Amanda Holmes is the CEO of Chet Holmes International (CHI) which has worked with over 250,000 businesses worldwide. At age 24, she inherited her father’s
multi-million-dollar enterprise, which specializes in helping companies double their sales. Amanda merged her father’s proven process with her own forward-thinking ideas to connect the old-school sales process with hybrid online and offline instant gratification short attention span we see of consumers today. Her success has made it clear that she was born to lead. In the first two years of taking helm of the company, Amanda increased leads by 1176%, and doubled coaching clients two years in a row. Since then, Amanda has continued to scale the company making an impact worldwide with continued double-digit growth.
Amanda’s mission is to teach the last and most important lesson that her father never got to reveal to radically change the lives of those passionate about success and sales.
Now that the new version of ‘The Ultimate Sales Machine’ is ready to go for pre-order, I must ask, did you ever get writer’s block when you were giving the timeless classic a facelift?
It took me FOUR YEARS to write the new edition. I got every kind of writer’s block you could imagine! The first year I had an editor from Penguin meeting with me every two weeks to go over the edits I made. I’d change one sentence, or something grammatical and it would make me so nervous and worried about changing such a masterpiece.
Then I hired my book coach Julie Ann Eason, without her I would still be rewriting that book over and over and over again. She exponentially catapulted me forward. Not only did she help me gain clarity in my own voice, articulating the concepts in an easier way for readers to implement. She also helped me on the final edit where I literally didn’t think I would be able to finish just two more pages of finalization. She had to physically move me from my chair, grab my laptop, and write the last three paragraphs I was saying and just couldn’t put it to paper.
Writer’s block is a real thing! Julie explains it in her book 5 Author Freakouts. I went through every single one.
Talk to us about the production process in putting together the new book, what was the experience like for you, and how can companies order books for their employees?
This book is a cult classic and my father is legendary in both the marketing and sales worlds, he was a master at both which is rare. Hence why the book has continued to sell mostly by word of mouth for 15 years. The only problem was, he wrote all his concepts before the Internet really. And so much of our world has changed due to the internet. So all his timeless strategies stayed the same, it’s the tactics that I had to update.
Absolutely! Every company should buy books for not only their staff but many companies buy copies for their clients and prospects too! Visit UltimateSalesMachine.com for copies and special discounts on Bulk orders!
You inherited your father’s business, Chet Holmes International at the age of 24, a business that for over 25 years helped sales executives and business leaders from all over the world. I can only imagine how difficult that might have been for you, especially if your own personal goals in life were on a different journey. Talk to us about your mindset then vs. what it is today as it pertains to the current journey that you are on in life?
I used to think, “how could a singer ever become CEO of a world class revenue generating company?” I questioned myself over and over again, and yet I had a mentor, an Indian Saint by the name of Sarva Loka Maa Her Holiness Sri Sri Sri 1008 Guruji Poonamji. Her title is long due to its high honor, I refer to Her as Guruji. Guruji taught me that fulfillment comes from giving. When everything felt like it was going to collapse, Guruji taught me to go beyond my own needs or desires and instead focus on being of service. When you serve clients with their best interest in mind, they come back for more and walk around as billboards for your business!
It’s hard to stay in a place of service when the world tells you to be greedy, to take what you want and forget everyone else. So today I’m perpetually reinforcing the desire to serve, reminding myself multiple times a day to let go of my anger, fears, frustrations and guilt that would stop me from being of service. It’s a battle the ego plays on us all. I’m critical about surrounding myself with people that have a similar core value of service and humility so they can help check me when I fall or get out of line. We all do, it’s part of life. It’s the willingness to want to get back up and continue.
You are not only an amazing CEO, but you are also a prolific public speaker. From a speaker’s perspective what are three key points that you try to always get across when connecting with an audience?
Speaking has always come naturally to me, which I guess is rare considering it’s in the top 3 most feared things in life for the general population.
To me, speaking isn’t about me, it’s an opportunity to take an entire room and collectively bring everyone together and with that strength of energy uplift an audience. Before I was speaking on doubling sales I was singing on stages as a singer/songwriter. Other singers at coffee shops would sit in the corner and quietly play. I was not so quiet. By the end of my set I knew every person in the audience’s name. They felt they were a part of the experience, I talked to everyone, it was a dialogue not a monologue. Because of that I would close 99% of the room into buying my CDs every single time. Nobody went home without getting my album.
Before that I was the school wide spirit director, managing every school function. I took the role very seriously believing that I could single handedly bring together the divide of English and Spanish speaking students at school. We had a lot of gangs and it was hard to bring everyone together. From nobody attending school rallies to by the time I finished every rally was a fire hazard because too many people showed up.
Every time I get on stage it’s about the audience. I’m just a conduit to assist bring people together and lift them up. Here’s 3 critical pieces majority of speakers miss:
- You should know at least 3 names of people in the audience before you step on stage. Before I do my keynotes I’ll walk through the crowd and shake hands with as many people as I can, asking them what they’re looking for in my session. Finding out their pains, their frustrations. So that when I start my talk I’m calling out people from the audience by name. It makes a connection that people feel significant and involved and therefore more attentive to learn and listen. I once heard a talk from the CEO of Walmart where he admitted if he didn’t know anyone in the crowd he’d say random people’s names from stage as if he knew people just to make it seem more personal.
- You must read your audience! Keep a very focused eye on the faces of the people in the room. If they look tired before you start, you got to get them to wake up. Get energized. Make them stand up and stretch just to break the lull in the room. If they look confused about something you’re saying, ask if someone has a question. If many people look confused or uninterested you should clarify something. I am hyper focused on the energy of the room and every face in the audience. If they look bored, you need to get them involved. Do an exercise, a workshop, get them on the mics sharing, ask them questions. The attention span of people today is only 3 seconds. I keep that in mind so I am perpetually asking the audience to reply, to say “YES” if they understand what I’m saying… To yell out an answer if they think they know it. Anything to get them involved and interacting. Speeches should be a two way dialogue, otherwise you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
- People retain only roughly 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, and 50% of what they hear and see. That’s why we have for decades presented with slides to enforce what you’re saying. Showing the key points is critical to assist the audience to better comprehend and retain the information you’re giving them. I just did a keynote for Hubspot and in my 90 minute presentation I had 84 slides, one per minute basically. I watched other speakers at the event have people come in and out of their sessions. People weren’t very invested in the sessions. In my session, hundreds of people stayed actively participating in my talk because every minute new information was being delivered and everyone was involved from testing pitches, to calculations of ROIs of proven strategies. So make sure you have VISUALS!
What’s next in the cards for Chet Holmes International in the way of tours, classes, books, and other things that you are looking to roll out in 2023?
This book launch is huge for the progress of CHI, once I finished the book I went back and re-engineered all our products and services to update them like the book. So once people are done with the book they can grab our new courses, our live interactive bootcamps that are getting 10x the results of our industry. Clients are generating leads and sales quicker than ever before. Bootcamps are for those that want to be guided on how to execute the strategies from the book themselves. One on one coaching is to help those that need a bit of personalized assistance. And we also have done for you services for those that want to ensure success skipping over the wasted time of error. If you’d like to double your sales in the next 12 months, visit ChetHolmes.com for more details!
For more information on Amanda Holmes and Chet Holmes International