Sales Pipeline Radio, Episode 332: Q & A with Amanda Holmes @amandaholmes
By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
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This week’s show is entitled, “6 out of 10 Generational Businesses Fail – How to Save a Legacy Business“ and my guest is Amanda Holmes, CEO of Chet Holmes International.
Tune in to hear more about:
- Mindset and confidence as components to successful salespeople
- Tips and perspective to companies doubling sales in a year
- What is going to be the shortcut to sales, is there one?
- Components of successful social selling that are now part of the playbook for successful sellers
Listen in now for this and MORE, watch the video or read the transcript below:
Matt: All right. Welcome, everybody, to another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. I am your host Matt Heinz. Excited to have you here again. Had a week off last week. I was in Cuba. Could do a whole other episode just on that and sort of the experience, what we learned down there, but excited to be back in the saddle and joining you here.
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But thank you so much for paying attention to what we are doing, listening, watching. If you’re watching this on LinkedIn, on demand, or if you’re listening to this through the podcast, I appreciate the downloads and listens. Every episode of Sales Pipeline Radio back to the very first one we did six years ago are all available on demand at salespipelineradio.com.
We are very excited to have our guests today, Amanda Holmes. She is the CEO of the Chet Holmes International, and if that name doesn’t sound familiar, you need to catch up. Literally, one of the seminal books in sales strategy. And listen, Amanda, we have kind of a mix between sales and marketing people that listen to this show and watch this show. And so for the marketers, they tend to gravitate towards the marketing books. There’s a handful of books that I think, if you want to understand sales, you have to read. I think of the Challenger Sale and I think of the Ultimate Sales Machine as key components of doing that.
I know you are busy. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Amanda: Absolutely. I’m so happy to be here.
Matt: For people that don’t know Chet Holmes and don’t know the Ultimate Sales Machine, can you just ground people on where all this started and what this Ultimate Sales Machine is all about?
Amanda: Absolutely. So my father originally got his big break working for a billionaire by the name of Charlie Munger, co-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s business partner. So he was able to double the sales of nine different companies for Charlie all within 12 to 15 months, and several of them, multiple years consecutively.
So we realized that he had this system for doubling sales. Then he went on to work with 60 of the Fortune 500. He wrote the Ultimate Sales Machine, which is one of the most adored, as you said. And we’ve now assisted a quarter million businesses worldwide on our 12 core competencies on how to double sales.
And yes, unexpectedly, my father passed away about 10 years ago. So that was a rather shocking occurrence. At the time, I was 24. I was a singer-songwriter. No plans to take over the business or know the business or know what to do with the business. And it has now been 10 years. We just released the new edition of the book and it hit the bestseller list and we’ve doubled clients multiple years in a row, doubled sales last year. It was great. It’s been a wild ride.
So it really speaks volumes to my father’s methodology because I had to pick up his book and watch his videos, just like everyone else, and learn his methods to be able to carry on his legacy.
Matt: All right. I know we promise people 15-20 minutes for this show. We say, “When you drive to the grocery store, you make your way back home. That should be, when you get to listen to this.” I desperately want to get into “amandaholmes.com”. The singing, the yoga. Your background is phenomenal. Talk about stepping into that role, as someone who had a very famous, influential father, but you were not in the sales industry. What was that like, stepping into that?
Amanda: Absolutely terrifying, mortifying, awful.
Matt: Yes, especially given the circumstances.
Amanda: I could not eat for years. It was hard because I was so nervous. I had nightmares for years of the visions of my father in the hospital. Mentally, it was a wreck. So, the fact that we are here today, I say, is a miracle. It truly is. We should not be here today. But it was a mixture of … I am very spiritual and I study under my guru, so I have that piece to assist me with my mind, with Divine Bliss International, and then also, my father has a roadmap for how to manage business and grow business. So those two assisted.
