The Manifesto: Hustle no longer works for sales. It's time to #HoldTheHustle. - - Relationship Intelligence for Sales

The Manifesto: Hustle no longer works for sales. It’s time to #HoldTheHustle.

By Steve Woods in Sales

For many years, the mandate of sales has been “hustle”. More emails, more follow-up, more voicemails, more persistence.  If you had “hustle” you would get sales, if you didn’t have “hustle”, you wouldn’t.  Top sales professionals all had “hustle” and younger reps worked to emulate them and drive towards more, more, more.  This led to the rise of automation tools to auto-send emails in sequence, auto-dial phone numbers, and automate the persistent follow-up over weeks or months.  The belief was that if hustle had worked in the past, more hustle could only work better.  

As “hustle” took over the world of sales, the first cracks began to show.  Response rates began to decline, then drop further, then cratered precipitously.  As this happened, the “tricks”, the “hacks” and, really, the “gimmicks” began.  “Did you get my last email?”, “Are you trapped under a rock?”, “Have you been abducted by zombies?”…  the lines have become progressively more gimmicky as buyers became more and more tired of them. Auto-dialers further added gimmicks to calling like spoofing a local area code so you might be tricked into thinking it was your child’s school calling in an emergency and be tricked into picking up.

So, it’s time to say it.  Enough.  

Enough of the more, more, more.

Enough of the fake persistence.

Enough of the gimmicks and tricks.

It’s Time to Hold The Hustle.


This is our mantra at

I’m not saying this because most buyers are annoyed and exhausted by this approach – although that’s true.  I’m saying “enough” because it’s not working and it will only get worse.

The more everyone is sending undifferentiated junk, the less effective everyone’s will be. And the more everyone is ‘hustling’, the less it matters.

I’m saying “enough” because we’re human.

I’m saying “enough” because AI is here and AI is able to out-hustle any human.

The more AI is able to automate the sending of “sales outreach”, the less valuable a sales “hustler” will be.

The higher the volume of outreach, the higher the value of each trusted relationships.

Rather than looking for more “hustle”, we need to look for more building.  The building of trust, relationships, and value.  Builders – not hustlers – will drive success, deals, and revenue in the future because builders will be doing so on the foundation of a strong relationship. Patience, empathy, and intentionality – these qualities are the key to builders and ones that AI has a much harder time replicating.

Building is not an easier path – it’s a path that requires more work, more creativity, more empathy, and more thoughtfulness. However, it’s the path that we need to get ourselves on if we are to succeed as sales professionals and have future careers.

The Tenets

#HoldTheHustle has 6 core tenets:

  1. Value: Look for a way to help each person you are beginning to build a relationship with.  A 30-minute sales call is not value.
  2. Long-Term: Relationships take a while to build.  Think of communicating every few weeks or months, not 18 times in 24 days.
  3. Selfless: Start with them, not you.  Know what is going on in your prospect’s business, their career, their industry, or their city.  Find a reason to reach out based on that knowledge.
  4. Supportive: Understand what’s important to your buyers – celebrate it, cheer them on.  
  5. Non-transactional:  Build relationships that are not tied to immediate deals that you are hoping to close.
  6. Daily: Invest in building your relationships every single day.

If you can #HoldTheHustle, even for a moment, you are opening the door to a path that doesn’t follow a script and cannot be automated.  Every relationship is different and none will fit neatly into a box or a process.  However, each relationship that you invest in will have more value than a transaction.  

Some relationships may deliver for you many times over in your life, in ways that you cannot anticipate.  There are relationships that can deliver your next job, your next hire, your next crucial piece of advice.

So, pause, think, and consider. You are selling to humans.  That means you’ll need to build relationships with them, not hustle them.

Steve Woods
CTO and Co-Founder
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