95 of 107 people found the following review helpful
No matter what business you are in, no matter what product or service you provide, you can benefit from the wisdom of the "Ultimate Sales Machine".
The book starts off where most of the work is needed ... with top management. Everyone today complains of too much to do and too little time. Chet describes how he cut his work days from 16 hours to a normal work day and got more done in the process. The first step is to become proactive rather than reactive. Adopt the mantra, "If you touch it, take action." We let our desks pile up with material that we read, examine and think about but never get around to taking any action on. Develop the habit of touching a letter, memo or report once. Take action and get it off you desk.
We also let the small interruptions rule our day. Eliminate these pesky interruptions by scheduling "got a minute" sessions. Also hold regular staff meetings where general questions can be answered for the benefit of everyone.
Most of us are good at making "to do" lists. Chet's offers some excellent advice. Never have more than six items on your list. Make sure those are the most important things for you to get done. Leave the minor tasks off your list and only work on those things on your list.
The book is divided into twelve chapters or steps which if you implement all the steps will totally transform your organization. Chet stresses the importance of strategic thinking as opposed to the reactive style of most managers.
He has a very interesting and unique approach to hiring superstars. Age and background are not relevant. Results are the only thing that counts. While his approach is a little bold and many people will be reluctant to try it, it is very difficult to argue with success.
The book is well written and contains plenty of exercises. There are some original ideas and you will certainly benefit if you choose to implement some of his ideas.
He gives lots of good ideas about how to create your ultimate sales machine. In the final analysis, his best advice is "pigheaded determination", Whatever you are doing, if you give up when you meet a little resistance, you will never achieve the level of success you are capable of achieving.
The book is filled with good ideas that can really make a difference in your business - but only if you follow them with pigheaded determination.
238 of 281 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2008
I am another one who does not understand why this book has gotten so many 5-star reviews. Essentially, I have just finished reading "How to Sell without being a Jerk!" by John Klymshyn and these two books seem to pull at the same topic from two completely different angles.
Chet Holmes take on Sales is, I feel, to wear the client down with repeated calls and sales pitch till they give in. He advocates that someone with High Influence (that is, an ability to empathize with others) and a High Ego (High drive and determination - never say die attitude) is absolutely necessary to be a Superstar Salesperson. At the end of the day, this never say die attitude requires you to push your product (because you feel that it is good for your client, regardless of what he thinks) relentlessly until he gives in and buys from you.
All these is good as long as the product which your client buys works out for him at the end. Alas, I'm into Structured Products Sales in a Private Bank and sometimes we all know that some products do not work out well if the markets are not cooperative! The failure of a product is never covered in any of Chet's materials. All his stories have happy endings - the executive who after 6 months gave in and bought advertisement space (through his relentless selling) and again bought more advertisement space after some more months when the first series of advertisements did not make any impact FINALLY saw the truth in Chet's words when his sales jumped etc etc - Never has Chet's advice been wrong or the products he sold not worked out (or these have been pleasantly omitted).
I think the book has some useful gems to take away and it has helped me address some of the weaknesses in my own selling. However, this 'Take No prisoners' approach may not be for everybody all of the time.
Also, I do not agree with his material on Presentation. He mentioned that it is necessary to have a very dramatic and visual approach to your slides to have your clients at the edge of their seats. In addition, humor is often an effective and useful content to have in your presentation. NOTHING WRONG HERE. However, this presentation style may not be for everyone. I've been trained in presentations and have learnt that doing a presentation with NO SLIDES is also a very effective way to conduct a presentation because then the audience would have to pay attention to you instead of staring at the slides. I'm not saying that one is right and the other wrong - I feel that at the end of the day, YOU would have to decide what is most comfortable ane effective for you and your audience when giving a presentation.
Chet's way is definitely one way to succeed in Sales - he is a living example. But to call his way the Ultimate Sales Machine is just over the top.
42 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Chet Holmes knows his material very well and has the ability to not only say it concisely, but he can also present it in clear and memorable ways. He packs a whole lot of information into 245 pages and I am certain you can find more than enough useful information here to justify the price of the book.
