To be truthful, I don't get the impression you're really a superstar

20 replies
That's what Chet Holmes used to tell candidates interviewing for a sales position. Their reaction helped separate the women from the girls, and the men from the boys. It scares people off, but for him it was very reliable in revealing top producers.

There's a lot more to it than that, however. Here is the whole process:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nYpVa54b3k

You may find it useful when interviewing salespeople.

Chet discusses a study of top achievers--one commonality they found: A "blindly encouraging parent of the opposite sex." (go to 38:25 mark). Ex: If you read Jack Welch's books, he talks about his very encouraging mother.

(Post title quoted from Holmes, Chet (2007-06-21). The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies (p. 94). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.)
#don’t #impression #superstar #truthful #you’re
  • Profile picture of the author Joel Young
    This looks very interesting and useful indeed. I watched the first 2-3 minutes of the video, then bookmarked it because at the moment I don't have an hour to watch it, but will do so later today. Thanks for this info!
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    Internet Marketer gone back to his original profession as a musician. May be back someday..... maybe not.....

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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    I suppose...you'll separate those who have a healthy self-concept from those who don't.

    However, you'll also get a ton of defensiveness.

    Personally, I wouldn't use this method. As a hiring manager, a question I've found that uncovers issues (much better than "What is your greatest weakness?") is:

    Can you tell me about a work situation where things didn't work out the way you had hoped...what happened, and if you had the chance to do it over again, what would you do differently?

    Much more revealing.

    In Holmes' case, I probably would have looked right back at him, smiled, got up, shook his hand and left. Games are not my thing. I'm a president and just as valuable as he is/was.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      I think the method is great for high energy phone closers. If you want Sharks, you'll find Sharks.

      I always ask how they were treated in their latest job, and the one before that. I want to find out if they blame other people, or take responsibility for what happens to them.

      It works because it sounds like I'm asking about the other workers and their past employers..but it's really about them. They just don't know they are talking about themselves.

      Whatever they are saying about their past fellow employees and employer...in a month they will be saying about you.

      Claude "Tricksy" Whitacre
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      "Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity" Friedrich Nietzsche
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      And he would have hired you.
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post


      In Holmes' case, I probably would have looked right back at him, smiled, got up, shook his hand and left. Games are not my thing. I'm a president and just as valuable as he is/was.
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      • Profile picture of the author BamIPD
        Not to take away from this great conversation, but this thread reminded me of an idea I've been wanting to do.

        I want to make an extremely impressive resume and cover let, one that is sure to get a call back to set up an interview. Once in the interview, I'll have a hidden device recording the interview waiting for it...

        "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

        Where do I see myself in 5 years? Well, I see myself taking your job and when I'm doing interviews I promise I'll never ask any employee such a bullshit cliche question.

        I need to work on the response, but I think putting a compilation of reactions (blurred video obviously) would be hilarious.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    I've thought Chet's way of hiring was interesting. Never used it personally but I like just having an informal conversation vs. asking set questions. They will sell themselves and reveal a lot when you just let them talk.

    Like Jason some variation on the classic "what are your weaknesses" is good even though that classic is a bit weak in and of itself. I don't have a set question I just end up bringing it up in some fashion during the talk.

    But how you hire should be a function of what you are hiring for. If you want ego driven sales people and can pay them enough to stay then Chet's method works very well.

    Personally I wouldn't want that guy working for me. That kind of closer will piss off your clients in the long run IMO. Remember this guy only cares about themselves and closing sales.

    Some of the best sales people I have had the pleasure to work with didn't have the ego. Some of them didn't even find out how good they were till they were put behind the right leader in the right environment.

    Those tend to be more loyal as long as you pay good. While the ego type will always be looking for the bigger score.

    Personally I would want to have sales people that are loyal despite the fact they could make more elsewhere. There is always a bigger pay check out there, right?

    Also no offence but the ego guys tend to be lazier IMO. They simply find the quickest and fastest way to make money. They miss opportunities since those paths take too much work and the payoff is too slow. They are often the top sellers where they work but that is simply a function of the averageness of the others.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Personally, if I was being interviewed for a sales position and the interviewer said he didn't think I had what it took...I think I would say

      "No. It's obvious that I do have what it takes. So you must be testing my reaction, is that it?"

      Now, the question is...would you hire this guy?

      I tend to analyse what people say, as they say it..looking for consistency, hidden meaning, agenda, subtext, weakness, bias, stupidity, insight...

      And in the rare times I admit that's what I'm doing, the conversation always goes south. So I keep quiet about it.

      But in an interview, I think I would just come out with it. Because the subterfuge would irritate me.

      So....if you asked me that question, and I gave that answer....

