The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes: Complete Review and Key Takeaways

The Ultimate Sales Machine

Source: OnePageCRM

Are you ready to turn your business into the ultimate sales machine?

Fortunately for you, Chet Holmes, an absolute sales genius, has compacted his decades worth of knowledge into his book — The Ultimate Sales Machine.

This New York Times Best Seller was published back in 2007. So, the question is, “Is it still relevant over a decade later?”

Well, keep reading to find out!

Whether you’re a newbie business owner hoping to enter the realm of impressive sales, or you’ve been in the game for quite some time and are looking for some new tricks — this sales book is for you.

Are you struggling to find the time to sit down and read the whole book?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Here’s an in-depth look at Chet Holmes’ The Ultimate Sales Machine including the 4 key takeaways you need to set your sales on a trajectory towards success.

What are you waiting for? Let’s begin!

1. Who is Chet Holmes?

Chet Holmes

Let’s start with the legend himself — Chet Holmes.

Chet made a name for himself while working for Charlie Munger, who is listed on Forbes “Billionaire” list.

While running 9 divisions of Charlie’s company, Chet used his expertise to double sales volume in all 9 divisions, all within 12-15 months.

But wait, there’s more!

He continued to double the sales for several consecutive years.

Charlie Munger simply claims that Chet is, “America’s greatest sales and marketing executive.”

Since then, Chet has worked with 60 of the Fortune 500 companies, created 65 training products, and written several successful sales books.

And Chet pins down his success to 12 competencies in which he goes into extraordinary detail in The Ultimate Sales Machine.

Chet definitely lived life to the fullest. Sadly, on 12 August 2012, Chet passed away after a year-long battle with leukemia, leaving a gaping hole in the world of sales.

But the story isn’t over yet.

His daughter, Amanda Holmes, stepped up to the plate and into the role of CEO of Chet Holmes International (CHI) all at the age of 24.

She’s done an astonishing job at continuing Chet’s legacy, doubling CHI’s clients two years in a row.

We’re left with the ultimate sales guidebook — proven time and time again to lead to guaranteed success and exponential sales.

2. What is The Ultimate Sales Machine about?

Imagine taking over 25 years of sales experience and condensing it into just under 300 pages.

This is what The Ultimate Sales Machine aims to do.

And boy, did it do a good job!

The sales book is broken down into Holmes’ 12 core competencies.

These are his fundamental rules for successful sales — and are what he credits for his mind-blowing achievements in the sales world.

As Chet once said, “Becoming a master is not about doing 4000 different things, it’s about doing 12 things, 4000 times each.”

So, to help you get started, we’ve summarized and re-organized the 12 competencies to make them easier to follow and implement.

3.  4 key takeaways

We’ve focused the 12 core competencies into 4 main sections.

These sections are then broken down further to express each major point of The Ultimate Sales Machine.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

3.1. Build an effective sales team

effective sales team

We all know you’re only as strong as your weakest link, so having an effective team is crucial to the success of your business.

Chet saw this and has given some great advice on how to make sure your team is a well-oiled machine.

3.1.1. Hire the right people

Hire the right people

Building an effective team starts with who you hire.

You only want to hire the best, or as Chet puts it — superstars.

There are many things you can do to ensure you only bring the best to your team, starting with your ad.

Things like a candidate’s CV, years of experience, and degree are a lot less relevant than you might think, especially if you’re trying to find superstars.

Your ad needs to challenge them to only apply if they’re the best of the best

You can do this by using phrases like:

  • Don’t apply unless you’re extremely efficient and can prove it
  • We don’t hire second-rate people, only the best
  • If you have the spark, we’ll know

Keep in mind the personality profile of a talented salesperson.

This is someone who has a healthy ego, a high-self esteem, is enthusiastic, and doesn’t back down easily.

The next thing to do is give them a call and reject them — say, “I don’t know if you’re the best of the best,” even if you’re looking at hiring them.

A candidate that surrenders easily is a clear indication of a weak salesperson — “no” is the most popular word in the sales industry.

If they put up a fight, you know to bring them in for an in-person interview.

