"Yeah. Just sign me up. Can we just do this? Let's get started now. I was so excited. It made me so excited about the whole process and what I was doing. I was so excited to buy it; I still am now. When she emails me I'm excited to get an email from her."
- Anton Sepetov, VP of Sales, Sumo.com on working with Danielle Mainas, founder of LITTLE BIRD
Wait. What? Me? Cue jumping up and down in my living room. I am beyond honored to have featured on the OkDork podcast by none other than Converse, AKA Rabbi Can't Lose, AKA Noah Kagan. Big moment for me as I'm a huge fan of Noah Kagan's work and it was so exciting to listen Noah and his dear friend and VP of sales for the 8-figure business Sumo.com (AND recent LITTLE BIRD client), one Anton Sepetov, discuss successful sales techniques in episode #9. Spoiler alert: LITTLE BIRD came up in conversation.
To listen to the whole podcast (really great content) head on over to iTunes, episode 9. Below you can read what Anton & Noah have to say about the LITTLE BIRD approach to working with new clients. *blush*
NOAH: What happened recently? You said you had a "ring experience".
ANTON: Yes, I'm going to propose very soon.
NOAH: This is going to come out afterwards. Hopefully she says yes by now.
ANTON: Alison, will you marry me if this is it? Just listen to this podcast.
NOAH: Oh my God, that's cool.
ANTON: I know what she wants. I was like, man I've got to get this done. This is like in a month. I've been putting this off. And so, went on Yelp, started searching, like, different jewelers and found this lady and she was like insanely well rated and I was like let me read these reviews. People were like, "Danielle is amazing. She knows everything about rings. Like, I was so unsure and she helped me." And there was, I don't know, there was like five stars it was like five hundred reviews.
NOAH: How did you even think to search for a ring helper or a ring finder?
ANTON: I didn't. I just searched for jeweler and she was the first result. So I was just trying to find like good places for me to go to to go through that process to have another Jack [previous not great ring sales experience}. And I was like, oh, this is going to suck. I've got to be sold to again. What she does; she's a consultant for men or women like me trying to buy a ring. And so on her website it says like, I'll do a free 30 to 45 minute call with you or I'll educate you about rings and all that sort of stuff. And I thought, why not? 'Cause I had a good idea of like the ring size, carat size, all that sort of stuff and for her to just tell me where to go. So I was like, okay, perfect. Let me just try this; why not. Filled out her form on her site. The way she was emailing me and she was like, okay let's set up a time to chat. It was a great email. She was like, I'm super excited to work with you, etcetera.
NOAH: For people doing "sales," I think the way that she framed it is like instead of me selling you something and come buy, the whole thing was like, I'm going to teach you something for free, you're going to get something out of it regardless if you give me money, is how she's framing it. So let me educate you.
ANTON: Exactly. I never thought I was actually going to use her or anything. I just thought, she's going to tell me the jeweler to go to and perfect; she's basically like my yelp, and I trust her. She emailed me, and then this is kind of cool, she was specifically like okay, we're going to talk at 3 today, but for security purposes, because this is something confidential you're doing I don't want you to get caught, you call me. This is my number. I thought that was cool. I felt like I was a secret agent.
NOAH: That's interesting.
ANTON: I was like, yeah, I've got to call you.
NOAH: Her saying that probably encouraged you to follow through with the call.
ANTON: I called right at three on the dot. Immediately she's like, "Hey Anton." And I was like, hey. And she's super personable; was one of those people that you can like talk to and you just feel good, right? And I think that's one of those things where like-and you talk about like sales and how to be good at sales. You just have to talk to a person like a person is a person. You're not doing a pitch. If she did a pitch to me and was like, I'm going to pitch you on why to buy a diamond.
NOAH: What would have been like the worst experience you could have imagined and then go through what she did?
ANTON: And if she was just really trying to like sell me something I would have felt very strange if she didn't connect with me in any way. That would have felt very strange. I'd be like, well fuck this. I’m just going to go online and find something.
NOAH: Or they just-she just is talking all the time.
ANTON: Yeah, exactly.
NOAH: Like, hey let me just tell you about all this stuff or like doesn't ask you anything about...
ANTON: Oh, totally, yeah. She made it like a diamond demo and she works for, I don't know, Diamonds Direct or something like that. And I know she's going to get paid commission on the diamond. I'd be like, no. I don't want to do this.
NOAH: Okay, so what did she actually do?
ANTON: And so she immediately is like super warm and welcoming. She's like, you know, this is a big decision. The first thing I want to do is I want to learn about you and about Alison and for you to tell me about, you know, you're relationship and then I'm going to really go into, you know, what is diamond, you know, what is in a ring. What's really important, what you should look for? And I really want to educate you and yeah, that's just what we're going to do is explain to you 30 to 45 minutes, is that good with you. And I said yeah, that's perfect.
NOAH: So she committed you; she confirmed you.
NOAH: Like, hey, here's the agenda for what we're talking about.
ANTON: So yeah, there were no surprises. I know what was going to happen which is good. And so she starts and she starts asking open ended questions about me and about us. She asked about the relationship then she asked about Alison herself and I was like, this is kind of weird. I have to like open up and she was like, yeah I know this is kind of hard, but I really want to like know about you because this is a huge decision you're making and I really want you to feel right about this and that you're picking the right thing and I'm helping you pick the right thing.
