The Ultimate Sales Machine is the legacy Chet Holmes left to help sales staff all over the world, by giving them 12 key strategies to relentlessly focus and execute on, in order to at least double their sales.
Chet Holmes was a selling superstar. After doubling sales for nine divisions of a Charlie Munger company, Chet looked back at what principles and strategies he had used to make it happen.
He then turned those into 65 training products and this New York Times bestseller.
But you read right. “Was”. Unfortunately, Chet died at the young age of 55, after fighting a long and hard battle with leukemia.
His daughter took over the business at only 24 years old – but is mastering the challenge.
Here are the 3 main things I’m taking away from the book’s summary on Blinkist:
- Offer recurring trainings for your sales staff.
- Don’t just sell your product, sell the whole store.
- Shoot for the moon by targeting decision-makers in bigcompanies.
Time to learn how to sell!
Lesson 1: Offer trainings on a regular basis for your sales staff.
Train your sales staff, and train them often.
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?
Chet Holmes uses a great metaphor to makes it clear why training your sales staff on a regular basis is so important.
He says a lumberjack has two ways of chopping more wood:
Spend a few extra hours each day.
Take one hour once a week to sharpen the saw.
Both will lead to the same result, but spending a little more time preparing up front will save you hours later.
It’s the same with sales training. Imagine you had a weekly, recurring workshop to teach the basics, and then would switch to a more advanced topic after 6 months.
Everyone would have plenty of opportunities to sign up and could just go to another workshop in case they forgot something.
This not only gives your sales staff less excuses to underperform, it also makes people feel treated well and taken care of.
Lesson 2: Don’t just sell your product, sell the whole store.
No, I don’t mean you should sell your business to the next investor.
Think back to the last time you came home and said “Honey, you have to check out this store. It’s fantastic!” (long time eh?).
Why did you send your sweetie or friends there? For their awesome chairs? Probably not.
Most likely, it was for the story.
When you’re trying to sell gardening equipment, it’s not your job to just sell 50 feet of hose to the next guy who walks in, it’s your job to sell them the whole brand, story, yourself, store and everything in it.
Tell them about how you build the store from a 1-person army into a proper company. Show them the live turtles that you take great care of in the pond section. Give them advice on how to make sure the hose they buy doesn’t get clogged.
This is called education-based marketing, and it works so well, because it establishes a real connection between you and your customers.
Note: This is the equivalent of content marketing online. Teach everything you know and people will view you as an expert with a great story.
This is what makes the difference between catching the attention of 10% of people (3% who are ready to buy instantly, 7% who are ready to buy eventually), or 50% of people, who can relate to the story you have to tell.
So stop selling gardening equipment, and start selling people the brand that will make their wildest gardening dreams come true.
Lesson 3: Pitch the people who make decisions in big companies.
Remember the whole 80/20 thing? It’s just as true for sales as it is for anything else. Don’t focus your energy and attention on everyone.
Instead of blast mailing every company within a 5 mile radius, just pick out the 10 biggest ones 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.
Yes, your high-pressure cleaner will make the life of the cleaning company’s window cleaners easier. But are they the ones to decide whether they’ll spend the money on some?
Find out who controls the budget, get to know them, and convince them of the benefits, saved time and money of your product.
It’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.
Remember: Focus is about saying no.
So say no to a lot of potential clients, and yes to a few influential ones, and you’ll do much better overall.
My personal take-aways
Focus is about saying no. Chet was a karate master. Similar to a quote by Bruce Lee, he said mastering karate is not about practicing 4,000 things, but about practicing 12 things 4,000 times.
This metaphor probably extends to life itself and all areas of it.
That’s what makes this book helpful whether you run sales teams or not. Of course big companies can get more out of it than the solo entrepreneur, but I love how the book holds a bigger message inside.