The Ultimate Sales Machine Summary By Chet Holmes [Best Insights & Analysis]

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The Ultimate Sales Machine summary that you are about to read takes the most actionable insights from every single chapter and outlines step-by-step how you can implement them in your own life and business to achieve outstanding results. I will be sharing examples from my own life and business for how I have used these techniques to give you some ideas on how you can do the same.

If you are looking to add “fuel to the fire” when it comes to growing your business, then The Ultimate Sales Machine is exactly the book you are looking for. It outlines 12 easy-to-follow steps that anyone can use right away to start taking an active approach to implementing an evergreen customer-focused sales system.

But before we proceed…

A Super Important Message:

As with any of the book summaries that I write, I strongly recommend you grab a physical copy for yourself. That way, you can start creating an epic library in your home or office that serves as a talking point for your visitors. You can also share the wealth of knowledge by lending those physical books to other people.

I wrote The Ultimate Sales Machine summary as a tool for myself to retain the information that I just read. I marked up each and every page with my own insights and associations (as you can see below) to get the most out of the book and highly recommend that you do the same.

Don’t put it off. Grab your physical copy of The Ultimate Sales Machine here.

The Ultimate Sales Machine Summary - Notes

With that said, let’s get into it…

 

Chapter 1: Time Management Secrets of Billionaires

Key Insights:

  • No single manager in your organization should have more than six direct reports
  • Most business people don’t take enough time to plan because they are too busy reacting to their day
  • To make an appointment with Charlie Munger, Chat had to go through his secretary, be on time, and organized
  • Breakdown your responsibilities into “impact areas” (there are 9 key areas)
  • Have weekly meetings for each impact area as opposed to daily “got a minute?” meetings
  • Ensure the meetings are formal, results-oriented, and have to-do lists and deadlines
  • If you are having small incremental gains every week, think of how those will compound after 52 weeks

This chapter is all about how you can move from being a reactive business person (i.e. letting your day control you) as opposed to a proactive business person.

In order to move from reactive to proactive, you need to take control of your time. Chet Holmes outlines a simple, 6-step process for doing so;

 

Step 1: Touch It Once

Don’t tackle any pending task until you are 100% ready to deal with it (i.e. emails, calls, interviews, etc…). All of the back and forth and lapses in focused concentration lead to massive inefficiencies in your time.

Set dedicated time slots to check your email every day. It’s there for your convenience not to distract you.

 

Step 2: Make Lists

If you don’t keep lists (daily, monthly, etc…) in both your professional and personal life then chances are you are a reactive person.

You can double your productivity right away by keeping lists.

When creating daily to-do lists, make sure to only focus on the 6 most important things to get done for that day. When you have a long list, you will tend to procrastinate and only tackle the easier, less-important tasks. Plus there is an added, psychological boost to crossing tasks of your list.

Actionable Steps: What are the 6 most important things that you need to get done tomorrow?

 

Step 3: Plan How Much Time You Will Allocate to Each Task

For really big tasks, allocate how much time you will focus on them each day. This helps to prevent overwhelm and you can tackle seemingly big projects chunk by chunk.

Your list could look like this:

1. Work on my book – 1.5 hours
2. Work on client proposal – 0.5 hours

 

Step 4: Plan the Day

Include two 30 minute blocks in your schedule for “miscellaneous periods”. This will account for checking emails and unplanned items that may come up.

Slot your 6 daily tasks into a specific time period of the day.

For example;

1. Work on my book – 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM

 

Step 5: Prioritize

Put the most important tasks on your daily to-do list fist when you have the most energy to tackle them. The most important tasks will bring you the most results.

Key Insight: Every salesperson or one person army should have a minimum of 2.5 hours dedicated to prospecting.

 

Step 6: Ask Yourself, “Will It Hurt Me to Throw This Away?”

There is a good chance that you don’t need to be dealing with 100% of the things that cross your desk. Delegate or throw out the things that are not completely worthy of your time.

