Discovering Chet Holmes, a great Sales & Marketing Expert

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 salespeople 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 every day (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 from 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 your 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.

No marketing plan is an island7). 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 salespeople 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 your ordering process? Can you improve your upsell or cross-sell offerings? Can you help your salespeople 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.

Recommend: “Hack the Bird” by Adam Khan

Just when you thought you knew everything about Twitter, someone else comes along and writes another book about this social media tool.

Let’s face it – there are literally hundreds of books on Twitter. In fact, according to my count, there are more than 5,000 books on the topic alone on Amazon.

And there’s so much conflicting advice about how to use Twitter.

EncoreAlert, a Washington, D.C. based Twitter marketing company, argues in its Blog post “Favorites vs. Retweets (And Why One is More Important Than the Other),”  that Retweeting is more important than favorites.

But Hillel Fuld, a self-described CMO Zula, Tech Blogger, Startup Advisor, and Steak Lover, writes in Tech N’ Marketing, that favoriting a Tweet “has replaced Retweeting as the most powerful marketing tool on Twitter.”

Confused? Well, I am!

So, why am I recommending that you read Hack the Bird: ADVANCED TWITTER PLAYBOOK: Counterintuitive Twitter Strategies and Hacks for Startups, Brands, and Entrepreneurs by Adam Khan?

Because I believe his advice makes sense and clears up a lot of confusion. Mr. Khan, Head of Digital Transformation at L’Oréal, has spent more than 5,000 hours researching the psychology of engagement on Twitter. He has developed a step-by-step guide on how you can gain more followers, build your brand, and increase your credibility.

But before I review his book, I have a confession to make – You see, I thought I was an expert on Twitter. I thought all you had to do was constantly Tweet my blog posts, and Retweet other people’s Tweets, and Tweet a bunch of articles I read online, and voilà, I suddenly gain thousands of followers, and my blog will be read by hundreds of new visitors every day.

Wrong. That’s not the right approach at all.

Then, I thought, why not buy followers? I mean we all receive promotions all the time from “experts” who claim if you give them your hard-earned money, they will dramatically increase your followers, and then you will be the way to Twitter fame and fortune.

Wrong. That’s not the right approach at all (and could get you in trouble with Twitter).

And finally, I thought, why not hire a  social media expert to work on my Twitter account for me. After all, a woman who attended a Washington, D.C. General Assembly course “How to crush it on Twitter” (conducted by Mr. Khan), confessed that she spent $500.00 a month for someone to manage her Twitter account.

Wrong. That’s not the right approach either (although I have to admit I wouldn’t mind having someone pay me $500.00 a month to manage their account).

So what’s the answer? How do you gain more followers and be successful on Twitter?

Mr. Khan lays out a game plan on how you can be successful. Without revealing all the details, here are some interesting tidbits I got from both Mr. Khan’s book and his workshop at General Assembly –

1). Twitter is a quick conversation. The attention span of most Twitter users is fast. So fast, in fact, that Mr. Khan states that you only “get 10 seconds and the first four tweets” on your Timeline to convince someone to follow you. That’s it. So you have to think intelligently about what you want to Retweet, and what kind of information you want to Tweet. The attention span of most Americans is shrinking. According to an Entrepreneur article by Cynthia Price, the average adult’s attention span is down to just 8 seconds. I’m not surprised. Think back to those old 1960’s TV reruns – do you notice something? The TV shows had a much slower pace back then compared to today’s fast-paced shows. People had more leisure time. They had more patience. You could actually drive home from work, eat dinner and watch the 7:00 news. These days, with longer commutes, 50 hour plus work weeks, and other demands in our lives, you are lucky to even be home by 7:00 p.m. And by the time you get home, you are usually stressed out and have little patience.

We are skim readers – we skim our mobile phones, we skim our tablets, we skim our laptops or desktop computers. We skim all day. So you have to offer something that’s going to grab someone’s attention quickly.

2). It’s not always about you.  One of the most important points he makes in his book is his 70-30 rule, which states that “70% of the Tweets on your Timeline should be your own and 30% should be Retweets…” Mr. Khan’s point is well taken. You don’t to be a promotion hog who only cares about himself. By Retweeting others, potential followers will begin to notice that, and hopefully they will follow you because they feel you will Retweet their material too. Thus, you gain more followers. As the old saying goes, you scratch my back and I will scratch yours.

egg3). An Egg Shape is not your head. We all see them. The newbies on Twitter who don’t take the time to put a photo on their profile page, so you are staring at an egg shape picture. Who is that mysterious person? Are they for real? If you want to be taken seriously on Twitter, you need to show who you are. Don’t be shy.  And hey, tell us something about who you are, what you like to do, and where you are located. Sure, space is limited. Mix it up with both professional and personal information. And please, forget the hashtags in your bio – those are for amateurs.

Mr. Khan offers other great advice in his 114-page book, including how to gain your first 100,000 followers, how to convert people who you want to follow, and how to Retweet yourself.

Recommend: “The Big Book of Sales” by Alan Gordon

a1bc63e7c7cb0ff24a660c0654f03104There are literary hundreds of books offering sales advice these days. Some books are good, some are bad and some are mediocre.

But to paraphrase Will Rogers, “I never read a sales book that I didn’t like.”

That’s true. No matter how bad a sales book is, I always receive some good nuggets of information.

But there is one book that offers you a ton of nuggets. So many in fact, that I’m surprised that the book is actually free. I’m referring to “The Big Book of Sales,” by Alan Gordon.

Mr. Gordon, a sales coach, has written a 151-page book offering “nuts and bolts” advice on how to sell. Written in plain English, he covers such topics like how to find the right decision-maker, needs development questions, how to get appointments, cold calling, and closing techniques.

Why is his book so important? From Mr. Gordon’s website, he makes the following points –

“Half of all salespeople struggle to make a living.”
“Three out of four salespeople are not following  a framework or sales process.”
“7 out of 10 small businesses express concern about finding and retaining good quality salespeople.”

I would also add that many companies offer little or no sales training or coaching. In fact, many new salespeople are constantly complaining on LinkedIn sales discussion group boards about the lack of sales training or coaching from their employers. Sure, new salespeople can learn about the products and services they are selling, but they receive little training on how to sell. As a result, new salespeople become frustrated. They quit. Employers are faced with high turnover and the cycle continues until someone finally suggests that training and coaching could stop the bleeding, as well as boost the bottom line.

Along with his book, Mr. Gordon has more than 50 videos on YouTube. His presentations are clear, concise and extremely instructive. Unlike some sales training videos, Mr. Gordon gets to the point quickly. While he plugs his book at the beginning of each video, he quickly jumps into the topic of the day. He doesn’t waste time telling you about his life’s story, or how he got into sales. He wants to help you become a better salesperson, and he demonstrates that in each video presentation that he offers. Mr. Gordon is a true sales professional.

Now, why is his book free? Simple. He wants you to download the book and share it with others. You see, Mr. Gordon realizes that he’s not going to earn a lot of money selling his book. Instead, his goal is for you to hire him as a coach.

While I’ve never used him as a coach, if Mr. Gordon’s book and videos are any indication of how he can help you, I would strongly recommend that you use his services.

Below is Mr. Gordon’s first video from YouTube –

(Special Note: I have not received any payment to endorse “The Big Book of Sales”. In fact, I was so impressed by Mr. Gordon’s YouTube videos, that I actually paid $10.00 for his publication. I felt so guilty about downloading his book for free, I decided to pay him).