Are Relationships and Mentors Important in Business?
25 Nov 2021
In episode #301 of “The Leadership Stack Podcast”, Dancho talks about the importance of relationships and mentors in the business.
“The relationship building is more important than actually getting the lead. Because, not every prospect that you’re reaching out to is at the right time, the right moment ready to come on a call. But on the other hand, if you build the relationship around your client, even after six months, if they decide they need that solution…We want to position our clients as the “go-to” guy for that field. So, if you’re the “go-to” guy for SEO, I don’t need SEO now, but in six months, I’ll need it, and I’ll remember that there was a guy, let me give him a call.”, says Dancho.
Sean: What I want to know is you mentioned earlier that you zero down on high ticket service providers and people who are; software companies who are selling like 50K us for their service. I wonder, how were you able to find out that, oh, this is going to be the target market that we have to focus on because none of that, not a lot of companies.
I mean, I had a, I had a potential client earlier. “What is our business identity?” They were so confused and they were, they were running for quite some time already, a few years already. And they’re doing quite well. And they’re confused about the clarity of their unique selling proposition.
So how did you do your clarification of who you are? Who is who your target market is exactly? Because you’re so clear on that you even gave a specific range about the software company’s pricing model.
Dancho: Well, Sean, experimentation, we tried with physical products. It didn’t work out. We started giving results, but not the ones that we were hoping for and our frameworks.
I mean, the book that I’m writing actually helped me a lot to fine-tune the frameworks because when you start a book, it’s more like a diary. It’s like, okay, B2B outreach, step one, define your ideal client profile and you start writing. Wait a minute. Why I don’t have an ideal client profile and I’m writing that you need it back to the laboratory here, tried to figure out that then start building a database.
As you write, you’re actually re-evaluating the systems that you have in the company. And as you write the book, you stop, you fix the problems in the agency. You come back and you keep correcting it. And when it comes to the high ticket service providers, I think that I realized that when it comes to Legionnaire’s.
It’s a really big competition field. It is a really red ocean. I mean leads. How can you get them? There are so many ways. SEO obviously, content creation mid to long-term strategy. There are ads, any type of ads. There is the core outreach, outreach by phone, outreach by email outreach, by LinkedIn, doing webinars, doing summits, doing events.
There are hundreds of ways of how you can generate leads. And then how our client knows what’s best for them. And you know, you’re going to need years to try all hundreds of them to see what is the right fit for you. And then we said, well, you know what? We do really the outreach. So which type of companies would really benefit the most from the outreach.
And when we saw that the high ticket service providers and seeing them as high ticket service providers, not that just because they have expensive services, it’s because they have a unique sales process. When it comes to 50K sales. First, it’s a really long sale cycle. It’s like in months in years in some cases.
So it’s not like impulsive buying costs, swipe your credit card. Then there are always multiple people involved, even if it’s a 50K website as a platform. Yeah. But then the procurement manager, then the marketing manager, then the CEO, then the CEO needs to take it to the board. The board needs to get approval and it is really a complicated sales process.
The rewards are also good. I mean, when you sell 10K service, you’re like, okay, if I sell five services in total, that’s like a 50K, which is a good deal. And when the reward is good, you could actually afford more on the lead generation. And here is not just that as a motivation, we saw that, well, you know what actually, in the high ticket service provider, people.
It will not work. If I go, hi, Sean, I’m selling a 50K would you be interested in buying it? Not thank you very much. Next one. Hi, I’m selling a 50 K service. Are you interested? No, thank you very much. But it’s really relationship-building. And people are lazy, I mean, even when we’re talking about marketing agency, they’re like how I can get you five fleets and that’s it.
And with the high-ticket service providers, it’s really relationship-based. So trying to reach out to people, start some chit-chatting, start some conversation starters, try to qualify if they have a problem or not, if not keep them in your circle. I mean, Sean, our extreme was that we were working for a company real estate from Ibiza and they were looking for an investor for 10 million euros.
And we were like, okay, our outreach framework is the same. We just need to adjust it a bit. So we screened the whole of Europe, finding investors for real estate investors, property investors, we found few hundreds. We started reaching out to talk with them, but not even a letter from a pitch or from a sales or for something.