 

Chapter 2: Instituting Higher Standards and Regular Training

This chapter focuses on the age-old concept of two woodcutters; one of which spends 8 hours chopping a tree relentlessly and the other who allocates time to sharpening his ax and gets the job done in half the time.

Implementing mandatory training in your organization is an absolute, non-negotiable MUST.

90% of the population do not have a “learning mindset” so you must implement mandatory and on-going learning into your organization.

Training sessions should be dynamic, fun, and engaging (examples to follow).

Key Insights:

  • People will only respect what you inspect. If you don’t follow-up by having spot-quizzes, assessments, or role-playing then your training will go in one ear and out the other
  • When clients experience top-notch service no matter who they are dealing with, they will continue coming back. This can ONLY be accomplished by having mandatory training. Otherwise, the consistency is left up to the discretion of the employee, which will vary every time they interact with a client depending on their mood
  • Training reduces employee turnover because it gives them the tools and knowledge to know how to succeed in their job

Repetition is crucial to employee training.

A quote by Sun Tzu in The Art of War illustrates this concept perfectly;

“He will win whose army is animated with the same spirit throughout all its rank.”

Each time you repeat training sessions, the baseline of employee knowledge and ability rises and rises.

Here are some very important elements in running a successful training session:

  • Tell your team what to expect (what will be covered, how long it will take, how the information will be covered, the objective of the session, and the obtained knowledge you hope they will gain)
  • Put the training on a schedule as a non-negotiable commitment
  • Make it fun and engaging
  • Utilize different formats such as; lectures, group questions (e.g. “how many people get frustrated when ____”), group discussion, demonstration training, role-playing, hot seats (putting employees on the spot and quizzing them), case studies, and workshop training

You should be aware that your employees may moan and groan a bit when you first start implementing these mandatory training sessions but eventually, if done correctly, they will become a fun part of the weekly routine.

 

Chapter 3: Executing Effective Meetings

The best way to implement the ultimate sales machine is to hold regular workshop-style meetings that are dedicated to improving every aspect of your business.

These meetings should focus on “the 3 Ps”; planning, procedures, and policies.

Key Insight: You need to have systems in place that would make hiring 50 new people every week a breeze.

Document all of your daily operations as you go through them and then use these materials as training for all existing and new employees.

This applies to every area of your business, but especially sales.

You must have specific step-by-step follow-up procedures in place after a sales call.

 

How to Hold an Outstanding Workshop:

You don’t have to come up with all of the answers as the CEO. Your staff can help you come up with answers to problems that you didn’t even know existed. Plus, by getting the input of your team members you create emotional buy-in to the solution.

A great first meeting that you can hold is on the topic of how you can improve some aspect of the company or department.

Gather all key employees and get them to give three suggestions on how you can improve the company.

Break down all the answers and write them down in a list on a whiteboard for everyone to see. Make sure you assign follow-up “to do” tasks for each item. It’s likely that each of the items listed in this workshop will become its own individual workshop.

Every time you solve a workshop topic, send out a post-workshop memo, and file it away in a procedure binder to be used as training for new people.

Step 1: Appoint a person to lead the workshop (in small companies it can be the CEO)

Step 2: Write down the focus question on a whiteboard

Step 3: Have participants write down their own ideas

Step 4: Write their answers down on a whiteboard

Step 5: Prioritize the results

Step 6: Rank the results

Step 7: Implement the suggestions

 

Workshop Idea:

What is something else you can offer your buyers at the point of sale?

One out of every three people will buy something else if it’s offered at the point of sale.

The most expensive thing for businesses to do is to acquire new customers. So once you have these customers, anything else you offer them then increases profit margins dramatically.

 

How to Implement Any New Policy:

These are the 10 steps to implementing any new policy.

 

Step #1: Get everyone to feel the pain

Get your entire team to intensify the pain of not fixing this problem. If people can’t link any pain to not fixing a problem then they will have no motivation to make any changes (this is Tony Robbins 101).

Having a system for implementation is more important than having brilliant ideas.

