Many businesses spend a lot of resources on advertising and building their brand. But without knowing their dream buyer, their effort will be all for naught. Delving into smarter buyer sales strategies with Penny Zenker is musician-turned-CEO Amanda Holmes. After taking over Chet Holmes International with her father’s passing, Amanda learned the proper way to connect with the right market that will yield the most exciting results. She discusses how to determine which ones will actually buy and how to keep up with your competitors. Amanda also explains how to maximize social media reach in showcasing your business value and educating them with what you offer.
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Amanda Holmes On Determining And Focusing On Your Dream Buyer
In this show, we focus on how we can help you to work smarter. I find people who think differently or think from a more strategic versus tactical perspective that help you get a new perspective on maybe some old challenges. I’m super excited to have Amanda Holmes with us. Amanda is CEO of Chet Holmes International which has assisted over 250,000 businesses worldwide based on Chet Holmes’s New York Times bestseller, The Ultimate Sales Machine. I worked with Amanda and her father back when Chet was partnering with Tony Robbins. This is especially great to have you here, Amanda. I want to mention in the beginning a little bit about your start at your father’s company. When he passed, unfortunately, you went from a music career, you were a singer beforehand, and jumped in as CEO of this organization to continue running it. It had to be incredibly difficult. Welcome to the show. I’d love to start there if we could.
Thank you. When the story hit on Inc., it was the second most shared story that day, which was very exciting. This idea that I’m 24 years old and there was no plan for me to take over that business. You probably know. You were in the fold. My father was ill, but never once in the year and a half that I’ve stayed in the hospital with him did we ever discuss that I would take over. He never said, “These are the companies that I run. This is who runs them. This is what’s going on. These are my future goals for the company.”
He passed and I loved my father. I was very close to him, so it was emotional for me. The first time I saw the P&L, I burst out into tears. It was terrifying. I didn’t know what half of the companies were. Everybody was double my age. It’s a consulting firm for established businesses and here I am like, “I can play you a song.” It was very scary. The first several years, I tried to replace my father with different C-suites, CEOs, CMOs, CTOs. Ultimately, I stepped in two years later as CEO. We doubled sales in 2020, which was nice. We’re continuing to take my father’s legacy, the foundation that he created. We build upon it and adapt it to what it looks like today. We have twelve core competencies for doubling sales. They still work better than ever. That book is voted now in the top ten most recommended sales books of all time.
It’s a classic. It’s amazing that more people aren’t actively using those strategies. That book is a gold mine because they’re all in there. We’re going to focus on one of those strategies, which was the Dream Buyer Strategy to help people stop the spray and pray approach of their whole sales process, and get clear on who they want as their best customers.
It’s the fastest least expensive way to double sales. This one strategy has doubled the sales of more companies than any other. It doesn’t matter what industry, what country or what language, this is a system that works.
Your dad had such great stories of where this came from. If you could share one of those stories.
He worked with the billionaire, Charlie Munger. Maybe you’ve heard of Warren Buffett. He’s his Co-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. He was able to double the sales of nine different divisions all within 12 to 15 months and several divisions doubled in multiple years consecutively. He worked with the Fortune 500, then with Charlie. He got his big break and then worked with more of the Fortune 500. He realized that there was a system for how to double your sales. He was a karate master. There are only a few ways that you can punch and kick. It’s the same thing in business. A quotable quote that I love from him is, “Mastery isn’t about doing 4,000 different things. It’s about doing twelve things 4,000 times.”