The whole goal was to find the potential investor, invite them onto Ibiza on a yard, to do fishing with the real estate agent company. And then during the fishing, they can start talking. “You’re a nice guy. What do you do? What I do? Okay. Let’s try to see some business”. Because at that level they don’t buy projects, they buy into people. Sean, you’re a nice guy. What are you doing? I want to invest in whatever you’re doing.
I have a lot of money. Project – there will be good projects, bad projects, but if I see that you’re a good guy. I want to invest in whatever you’re doing. I mean, I’m giving it as an extreme because it was a 10 million euros.
That is really why we choose the high ticket service providers because relationship building is more important than actually getting the lead because not every prospect that you’re reaching out to is the right time at the right moment and ready to come on a call. But on the other hand, if you build a relationship around your client, even after six months, they’ve decided that they need that solution. We want to position our clients as the go-to guy for that field.
So if you’re the go-to guy for SEO, I don’t need SEO now. But in six months, if I need to be out, there was one guy, Sean, let me just give him a call. And if we manage to do that for our clients, we did a great job.
Sean: That’s awesome, makes me think if I need to buy a yacht now?
Dancho: For fishing purposes or for the client closing purposes?
Sean: Of course for the –
Dancho: We believe that’s why they organize golf clubs or, you know, rich people, clubs where you join them just by joining, you have access to different people.
I mean, it’s made with the purpose and you know, then five people are playing golf. What are you doing? I have a million-dollar business in this. What do you do? Even the mastermind groups are around like that, join a mastermind group that’s on your level. I’m not going to join a billionaire mastermind club because first, they’re not going to accept me for sure.
But on the other hand, they have different problems and they’re sharing their problems that are similar and they help each other. So, if I need to join, I have to find my level of mastermind groups. I can start sharing ideas with my peers, but also getting some insights from my peers.
Sean: That’s true. I wonder, how were you able to grow your business from yourself, a one-man team to a 25 man team? There are so many stories involved in between. That for example, for me right now, we’re trying to grow the company to become a professional enterprise company. We’re a 50 man team. I want my exit comm to have professionals on the board. Cause right now it’s being run by my family.
So I’m the CEO, founder gave some equity to my brother. My sister’s on the board. My wife is as well. So it’s a family business. And like you, my wife’s the one handling all the finances, which I think is pretty smart.
Dancho: I do the sales, I do the pitching. I do everything at the end of the month. I’m just like, do we have money or not? Because of invoicing, costs, and everything. I have no idea what is going on.
Sean: Yup. So how do you know how to go to the next level? On my end, I got mentors cause I have no idea. Like how do I hire executives? How do I promote people to an executive level? How can I make them change their mindset and become think like owners, instead of think like employees? Those are questions I have no idea to answer. How I did it was to look for mentors. I’m asking you, how were you able to elevate your business now?
Dancho: Oh, Sean, I took a very different route. I was just addressing the market. For me, the market is the king in every business. So when I had six, seven people full-time working, we had enough projects and things went well.
And then I had a call from a potential client, he’s like, I need 10 people to run for two months. And I was like, whoa, wait, what, who, I don’t even have office space for that kind of thing. And he says, well, you have one week. In one week we can start, we need 10 people that are going to work full time with me and everything.
And does the entrepreneurial in us, you see an opportunity and you’re like, okay, it’s a risky thing. Should we go for it or not? And we did in one week I found office, I found furniture. I found computers. I did interviews. I found ten people like more grabbed ten people from the street, come work for me, come work for me. And we managed to do that, but that helped me grow from 7to 17.
Sean: Hold on, hold on. Did you have a contract before you started grabbing people from the street?
Sean: Oh my goodness. That was very risky. Yeah.
Dancho: Well, entrepreneur is risk-taking at the end of the day. But for me, it’s rewarding was if I managed to figure this out in two months, I’ll make a lot of money.
I don’t want to work in quantity, how much money. But at that time it was a lot of money because 10 people working on a client’s project. And when we set Monday and people started working, and of course they had the one-week adjusting. It was accumulated. But my point was that I was so happy, but then the next day I was like, man, now I have two months either to fire them all or to find work for them.
That’s the market-driven, and I was like, damn, now I need to work triple more in sales because – not now, but in two months I’m going to have 10 people without work. And because the seven people were already filled, but you need still more work for them and this is market-driven. So I actually had to push even harder on the freelancing platform, I was not doing a lot of outside.
