The Ultimate Sales Machine (Book Review)

Bildresultat för the ultimate sales machine

The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes is packed with tactical tips and strategical insights about how to grow your business.

Below I share my favorite principles from the book. I highly recommend buying the book though, there are a lot of golden nuggets to be found I don’t cover in this post.

How To Spend Your Time As a Small Company 

Spend at least 2.5 hours growing (cold calling, making deals, selling).
Chet says that every small business and entrepreneur needs to spend at least 2.5 hours a day on growing the business.

These are often tasks that are tough and therefore easy to neglect. Especially for introverts and “entreprogrammers”.

How many hours a day do you spend calling customers?

The Pyramid of Ca$h (I took the liberty to rename it)

Bildresultat för the buyers pyramid
 The picture shows the distribution of the customers in the purchasing cycle. As you can see, only 3% are actively buying your service right now.

How do we use this information?

Imagine that you are writing the headline for a workshop,webinar or newsletter you offer potential clients.

You want the headline to appeal to as large portion as possible of the pyramid.

Example (from the book):
  • Headline 1: “The Five Ways Our Office Equipment Can Help You”. This headline only address the top of the pyramid “looking to buy” and maybe “open to buy”.
  • Headline 2: “The Five Ways You Are Wasting Money in Your Administration”. Not the most exciting headline, but the whole pyramid is much more likely to want to know more.


Use Market Data, Not Product Data

Chet writes:

“Here’s the key to choosing which data to include: market data is way more motivational than product data. Most people think that a shoe is a shoe (product data), but when you learn that your feet connect to every organ in your body, that’s market data. It makes your choice of shoe much more important. So think about what market data is there that makes your products or services much more important.”
Using product data instead of market data might be one of the most common mistakes businesses do in their copy-writing, presentations and pitches.


Product: Job board for technology students (selling adds to recruitment companies)

Market Data
“10 new recruitment companies are started every year targeting students. At the same time, the number of technical students graduating every year have been constant for the past five years. Market research shows that recruitment of technical students will account for more than 70% of the total recruitment market within 2 years. To survive this highly competitive market it’s key to attract technical students”.

Product Data
“Our site has over 2000 technical students registered”.
“Easy to use interface”
“Get applications to your own system”

Which data set do you think is most powerful?

Which information targets the biggest part of the pyramid? 

Pre-sell Your Information

While presenting the information about the increase in lawyers, you could say, “And this means you have some serious competition, but the news gets worse when I show you the next point.”
This principle is applicable in presentations and long-form information products (books, e-books, newsletters).

If you read the book you will notice how Chet continuously sells the chapters yet to come. This hooked me as a reader.

When was the last time you pre-sold a slide in your presentation?

Never Thank Clients For Their Time. Never Apologize For Taking Their Time. 

[thanking for a clients time] shows that you consider their time more valuable than yours. It suggests that listening to you is far less important than other things they could be doing.
I know I’m guilty of this.

You feel so lucky to have the meeting with an impressive person you can’t help yourself.  I’ve heard myself say it so many times: “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me” – Uuugh.

Chet has an example in the book. A former colleague of his was selling a service to lawyers.

He would start off the meeting saying: “The first thing I want to do is apologize for taking your time. I know you charge for your time, so this is valuable time for you.” It was straight uphill from there.

How To Handle a No

Being turned down is probably the least pleasant thing we experience in our privileged every day lives.

It hurts our Ego.

In sales, though, being turned down is a natural part of the process. Much more natural than not being turned down, actually.

So, how should one handle a “no”?

Follow up

This feels counter intuitive, right?

Someone just told you that they’re not interested. Why not move on?

Chet gives us two reasons (Although they are not specified as this in the book):

I) Become top of mind

Constantly and intensely follow up a no with creative gifts and calls.
Or, it could happen, as I’ve seen 100 times, that you keep following up and one of their preferred providers lets them down in some way and, wham, you are the first company they think of because you never gave up.