He created this system for how to win those big fish deals to completely change your world. He was given a list by Charlie of 2,000 different potential prospects and said, “Cold call these 2,000 people.” He analyzed the list of 2,000 and he realized that only 167 of them bought 95% of his space. He was selling advertising for a newspaper. He went and instead of marketing to 2,000, he led an intensive Dream 100 effort or the Best Buyer Strategy or the Dream Buyer Strategy. He went after those 167 in a consistent effort. Instead of spending all this money on marketing to go after so many, he sent out a mailer twice a month and then followed up with a phone call twice a month and followed up with an email.A dream buyer is someone that buys the most from you the most often. Click To Tweet
At that time, he was doing faxing. Now, we have Instagram DM, Facebook Ads and all of these different mediums. At that time, he consistently marketed to them. For the first four months, he got nothing. People started talking in the halls, “Who’s this great sales guy? He hasn’t gotten a deal.” He was going after the biggest deals in the industry. In his fifth month, he closed the largest contract that that company had ever seen. It was Xerox. He brought them into the industry. For the remaining six months, he closed 28 more. They doubled sales in the sixth month and continued to double sales multiple years consecutively. They realized that there was a process to refine how to go after those big fish clients, and repeatedly do that with your entire staff so that it runs like a machine.
What I love about that is the 95% and the 5% that is the target. In a way, that’s the Pareto Principle. It’s like, “Why aren’t we living?” I talk about that also when we talk about where we spend our time. This is also a performance management solution to say, “This is the 20% that’s going to make 80% of the difference. Why bother with all the others? Focus on what’s most strategic.” He’s living the Pareto Principle and teaching others to live it when it comes to sales.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had a client where I or all of our coaches and consultants will say, “Take a list of all your current clientele and look how much do each of them generate you in revenue.” It doesn’t get old to watch the shock on their face where they say, “Only 15% of my clientele are producing 80% of my revenue.” The first thing we do with coaching is to say, “How do we just focus on them?” This is all busywork. This is taking up your time, energy and efficiency. It would be a completely different place if we niched.
That being said, this also becomes a valuable communication tool to the organization because I was in a completely different context working inside as senior management in a market research company. We were having to turn around a division that had been failing for years. We had to do that analysis and find out that we had three accounts that were going to make the difference to us to stay and create something in the future. Nobody else in the organization could understand why we were focusing on this small subset. They were upset like, “You’ve got to do something for these.” It became so easy to communicate that by doing the analysis and showing them, “Here’s where the money is. Here’s where the future is.”
It made it so easy for everybody to understand the strategy. It may be left out in the idea of when we can transparently communicate that. It can be powerful for the organization to put that direct focus into those things that are most important. I do love that quote about doing twelve things 4,000 times. I always fell back on that as well about how important that is. I remember the way he used to tell the story where Charlie would call him in and say, “Chet, are you doing something illegal here?”
“We double sales three years in a row. Are you sure we’re not lying, cheating or stealing?” Since you have this trend of talking about time management as well, I find it interesting because inheriting the business, I became a student of my father. I watched his training program every single day for six months straight. I read his book because I had never had formal training. I’d run the company now as what he trained on. I have the key impact areas in the business. One hour a week, we meet on those things and we discuss those things to make sure that we’re perpetually improving. That 1-Hour-A-Week Formula of what are the twelve ways that you increase your business, you should meet on them and improve them. Just one hour a week commitment.
People, listen, that’s all it takes. One hour a week. Focus on the most important thing. Isn’t it crazy that that is the thing they can’t make time for?
I’d been spending quite a bit of time on Clubhouse for a while and asking people, “What’s your question?” They’d say, “I’m so overwhelmed with Clubhouse. I spend six hours here.” There are lots of rabbit holes with social. I keep telling everybody, “I understand that Clubhouse is important to my business and I do one hour a week of Clubhouse. I run and moderate a room every Friday afternoon, one hour a week so that I make sure that I’m doing that. It’s a part of my world and it’s a consistent basis. It continues to bring me business and that’s nice. It’s not everything to my business. It’s something that I schedule one hour a week then I don’t feel overwhelmed. I’m managing it. I’m being proactive. I’m managing expectations and it feels great.” It even works for social. Can you do one hour a week on social? What is that commitment?
Let’s come back to the Best Buyer Strategy. Let’s talk a little bit more about what are the steps for people who this is maybe a new concept. I get it. It’s about defining who my best buyers are. I’ve defined avatars before. Let’s talk about what’s the difference between defining your avatar, who your ideal customer is, and how you do that in this context?