That I need to apply to more projects and get more interviews and get more gigs and more in two months from that period, I managed to keep them all. And I found just enough work for all ten to stay and continue working in Bizzbee solution. The problem; the client said, I’m happy now I need seven people for six months.
And I was like, well, I already sold out this 10 people, what I’m supposed to know. So I actually had to hire seven new people up for the six months. But this time I was like, now I have six months. I need to figure out how to keep those seven as well. And here we said that, you know what, Sean, we really need to get out from the freelancing platforms.
We really need to focus on marketing. We really need to focus on lead generation for our purposes. And then we started using LinkedIn and email as an alternate channel. I mean, we still rely heavily on LinkedIn outreach and through LinkedIn, we started reaching out to different companies, trying to see if they have a problem, reaching out to different businesses from around the world.
And that’s how we started getting clients, our website, started getting some SEO traction. Start to getting traffic from there. I mean, currently, just on our website from an SEO point of view, we have like 200 blogs at least on the portfolio. For each client, we create a separate page on the portfolio items and there are 450 clients so far, and we built for each of them as a separate page.
So our website is roughly less, slightly less than 1000 pages at the moment. So that helped us a lot because when you type up drone photography business plan, we should be first. You should check because I don’t know in the Philippines, whether it be like that. But the whole goal is that each client is unique. We had a separate page for them and trying to show them what kind of results we did.
And we did outreach. I actually was able to scale the business and also ensure that I have enough work for my employees. The bigger problem there, Sean, was that I was not ready to scale the business at that stage. Like from 7 to 17 to 25, I was not ready. We didn’t have HR in place. We didn’t have the growth plan employee career path.
We didn’t have anything. We were using a simple Excel, so I needed to work on capacity strengthening, cordon organization. From CRM to sales, to marketing, to finance, to project management tools, to everything, because it was not natural. All this happened in 12 months.
So on the first anniversary, we were 30 something people in the company and I’ve realized that it’s first it’s too much headache. A lot of, you know, you come to the office, you see new people and you don’t even know them. And they’re just telling you, well, we were hired, we work here from now on. And I was like, we’re not a corporation that you shouldn’t know your employees because another thing for growing your business table is really friends with your employees.
And yeah, it was at the stage like, okay, that guy, there was a different guy sitting here, but he left now a new guy comes in and I realized it’s not the healthy way of growing a business. Because you know, there is a healthy and unhealthy way of growing and I at was doing the bad way. Then I said, let’s slow down. Let’s do some standardization. Let’s do some additional systematization. Let’s make it – add some clarity in the business. So now when we grow and we add new modules and everything, I know that I have the foundation on a stable fit.
Sean: Wow, so you pretty much did it.
Like agile, just, you know, as you go – figure things out. And that is amazing.
Dancho: Sean, the agile helped me a lot just because we are talking with the market constantly. Even with the outreach, for every outreach. You know, even if I’m saying, you know what, buy our services by our business, they’re saying no. And you’re like, but why? And they give you exactly obstacles, why. They actually are not interested in your services.
And when we started with lead generation, we were just building databases. Like pay us, we build a database, that’s it. We don’t know what happens with the database. Then we said, well, you know what, there are many clients that are saying, well, I was hoping you’re going to do the email campaign as well.
We’re like, sorry, we just know how to databases. A lot of people ask for the email. I said, well, okay, there is a market for this. What should we do? Hire a copywriter, figure out how to send the emails, that’s it. Then as we were doing the outreach, we saw the opportunity on LinkedIn. I said, okay, what do we do to build this.
Same logic, same people, just different channels. Let’s add LinkedIn as well. And this is how by responding to the market needs. I know that I’m not inventing a service and then hoping whether it’s going to be sold or not. It’s more the other way around. If there are enough people looking for it, we’re going to build it, and that’s the agile way.
I mean the whole culture of the company is on the agile way. So if there are a lot of clients who think, well, you know what, I needed some social media content and there were like 20 clients asked for it. And I’m like, man, this is a missed opportunity so let’s just get some copywriters on board. Let’s put another project manager and start offering these services as well.
Not everybody will like it, but if there is enough volume of clients that expressed interest, we are going to do it.
Sean: That is really, really good stuff.