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Selling through relationships

Table of contents

Apollo Angco is all about building relationships and lets that lead the way through the sales process. He picks up the phone as soon as he gets a lead – in the true spirit of an old school sales person.

This is a series of blogposts where we get inside the head of salespeople – tools, tips, tactics, and processes. We ask them and summarize it for you.
August99 help agencies by providing website designers, developers and SEO marketing specialists. “We realized that we were pretty good at what we did – that’s why we created August99. My role at August99 is to create new partners and new avenues. I contact people that signed up on our website to see what we can do to help them.”

Company: August99
Role: Sales Development Representative
Geography: Worldwide
Type of sales: B2B
Tools: Gmail, Google Calendar, CRM.

How do you get in touch with your leads?

“I’m old school sales, so as long as it has a phone number, I’m calling that number right away. And I try to hit it as hot as I can. As soon as I get a lead come in, I’m calling them. A lot of people, especially a lot of the newer sales guys, they might be more inclined to send an email. I’m kind of like the other way around. I like to talk to people and people will make that personal connection a lot better if they hear somebody else on the phone.”

“I believe that the key to selling isn’t speaking and what to say – it’s listening.”

He prioritizes his leads depending on geographic factors. “Number one for me is time zone. I need to know if I can do enough diligent follow up with them. Also, because I’m Canadian, I take a lot of the North American or the Canadian leads. Obviously I can relate to them a little bit better.”

Personal relationships

“Everybody has their own style in terms of sales and everybody will be more effective in using a style that they’re comfortable with. My particular style is I like to care about people and at the same time, my thing is about relationship building. If I know where someone is from, I’m going to pick out a little tidbit from that area and use it. But at the same time, I believe that the key to selling isn’t speaking and what to say – it’s listening. When you listen and get people to open up, you find holes where you can jump in.”

“Somebody who is a good salesman is never out of work.”

“I’ve been using a CRM over the past eight years. Remembering details and making sure i am logging stuff – I’m kind of anal when it comes to that. People laugh at me because they take a look at my notes and there are so many notes and details in there. I want to make sure I have all the details in there so when I revisit a client, I just re-read it and it brings me right back to the conversation we had. One thing that I try to mentor in sales is remember the oddest fact or statement that they made that they don’t expect you to remember, and put it in to the CRM.”

We all sell

“We all sell. Everybody sells. You brush your teeth and comb your hair in the morning and you’re selling. You’re trying to sell something, right? I mean if you have a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife then you definitely know how to sell. So I mean basically, we all sell, it just depends on how comfortable we are in making it a living. Somebody who is a good salesman is never out of work. That’s what mirrors are for. You know, all of this is selling. If you didn’t sell you wouldn’t care. Right? Selling really is something that comes natural to human beings, realize it or not. The selling part is something that excited me, it’s the thrill of the hunt. I love closing, I love hearing ‘yes, I’ll take it, here’s my credit card’ – that stuff excites me.”

Any advice to a person new to sales?

“I would just say: Hey, you can never say the wrong things to the right person. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and at the same time, if you make mistakes, own up to them. People just want to know that you care and that they have somebody on the line that has their best interest in mind. They need to feel that product is secondary to the relationship. If you establish a relationship, you can sell anything. People aren’t necessarily attracted to the product, they’re attracted to you. So you’re selling yourself as much as your product. Also, when I have a customer at a point where they’re contacting me proactively and saying ‘Hey, remember this thing we talked about?’, if I get them to that level where they’re super comfortable, then I’ve already gotten past the product and now I’m at the relationship part. And that’s a lot more powerful than the product because with the relationship, I can push any product. My product, the competitors product, it doesn’t matter, because they trust me already.”

Building relationships to sell is not something new. Building trust is one of the key elements to get a person to buy anything from you, in any business. But even if that is a successful way of selling, a great relationship does not always mean a closed deal. Lack of budget, or engagement from the end users, may be a reason for your potential customer to call off further collaboration. Picking up the phone and talking to someone is definitely a more personal way of reaching out to someone than sending a series of emails. Apollo’s old school way of selling might be a bit time consuming, but if the time spent results in improved conversion rate – it must be worth it, right?

I would say it depends on what business you’re in, and what kind of product you’re selling. You might have a high CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) – but if many of them turn into deals – it’s probably worth it. How much time can you afford to spend on building a sense of trust with your clients?

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