II) Win their respect

And if you keep contacting the people who hung up on you, you will eventually win their respect. After all, you can’t possibly respect someone who goes away after the first rejection”
How to follow up is key of course. You don’t want to waste peoples time and act selfishly.

Help Clients make decisions

It’s tough to make decisions, sometimes the client need help.

 I finally said to him: “Look, you don’t need any more information. You already know as much as you’re ever going to know. You just need to make a decision. Do you have what it takes to make the decision?

Because that’s where you’re at right now.” That’s a hard-core close, but without it he might have continued wasting his time struggling over the decision when he could have been working with me to improve his business. He said: “You’re right. I do know. I want it.” And he bought.

I have a tendency to feel pushy when I do this, and therefore avoid it. I might tell myself that “I’m too nice” to push a sale.

But I think the truth is that I’m to scared of being rejected.

If you believe the customer needs what you are selling, then doing everything to get it in the hands of the client is your job.

Use Risk Reversal To Close

It should be easy for the customer to buy. You don’t want friction.

Here is a paraphrase from Chets companies offer:

“We’re so sure that this program is going to help you, we’re going to give you $2,000 in bonus products. Take this program and use it. If you feel it is not more than 1,000 times worth the investment, send it back and get a complete refund. And for your trouble, you can keep the $2,000 in bonus products.” When we did this, our sales doubled. And yes, you have that 1 out of 10 who might buy it just to get the bonuses, but you still had nine more sales you would not have gotten if you didn’t make the offer in the first place. A money-back guarantee is a great way to take away objections, but the idea of offering a bonus that they can keep soups it up quite a bit”

How can you decrease or eliminate the risk for your customer?

How to handle objections

Customers has objections. Maybe the thing you are selling is too expensive. Maybe it’s the same information can be found for free.

You can address objections differently depending on the medium of communication.

a) Agree with the objection
Agreeing with the objection is useful in two-way communication (Phone, Face to face, email).

Always agree with an objection. The clients will drop their guard. You might say, “Well, that’s certainly a good reason not to invest in this today. [meaningful pause] But let me ask you a question: Is money the only thing standing between you and the purchase of this product?”

b) Isolate the objection
Isolating the objection is important to structure your arguments. You need to know what the problem is in order to solve it. This is a way of eliminating variables.

“At this point, if there are more objections, they will surface. If not, the client will say, “No, if I could afford it, I’d buy it.” This is called isolating the objection.

c) Address the objections before the customer does
If you are writing a sales page or sales letter, addressing the objections can be very powerful.
If you do it in the right way the customer wont have any objections when getting to the bottom of the page.

Do This Now

First — if you liked the post — then go buy the book.

In the meantime, answer these three questions:

  • How many hours a day do you spend calling customers?
  • When was the last time you pre-sold a slide in a presentation?
  • How can you decrease or eliminate the risk for your customer in the buying process?

8 Lessons From an Artist


A great book makes you want change things and do stuff.
I read one of those recently, the author is Austin Kleon and the book is called Show Your Work!.


I recommend you read the book. But in the meantime, here are my 8 things I learned.

1) Teach now

You should not wait until you master something to teach it.


When I was learning to make a website all the tutorials took a lot of things for granted. As a novice I felt like there should be 10 more bullets between every step in the guides.


The guide would be like “Write X in the terminal”. And I would go “What the hell is the terminal?” and then “Why can’t I type X into it?!”. It was unbelievably frustrating, a rabbit hole of stack-overflow tabs.


A good teacher would have been a recent student. Not someone who have worked as a web developer every day for the past 10 years.


There is quote in the book that reads.


“The fellow-pupil can help more than the master because he knows less. The difficulty we want him to explain is one he has recently met. The expert met it so long ago he has forgotten.” –  C. S. Lewis.
And another one.


 “I saw the Sex Pistols,” said New Order frontman Bernard Sumner. “They were terrible. . . . I wanted to get up and be terrible with them.”


2) How to start sharing your work

Austin writes:
Make a public commitment to learning something infront of others. – Austin Kleon
I like that. That is exactly how I started this blog. It also pairs up nicely with the first point. Be an amateur and write about that. It’s unique lens from which you can view a field. After a few weeks of studying something, you loose the touch reserved only for an amateur.