One of the best ways to get people to feel the pain is to ask them about the problems they face in their jobs.

With the workshop example of upsells, you can express the pain of not doing upsells as $20,000 in lost commissions to your salespeople.

Step #2: Hold a workshop to generate solutions

This was covered above.

Step #3: Develop a “conceptual solution or procedure”

Each potential solution generated in a workshop is conceptual until it is proven. You need to get your top performers to test these solutions before finalizing them as permanent procedures.

Step #4: Leader or top talent performs the task

Only focus on top-level talent for this step.

Step #5: Set a deadline for testing the conceptual procedure

Check-in on your progress during the weekly meetings.

Step #6: Document the procedure step-by-step

You can use videos, written documents, slide shows, etc…

Step #7: Roleplaying

Roleplay through these new procedures with your staff.

Step #8: Have follow-up workshops on how to improve

How can you improve the existing procedure?

Step #9: Monitor the procedure

Check that your staff is doing it properly.

Step #10: Measure and reward the outcome

You can reward with financial bonuses or even just recognition within the team. Sometimes people will work harder for recognition than they will for money.

 

Chapter 4: Becoming a Brilliant Strategist

This chapter discusses the difference between a tactical operator and a strategist. To have an organization that thrives you need to have a bit of both in your arsenal.

Tactics are operational techniques to give you an edge. A strategy is a carefully designed plan to help you achieve a long term goal.

Your prospects will pay more if they believe there is a greater value or deeper reason for buying from one service provider over another. It’s your job to come up with a core story that convinces them that there is a deeper reason behind buying from you.

Most customers are not experts are buying in their industry. This means that you can provide tons of education on how they can become better buyers of your type of product or service.

The Stadium Pitch

This is probably one of the most powerful concepts in the book.

If you were to have a stadium filled with your ideal prospects, what kind of speech would you give them to convert as many of them into buyers as possible?

The majority of companies would just talk about themselves and say something like, “we are the best because of XYZ”. But by taking this approach you are instantly alienating 97% of your potential customers. At any given time, only 3% of your potential customers are in “buying now” mode.

A further 7% is open to the idea of buying.

The next 30% isn’t for or against it, they just aren’t thinking about it right now.

Another 30% don’t think they are interested.

The last 30% know they are not interested.

So if you walk onto the stadium stage and say “here is why we are the best” 97% of your audience will leave the room.

This is where education-based marketing comes in.

You will attract way more buyers by giving value to them than you will by bragging about your product or service.

There are three benefits to “education-based” marketing:

  1. You will get more buyer interest
  2. Positions you as an expert
  3. You can use the information that you provide in a way that naturally sells your services

When you sell, you break rapport. When you educate, you build rapport. Whenever a prospect feels that they are being sold to or bribed, they will resist it.

Here is an example of a newspaper company switching their stadium pitch:

Original pitch: “Reaching more people in the community daily than any other news source”

New pitch: “Helping businesses and consumers in our market live better lives”

Key Insight: The one who provides the best education and knowledge to the industry will always slaughter the one who just wants to sell their products or services.

(Chapter 8 in The Ultimate Sales Machine summary talks more about this)

 

Find The Smoking Gun:

What is the one piece of evidence that makes it so that your competition cannot win?

Do they not have worker’s insurance? Do they use cheaper materials? Do they outsource abroad?

Find this evidence and use it to your advantage.

 

Chapter 5: Hiring Superstars

Most businesses mess up by not paying attention to personality profiles when hiring top talent. They either ignore it completely or hire the wrong personality profile for the job at hand.

You don’t necessarily need a massive budget to hire top talent. Often these kinds of people will be motivated on a performance basis alone (especially sales staff).

What is it costing you by not having top talent in your organization right now? What would on rockstar salesperson do for the growth of your business?

Key Insights:

  • If you put an average salary in your job ad, you will attract average people
  • Personality profiling is key to finding superstars
  • Top talent can be put into a bad situation with no training and still outperform your other employees

The DISC personality test is useful for screening for top performers. It measures the following personality traits; dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance.

