Chet Holmes passed away on August 12th after a year-plus long battle with leukemia.
He appeared to be on the road to recovery but developed graft verses host disease after a seemingly successful marrow transplant.
Chet kept a private weblog for family and friends and the intimacy of what he shared combined with the courage he maintained throughout his illness are inspirational.
Fortunately, his sales and marketing legacy lives on though his books, recorded seminars and teachings. He built some of the fastest growing companies and broke sales records almost everywhere he went.
His track record in the Fortune 500 world was as impressive as they come, but it was when he teamed up with Jay Abraham in the late 1990s-early 2000s that Chet became a fixture in the direct response world.
Chet’s sales and marketing strategies can fill a book, and they do. But it’s a particular interview strategy I admire of his, that helped him build record breaking sales teams. Chet was a caring human being and a great teacher, but above all he was a hard charger.
Since you can’t build a world beating sales team with milquetoast people in the field, Chet had a way of identifying the great ones.
Chet would sit across the desk from an interviewee, ask him or her some of the standard questions and then abruptly face the candidate and say: “Okay, John , that’s fine, but let’s get to the bottom line. You and I both know you’re simply not cut out for this sales position. Are you?”
Tellingly in the black-and-white world of sales, the majority of candidates sheepishly nod, pick up their briefcases and leave the room.
Chet was looking for the minority of candidates who’d look him in the eye and reply: “Nonsense. Give me a chance and I’ll prove you wrong.”
Chet embodied excellence in all that he did but he also had a humorous side. I remember him laughing after I needled him about a quote from JFK he used in a headline: “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”
MIke Anderson says
I have been heavily influenced by Chet Holmes over the years. I was shocked by news of his death.
Alistair Gray says
What an enormous loss. Thank you for sharing that. Absolutely love Chet’s material and his approach to business and marketing. He has left a lasting legacy for us all to enjoy and learn from.
Copywriter Kevin Francis says
Thanks for the post Lawrence and the interview story. I first heard Chet on a recording of one of Jay Abraham’s events and I immediately thought “Wow! This guy is incredible!” Time to re-read “The Ultimate Sales Machine”.
One of the giants of our time. Appreciate the opportunity to have learned from Chet.
Through his book, the ultimate sales machine, Chet taught me how to create a core story and spend most of my time pursuing only the best buyers. Implementing those two strategies made an enormous impact on my sales production.
He had the rare combination of being a truly brilliant thinker and a master implementer. My favorite Chet story is that he was able to go into business with Tony Robbins after pursuing Tony for 17 years! Perfect example of what he called ‘PHD’ (pig headed discipline).
Dr. Carney says
I looked at the Ultimate Sales Machine book for at least three or four months on the Barnes and Noble book shelf. I’d go in about once a week and look for the latest and greatest marketing books. Yeah I was using the web, but I am just a book kind of guy. Well I don’t know what possessed me to finally buy it, but once I did my life was changed. Then I took the next step. I bought the book on CD, and that was even better. Listening to Chet took my level of understanding up a notch. I was thinking, “Did Chet write that? I don’t remember reading that.” Then I’d go back and find it, and sure enough, there it was. Chet was a motivator, innovator, and leader. I rank him right up there with Steve Jobs. Every year you find someone who leaves us, but leaves us a legacy. I expect there will be more before the year is out, but Chet was a master at what he did. I owe a lot of what I do to him. God bless him. Dr. Carney
Jim Symcox says
I was lucky enough to be a coach with Chet Holmes and have been coached by Chet too. There’s no doubt in my mind that both Chet and Jay are real geniuses at understanding business. It was a real privilege to be associated with Chet. As Dr. Carney says I owe Chet a lot in my own business life.
Alan Simpson says
Just remembering And thinking about Chet today. He was a great guy. I miss his infectious enthusiasm and just talking to him.