Use the following method in your interview to further weed out the bad eggs:

  • Relax

You want your candidate to feel relaxed and comfortable, especially after a rather harsh phone call.

Be friendly and attentive. A good trick is to ask them 5 questions that let the candidate show off their best traits.

  • Probe

This is where you really try to get to know them. Make it clear that you hire based on personality and not credentials.

Chet Holmes offers some examples:

  • What were the biggest challenges in your life?
  • Tell me a couple of things you’re most proud of
  • What is the most difficult sale you’ve ever made?

Use these questions as templates or inspiration and change them to suit your needs.

  • Attack

Now you go back on the offense.

At the end of the interview, there’s one last test they need to pass before you know you’ve found your superstar.

Express to them that, while they seem great, you aren’t sure if they are a perfect match and are up to your standards.

If they give it one final push and fight for the position — you know you’ve found the one.

By using this method of hiring, you’re guaranteed to start building a world-class team!

3.1.2. Train them to be the best

Train them to be the best

You have to see your sales team as athletes.

Do you think world-class athletes have one annual training program and are then ready for competition?

No, they put in regular rigorous training. And, if you want to be the best, your sales team should too!

This repetitive training will reinforce the skills you teach your sales team.

First, teach the basics.

By spending only an hour each week honing these skills, you’ll know for sure that they have it down.

After about 6 months, you can move onto more advanced training.

Try use different training methods for different contexts:

  • Lecture-format training: this is for when your training involves a lot of information and data and is especially effective for the first training session
  • Group-questions training: by asking questions, your employees can better understand the content, particularly how it relates to their individual responsibilities
  • Demonstration training: this is perfect to show your employees how it should be done and is even more effective when followed up with role-playing training where they can try it out themselves
  • Hot-seat training: now your employees can put their skills to the test and see what areas need improving

Keep the training relevant, interesting, and valuable.

3.1.3. Take advantage of your meetings


Why not call meetings that focus on solving a problem or improving your business?

This way, you can avoid staying stagnant and make sure your business is always growing and moving forward.

You can do this by using Chet’s 10 Steps to Implement Any New Policy:

  • Get everyone to “feel the pain”

First, you need to figure out what your new policy is going to be.

Write down a conceptual question on a whiteboard at the beginning of the meeting.

Alternatively, you can ask every member to write their own questions, so they each find their own pain points.

  • Hold a brainstorming session

Once you’ve decided on a question, let everyone take 3 minutes to brainstorm their solutions.

The solutions then go up on the whiteboard, and everyone votes on which solution is best — now you’ve found your new policy!

  • Hand it over to your best talent

You want to give this new procedure its best fighting chance at success. So, when testing it out, you need to use your top talent and performers.

  • Set a deadline for your testing

If this proves to be successful, you can now hand it over to the rest of your team.

Make sure you set a time frame for your testing so that you can see if it works without wasting time.

  • Document the process step-by-step

Thoroughly document each step in the process to know precisely what worked and what didn’t. No detail is too small.

  • Roleplay or have a show and tell

This allows you to take what you’ve documented and share it with the rest of the class. 

Now everyone knows the ins and outs of the procedure.

  • Hold another meeting

This meeting is dedicated to fine-tuning the method. 

Let everyone brainstorm all the ways the procedure could be improved further.

  • Monitor for consistency

Watch the process very closely and correct any behavior that deviates from the procedure — iron out all the kinks and make sure it runs as smoothly as possible.

  • Measure and reward the outcome

People thrive from personal recognition, so remember to reward and celebrate all those that lead to the success of this new policy’s implementation.

Well, there you have it.

Now you know how to use your meetings effectively, successfully implement a new policy, and keep your business moving forward!

3.1.4. Manage your time

Manage your time

The phrase, “time is money”, is a familiar concept to everyone in the business world. 

Time management is essential to any effective team.

Chet supplies 6 great tips on how to properly manage your time:

  • Touch it once — don’t waste time re-editing, rereading, and revisiting all your      tasks; once is enough
  • Make a daily list of the 6 most important tasks to complete
  • Plan how long each task will take
  • Make a timetable of your day and slot in each task
  • Focus on high-priority tasks first, particularly the more difficult ones
  • Ask yourself, “Is this really needed?” And don’t be afraid to throw it away

Using these tips, you and your team are well on your way to becoming a highly competent team.