Candidates who have strong dominance also have strong egos. While this might sound bad, it’s extremely crucial that your salespeople have strong dominance so they don’t take rejection personally and persist in the face of adversity.

High influence people love people and interacting with them. Low influence people are serious and logical.

High steadiness people are deliberate in their actions and decisions while low steadiness people are fast movers and action takers.

High compliance people like to plan ahead while low compliance people like to think of the bigger picture and aren’t as cautious in their actions.

A sales superstar = high influence + high dominance

In The Ultimate Sales Machine summary, we don’t cover all of the actual scripts you can use to attract these top-level talents because the book does such a good job at providing various examples in the physical book.

But here is one example;

Headline: Sales superstars only $50k to $300k

Body: 

“Don’t even bother applying if you aren’t an overachiever and can prove it. Come join our team of high performers at _____. If you are average you will earn ______. But if you are a star, you will earn _____.”

Always disregard age when scouting for superstars.

When it comes to hiring salespeople, you want to see how they overcome adversity in the interview process by rejecting them.

For example;

You: “Tell me why you are a top salesperson…”
Them: *explaining their story*
You: “Sorry I’m not really hearing it”

If at this point they give up then they are not a good salesperson. If the go on to persist or even qualify you then you probably have a good prospect.

You should always offer your salespeople a performance-based offer with little to no base pay.

Ask yourself, which other roles in my organization can I switch from hourly to performance-based?

It takes time and persistence to build-out a superstar sales team.

 

Chapter 6: The High Art of Getting the Best Buyers

In this chapter, Chet outlines the “Dream 100” client list.

These are your top 100 dream clients that would mean the world to your business.

These are the 100 prospects that you will target relentlessly and pay extra special attention to. The objective is to take these prospects from “I’ve never heard of their company” to “yes, I do business with them”.

The fastest way to grow your company is by focusing on your 100 dream clients.

Create a Google spreadsheet to identify who your dream 100 clients are. What is their revenue? How many employees do they have? Think of all the characteristics these companies might have and find out who they are.

Remember in chapter 5 of The Ultimate Sales Machine summary when we discussed the topic of the stadium pitch?

Well here is where you introduce it to your dream 100 clients.

You need to get their attention by sending something that stands out (i.e. a package to their office with a unique gimmick that ties into the education-based seminar that you want to offer them).

Doing this once is not enough. It needs to be done continuously and followed-up each time with a phone call.

 

Dream Affiliates

Who can you partner with that could send you more business than you can handle? Ask yourself, who is working with the customers that I am looking for but in are in a non-competing space?

This is a far cheaper method of acquiring new customers so you can afford to compensate your affiliate handsomely for their referral. It’s not uncommon to pay affiliates up to 80% or even 100% of the referral sale since you make money for the entire lifetime of that customer. But most common is 40% of 50% of the sale.

To determine the lifetime value of your average customer as yourself the following questions:

  • How long does the average customer buy from us?
  • What is their average purchase amount?
  • How often do they buy?

For example, if a customer eats at a restaurant 2 times per week and they spend on average $100 each time and the average customer dines there for 5 years then the average lifetime value of a customer would be $52,000.

Now think about what kind of incentives you can offer affiliates to get those kinds of customers in your door.

 

Chapter 7: The Seven Musts of Marketing

These are the seven avenues of marketing that every business must use with consistency to be at the top of their industry:

  1. Advertising
  2. Direct Mail
  3. Corporate Literature
  4. PR
  5. Personal Contact
  6. Market Education
  7. Internet

When all of these seven avenues work in a coordinate effort, it’s called “stacked marketing” and is much more effective than each piece working in isolation.

 

Marketing Weapon #1: Advertising

When it comes to advertising there are a few rules you need to follow to make sure your ad stands out and isn’t ignored by your viewers. Otherwise, you will just be wasting money.

 

Rule 1. Be distinctive

Does your ad attract attention?

