I recently discovered a series of videos on YouTube presented by Chet Holmes, who passed away about three years ago. Mr. Holmes is one of those rare breeds who was an expert in both sales and marketing. I’m surprised I never heard of him before until now.
Working with Business Breakthroughs International (BBI), he conducted a series of workshops over the years that have been recorded and made available on YouTube. I also found out that he wrote a book called The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies, which I just completed reading.
Here are some key takeaways from both his videos and book that I would like to share with you –
1). Cold Calling – your tonality has 5 times more impact than the words you use. If you really want to get through the gatekeeper and make an impression on your prospect, you must sound like someone important, i.e., like someone the prospect already knows and is expecting a phone call from. I’m sure we have all received those weak and wimpy phone calls from sales people who sound almost apologetic in their tone. That’s the wrong approach to take. You must sound confident. If you act like a professional, you will be treated like a professional. If you act like a salesperson, you will get the brush off.
2). Marketing Material – no one wants to receive the same old tired email each time from a salesperson. Spice it up a little. Send some interesting and relevant material that the client would like, e.g., white paper, case study or an interesting article. Maybe send a humorous note. Or maybe send some testimonials. Or perhaps a short video link about how you can help your client.
3). Try a Fax Machine – remember those? Hey, they still exist. Rather than just sending emails (which can be quickly deleted), why not send out a fax or two. Sometimes having a document in hand sends a more powerful message to a prospect, and in most cases, he will be forced to read your document (yes, it could still end up in the trash can, but at least he read it and didn’t delete it).
4). Persistence matters – the one with the most passion wins. We all know this, but some salespeople still give up after only one or two attempts. That’s not enough. According to the videos, at least 5 percent of all salespeople will try 4 times to get a sale. In reality, it actually takes 8 rejections before you get the respect of the prospect. And don’t worry about bothering or pestering a prospect – they are in business too – they understand sales. A smart prospect will begin to respect a persistent salesperson. How much respect do you think he would have for a salesperson who makes only one attempt and then gives up?
If you truly believe in your product or service, and you feel what you are offering them will help your prospect, you owe not just to yourself, but to your clients to keep contacting them. Sure, you don’t want to call everyday (a common mistake with amateurs). Space out your contacts – maybe once every 4 days or so.
5). No doesn’t always mean No – if a client says No, should you give up? Of course not, you are just getting started. Maybe the prospect is having a bad day, or doesn’t quite understand what you are offering. OK. Take a deep breath. Think this through. Come at him in a different angle. Maybe circle back in a couple of weeks.
6). Whittle down your Prospect List – one of the biggest mistakes many companies make is that they send out marketing material or make sales calls to every company under the sun. Wrong. Take a hard look at your existing clients. Develop a client profile. Who are you best clients? Why are your higher end clients buying more than your lower end clients? Rather than use the shotgun approach to prospecting, narrow down your list to the top 100 clients and start targeting them.
7). No Marketing Plan is an island – there are at least 7 marketing weapons at your disposal – direct mail, the internet, company brochures, advertising, public relations and trade shows. At some companies, these marketing tools are handled by different departments that don’t always interact with one another. Big mistake. Mr. Holmes recommends that you use a stacked marketing approach and develop a consistent theme. Also, don’t forget to provide your sales people with marketing pieces that they can use in their sales presentations.
8). One hour a week – most companies, especially small ones, are so busy trying to generate revenue that they may be losing money by using ineffective or duplicate efforts. Mr. Holmes recommends that you take at least one hour a week and review your business procedures. What’s working and what’s not working? Can you improve you ordering process? Can you improve your up sell or cross-sell offerings? Can you help your sales people make more productive sales calls? Taking one hour a week could save you a lot of money and time down the road.
If you are interested in learning more about his book, or would like to purchase it, please click here – The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies.
Please let me know if you have any comments about his publication or videos.