This is such a great point because people have learned it. Russell Brunson has put out the Dream 100 as a concept. He learned from my father and has grown it. They went from $0 to $100 million in four years, ClickFunnels. What a great success story of my father’s concept. The part that’s been lost is the point. The point of this process is to go from, “I never heard of this company to I’ve heard of this company to I work with this company and I love them. I continually work with them and I send them lots of clients.” At first, people thought that the Dream 100 or the Best Buyer Strategy was something where you send them direct mail. If you send them direct mail, you’re going to get this client.
What was lost is all of these Millennials, my generation, came in and said, “Direct mail. This is a foreign concept.” It does break through the clutter. Your average prospect is looking at 3,000 different commercial messages every single day. They are overwhelmed with information. To be able to break through the clutter is great. If you have a flashlight and the letter says, “Are you shining the light on this problem that’s facing you in your business?” It’s clever. It gets the attention rather than a cold email. What was missing was a follow-up. They thought that they were supposed to send this out and then people would respond to them. It needs to be a follow-up with maybe picking up the phone and dialing them and trying to get their appointment, “Did you get my mailer? Did you see that flashlight? I have a great education for you on the three things you need to know that’s putting businesses like yours out of business.”
It’s the follow-up. People in sales should know that by now.
The point is that there is a step-by-step process on how to win those big deals. It’s a formula. You critique it and make it better. The first step is who is your dream buyer. It’s shocking how many businesses don’t know this. One of the misconceptions that have happened over the years as it’s become universal is people think, “It’s a Dream 100 Strategy. I need 100 businesses.” It’s sometimes overwhelming for a business that maybe they just need five or they may even have one in their Dream Buyer Strategy. Who are those for you? It could be 50 or 20.
Let me ask you a question. Some people think, “I worked as a jeweler. I want to work with celebrities. Celebrities would be my dream buyer.” What would you say to that? I’ll tell you what happened. I was working with your dad at the time. His thought was that the celebrities would be their dream buyers, but that’s not what the analysis said. The people who had the most celebrity status were the hardest to work with. They put the most pressure on the price. Believe it or not, they were not the best buyers. We don’t step back enough to do that analysis. That was able to help him to identify who were the people that he loved to work with and were easiest to work with, and bought the best of the product.
That’s such a brilliant point. I did this when I first came into the business. I thought, “Who do I need to win? I’m going to win the Fortune 500 as clients to prove to everybody that I can do this. I’m also going to get the most celebrity everybody knows.” I got DigitalMarketer as a client, which in my sphere is the number one marketing training company. I got Panasonic as a client. I went after the big names, but when I started looking back and looking who are my better clients, who are the ones that love me? Who are the ones that we work well together that are effortless and easy? Because it’s effortless and easy, they buy the most from you the most often. That is a key part.
A dream buyer is someone that buys the most from you the most often. You love to work with them. In my own dream buyer approach, I’ve been focusing on businesses that did what I experienced, which was I inherited a company that was running at a very old operating system. Every single sale was made over the phone. We had nothing online, no eCommerce whatsoever. We were running a DAS modem in 2012. Talk about a shocker. It was made in the ’80s. I had to bring all of that to now. I had to adapt, innovate, take marketing, put it online, landing pages, emails and automation.
I’ve been having so much fun working with clients that have maybe an older approach like, “I only have cold calling or I get most of my business through referrals.” What if you had a system that worked overnight so you weren’t always having to pick up the phone and dialing? Now you’re getting inbound calls. They’re warm and nurtured prospects that are interested, engaged and want to work with you. I’ve been having a blast with that. At first, I went after the shiny objects like, “You are the biggest and the best and you look the fanciest.”
We’ve talked about identifying the best buyer. You talked about sending some things via post which can make you stand out a little bit. How do you bring that then to social media? Let’s say the person isn’t responding and you want to have those multiple touchpoints. I know you’ve had some great successes and interesting stories over social media. What are some ideas of how people could put this strategy into practice and use those channels?