It should easily break the pattern of your prospect and stand out in a way that is different from the hoards of other ads out there.

 

Rule 2. Capture attention with your headline

Communicate your message in 3.2 seconds with your headline and make it about the prospect by using the words “you” or “your”. Avoid using “we”. Nobody cares about you.

 

Rule 3. The body needs to keep them reading

The body of the ad should unfold your story in an interesting way the makes the prospect want to read on and should be benefit-oriented.

 

Rule 4. Include a call-to-action

Don’t leave anything up to the imagination of the prospect. Tell them what to do step-by-step. This can be as simple as saying, “call us now” or “text YES to 343-555-2345”, etc…

 

Marketing Weapon #2: Direct Mail

The success of direct mail campaigns depends on how creative and consistent they are.

 

Marketing Weapon #3: Corporate Literature

All your brochures should refer back to your education-based marketing story and should be a condensed version of your core story.

An example could be; “The 5 Most Dangerous Trends Facing [INDUSTRY]”

 

Marketing Weapon #4: Public Relations

70% of all the “news” you see is actually placed news.

Public relations is all about relationship building. Every time you submit a story you want to follow-up with a phone call asking, “Did you receive our press release about [INSERT MASSIVE BENEFIT TO THE READER]? We were wondering if there is anything we could do to help with that story?”

 

Marketing Weapon #5: Personal Contact

Meeting face-to-face is the most impactful form of marketing.

 

Marketing Weapon #6: Trade Shows and Market Education

There are three steps to standing out in a trade show:

  1. Get NoticedYou need to be the fun booth with a cool theme that stands out from all the other boring industry drones at the event. This will ensure you are the talk of the even and people come to your booth for a good time.
  2. Drive TrafficHold a give-away where you offer a massive prize (free trip, car, etc…)
  3. Capture LeadsCollect the prospect’s information to be entered into a draw to win a free trip, car, etc… Here you can collect details about them and their business to follow-up with them later.

Marketing Weapon #7: Internet

On your website, you need to make lead capture your number one priority.

Here is how you sell online:

  1. Capture leads
  2. Build a relationship (through and email nurture sequence for example)
  3. Interact as much as possible
  4. Offer a free training program (i.e. webinar)
  5. Convert the traffic to sales

 

Chapter 8: The Eyes Have It

You must support your sales efforts with visual aids. This can be through a presentation, physical graphics, whatever. Your sales staff can even bring an iPad or tablet along and walk the prospect through a presentation with graphics that visually touch on their pain points.

Here are the eight rules for effective presenting:

1. Keep it simple

Don’t try and cram tons of information on a single page. One simple heading, a few bullet points, and a graphic are all you need.

2. Keep it simple

Don’t spend too much time on one page or else people will get bored. Keep the presentation moving fast.

3. Use “wow” facts

Use data that supports your core story and makes them say “wow, I didn’t know that!”

4. Build in opportunities for stories

This will help you illustrate your point even further as opposed to just giving them the information outright.

5. Make it curiosity-driven

Allude to the information that is to come so they stay engaged. For example; “and a bit later in the presentation, I am going to show you how to do XYZ.”

6. Make each headline work

Each headline should summarize the most important part of the slide

7. Be confident but not obnoxious

Develop a rapport with your audience by asking them to stretch or talk about their problems or by getting their involvement.

8. Focus on them not you

Find out the challenges they are facing and make the entire presentation focused on them.

 

Chapter 9: The Nitty-Gritty of Getting the Best Buyers

You must expect and plan for these buyers to say no several times and build this into your preparation and training. The Ultimate Sales Machine summary that you are reading refers to the concept of “pigheaded discipline” over and over again because that is what you need to truly win over your dream 100 clients.

Here are the steps to landing your dream 100 clients:

 

Step 1: Choose your dream 100

Create a database of who these prospects are based on characteristics like; company value, location, number of employees, etc…

 

Step 2: Choose the gifts

Send small, inexpensive gifts every two weeks that relate to your hand-written letter. You are trying to be memorable here, not bribe them.

