Mike Michalowicz on Using the Business Hierarchy of Needs to Grow Your Book of Business

By Mo Bunnell
Mike Michalowicz delivers a powerful message that entrepreneurs and business development professionals need to hear.

Mike Michalowicz delivers a powerful message that entrepreneurs and business development professionals need to hear. Learn some incredible hacks you can use right now to deepen your business relationships, identify exactly what you should be working on to make the greatest impact, and learn how to multiply your best clients and grow your book of business exponentially.


Mo asks Mike Michalowicz: Why do you have to start with sales?

  • Sales create cash for a business. We usually start a business to create financial freedom, and to get there we need sales, but sales are not sufficient in themselves. They are the foundation to the Business Hierarchy of Needs.
  • If you realize and feel that your offering is superior to your competitor’s, then you have an obligation to sell it. If your prospect goes with the competitor, they are getting an inferior offering.
  • Making your clients aware of your offer and putting it in front of them is the best way to serve them. Not selling your offering is doing them a disservice.
  • Just like people, businesses have a hierarchy of needs as well. Foundationally, we need sales because it creates cash. Once we’ve got sales we need to extract that cash to bring about stability, also known as profit. Once you have that addressed, you need to create efficiency and order. The level above that is impact, and it’s where your business goes from being about transactions to becoming about transformation. The final level is legacy, which is where the work you are doing is so important that it must continue for generations.
  • The hierarchy functions like a pyramid, where if you want to grow, you need to expand the sales base.


Mo asks Mike Michalowicz: What’s the number one thing people can do to get more yeses?

  • The most powerful concept is client cloning. We need to focus on our best clients and identify what we know about them. Then you develop an avatar around those attributes and go to where those people congregate.
  • As the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together. We have to concentrate our efforts on the areas and mediums where our best clients are so we can get in front of them.
  • Once you begin cloning your best clients, it also brings a new level of efficiency to your business. You work with similar clients in similar situations, and the resolution becomes consistently the same, which elevates your ability to scale.
  • People are looking to know, like, and trust you, and selling right off the bat is not the best approach. Educational marketing is the most effective method to build the rapport you need to land clients and once they are ready to make a decision on someone to do it for them they will pick you.
  • When you have people that are intrigued and interested in what you do, have a clear, concise and reasonable next step for them to do.


Mo asks Mike Michalowicz: How can we use your framework to deepen our most important business relationships?

  • The easiest way to connect with your client is to learn the language that they use.
  • Ask your best clients what you are doing right, and they will tell you what they judge you on.
  • The thing you do right is actually the thing you need to improve most to create an extraordinary relationship.
  • Deepen your relationships by doing the right thing better. Your clients will tell you exactly what they need if you ask them.
  • You can ask what you’re doing wrong, but you’re not going to get the truth if there’s a potential confrontation. Instead, ask what’s wrong with your industry. You’ll be surprised by what you hear.
  • Ask your clients about what other vendors they depend on too, and then go and deepen those relationships. Tap into the vendor wealth that surrounds your clients.


Mo asks Mike Michalowicz: How do we hack our habits so we keep evolving and getting better?

  • The first thing you do in the day is the most impactful. Sadly, most people open their email first which then dictates their behavior.
  • You need to time block the first part of your morning to focus on your most important work. Don’t do anything like email which can divert you from the path.
  • Any time you want to fix or improve a single thing, you need to focus on it exclusively each day until that one project is done.
  • Use the momentum effect to your advantage. It’s actually the discipline of not doing that will actually result in more effective action. Even a 15-minute block of time at the very beginning of your day will yield positive results and make it easier to get the momentum going.
  • If you want to strengthen a chain, focus on the weakest link. If you fix that, the strength of the whole chain gets elevated and you can focus on the next weak link. We can be so much more efficient if we just focus on one thing at a time.


Mo shares his insights from the habits of Mike Michalowicz.

  • There is the evolution of a business that can be broken down. You don’t want to focus on the higher level elements until addressing the foundations. This is where the Business Hierarchy of Needs comes in.
  • The foundation of any business that’s service based is sales. You have to get good at business development, if you don’t you will stagnate and fall back. Once you start getting money in the door, you can start thinking about profit and efficiency. Then the next step is making the biggest impact on the people you serve that you can. You can then focus on the legacy of the business so that you can leave the world in a better state than you found it in.
  • Business development is the foundation, but it’s also intertwined with each level and constantly revisited.
  • The three questions for clients is a great framework for identifying how you can deepen your relationship with them. “What am I doing right?”, “What’s wrong with our industry?”, and “What other vendors/partners do you depend on?”.
  • By systematizing those three questions you have an excellent process for identifying where to focus on next.
  • Focus on one project at a time, even if you have multiple projects you’re working on over a given time period. It can play off your grand overarching strategy in the long term, but you have to pull those big things down to one specific task and focus on that to completion.



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