And so I said a couple of things about like what's important to us and what we looked at last time we went to get rings and why we didn't buy in Austin, why we wanted to buy in San Francisco. And she was like, "So I can tell form what you're telling me it's important to you where you get this ring from." She said that and I was like, wow, like, you're right. That actually is really important to me. And so she said there's numerous ways you can go about that. Certain people just go to like a warehouse and but a diamond, it doesn't matter where they're getting it from. I think for you it matters who is the jeweler, who is the one that made the ring, made the diamond. So that made me feel really good. So I opened up, she knows a good amount about me; she's asking questions, taking notes. It was also making me feel really good about the relationship and what we're doing. She's like that's amazing. I can't believe your story. That's so cool. And I was just like, yeah, like, I'm doing this. This is awesome. And I have already known a good amount. If you're buying diamonds there is this thing called the four C's and I already knew that and so I went through like what we wanted. We want like an oval shaped diamond, all this sort of stuff, the setting; and I know most of it.
She's actually educating me even more. She's like, what you're looking for is an oval and you're looking in like the, you know, 1.5-2 carat ring. I love how I'm going to say this and people will know how much the ring's going to cost. Isn't that ridiculous.
NOAH: If I ever marry Luna just leave the price tag on it when she walks around. It's like then you can see how expensive...
ANTON: Don't take that off, don't take that off.
NOAH: In case we return it [OVERLAP]
ANTON: Yeah, it's like, you may want to return it.
NOAH: During this process what do you think of the elements that made this a good sales experience? You know in some part, it's almost not even a sale. It's more of like...
NOAH: It's more of like an education as a friend; be like hey here's my recommendations of things you need to do and you're like, yeah I have to do that. What are the elements you think she did that made it that way?
ANTON: Once we had rapport I was able to speak with her and I felt like I was talking to a friend which was really good. Right, so I felt comfortable with her. And then secondly, like I'm saying is that educational piece, right. So she taught me even more about-she specifically said write these things down, right. At that point I was like wow, she's an expert in her field, she knows everything about diamonds. I really trust her.
ANTON: At this point this was already 45 minutes in. I was like, can you just do this for me? Like, why are we still on the phone? I want to do this with you. And so she said there was two options and one was like, I can go to the jeweler myself and then she gives the final okay on the ring-the diamond. It's like 75 bucks. Or she does everything for me. She's like, I'll go to the store with you, which will be, you know, very reassuring for you and it would be cool for us to go together. And I was like, yeah it would be awesome. I don't want to go to the store by myself and have to buy like a whatever.
NOAH: It's a huge purchase, yeah.
ANTON: Yeah. Just sign me up. Can we just do this? Let's get started now. And I was so excited. It made me so excited about the whole process and what I was doing. I was so excited to buy it; I still am now. When she emails me I'm excited to get an email from her. She emailed me this morning and she was like I've been working with the jewelers, I have something like a couple of options. We're going to get on the phone today. I was like, I can't wait to see what she put together.
NOAH: So it sounds like a few of the things was the rapport is really important.
NOAH: Another thing that they're underlying tone is that teaching you something you didn't know.
ANTON: Yeah, exactly.
NOAH: Right? Like, the expert part is that hey, you need to watch out for this. And you're like, oh, I didn't even think about that.
ANTON: And the other thing too I think at the end is that she didn't come and like, try and hard close me and was like we've got to get started.
ANTON: Like, if we don't get started today then spots are going to be gone, etcetera. I was super excited and it was funny, she didn't even name the price for like, the whole management service. I was like, how much do I have to pay you? She's like, oh I'm so sorry I didn't tell you. So it's five hundred. And I actually don't have to pay her until I pick out the final ring and I'm very happy with it.
NOAH: See, I love that type of pricing. You're like look, until I'm happy then you don't have to get paid.
ANTON: Exactly, yeah. She wasn't just like Jack who just like walked out the store and whatever.
ANTON: Hopefully they come back. She specifically said, "Okay, perfect. So the next time we're is on Monday so that's going to give me two days to do some research. Don't talk with the jewelers.
NOAH: Just setting the expectations and then following through with it. We've done this for a lot of years with Sumo is that when you talk to someone and you want to sell them something you put it in the calendar. One of my favorite lines is "Hey, I'm open next Wednesday at three. Does that work for you?"
ANTON: Exactly. Name a time. Right, she named a day and time for me and I was like yeah, that works great. Let's do it.
NOAH: So let's come back to full circle with the Appsumo story. You've built a sales team, you're growing your sales team; for everyone out there today, what it one thing that they can do for themselves to be better at sales in some capacity?
NOAH: Whether they recognize that they're a sales person or even if they don't.
ANTON: Whenever I see anybody doing sales, and we work in spaces here in San Francisco around a bunch of people doing sales and I'm around it all the time. And I want to sit so many of them down, and I do give some of them feedback, is to make it natural. So going back to Danielle, that I was talking to about the diamond, right, it felt so good and natural. And I'm still so excited about the process, right. Don't treat sales as like, I've got to do a product demo. I've got to pitch something. When you do that to me you ultimately hurt yourself so much because it's going to feel unnatural. It's going to feel like a push. Maybe you'll close some people, but you're not going to be super successful. You have to make it natural, like we're sitting down or like you're sitting down with a friend and you're telling them about, you know, your product or whatever it is that you're trying to sell and you're trying to get them signed up.
Interview goes on from here. Don't miss the audio version here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1187402810?mt=2&ls=1#