The title refers to the book's emphasis on fashioning your entire organization to support your sales and marketing efforts rather than just having a sales department. This makes a great deal of sense to me. Holmes starts with making sure that you, the reader and leader of your organization, are managing your own time most efficiently. The principles he lays down here also have resonance with the principles he will present later.
Holmes also demonstrates the values and benefits of deep and ongoing training of all your employees. Some companies consider it a luxury and cut back on it the moment any trouble occurs. This is a mistake, according to the author. Training gets everyone on the same page, helps them be more efficient, and, when handled properly, motivates them to higher performance.
Meetings consume way too much time. We all know that. Holmes shows you how to use them to greater effect in less time. He also talks about how you need to become a brilliant strategist and a great tactician. This is more easily said than done, but with what he provides you here, improvements are possible.
Holmes then talks about hiring superstars rather than just staffing your departments, how to get the best buyers (not just customers), the seven musts of marketing - how to turbocharge your efforts, using compelling visuals to close more sales, and the nitty-gritty day-to-day work of going after those best buyers he talked about earlier.
He then talks about deep selling, client bonding, and how to put it all together.
Each chapter not only has its topic, it usually has a list of steps or a checklist, and a concluding section to summarize the points made and guides for implementation.
It is a good read, a great reminder for those who are already experienced in this area, and will be a revelation for those who are coming to running their own companies or sales efforts for the first time.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2011
I've been in the field selling for about 15 years. Pick a sales training course, and I have taken it. Name a book on sales and I have very likely read it. When I heard Chet Holmes was coming out with this book, I was one of the first to buy it. Two of the strategies spoke to me: Best Buyer and Core Story. Shortly after reading The Ultimate Sales Machine I started working on my Core Story. The company I work for did not have one. They did not give me one. I created it myself. It was not easy and it took many, many months. But I kept working at it. I started with the six slide presentation the company gave me and today I have a 100 + slide Core Story. It's incredibly effective. While I was building my Core Story presentation I started focusing on Best Buyers, and paid less and less attention to unqualified or less qualified prospective clients. The less time I spent with low and unqualified prospects, the more time I had to spend with well-qualified buyers. Funny how that works, but most salespeople, including me in the past, feel obligated to keep chasing all leads. I stopped doing that.
Last year I was the top producer in my company. But it gets better. I sold more than the rest of the other sales reps across the US - combined. This year, that same trend continues. So I am a BIG believer in what this man teaches.
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2007
One of the things I like about this book is that it deals in specifics. Most sales books are stuffed with vague, flowery platitudes. While fun to read, they don't justify the time spent. This book promises to cover 12 specific strategies, in the subtitle. Okay, that's a good start.
Right then, let's take a look at these 12 "strategies".
The first one has to do with time management. At first I was disappointed because I thought I was reading a book about sales and not time management. However, the information is helpful and of course, time management is pre requisite to achievement in any field. The author offers a very an important addition to the traditional Franklin approach that wildly increases productivity. Definitely worth a look.
The second strategy has to do with training and setting standards. Okay, it's important stuff and the improvement process offered was sound and undoubtedly works but the topic does not get me all fired up. This topic may be of greater interest to mature businesses.
Strategy next is about having better meetings using "workshop training" to improve the company. Again, good stuff, every company needs it but not my prime interest.
Next up, "becoming a brilliant strategist". Okay, but when are we going to get to the sales stuff. What I really want to know is if this book can add to my "general fund of knowledge" about how to build a great sales organization. At this point, I'm beginning to wonder.
Now we are cooking with gas. The next strategy is about hiring superstars. This chapter offers some refreshingly candid and useful information about how to find, hire and motivate top talent. Best chapter yet. I can use this information now.
The following chapter talks about getting the best buyers. The author makes the case that taking the time to figure out who your best customers are, pays big dividends. Nothing new here.
