop-type instruction (where they work on real-world problems) or case studies (similar to how M.B.A.s are taught at Harvard Business School) is the most successful format.

Executing Effective Meetings

Continuing from the last section, the optimum use of executive meetings is to host workshops where everyone is laser-focused on tackling a single problem.

When you have these regular meetings, you'll develop a preference for what Holmes refers to as the "three Ps" - planning, procedures, and policies.


Because, instead of merely sitting about and talking about difficulties incessantly, a workshop requires that work be done. And possible solutions can be developed by its very nature.

What is the best cadence for these meetings? Holmes advises that each important area in the firm should have one session each week.

Becoming a Brilliant Strategist

A female strategist creating the next powerful strategy combining techniques to develop long term plans.

"How to get up to nine times more impact from every move you make" is the subtitle of this portion of the book.

Go on, I'm paying attention...

According to Holmes, we need to know the distinction between strategies and tactics.

He describes them as follows:

  • A tactic is a strategy for gaining a short-term advantage.
  • A strategy is a well-thought-out and thorough plan for achieving a long-term objective.

A clever strategist may combine techniques to develop a plan focused on the company's long-term goals. With each approach, the goal is to achieve as many strategic objectives as feasible.

Education-based marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies you can use in any organization. Why? Because it enables you to talk directly to those who are currently interested in your products and services. However, it also allows you to speak with individuals interested in your products and services in the future.

Hiring Superstars

A male employee as the star employee and outperform every sales target with little training.

Understanding the personality profile of the biggest producers is one of the crucial pieces of the jigsaw if you want to develop the Ultimate Sales Machine.

Superstars are those who, despite being put in a horrible circumstance with lousy tools, little training, and limited resources, begin to outperform your best employees or expand your company in ways you never imagined possible within a few months.

Understanding the personality qualities that match the position you're searching for and having the tools to find individuals who exhibit those characteristics are key to selecting someone like this.

The approach Holmes proposes for interviewing candidates may appear barbarian to H.R. officials, yet it seems effective.

The first step is to make a screening call. Something like this:

You: Hello Bill, we've got a lot of interest in our ad, so tell me why you think we should interview you.

Bill: Well, let's see what happens. I have a soft spot for people. I'm a natural bonder, and I feel I can sell anything if I believe in it.

You: Ah, I see. I'm not hearing "top producer" at all.

Bill: You're not, are you?

You: No way.

Bill: I suppose you'd figure it out.

You: Yes, I do.

Bill: All right, then. Thank you for your consideration. Bye.

This is someone that would generally wow you in a traditional interview situation but who would struggle in a field where they would be rejected regularly.

Instead, here's how a chat with a top producer would go:

You: I'm not sensing a top producer at all.

Top Producer: What, in your opinion, distinguishes a top producer? (Note that the applicant starts selling right away; it's in their character.)

You: It's a certain personality feature that I'm not seeing in you.

Top Producer: It's strange because I was the new person at my last job and had never sold grommets beforehand, yet within a few months, I was catching up to salesmen who had been there for eight years.

When a prospect attempts to reject them, this person becomes even more successful. Those are the individuals you seek.

Just keep in mind that once you've hired top producers, you'll need to establish a performance-based relationship with them. You'll have a top producer who remains for a long time if you generously reward them and commend them for exceeding your challenges.

The High Art of Getting the Best Buyers

As Holmes points out, the best purchasers buy more, faster, and more frequently than the rest of us. This is the group of folks you're looking for.

To discover and close these clients, Holmes established the Dream 100 initiative. In part #9, we'll go over this in detail.

Dream Affiliates is another approach to target your most qualified prospects. These individuals or businesses are eager to send your product or service to their client database.

You provide the affiliate a portion of the money that would otherwise go to sales and marketing under these arrangements.

Finally, a company with no referral strategy is simply not pursuing the low-hanging fruit.

The Seven Musts of Marketing

A female marketer using social media to promote the products or services of the clients.

According to Holmes, there are seven marketing weapons that we all need to master in our arsenal.

  • Advertising: good advertising must stand out, have a headline that grabs the reader's attention, have body text that keeps them reading, and have a call-to-action.
  • Direct (e)mail: Even if direct (e)mail has fallen out of favor recently, it still produces tremendous returns when done correctly. The list is crucial to your success in this field.
  • Corporate literature: everything that salespeople hand out should have the same appearance and feel.
  • Public relations: Encouraging other people to write about you, whether the newspaper or a trade group, is worth gold in public affairs.
  • As Holmes points out, personal contact has always been and will continue to be your most effective method.
  • Market education: If you're going to conduct trade fairs and market education, you need to be bold and interesting.
  • Internet: understanding the art of selling on your website is essential.