Matt: That’s amazing. Talk for a minute about mindset and confidence. I think a lot of times people that have not had a career in sales or … 14 years ago, I started my business. I am a marketing guy. I never carried a bag until I had to carry one for this company. And sort of by necessity, sometimes you figure it out, but mindset and confidence, confidence bordering on stubbornness sometimes, can really help you break through barriers. Talk a little bit about that as a component of you succeeding in your role, but also salespeople being successful today.
Amanda: Well, at post-Covid, mental wellness was the number one thing that people wanted to spend money on in the United States. Number one. Over health insurance, over financial security, which you’d think, after Covid, you’d think people would go after their health, but number one was, “How do we, rest assured after this crazy stress that we just had with the pandemic?” And then 68% of Americans now believe that we’re about to hit a recession. The number one thing you can do right now is to focus on your mental game. That is absolute.
And I will tell you, what I learned from my guru is that when people sit in silence, they think that they’re meditating. It is actually the polar opposite. The majority of the time, your thoughts only get louder. So she taught me this thing, that if you use the sound of your own voice and you speak in repetition, that it can assist you to alleviate out of stress. So one of the things that I would do to practice to get out of my stress is I would sit there and I would sing.
When I do keynotes, I’ve actually, when I keynoted for HubSpot, I got the whole room to sing this with me. It has been so hysterical. It is such a pattern interrupt. But it assists to alleviate. You do that for 60 seconds, even two minutes, and on the worst of days, you can’t help but crack a smile cause it’s just ridiculous, right? So, there you go.
Matt: Well, if you came here thinking you were going to talk about Ultimate Sales Machine, we are, we will, but this stuff is important and I just really appreciate you sharing that. Talking today on Sales Pipeline Radio with Amanda Holmes. She is the CEO of Chet Holmes International. And at the very top of your LinkedIn profile it says, “Helping companies double sales in 12 months.” That is a bold claim. You have done it internally, and I know you said you did it last year. Unpack that a little bit. I don’t want to give away all the secret sauce, cause you’ve got stuff to sell too, but how is that possible?
Amanda: Let me ask you a question, Matt. What percentage of companies do you think make it to a million in annual sales?
Matt: I would say probably the minority. I am going to go with 15%.
Amanda: It is a little high. 5% of companies make it to a million in annual sales. Of that, 0.08% make it to five million, of that, 1.5%, make it to 10 million. So your chances get a little bit higher from five to 10, and 0.004% make it to a hundred million and beyond.
So, the majority of entrepreneurs or C-suites would say, “If we just tweaked the product, if we just tweaked the service, we’ll be able to scale and get to that next level.” But if you think of, in 1967, on the same block, two companies were started: Joe’s Hamburger Joint. It was a mom-and-pop shop. They put all their love and adoration into a burger. And then you had McDonald’s. And however, many decades later, one still has a job, working nights and weekends, and the other one is the largest grossing hamburger joint in the world. Now, McDonald’s does not have a superior burger. You would agree with me?
Matt: Very much so.
Amanda: Okay. So, it’s actually not your product or service that makes the difference. It is the skills it takes to grow the business, and skills can be developed. So, my father taught … This is a very famous quote of his. “Mastery isn’t about doing 4,000 different things. It’s about doing 12 things 4,000 times.” So, for those that read Ultimate Sales Machine, every chapter is a different core competency on how to double sales, and oftentimes it’s really just one of those core competencies that if you have pigheaded discipline and determination to focus and get clear and work on that over and over and over again, you can double your sales. But it’s going to take that focus, because the shiny object syndrome is through the roof today.
Matt: I was just going to say… My next question is that I think we all want that silver bullet. We are looking for a shortcut. We are looking for the next big thing. Is it going to be account-based sales? Is it going to be this shiny new tool that I can download? Is it going to be generative AI? What is going to be the shortcut to sales? And as you talk about this, it kind of reminds me of like, “If you want to get in better shape, you want to lose weight? Eat less, eat better, drink better.” It is not rocket science.