 

Step 3: Create your letter

Write a handwritten letter with a very simple action they can take right now.

The letter can be thought of as long-range bombing to soften your prospect up before you call them.

 

Step 4: Create your calendar

Set it on your calendar to follow-up with them every month, although it’s better if you can do it every two weeks.

 

Step 5: Follow-up phone call

The goal of the follow-up call is to get an appointment with the prospect to deliver your education-based training material.

Develop non-sales-sounding titles for your salespeople (i.e. client success manager).

 

Step 6: Present the executive briefing

Deliver the free training without any mention of your company or offerings. You want to focus on their pain points and show how you can help them. Afterward, you want to follow-up by continuing to send them more information that will help solve their pain points.

 

Chapter 10: Sales Skills

Here are the seven steps to training the sales skills of your staff:

 

Step 1: Establish Rapport

Your dream 100 clients need to become your friends. If you become friends with your clients it’s nearly impossible for a competitor to take them away from you. Build-in opportunities for your clients to become your friends. Get personal with them and learn about their interests, personal life, hobbies, etc…

Another great way to establish rapport is by having your sales staff be more knowledgable than any other salesperson in the industry.

 

Step 2: Qualify the buyer

Think of every question your salesperson could ask to understand the buyer’s needs.

Guide them through a series of questions that lets them sell themselves on your product or service.

 

Step 3: Build value

Ask them, “How much do you know about us by the way?”

Give your 1-2 minute elevator pitch that shows your experience in the industry.

 

Step 4: Create desire

Your buyers will become a lot more motivated if they feel that their current situation is unacceptable. Make them feel uncomfortable with their current situation by showing market data (e.g. how competitive the industry is getting, consolidation, etc…).

 

Step 5: Overcome Objections

An objection is an opportunity to close. Think of all the possible objections that a potential buyer could have and train your salespeople on every single one. Always agree with an objection as it lets their guard down. Then isolate the objection (e.g. “If we were able to fix [OBJECTION] would you buy it?”).

 

Step 6: Close the sale

It’s totally fine to make the prospect feel a little pressure. You can also assume the sale by saying things like, “with how many widgets would you like to start with?”.

It’s your moral obligation to close the sale if you truly feel your product/service will benefit them.

You can even offer a risk-reversal, free trial to close quickly.

 

Step 7: Follow-up

Follow-up like crazy to ensure the success of your new client.

 

Chapter 11: Follow-up and Client Bonding Skills

Keeping your existing clients is crucial since it costs six times more to acquire a new client than it does to keep an existing one. You must have procedures in place to ensure your salespeople can connect with your clients on an emotional level and make them feel special. If procedures are not in place, it won’t happen.

Work as hard to stay in touch with them after the sale as you did to close them as a client. In the face of failure with a new client, intensify your follow-up even further.

Your goal is to become a bright spot in your client’s day that they look forward to.

This is where education-based marketing comes into play. You can constantly send them new info to help them grow or improve their business.

This can start with emails or calls and then evolve into dinners and even outings with both of your families.

 

Chapter 12: All Systems Go

The Ultimate Sales Machine summary states over and over again that becoming the top in your market is about repetition. Doing a few things over and over again with pigheaded discipline.

This was my favorite chapter because it gets into self-psychology and explains how your thoughts control your reality. Your subconscious accepts whatever it is that you feed it. If you feed it self-limiting beliefs you are going to limit your abilities. This applies to everything; business, relationships, health, whatever.

Talk to yourself like the things you want are already in your possession. For example; “I am wealthy” versus “I will be wealthy”.

You can apply this to sales as well (e.g. “I love to cold call in the morning”).

 

The Ultimate Sales Machine Summary Conclusion

So there you have it. Those are all of the key discoveries and insights that I gained from The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes.

The key is to implement these 12 steps over and over again until they are drilled down into the very fiber or your organization. Only then will you be able to rise to the top of your industry.

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