      Would you think "What a brilliant guy. He'll do great" or
      "He's a threat to me, I don't trust him" or
      "What a moron for calling me on this" or
      "This guy won't defend himself, and is making a excuse" or
      "This guy is a sociopath"

      Guys? Friends? Pals? How would you react as the interviewer.
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      "Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity" Friedrich Nietzsche
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      • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Guys? Friends? Pals? How would you react as the interviewer.
        I'd hire you. I'd be glad I wasn't hiring a moron who is easily manipulated.

        You just pointed out another reason I wouldn't use Chet's method that I had not thought about.

        Would I want to hire someone who isn't good enough at reading people to know how that manipulation works? And would I want to hire someone who could be manipulated that easy. Sounds like a guy who will get "sold" a lot by prospects to me.
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      • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post


        "No. It's obvious that I do have what it takes. So you must be testing my reaction, is that it?"

        Now, the question is...would you hire this guy?

        I tend to analyse what people say, as they say it..looking for consistency, hidden meaning, agenda, subtext, weakness, bias, stupidity, insight...

        And in the rare times I admit that's what I'm doing, the conversation always goes south. So I keep quiet about it.

        But in an interview, I think I would just come out with it. Because the subterfuge would irritate me.

        So....if you asked me that question, and I gave that answer....
        I would hire you on probation. To me it would say you have the brains and the balls
        to do the job. Both an asset, as long as you were flexible.

        I have learned a lot of the things that work for hiring in other fields
        just don't work for sales people. If you follow the normal steps
        you will unknowingly lose a lot of great people.

        and worse ... you will hire a lot of people that you think will be great.
        but are completely wrong for the job.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

          I would hire you on probation. To me it would say you have the brains and the balls
          to do the job. Both an asset, as long as you were flexible.

          I have learned a lot of the things that work for hiring in other fields
          just don't work for sales people. If you follow the normal steps
          you will unknowingly lose a lot of great people.

          and worse ... you will hire a lot of people that you think will be great.
          but are completely wrong for the job.
          Personally, I don't think I would hire me. Smart? Sure. Gutsy? Sure. But "Smart" doesn't translate to sales ability, and my answer shows that I may try to undermine your sales training...argue every technique...and not listen to instruction.

          To me, when applying for a job, the first thing you want to do is not try to prove that you are going to outsmart the person hiring you.

          This is all hypothetical anyway, but I run scenarios like this through my mind a lot.
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          One Call Closing book https://www.amazon.com/One-Call-Clos...=1527788418&sr

          "Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity" Friedrich Nietzsche
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          • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
            Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

            Personally, I don't think I would hire me. Smart? Sure. Gutsy? Sure. But "Smart" doesn't translate to sales ability, and my answer shows that I may try to undermine your sales training...argue every technique...and not listen to instruction.

            To me, when applying for a job, the first thing you want to do is not try to prove that you are going to outsmart the person hiring you.

            This is all hypothetical anyway, but I run scenarios like this through my mind a lot.
            I see my brevity left a lot to interpretation.

            ""Smart" doesn't translate to sales ability, and my answer shows that I may try to undermine your sales training...argue every technique...and not listen to instruction. "

            All that was covered under the words "probation and if flexible"

            I deal with super smart alpha's all day every day. Its my prefer d hire.

            Lots of people who work for me are indeed smarter then me on an IQ level.
            So far none of them can do my job.

            They day I find one who can, I will groom them for the position.
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      • Profile picture of the author ronrule
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Personally, if I was being interviewed for a sales position and the interviewer said he didn't think I had what it took...I think I would say

        "No. It's obvious that I do have what it takes. So you must be testing my reaction, is that it?"

        Now, the question is...would you hire this guy?
        What a great comeback - I think the tone of that message would have a greater impact than the words itself. If it was said aggressively, I would think you were a cocky jackass and the kind of sales person customers hate and wouldn't want you around. But if it was said slyly with a smile, implying that you understand human behavior and profiled me, I would love it - because it tells me you understand psychological triggers, and will use them to steer your prospects into a decision without them knowing what hit them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe J
    Claude,

    Disclosure:
    The only person I ever hired was my brother when I was about 10 and he was 8 to help me setup a little carnival out front of our home. I split the $1.10 evenly that we made for 6 hours of work!

    But if I heard you say that, I would think you were crazy.

    I just got done telling you you don't have what it takes and as I, the hirer, would never want to hear that after telling you the opposite. Your not the right fit.

    I may consider you for the job the next day or so if you called and said that maybe you mis-phrased(?) yourself and convinced me that your drive and ambition would
    be an asset to my company.

    I think that's a tough question.
    I also am curious what most folks think.

    Joe
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle
    Originally Posted by joe golfer View Post

    That's what Chet Holmes used to tell candidates interviewing for a sales position. ...

    There's a lot more to it than that, however. Here is the whole process:
    A "death by powerpoint" presentation. You'd think someone like Holmes would know this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marvin Johnston
    I watched the whole presentation and found it interesting to say the least and well worth the time to watch it.