Research reveals that when an employee posts something on social versus the actual brand, you’re seven times more likely to convert a prospect over social if it’s just you versus the brand name title. You’re 24 times more likely to get reshared if you post information on social. I found this to be a pivotable ballpoint for me. When I heard that market data, I thought, “The power of people now has become extreme.” Personal brands weren’t so much of a thing several years ago. Now you’re seeing so many more CEOs and salespeople that are having to brand themselves because people want to engage with people. I am backtracking because so many people get lost, “I’m spending all this time on social media. I’m trying to build my brand.”
For me, in my home, growing up, my father hated the word branding. If you were spending on advertising on getting a brand, it boiled his blood because he thought, “if you’re spending money on advertising, you should be converting leads and generating sales.” That was part of his brilliance. He created this whole system on how to do that. On social, it boggles my mind when people think that social is about building the brand. The point of social, which is the same point of marketing, is to create top of mind awareness. We want to create top of mind awareness so that when that prospect or person that’s viewing your content gets into the buying now category, they are reaching out to you first because you’ve been there, your smiling face and you’re doing things.
The next point is what a great way to get the attention of your prospect. Several years ago, we had seven on average. The average marketer was on seven different marketing mediums. Now, we have fourteen different marketing mediums. We have doubled the amount of marketing mediums. It is an absolute overwhelm, the amount of marketing mediums we have. If we can use it in a sales role, let’s say you have a Dream 100, you’re trying to get the attention of that dream buyer. Instead of just knocking on their front door, going to email, sending them direct mail, you can send them a LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram message.
Why knock on the front door if they’re always using the back door to go in and out? It makes sense. I love that you’ve got all of those places. Instead of seeing it as an overwhelm, shift that mindset to it’s a bigger opportunity to see which ones are the right ones and the best ones for that person.
For instance, I was tweeting out to Clay Collins who’s the CEO of Leadpages at the time, which was the fastest-growing SaaS company in Minnesota. It was a fairly large organization. If I had tried to cold call, if I tried to email, it would have been lost in the fray. He spends a lot of time on Twitter. I had been watching his tweets. I’ve been tweeting along with them and commenting on them. I got into his periphery. He started to see bits of comments here or there. I ran a virtual event where I reached over five million entrepreneurs with my virtual event through all of my promotions. I tweeted him and I said, “I have a virtual event coming up. We’re going to reach five million entrepreneurs. I would love to talk to you about being involved. Got twenty minutes.”
Within the hour, I heard back from him, “What’s the next step?” I direct messaged him on Twitter, “Let’s get on the phone.” We discussed it. He got on my thing. Eight months later because of my follow-up, he paid me to get on stage in front of their 600 entrepreneurs at his annual conference, CONVERTED. That’s just one example of somebody that’s on social that’s a high-figure celebrity in the marketing world. In my industry, it was a celebrity. From that, one of the audience members had a start-up. He watched me speak. He got into our program. He went through the Dream Buyer process and he ended up landing a $64 million contract in his first five weeks. It was like gift-giving. I got my dream buyer then he got his dream buyer. It runs full circle.
What I love about this strategy is that it works. For the readers, it works. You have to have what your dad had. You have to have pigheaded discipline. You have to have your PhD.By niching, a business can save a lot of time, energy, and efficiency. Click To Tweet
The only reason why you will fail the strategy is if you do one thing wrong and that is pigheaded discipline and determination. If you give up, it will be because you lack that pigheaded discipline and determination. My father spent seventeen years getting Tony as a client, but it turned into a successful business. It’s something that never ends. We have another old client that has grown 40% year over year. She’s now gone on to sell over ten million units of her product which have never even been in the industry. She had created it out of thin air, Kari Warberg Block, CEO of EarthKind. It’s something that can you can continually refine it and you get it better. There are lots of steps. There are ten steps to deploy a Dream Buyer Strategy. As you refine them and get each one better, it gets more effective.
I want to bring up another point that is also important as to where someone could fail because not everybody succeeds. What’s something else where they could fall over? It’s the discipline and the consistent follow-up and what else?
