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It’s all about relationships. 

It’s true in life, and it’s true in business. People would rather buy from someone they feel they have a solid relationship with, even if it means possibly paying a bit more. You cannot discount the importance of relationships. 

Which is why it’s more important than ever before to not only establish your own personal brand, but to really focus your time and attention on making sure that your network is solid. That your network is filled with people that you care about and have relationships with. 

On this episode of The Sales Engagement podcast, we talk with Rinse Jacobs. Rinse is the Head of International Sales and VP of Digital Banking at SolarisBankAG. He was kind enough to come on the show and talk all about: 

  • Why going the extra mile for relationships will always pay off in the end
  • The importance of establishing your own personal brand
  • How to build an international network
  • Overcoming the cultural differences between your company and your international customers

Building relationships internally (building your brand) 

You will always have to interact with other departments than your own within a business. Whether it be more technical or legal, it’s crucial to foster strong relationships if you want to move the business forward. Sometimes those relationships will afford you opportunities that your product or service cannot provide. 

Looking at banking as an example, you cannot just sell random solutions. You have to check back with the rest of the organization. Because of this, you have to make sure they’re willing to go the extra mile for you. But, how is this done? Rinse shares his insights:

  • Personal relationships: Having a genuine interest in others and anticipating their responses makes it easy for them to help you. 
  • Pick a person: It’s impossible to approach every person in all teams. Foster a relationship with a champion in each department instead. 

Building a network around you in an international essence by leveraging those relationships

As the head of international sales for SolarisBank, Rinse deals with a variety of markets such as European and German. His biggest warning to those building relationships with multiple markets: Don’t stereotype. 

Just because someone is from APAC doesn’t mean the same playbook will work across every individual. Imagine a company dishing out the exact same tasks to an accountant and janitor. Instead, focus on personality — see if you can draw any parallels between the two. 

When it all boils down, try your best to be yourself and know what works best for you when building those relationships. 

While pitching to a company in Germany, Rinse and his team were late to the RFP process. However, during one of their last meetings, they offered to play foosball and drink beer on the balcony. 

Despite much longer processes with other businesses, the German company decided to go with SolarisBank because of the relationship and trust built over foosball and beer. 

Enabling your sales team to be their most authentic selves

As you sell to different regions, cultural nuances become increasingly important to recognize. Rinse shares some tactics on how to achieve this:

  • Local teams: People familiar to the area will already have networks established. Use this to your company’s advantage.
  • Trust: Let the teams run the show. Micromanaging disrupts their ability to be themselves. 
  • Failure: No one is perfect. Don’t rob your team of the lessons they learn from failing. Respond with feedback after the fact.  

Ultimately, make sure you’re enabling the best person for the job. Don’t overlook details that could make or break a successful relationship if a French sales manager has more experience in a Spanish market, don’t place them in a French market. 


Rinse’s key takeaways

  1. Show your authentic self: Being fake is the quickest way to ruin a relationship.
  2. Build trust and recognize cultural nuances: Hire people familiar with the areas you’re selling to and trust them to run their own ship.
  3. One approach doesn’t work on every market: Just because two companies are both from APAC doesn’t mean the same approach will work on each. Focus on personalities instead. 

Get in touch with Rinse on LinkedIn

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Sales Engagement in your favorite podcast player.

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