The books then devotes a chapter to marketing. It talks a lot about advertising and how to make it work. Good information but not of interest because I don't advertise. Too expensive and sometimes of questionable value.
Chapter 8 goes into graphics and mistakes people make when they present. Snoozer. Old news.
Next comes more detail about how to find your best buyers. "Been there, done that."
Chapter 10 is all beef. It's about how to sell and the importance of standardizing the process...and it's good information. What I like most is his "this is not rocket science, but it is science" approach. Worth the price of admission.
The next chapter is about how to keep clients. Good information, but not what I bought the book for.
The final chapter is a wrap up and talks about how to use all 12 strategies together. Mildly interesting, but not what I bought the book for.
My overall opinion of this book: Really good. Four stars. I say this because most of the information is really good and I'm sure quite effective. My only hesitation comes from the fact that this book seems more suited to small/medium sized business owners and not enterprise professional management.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2007
Don't be fooled by the title -- Chet Holmes has come up with some exciting ways to deal with business, not only in the sales arena but throughout the management structure. Take, for instance, his first issue -- time management. Chet's approach helps managers move from that "got a minute" form of management to a structured approach which not only frees up time, but makes it much more likely that the best ideas will actually get executed. It was worth reading just for this first section.
If you're just looking for a quick read -- this is probably not it. Chet has packed it full of ideas and it will take some focus to really take advantage of everything that's here.
33 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2007
I nearly passed on this book because of all the ridiculous reviews by people obviously trying to game the system and promote themselves. Authors who resort to this type of "marketing" come off as misleading and they reek of desperation, certainly not the type of person from whom I want to learn sales and marketing. However, the book was recommended to me by a friend so I bought it, and I'm glad I did. It was full of useful information on how to build a sales organization that I can actually implement in my everyday work.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2007
This book was extremely useful because it broke sales and business growth down into a few specific principles, with examples of how to carry out the ideas in the book.
Aside from the individual techniques, I got two main principles out of it: first, be focused on specific goals and don't be distracted by every passing idea. Intense focus is key. Second, success is in the action phase, in disciplining yourself and your team to take action. Doesn't matter how many brilliant ideas you have, if you aren't getting them done.
I have no background in sales, in fact I suck at it. I'm a therapist in private practice in Chicago. I am already starting to see results by using the techniques in this book to get my message to hundreds of people I wouldn't have thought to reach, using ways of reaching them that I hadn't thought of. I'm really looking forward to the results that are already happening.
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2007
What struck me most about this book is that the information it contains will help build business for both small and large operations. And, it will tremendously shortcut the "accelerated success" learning curve for CEOs, business owners and managers.
Having worked in and consulted with so many businesses, of so many types and sizes, Chet Holmes clearly knows what builds business and what doesn't.
Plus, the immensely practical information he shares in this book is immediately applicable. No fluffy theory here.
When Chet Holmes says success in business is not about doing 4000 things, but is about doing 12 things over and over again with pigheaded determination, he hits the nail right on the head.
Then he goes on to show you exactly what those things are and how to begin applying them to your business right away.
This is a business building book that really delivers on its promise. Very impressive.
18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2007
Be prepared to read the best book of your professional life.
For years I have watched Chet Holmes cause growth and change in an organization. I have personally hired him 3 times, each with spectacular results.
With simple instructions and step-by-step examples, the book shows how to increase sales activity in any organization. Not just sales; time management, customer service, marketing, the internet, ads, PR - all of it. Any company can become a sales machine, using ALL their tools working together at a much higher level of productivity than before.
The idea of the "dream 100" pays for the book 1000 times and this is just the beginning. Simple but amazingly effective, I use this technique with everyone I work with. Chet's description of HOW to build your "dream 100 list" and then systematically and doggedly pursue them is the most powerful sales concept I have ever used.
The enthusiasm and energy pour through the pages. I had to keep a pad next to my desk to write down ideas and inspirations, even though I had been through them before.
As a coach to CEOs, this new book is my favorite. You'll feel the same way after you've read it.