You know what they say, “teamwork makes the dream work!”

3.2. Become a marketing strategist

Become a marketing strategist

To get the best sales, you need to make sure you’re in the right rooms with the right people.

Marketing is your golden ticket into the chocolate factory!

It’s time to become the brilliant marketing strategist you were always meant to be!

3.2.1. Use strategies, not tactics

You’re probably wondering, “Aren’t strategies and tactics the same thing?” 

Well, though the difference is slight, in marketing these elements are worlds apart.

Tactics are much more concrete and are aimed at small steps in a short time frame. 

Whereas strategies are in it for the long haul.

In marketing, you have to look ahead — what you’re doing now should always be directed towards a further end goal.

Chet offers a method to hook in your potential customers by capitalizing on the entire buyer’s pyramid.

buyer’s pyramid

The buyer’s pyramid may look a little confusing, so let’s break it down:

  • 3% of your target market is ready to buy right now
  • 7% is open to the idea of buying but isn’t looking yet
  • 90% are currently not interested in your product — 30% are simply not thinking about it, 30% think they aren’t interested, and 30% know they aren’t interested

So how do we captivate the entire buyer’s pyramid including the 90% that isn’t interested? 

The key is education-based marketing, also known as content marketing.

Initially, instead of marketing your product, market valuable information.

This way, people who might not be interested in your product, become interested in you.

You build credibility and a reputation as an expert in your industry — people come to you for help.

And while you’re guiding them with your knowledge and expertise, you eventually lead them to the ultimate destination — your product.

Now you haven’t just brought in the 3% that were ready to buy your product, but the whole 100% of the buyer’s pyramid!

3.2.2. The 7 musts of marketing

The 7 musts of marketing

Chet gives us the 7 musts of marketing — these are his secrets to a winning marketing strategy.

All 7 must work together and must always be used strategically.

Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a strategy, it would be a waste of money.

Here are some important things to remember for each of the 7 marketing musts:

  • Advertising: you need screaming headlines that hook in the reader, a body that keeps them reading, and, most importantly, a call to action
  • Direct mail: when creating a direct mail campaign, remember to use a lot of colors and add messages to the envelope
  • Corporate literature: brochures with important information and core story are great marketing tools
  • Public relations: attend trade shows, take advantage of press releases, and try to make the news as much as possible
  • Personal contact: building personal relationships through sales visits, calls, and person-to-person marketing is essential
  • Market education: find yourself a stage at a trade show, charity event, or speaking event where you can share your expertise and build a reputation
  • Internet: you can use the internet to extend your range of influence by building relationships, offering webinars, and converting your traffic to sales

We’ll admit that this is one of the few times we’re reminded that this book came out in 2007. A lot has changed since then, especially in the world of digital marketing.

If you’re looking for more updated advice on how to market your business in the digital age, here’s a great article for digital marketing beginners.

3.3. Turn your business into a sales machine

sales machine

Source: Niche Hacks

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to turn your business into a sales machine.

And all you need is 3 easy steps.

3.3.1. Find the perfect buyers

You don’t want to invest in every business that fits into your audience. 

Only focus on the ones that show the most promise.

This is called your Dream 100. These are 20% of your clients that will drive 80% of your results — have you heard of the 80/20 rule?

Here is the Dream 100 Sales Strategy.

But it’s not only about targeting the right businesses. You also want to target the right people within the business — the decision makers.

Find the perfect buyers

You want to identify the ideal executive.

This executive is in the 1% and thinks both tactically and strategically.

Education-based marketing is key here, as this will help you build a rapport instead of making only one sale.

But first, you are going to need to get through the tricky gatekeeper — the assistant.

Here are some key phrases to slip past the gatekeeper and head straight to the main boss. Remember confidence is key:

  • Just tell him it’s [your name] calling
  • Just tell him I’m from [your business], that might jog his memory
  • Just tell him I’m following up on some correspondence I sent him, that should be enough

And once you finally reach the main boss, don’t use a generic opening line like, “How are you today?”