Is there one that popped up for you that’s why you’re bringing that up?
I don’t have your process in my head now. I was thinking of people who are approaching to get my attention like over LinkedIn, you get this stuff that comes out at you. I like to hear your opinion on this and where this fits into that process. It has to be relevant. If you’re going to want to be in somebody’s sphere and you’re going to want them to notice you, you’re going to have to be relevant, add value and know what value is to that person. A huge area where people fail is they talk about themselves, think about themselves, and they’ll write this long thing with all of these videos. I’m like, “I’m not going to look at that. Thank you for sending me two pages of whatever but I’m not interested.” What would you say to that whole relevancy value to that point?
It’s step number three, building the value. Let’s say that you send out messages to 100 people on LinkedIn. Research reveals that roughly around 3% of those are in that buying now category. If you’re saying, “I’d like to talk to you about my service. I provide coaching services.” Only 3 out of those 100 will be interested in that buying now. Of those three, they’re looking at competitors as well. They’re not just looking at you. They’re doing their research. It’s difficult if all you’re providing is saying, “Let’s talk about my service.” You’re missing out on 90% of that buyer’s pyramid. We teach this chapter four of The Ultimate Sales Machine. You can get it for free online on my website. That buyer’s pyramid, 3% are interested in buying now.
If you draw a triangle and you draw a little line at the 3%, at the tip of that triangle, that’s the buying now, then another line at around 7% of that triangle, they’re open to it. They’re maybe not buying right this second, but they’re in this sphere and they’re doing their research. I know the 30%, you do another line, are not thinking about it. Another 30% think they’re not interested. The last 30% are not interested. If you create some call-to-action that is educational that talks to them about what’s keeping them up at night, what are they having meetings about that day that you could talk to that will educate them and bring them into the “I’m interested in what you have to say.” It brings them up through that buyer’s pyramid so that they get to that buying now category. That is a huge part of the Dream Buyer Strategy. It’s that messaging so that it is educational so that it grabs them. I can give some examples of that too.
I like to keep these short and we want people to be able to find out. Where could they go to find out more about the process for the best buyer?
I would recommend going to UltimateSalesMachine.com, the name of the book. That will take you to a three-part free video series that will teach our 1-Hour-A-Week Formula and how to double your sales. It’ll have three different videos. One is about the Dream Buyer Strategy. Another one is about how to get nine times more impact from every move you make. That’s the messaging piece, and then another one on hiring sales superstars. That would be a great place.
Before we wrap up, I want to ask you a couple of different questions that I ask a lot of different people that I’m interviewing. First of all, I’m interested especially because you come from a creative side. This business thing is on top of this creative spirit that you are. How do you define productivity and why?
A crucial part is creating an efficient schedule that gets you the results in an effortless and easy way where you’re proactive versus reactive.
A lot of times, people love tools. It’s not all about the tools. If you had your phone and it was a race and you had to add things back. Outside of your schedule and your email and those basic apps, what would be the first thing that you add back that brings you the greatest amount of productivity?
Do you mean apps that helped me with productivity?
Something that helps make your life easier or helps you get things done faster or helps you get organized. What would you add back? Your phone is blank. There’s nothing on it except for your calendar and your email. What are you going to add back?
I can’t answer your question because I feel that the apps usually deter me away. The thing that I do which I feel should be an app is my father’s Six Steps to Time Management, Secrets of Billionaires. That is the one thing that I do outside of my phone every morning. I take out a piece of paper and I write down this whole process on how to schedule my day, adding in being proactive versus reactive time. It increases my productivity by 500% easy. That is the one thing that keeps me clean and clear, on schedule, producing the results I need, and prioritizing correctly. I can have fun on my phone with all the apps that take you away into that rabbit holes.
You should create an app for that.
I need to and I’ve been wanting to.
That would be the first app that you put on. It is your own app that you’re going to create. Sometimes people have little tools. I use a little thing called TextExpander. I can say #bio, every time my bio will appear in whatever app I miss. It saves me a couple of hours a week because I’m constantly using certain paragraphs of texts. Sometimes people have these little things that they love that nobody’s heard of. I want to bring light to some of those.
