Book Review: The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes = 5/5

This is an excellent book from one of the greats. He covers everything from systems for how to approach your workday, to broader sales strategies, and actionable tactics for the day-to-day. I found it fascinating how so many of these tried and tested techniques have become significantly easier today with the rise of the internet — both a positive and a negative as the market has started to feel very saturated with tactics like education-based content marketing. Nevertheless, I strongly believe if you work in Enterprise sales and can incorporate all these systems and strategies into your day-to-day, you will benefit enormously.

My summary of the 12 strategies Chet believes every leader needs to succeed in business:

Time Management – Be proactive with your day rather than reacting to events. Plan your entire day out at the start with the highest priority first, setting times in your schedule when others are able to interrupt you. This enables you to do deep work with full concentration.

Training – Your new trainees will never get up to speed quickly without proper training. Over time you will work out the best way to sell your product, and you need to share that knowledge. New recruits need to practice regularly before it becomes ingrained. Make them role play and put them on the spot.

Effective Meetings – Workshops are extremely effective. Ask your employees altogether how to improve some aspect of the company – let them contribute ideas individually. Take the list of ideas and prioritise them, then set people to fixing the problem. Once fixed, write it up and put it in the training manual. Continue these workshops to help improve every aspect of your business. Once you’ve settled on a solution, test it with a top performer and if successful roll it out across the team and measure.

Becoming a brilliant strategist. Use education to build loyalty. Talk about the market, using research and data to position yourself as an expert. Make sure the research is focussed on a subject your customer cares deeply about ( eg saving money or growing their business). Only once you’ve provided the potential customer with huge value do you add a plug for your company at the very end – in a way that it seems an obvious conclusion from what they’ve learned. Webinars are very useful for this, or ebooks.

Hiring Superstarsyour superstar salesperson will have high influence and high dominance in any personality profiling assessment. They won’t take no for an answer. Test this in the interview. In an interview – first get them to relax by asking them friendly questions, then probe into their lives (he lists questions to ask – definitely write these down to use), then attack by telling them they’re not good enough – a superstar will convince you why they are. Reward sales superstars well, mostly by commission.

Best BuyersWork out who your ideal customer is then dedicate 100% of your sales and marketing to them – this will enable you to give them a more personalised and dedicated effort. It’s all about persistence, send them something every fortnight, and finally when they’re ready to buy from someone, you’ll be at their top of mind. Use affiliates who are targeting the same customer as you, ask for referrals, and understand the LTV of the customer when spending marketing dollars.

Seven Musts of MarketingAdvertising, Direct Mail, Corporate literature (brochures etc), PR, Personal Contact (Sales & CS), Market Education (Trade Shows, speaking engagements, education-based marketing). Make your marketing distinctive – draw attention with bold headlines, exciting trade booths, the best parties in the industry and make sure to educate the market as a thought leader in the industry.

VisualsUse imagery. Use colours. When presenting: Keep it simple. Keep it fast paced, Use ‘wow’ facts and statistics. Tell stories. Keep curiosity by alluding to information yet to come. Keep headlines to slides exciting. Be confident but not obnoxious. Keep the focus on them, not you. He also describes what you should never do when presenting – including thanking prospects for their time, sitting down and not practising.

Getting to the best buyersChoose your best buyers. Choose gifts to send them. Write the letters inviting them to education briefing. Set a calendar for sending these letters and gifts at least once per month. Make follow-up calls. Then present the education. Never call the sales rep a sales rep.

Sales Skills1. Establish Rapport 2. Qualify the buyer with the right questions 3. Build value around your product 4. Create desire by highlighting the customer’s problems and your solutions, backed up by data 5. Overcome objections 6. Close the Sale.

Follow ups & Client Bonding – don’t let your customer cool off after the meeting, keep following up and bonding with them by sending personal notes and organising events.

Set goals and measureWrite down your goals and measure the outcomes in detail. By measuring every element of the sales process you’ll be able to work out what is most successful and what needs improving. Initiate competition amongst your sales team by having a ‘Salesperson of the Week’.

This is in no way a conclusive summary – if you’re the leader of a business, or want to work in a leadership position within Sales one day, buy the book.

The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies


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