The Eyes Have It

There are eight guidelines to follow when completing a transaction that you must present face-to-face or through a sales video.

  • K.I.S.S. stands for "Keep It Simple, Stupid." Your presentation should be straightforward to comprehend.
  • K.I.F.P. stands for "Keep It Fast Paced." Don't spend too much time on one subject or issue. Maintain the momentum throughout.
  • Make use of "Wow" facts and figures. You want your customer to learn something new, which will help them trust you during the "sales" portion of the presentation.
  • Include storytelling opportunities. People remember and connect with tales.
  • Your presentation should pique people's interests. Present the material so that your audience is intrigued by what will happen next.
  • Consider each headline to be a valuable piece of real estate. Work hard to come up with headlines that people will remember.
  • Be self-assured without being obnoxious. That's all there is to it.
  • Concentrate on others rather than on yourself. Remember that your prospect is just thinking about themselves. Maintain laser-like attention on them throughout the presentation.

The Nitty Gritty of Getting The Best Buyers

We're back to flesh out the skeleton of the Dream 100 project we mentioned before.

Here are six easy methods to getting your desired clients:

  • Choose from a list of 100 options. Examine your top client and affiliate lists. This is where you should begin.
  • Select the gifts. A giving program, in which you give them a modest present every two weeks, is at the heart of this plan.
  • Make a list of 100 letters that you'd want to receive. Every present should be accompanied by a brief note that ties into the gift somehow. Make sure each one has a call to action.
  • Make a Dream 100 Calendar. Make a note of your schedule on a calendar, so you don't forget about it.
  • Make Dream 100 Follow-up Phone Calls. A phone call should follow each gift and letter to set an appointment.
  • Deliver the Executive Briefing. When you eventually reach the Dream Client, give them your "Executive Briefing," in which you educate them on something they didn't realize may influence their business.

Sales Skills

As Holmes reminds us, you won't get the best outcomes unless you've discovered and mastered every part of the sales process.

Here are the seven stages you must master to make a sale. It will help a lot if you repeat the workshops for each of these steps.

  • Establish a good working relationship. Asking excellent questions, having a sense of humor, caring about your prospects, and finding common ground are some of the greatest ways to achieve this.
  • Determine the buyer's qualifications. Make a list of 6-10 questions you'd want to know about each buyer and ask them to each prospect regularly. You should leave knowing exactly what they require and how they intend to obtain it.
  • Create value. Present your main point or executive summary.
  • Create a desire for something. Push your prospects with queries that pique their interest in resolving their problems.
  • Overcome skepticism. An objection is a chance to finish the deal. "Is (insert issue here) the only thing keeping you from moving forward?" will allow you to end the loop or move on to the next objection.
  • Complete the transaction. You may need to apply some pressure at times.
  • Keep in touch. It is critical to ensure they have a positive experience to receive future referrals.

If you master these fundamentals, you'll have a good idea of what you'll need to become a global seller.

Follow-up and Client Bonding Skills

A sales person having a meeting with his client, talking about the next best steps and the most appropriate options available.

There are ten steps to a successful follow-up. Follow these steps in order every time you close a transaction. You'll be able to establish a network that will keep your sales engine running indefinitely.

  • Send the first letter of follow-up. Do it as soon as possible after the transaction to make the best impression.
  • Make the initial call to follow up. Do this soon after the letter, and provide your consumer something fresh and valuable - free education is an excellent option.
  • Share anything that piques your curiosity.
  • Bond like a madman. Share a dinner with your customer, organize a party for them, whatever it takes to become closer to them.
  • Have a second follow-up. Keep yourself at the forefront of your mind at all times.
  • Make a fun activity that the whole family can participate in. Bring them to a play or a football game as a group.
  • Offer to help them with their company. You can refer your customer to another person who can help them. Customers will always pick up the phone if you consistently provide value to them.
  • Follow up once again.
  • More assistance is needed to succeed. Invite them to a seminar or offer to conduct one at their place of business.
  • Inviting them to your house (or be asked to theirs) is the ultimate follow-up. The best clientele of top producers is virtually usually invited to their homes.

All Systems Go

The 12th and last fundamental skill area in developing your Ultimate Sales Machine is goal setting and monitoring effectiveness.

Goal setting's strength lies in its ability to focus your attention. For example, when you buy a car, you start noticing the model you acquired everywhere because you are now seeking it.

Holmes recommends that we hold a goal-setting workshop in which we jot down:

  • five life goals
  • five-yearly goals
  • our preferred yearly income for the next five years
  • three things you'll do each month to make your life better
  • three things you'll do each month to continue improving your company or team
  • three things you'll do every month to achieve better personal performance

After that, keep note of everything.

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