If it’s not your product or service they’re buying, then what is it?

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If it’s not your product or service they’re buying, then what is it?

Which has a better burger, your local burger spot or McDonald’s?

If it was just about the product or service, your favorite hamburger joint would be a mega franchise and McDonald’s would have stayed as one location. But we all know that the world doesn’t work that way, and Joe’s Burgers won’t be competing with McDonald’s any time soon. My father, Chet Holmes, taught that having a successful business is not solely based on your product or service, it’s about the 12 key areas you need to master for growth.

My mastery training in the Chet Holmes Method started with Chet Holmes as a Dad. I remember my first lemonade stand. It wasn’t just a sign saying “Lemonade.” It was a sign saying, “The Best Lemonade You’ve Ever Had.” I remember asking my father why it would be the best ever, and all he said was, “Trust me.” He was right. The amount of people who stopped to get my lemonade quadrupled. They stopped because they were either:

A. hot and thirsty (they probably would have stopped regardless)

B. impressed that a nine-year-old had the gumption to sell “The Best Lemonade Ever” on the side of the road.


There were instances in my life where learning from my father resulted in unusual success. Within the music industry there are many similarities between artists and CEOs of companies. As a previous singer songwriter, I traveled from gig to gig playing my songs everywhere and anywhere I could (Pig Headed Discipline™). Sometimes I worked just for tips and CD sales. Many artists frowned on working for tips, but there was a point where I knew that at every gig I played, I would close 90% of the room to buy my CD. I was the only artist in my network that actually made significant money that way. Of course, we are all aware that the life of an artist is a difficult one, rarely filled with financial rewards, but you might be surprised to hear that it’s not too different in the business world. A recent survey by The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that 66% of firms operate at a loss. (Small business credit survey, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

So why did I see monetary success unlike many of my fellow musicians? And how does it relate to your business? Let me explain.

Amanda Holmes musician

Amanda Holmes- Playing a gig.

I used to tour with a girl that was a far greater musician than me. She played the piano like an angel from heaven. Her songs were clever and catchy. We went from gig to gig together, and when we first started out, she would get up on stage and her set was just song after song after song. Her songs were beautiful, but they didn’t result in many tips. Then I would get up on stage. I couldn’t help myself. A lifetime of Chet Holmes’s personal instruction came out. The first thing I would do was get the names of random people in the crowd. I would learn as many names as possible, and then the rest of my set would be a full dialogue back and forth with the audience— a.k.a. my potential buyers. Then, not only would I build rapport with the people, I would introduce everyone to the one and only – my tip jar. I would actively talk about my love affair with the tip jar throughout the entire set. In the end, they bought my CD. AND they left a tip.

Now I look back trying to understand what I did that naturally brought me success, and I realize that so much wasn’t my product or service, it was the creativity of my delivery, the rapport with the prospect, and my sheer Pig Headed Discipline to get the sale. We know that 80% of sales come after the 5th or 12th contact. How are you implementing this in your business? What are you doing to keep your buyer entertained through all those contacts?

For me, within a 2 hour set I asked for tips in between every song. Sometimes I randomly sang a lyric about my tip jar in the midst of a song. I would crack joke after joke about the tip jar. It all became part of the act. In the hundreds of shows, only one person come to me and say it was obnoxious how much I talked about my tip jar. Otherwise, thousands more laugh along entertained by my charming persistence. Sometimes I would even add extra incentives for filling my tip jar. If they filled the jar to the top, I would walk on my hands. (If you can get salespeople that will walk on their hands, that’s an added bonus.)

Doing shows with this other singer made it obvious just how superior my sales methods were. I knew that people liked her music more, but she had little to no rapport with the audience, and so it was harder for her to make money at the end of her set. She thought that HAVING a tip jar was enough of a reminder and that the audience would know when they wanted to buy. Whereas I MADE SURE they didn’t leave the premise until they’d taken a CD home with them to memorialize this profound experience they just had with us that day. I made sure that everyone was involved, and they truly got something out of the experience. Because of my entertainment, I was closing everyone in the room on my album AND hers. Don’t get me wrong, we had to have the talent to back up the sales or nobody was going to buy our albums, but it was the years of training, ingrained in me by my father, which got the crowd to buy. It wasn’t just the music.

I tell you this story today to remind you to keep practicing thinking strategically. Come up with more ways to build rapport, increase the level of satisfaction of your buyer, create up-sells that serve your client. What can you do to creatively invite them to pull out their pocketbook and buy? Because often times the reason they buy has nothing to do with the product itself. Mastery isn’t about doing 4,000 things. It’s about doing twelve things 4,000 times. Joe’s Hamburgers has mastered the twelve ways to make a delicious hamburger, but those aren’t the twelve areas of mastery Joe needs to make his company outrageously profitable. Are you mastering the right skills in you business?

After writing this I feel more inclined than ever to show off the talents here at my company, Chet Holmes International. I eagerly look forward to filling your metaphorical tip jar, and walking on my hands (which I can still do) to celebrate your success. You can speak to one of our experts here:



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