I’m currently reading The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes. A few times I’ve been enjoying a chapter or section and then get blindsided by something he says.
Like this part where he talks about a carpet cleaning company he consulted for, Rug Renovating, who at the time was having trouble with sales.
He started with research finding:
Your carpets act like a giant health filter… when you remove carpets from buildings, people get sick four times more often. But, like any filter, your carpets become saturated and ineffective over time… The EPA found that professional carpet cleaning actually gets carpets 1,500 percent cleaner than even vacuuming every day.
This is great info. He helps Rug Renovating develop a campaign to get customers on a schedule to have their carpets cleaned every six months, instead of the typical once every three years, which, if successful, would effectively 6x the rate of sales.
All by elevating the importance of cleaning your carpets to the same level as “taking the kids for their yearly checkup” in people’s minds.
Later in the book, he describes a sales call he listened to where a 78 year old woman with a walker calls asking for carpet cleaning services. It’s revealed that her 15 year old carpet pad is also dirty. The salesperson explains it’d be destroyed if washed and she should instead get it replaced.
He omits the fact that they sell pads out of fear of seeming pushy.
The salesperson is making it harder for the woman to get serviced. Holmes makes some really nice points about how this type of fear of selling doesn’t serve anybody and that upselling is key to preventing issues like this.
They come up with a good system to make sure salespeople are trained to make prospects aware of all six upsell products on every sales call. Everyone wins.
Then to validate his point, Holmes says,
Recently, I activated a new credit card. Usually, this is all done by electronic recording. This time the recording said, “Please hold for an operator.” I thought something must be wrong, but, to my surprise, the only thing the operator did was try to sell me additional services – protection plans, group buying discounts, and so on. Here’s a company that instead of automating the activation process decided to use it as another opportunity to touch down with buyers and this potentially increase profits.
What? There was such a good nugget in that story and then it turns out the point is upsell to increase profits whether through helpfulness or trickery?
I checked the year the book was written, because it seems pretty old school. 2008. Here’s how I’d rewrite for today:
The fear of being salesy or pushy are selfish fears. They’re fears that end up limiting your ability to serve, influence and ultimately help others. By putting systems in place to be more helpful and offer relevant paid solutions to people, you can hedge those fears.