Sorry, it was so much in my face, my response. I couldn’t even get to it now.If you're spending money on advertising, you should be converting leads and generating sales. Click To Tweet
It’s all good. Do you miss singing? Are you still singing? Where’s that part of you, that 24-year-old who was doing all that creative spirit?
I had released my fourth record right before my father got ill. I was pretty far on my career and my focus. I’m good at getting focused. I left it. It’s been several years since I released an album. I spent several years not listening to any pop music whatsoever and only listening to Sanskrit chants. I study under an Indian Saint and being as clean and clear as possible. I feel that a lot of music out there now brings you down instead of lifting you up. The beauty of music can be to elevate you to another level. In this room, I rented a bunch of equipment to record my next record.
I find it valuable because when I was heading up against a lot of fear of taking over this company, having all these limiting beliefs, and afraid of getting on a big call, I would use music to be able to get me through that. It helped me get out of my limiting beliefs. All of these different positive songs that I would use and mantras and such. I bet you, our clients would love that too. The heads of businesses need this. I’m recording something to give executives the ability to listen to it, feel uplifted and then go into a sales call or a dream buyer call. If I could merge those two worlds together, it’d be beautiful because that’s what I’ve used. I’m sure it would help others.
Music is an emotional portal for people in different ways. You do need to be careful of what you’re listening to because just like who you hang out with, it can have an emotional impact in a productive or destructive type of way. I love that you’re getting back into that and that you’re looking to combine it with what you’re doing now. I’m sure it’s inspired and will be something different.
Thank you. We’ll see.
I’m excited to see what you come up with. Thank you so much for being here and sharing your wisdom. I know this is only the tip of the iceberg for all of the strategies that you’re working with and the stories that you have. Thank you for sharing. Hopefully, we’ll have you on again.
It’s such a pleasure, Penny. Thank you so much. It was a joy.
Thank you, guys, for being here. I know that there’s a part of you that says, “I know this.” I want you to throw that part out and I want you to read this again because if you’re not getting the results, then you don’t know this. You’re not doing this. Everything that we talked about here are strategies that are tried and true that will help you to work smarter, to live the Pareto Principle. That’s a lot of what I talk about. A lot of what this show is about helping you to live the 20%. It’s to understand every area of your life where you can find that 20%. This is a direct strategy on how to find it and then how to go after it. It’s up to you guys. Put it into practice. Reach out to Amanda and go check out that website of The Ultimate Sales Machine. We look forward to seeing you in the next episode. Bye, everyone.
- The Ultimate Sales Machine
- Chet Holmes International
About Amanda Holmes
Amanda Holmes is CEO of Chet Holmes International which has assisted over 250,000 businesses worldwide. Based on Chet Holmes’ New York Times Best Seller The Ultimate Sales Machine, the book has been voted in the top 10 most recommended sales books of all time. CHI has worked with over 85 of the Fortune 500.
Excerpt from Inc.com: “Here’s why this is an incredible story. Think about this for a moment. You’re 24 years old having been graduated from USC just 2 years earlier with a music degree (and a promising performing arts career) and you are faced with an incredible decision to “stay the course” with your original career path, or pivot and become the CEO of your father’s incredibly successful multi-million dollar enterprise with more than a 100 employees–most of whom are older than you and have been with the company for several more years than you.” Inc.com, Bill Carmody -At 24, This Recent College Grad Became the CEO of Her Father’s Company and Hasn’t Looked Back Since.
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Penny Zenker is a Focusologist, international speaker and best-selling author. She is passionate about helping people live more fulfilling lives by reducing stress, improving communication, and creating greater passion and focus. Her experience includes building and selling a multi-million dollar business, managing business turnarounds, living abroad for 16 years, and worked 5 years a Tony Robbins business coach. She will challenge you to think differently and inspire you to be your best. Her easy-to-understand frameworks and methods make implementation fast and easy.