Amanda: Foundational. It is just foundational principles, yes.
Matt: It’s the same stuff and yet, I look at some of the best sales advice I see, including from the Ultimate Sales Machine, it is not telling you a bunch of new things. It reminds you of what you need to be doing consistently to be successful. We see a lot of people talking about, “Oh, it’s so hard to sell right now. We’re maybe in a recession.” I think we are going to be talking about getting into a recession longer than we’re actually in a recession. I think we’re getting dangerously close to that, but you can have any excuse in the world, right? The sun’s too bright. My car’s out of … Every excuse in the world for why you cannot sell, and yet the fundamentals are still going to help you get your number.
Amanda: Yes. I did a keynote for the top 1% of automotive car salesmen. Now, talk about an industry that is so … You can order cars online today, and there is no competition between one … You’re just trying to figure out if you want a yellow one or a white one between the different automotive dealerships because everybody’s showing their pricing. Where is it that a salesman can actually make the difference in automotive? And yet this top 1%, they did not even have cars. It was two years waiting lists and they still managed to pivot and sell. Some of them in this group … It is the Pinnacle Society run by Jonathan Dawson. The average car salesman sells nine cars a month. These guys are closing 50 cars a month, a hundred cars a month, 200 cars a month, even when there were no chips being made, no cars in the lot. It shows that it does not matter what is happening around you as long as your mental game is clear. And I believe that if you come from a place of service, you will find a way.
Matt: When I read the Ultimate Sales Machine … I’m not a career salesperson, I’m not an enterprise software salesperson, but I thought of it not only just in terms of how to establish good habits as a seller, but just the importance of consistency and the compounding effect of that consistency in almost anything we do. It’s one of many reasons I think marketing professionals should read this book, to understand, not only what their sales counterparts are thinking, but also to think about, listen, on the marketing side, we’re also looking for the shiny object and the silver bullet. And sometimes it’s just doing the right thing more often more consistently, will drive more consistent results.
Amanda: Well, that’s interesting that you say that. So in chapter four, I talk about this. I retitled that chapter, Death of a Salesman, Birth of a Strategist. Because the world between marketing and sales has blurred so much. Sales people now have to go online and they have to market themselves on social media, whereas marketers are now in charge of having to close more business from ads and their digital marketing that they’re doing. So, this merger is happening. So absolutely both sides need to understand, and my father was definitely a unicorn in this, where he was brilliant at marketing and a killer salesman, which doesn’t really happen normally.
Matt: Yes. Just a couple more minutes with our guest today, Amanda Holmes from Chet Holmes International. There were so many topics that we could talk about here. One of the things that mentioned that … I don’t hear this phrase as often anymore is social selling. I feel like six, seven years ago, everyone was talking about it. I don’t hear it as much now because I think we’ve evolved into a post-social selling world, meaning the best practices are now embedded into just good selling. But what does that mean for you? What are the components of successful social selling that have graduated from the frothiness and are now part of the playbook of successful sellers?
Amanda: To me, social selling, that’s so interesting. It’s completely different, whoever you’re speaking to. I love that you’re saying you’re the bleeding edge. So your audience is more the bleeding edge. Because every day I’m in a different group that’s doing one or the other. The whole point of marketing is to create top of mind awareness. That is our only goal, so that as soon as our prospect says, “Oh, hey, I need a product or service like yours,” they raise their hand and say, “Yes, I want to talk to you.” And you were the first person that pops up for them.
So when I think of social selling, that is how many times do we go to social and just go, “Oh, am I wasting my time here? Ugh, I’m spending so much time here. Am I really getting the traction?” You should be hyper-clear who are those people? We talk about the Dream 100, right? Those that, when you sell to them, they buy more and they buy more often. And getting hyper-targeted, like account-based selling. We have a similar spinoff to that. We call it the Dream 100.