    To address some of the comments above, I don't think the people being looked for above are the type of people that Holmes is talking about. His qualifiers are pretty good... $200K+ per year, self-started, doesn't need hand holding, etc., etc., etc. Also the top 4% indicates the level of performance he is looking for.

    A book that I have reread a couple of times is called The Go-Getter: A Story That Tells You How to be One by Peter B. Kyne. It is in available for download at the Guttenburg Project and seems to describe the same type of person as Holmes is describing.

    Marvin
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
    We should say the late Chet Holmes. He died of leukemia last year.

    He was a great sales trainer and even better at building teams of
    sales professionals then getting great results out of them.

    When you're only looking for one salesperson to hire yourself it's
    a world of difference to training a corporation how to hire and
    train large teams of effective sales people (as Chet did).

    On a small scale many different things will work.

    On a large scale there's just so much that can go wrong in a big,
    very expensive way.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      When I was hiring salespeople, I was looking for sharks. They are hard to handle, and will eat the rest of the crew, if you let them...but I wanted people who could close.

      Now, I could teach them to close, but I find that the applicant either has it in them to ask people to buy...or they don't.

      I didn't mind having sharks around, because I was an Alpha Shark myself. So I knew how they thought and wasn't bothered by having to put out a few fires. but some sharks only create fires...and they don't sell well enough to justify the effort. So I look for arguing.

      When interviewing, I was really looking for weakness. Did they complain about past employers? Did they complain about their home life?

      I also avoided "serial applicants for commission sales positions". If they told me that they have sold successfully for the last 5 places they worked in the last 5 years...I knew there is something wrong.

      Anyway, Chet Holmes's book The Ultimate Sales Machine (a terrible title, I think) is worth it's weight in Gold.
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      "Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity" Friedrich Nietzsche
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  • Profile picture of the author bob ross
    I must be the odd one out here. I always look to hire people with zero to minimal sales experience. I don't want the drama that comes with experienced salespeople. I want sharp, bright, clean cut guys/gals that are willing to follow instructions, are reliable, competitive and have never been given the opportunity to make a lot of money before.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by bob ross View Post

      I must be the odd one out here. I always look to hire people with zero to minimal sales experience. I don't want the drama that comes with experienced salespeople. I want sharp, bright, clean cut guys/gals that are willing to follow instructions, are reliable, competitive and have never been given the opportunity to make a lot of money before.
      I don't think you're the odd man out at all. I meant I look for qualities that indicate a willingness to sell, and the ability to learn. Past sales experience almost never enters the conversation...

      Strong self image, and smarts is what I looked for. I think the same as Ken.

      Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

      What a great comeback - I think the tone of that message would have a greater impact than the words itself. If it was said aggressively, I would think you were a cocky jackass and the kind of sales person customers hate and wouldn't want you around. But if it was said slyly with a smile, implying that you understand human behavior and profiled me, I would love it - because it tells me you understand psychological triggers, and will use them to steer your prospects into a decision without them knowing what hit them.
      30 years ago, I may have sounded cocky while saying it. But now it would come across as "One business insider to another". That being said, if the guy hired me anyway, his not feeling intimidated or threatened, would impress me. Strong people like strong people.

      Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

      I see my brevity left a lot to interpretation.

      ""Smart" doesn't translate to sales ability, and my answer shows that I may try to undermine your sales training...argue every technique...and not listen to instruction. "

      All that was covered under the words "probation and if flexible"

      I deal with super smart alpha's all day every day. Its my prefer d hire.
      Ken; Did you just scold me? I was going along today, thinking "I wonder if Ken is going to be nice to me today?" And then you scold me. In front of my friends...in my sandbox.
      Something you should know about me.... I can dish it out, but I can't take it

      Ken; By the way, the reason I think these things (undermine training, not follow instructions) is because I've hired a couple of guys like that and it didn't work out. But I'm a far better salesman than I am a manager. And I'm still pouting because you scolded me. :rolleyes:
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      One Call Closing book https://www.amazon.com/One-Call-Clos...=1527788418&sr

      "Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity" Friedrich Nietzsche
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      • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post


        Ken; Did you just scold me? I was going along today, thinking "I wonder if Ken is going to be nice to me today?" And then you scold me. In front of my friends...in my sandbox.
        Something you should know about me.... I can dish it out, but I can't take it

        Ken; By the way, the reason I think these things (undermine training, not follow instructions) is because I've hired a couple of guys like that and it didn't work out. But I'm a far better salesman than I am a manager. And I'm still pouting because you scolded me. :rolleyes:
        My friend I did not scold you.

        I hardly ever post when I am at the office. When I am here, I speak and
        act differently then in real life. It must have translated over.

        I have also hired many that don't work out and will continue to do so.

        A successful room requires a certain amount of bravado, infighting, jealousy
        and every individual needs to feel as if they can climb to the top of the ladder.

        Smart alphas provide that.
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