You must maintain your authority, so come up with a clever and confident 2 minute opening that hooks in the decision maker.

3.3.2. Capitalize on your sales skills

Capitalize on your sales skills

Remember when we talked about the importance of basic training?

Well, here are the 7 essential skills of a highly effective salesperson:

  • Establish rapport: provide helpful information, have a sense of humor, ask great questions, be empathetic, and find the middle ground — you’ll be right on your way to building rapport
  • Qualify the buyer: to find out what they are looking for in your product, come up with 6-10 questions that you would like to know about each prospect
  • Build value: make sure to teach them something that is valuable
  • Create desire: guide them through a series of questions that intensify their need, use a combination of problems and solutions to show them that the      current state is unacceptable, and encourage them to take action now
  • Overcome objections: meet the buyer’s criteria before you start selling by finding their objections, isolating them, and overcoming them
  • Close the sale: removing all the objections means there should be a clear path to closing the sale if you believe your product can truly benefit the buyer
  • Follow-up: to lock further sales, you’ll have to follow up — we’ll get into this soon

3.3.3. Drive your sales pitches home with visuals

sales pitches home with visuals

Having an audience lose interest during a sales pitch is a salesperson's worst nightmare!

Why not use visuals to help create a killer sales pitch?

Chet provides some tips on how to craft a killer presentation and keep your audience engaged:

  • Only put 3-4 bullets points on each slide
  • Use color to highlight important information
  • Don’t linger too long on each section; keeping it fast-paced prevents the audience from losing attention
  • Establish credibility and relevance at the beginning by adding valuable, factual information that teaches the audience something new
  • Pair your stories with graphs or images to make them more vivid
  • Focus on the customer’s needs and problems, showing how you can help them

With this last step, your business will officially earn the title of ultimate sales machine!

3.4. Maintain your momentum

Maintain your momentum

But the hard work isn’t over yet.

You don’t just get to keep the title — you have to maintain it.

3.4.1. Follow up

Have you ever decided on a purchase, but after a little bit of thought, felt unsure and uneasy about your decision?

This is called post-purchase dissonance

Following up with the buyer is the best way to avoid this and also secure all future sales.

Here are Chet’s 10 steps to effectively follow up with your buyer:

  • Get a letter off to your client within an hour or two of your meetings: start with something personal from the meeting, add in a compliment, and remind them of your product’s benefits
  • Make the first follow up call: offer something of value to start building your relationship
  • Share something personal/amusing: start evolving the relationship from      entirely professional to personal and meaningful
  • Throw a party or invite them for a meal: let the real bonding begin
  • Send another letter, email, or card: remind them of your product and tell them what the next step will be in the relationship
  • Plan something fun that includes family: time to get really personal
  • Offer something to help their business: you can connect them with another client
  • Send another letter, email, or card
  • Offer more help to succeed: become a valuable asset to their business by taking them to a seminar, alerting them of trends in the market, or finding new personnel
  • Ultimate follow up: invite them to your home or get invited to theirs

Though these are great tips to secure your relationship with a buyer, times have changed and people might find it a little weird if you’re using mail correspondence.

Email marketing is a great substitute!

3.4.2. Look ahead

As a business owner, you need to always look ahead, know where you are going, and how you’re going to get there.

Chet gives us 4 final tips:

  • Turn your goals into daily affirmations — constantly keep your eye on the prize!
  • Measure your effectiveness by monitoring certain metrics that align with your goals
  • Reward performance until it becomes ingrained into your business
  • Repeat the entire process of the 12 competencies, and then repeat it again!
That's amazing

4. Conclusion

Why wait 25 years to learn the ins and outs of the sales industry? 

Why not just read the Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes!

No one can deny the power and effectiveness of the 12 competencies that Chet Holmes has given us.

However, not everything has aged well. The world has changed dramatically since 2007, and a few of Chet's suggestions are no longer relevant.

This doesn’t discredit the other winning strategies that still apply today.

If you are looking for an all-in-one platform on which to launch these strategies, look no further!

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