So, getting hyper-clear on who those people are, and then just spending the time to listen to them. Because what do we want from social? We want likes, we want comments, we want attention, we want confirmation. I tell this story about how I won a nine figure CEO as a client and I wouldn’t have been able to cold call him every day, but you know what? He was posting online every day, and every single day for three months, I commented on everything he posted. He had posted about his children. He had posted about his wife.
And with every comment, I am giving him advice. I am acknowledging him. I’m showing that I’m listening. I am showing that I’m caring. I am showing that I’m consistent. I am, as my father called it, in his face, in his place, in his space. You could not get away from me. I was like white on rice on this guy. Until, three months in, he comes back to me and says, “Hey, I’d like to buy 650 of these books and send them out to all of my best clients.” It was actually Dave Woodward of ClickFunnels.
I am still collecting money on those 650 books from the three months that I spent just … And I fell in love with the guy and his family and how he treats people over that time. I think it’s critical to remember why we’re doing it and how to do it with consistency in a way that shows that you care. Because if they know that you care, then everything else is easy.
Matt: I love that. That is such a great way of explaining and I think a lot of people, when they think about their social media strategy, they focus on what they should be saying, what they should be publishing, and I think the hidden secret to social media is the fact that it is all about listening. It is all about engaging. It is all about reciprocating. It is you providing value to someone else, not on your agenda and your timeline, but on theirs. And so few people do it. That is partly why it works so well.
Amanda: Which is crazy.
Matt: It is super crazy. It is free. It costs you nothing.
Amanda: Wait, wait, wait. I have another data for you guys. So if 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact and 80% of sales reps stop after three contacts, on average, why wouldn’t you post on every post they have, so then you have eight to 12 to 20 comments that are never pushy or salesy, but you’ve gained their trust, you’ve gained their respect, you’ve gained the rapport? And superstar sales reps, the difference of what they do is you’re 65% of the way to a sale if you just build the rapport where they trust and respect you. Does not mean that you even have to give them advice on what your services are. They just want to know that you’re a human being and you’re acknowledging them as a human being.
Matt: Well, Amanda, if we could only get you excited about this topic, it would be such a better conversation.
Amanda: I am like, “Oh no, 15 minutes.
Matt: No, I love it. What you are talking about is right. I don’t care what kind of tools and technology you have. Until robots sell to robots, these connections are important. Your ability to build rapport, your ability to build a relationship, and sometimes it can have nothing to do with what you are selling, but if they see you as a good person, someone that is paying attention to them, someone that is listening, someone that generally cares about things they’re doing … It takes a split second, in some cases, just to click Like.
But you post something on a social channel and you get 12 likes, most people are going to go see who are the 12 people, and so they see your name and over time your name becomes associated with just good people, and eventually associated with what you represent. And you’re right, people don’t always buy the best. Sometimes they buy from their favorite. They buy from the people in front of them. And that’s your opportunity and that compounds, because those people will move into other jobs. They will tell other people about you. And now I’m on my soapbox talking about this as well.
Amanda: I got chills on your soapbox. I loved it. I got it.
Matt: Well, literally we could keep going for a very long time. We could talk about this. We could talk about music. I was almost a music major in college, and I had my piano teacher in high school talk me out of it. Whole other story. But for everyone listening today, if you want to learn more about Chet Holmes and this Ultimate Sales Machine, chetholmes.com, ultimatesalesmachine.com, two places to go. Amanda, anything I am missing? What other things should people check out?
Amanda: You can find me anywhere. Amanda Holmes. I spend more time on Instagram, though, and there Amanda Holmes is taken, so it’s Amandia Holmes there. My salsa name.
Matt: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Amanda. I know you are busy. Really appreciate the time. Thank you, everyone, for listening and watching. We will be here again next week. Thursdays 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern. My name is Matt Heinz. We will see you next week. Sales Pipeline Radio.
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I interview the best and brightest minds in sales and Marketing. If you would like to be a guest on Sales Pipeline Radio send an email to Sheena@heinzmarketing.com.