3) Don’t “build your CV”. Build things. 

When I started university my dream was to get a job at McKinsey or some similar firm. I did a ton of research. I made a list of things they wanted from applicants.
  • Excel skills
  • extra-curricular activities
  • Hot internships
  • Case-cracking abilities
  • 4.2+ GPA
  • Leadership experience

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the list. It’s an okay list. What’s wrong is trying to blindly chase things you think someone else wants from you, which I’ve done a lot.

“You have to make stuff,” said journalist David Carr when he was asked if he had any advice for students. “No one is going to give a damn about your résumé; they want to see what you have made with your own little fingers.”


4) 90% of everything is crap

It’s hard to know what’s good. Business ideas, art, blog posts, books, you name it. No one knows anything. A lot of people like to pretend like they do, but they don’t.


Harry Potter was rejected 19 times – by people who make a living FINDING GREAT BOOKS.


A lot of PROFESSIONAL INVESTORS said no thank you to AirBnB.


Michael Jordan got cut from his High School basketball team.


Okay maybe the last one is not really the same thing, but it popped up when I googled. And still, MICHEAL JORDAN CUT FROM A BASKETBALL TEAM. Common.


So the lesson is, make a lot of stuff and ship it. Put your work in front of people.


Don’t worry about everything you post being perfect. Science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon once said that 90 percent of everything is crap. The same is true of our own work. The trouble is, we don’t always know what’s good and what sucks. That’s why it’s important to get things in front of others and see how they react. “Sometimes you don’t always know what you’ve got,” says artist Wayne White. “It really does need a little social chemistry to make it show itself to you sometimes.”

5) Start out small 

You don’t have to know the context for everything you do. If it’s exciting and fun – do it. It does not have to fit into a master plan. You connect the dots looking back.


This book started out as tweets, which then became blog posts, which then became book chapters. Small things, over time, can get big. – Austin Kleon

6) What to share

Don’t know what to write about?


Austin shares a great list.


  • Where do you get your inspiration?
  • What sorts of things do you fill your head with?
  • What do you read?
  • Do you subscribe to anything?
  • What sites do you visit on the Internet?
  • What music do you listen to?
  • What movies do you see?
  • Do you look at art?
  • What do you collect?
  • What’s inside your scrapbook?
  • What do you pin to the corkboard above your desk?
  • What do you stick on your refrigerator?
  • Who’s done work that you admire?
  • Who do you steal ideas from?
  • Do you have any heroes?
  • Who do you follow online?
  • Who are the practitioners you look up to in your field?
Any of these things can be interesting and valuable. They can turn into blog posts, books and businesses.


7) Quality, quality, quality

Austin writes:


Stop worrying about how many people follow you online and start worrying about the quality of people who follow you. Don’t waste your time reading articles about how to get more followers. Don’t waste time following people online just because you think it’ll get you somewhere. Don’t talk to people you don’t want to talk to, and don’t talk about stuff you don’t want to talk about.
“What gets measured gets done” is an old management saying. In the world of social media quantity is measured more than quality. Number of followers, number of likes, number of shares.
People rarely talk about WHO these mysterious followers are and WHY they are following you.
Make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love and you’ll attract people who love that kind of stuff. It’s that simple. – Austin Kleon

8) Avoid vampires

Vampires steal your energy and kill you. Don’t hang out with them.


[The vampire test] is a simple way to know who you should let in and out of your life. If, after hanging out with someone you feel worn out and depleted, that person is a vampire. If, after hanging out with someone you still feel full of energy, that person is not a vampire. Of course, The Vampire Test works on many things in our lives, not just people—you can apply it to jobs, hobbies, places, etc
This might be the single most important lesson. If you don’t follow it you wont be able to follow the other advice. You’ll be dead from all the vampire people and projects in your life.


Entreprenur, musician and author Derek Sivers puts it plain and simple:
“Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it.” – Derek Sivers
Those are my lessons learned from “Show Your Work!”. Now go read the book.