Book Recommendation: Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes

This week, I have book recommendations for you!

With the Holiday season coming up, you’re likely thinking of books to buy those special (business) people in your life — or getting asked questions like, “Hey, uh, what books are you interested in? You know? For the holidays?”

I’m here to help. And recommend a few highly impactful books that I think will make a difference in your sales and marketing, business, or life.

On to the first entry in this year’s book recommendation list!

Ultimate Sales Machine

I first read Ultimate Sales Machine in ~2012 when I moved back from Hawaii to Oregon.

My copy of Ultimate Sales Machine is one of the most marked-up books I own:

(I’m rereading the book this December for the first time in a few years, and I’m excited to rediscover my notes and marginalia.)

The Ultimate Sales Machine is an excellent book on sales and marketing systems. It made a significant impact on me. As I told Chris O’Brien on the Ask Kai Anything page, Ultimate Sales Machine is the book that first introduced me to the concepts of:

  • Outreach and follow-up
  • Value-added sales messaging
  • The importance of using market data in your sales messaging

All of which are very relevant to the work I do today, the products I create, and the articles and tips I share on my newsletter (

Here’s a quote (and a core concept) from Ultimate Sales Machine that has stuck with me over the years:

There’s always a smaller number of “best buyers” than all buyers, meaning marketing to them is cheaper than marketing to all buyers. A marketing effort to 100 “best buyers” is less expensive than a marketing effort to an entire audience of 10,000 “all buyers.” Best buyers buy more, buy faster, and buy more often than other buyers. These are your ideal clients.

This a key concept for positioning your business or marketing your services. You don’t want to be targeting everyone (e.g., “Small Business Positioning“). You want to be targeting a smaller segment of people who are your best buyers.

What’s the pitch for the book? Here’s a short summary:

Called “America’s greatest sales and marketing executive” by Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s partner), Chet Holmes identified 12 core strategies that provided great success to the companies he worked for and became the main structure of truly great companies.

His advice starts with one simple concept: focus!

Instead of trying to master a hundred or a thousand different strategies, Chet recommends zeroing in on just the few essential skill areas that make the big difference. Chet used to say, “Becoming a master is not about doing 4000 different things, it’s about doing 12 things, 4000 times each.”

It’s about spending just an hour per week on each impact area you want to improve: sales, marketing, management, and more.

The book goes through twelve key strategic areas for generating more sales. While the chapter titles (and the book title) can be a bit salesy, the content is good, and the tips are impactful.

  1. Time management secrets of billionaires
  2. Instituting higher standards and regular training
  3. Executing effective meetings
  4. Becoming a brilliant strategist
  5. Hiring superstars
  6. The high art of getting the best buyers
  7. The seven musts of marketing
  8. The eyes have it
  9. The nitty-gritty of getting the best buyers
  10. Sales skills
  11. Follow-up and client bonding skills
  12. All systems go

While lots of the topics apply well to sales teams, the ideas in the book apply very well to independents who are selling their services.

I strongly recommend you pick up a copy of Ultimate Sales Machine. It’s an impactful book that, in my experience, is full of strategies, systems, and methods for improving your sales.

Grab your copy of Ultimate Sales Machine right here: (Non-affiliate link.)