Sandy Lutton Explains the Importance of Treating People As More Than Just Prospects

By Mo Bunnell

Sandy Lutton talks about business development and what she learned landing world-class speakers and executives as clients.

Sandy Lutton talks about business development and what she learned landing world-class speakers and executives as clients. Find out why you should be treating prospects as clients right from the get-go, the top four business development strategies she uses every single day, and why taking the fear out of the initial meeting can open the doors to building great relationships.


Mo asks Sandy Lutton: When was the moment that you realized that you wanted to focus on business development?

  • At the beginning of Sandy’s career she started off in a job at a call center doing customer service and she learned that sales were an integral part of success. She realized that she loved solving people’s problems and enjoyed building relationships.
  • This led to diving into the world of sales within the telecom industry and eventually software and consulting. The opportunity to engage deeply with a client and understand what their business needs and goals were only made the work more attractive.
  • A prospect is not just a prospect, they are in the client process, and Sandy acts accordingly. The prospect stage is about building trust and adding value in a way they need at that point in the relationship.
  • Sandy has a passion for helping storytellers get their story out into the world. Sandy is working with a prospect right now by helping get him in touch with writers that can get his story down on paper.
  • Treating a prospect like a client and providing the value they need at the stage they are in is how you build the relationship from the ground up. Start with strategy and making introductions while communicating that process early on and getting their buy in on the process.
  • As a sole proprietor, it’s important to know at what point they need you specifically and when you can be the most valuable to them.


Mo asks Sandy Lutton: What is your personal definition of business development?

  • We think of business development as a necessary evil way too often, but it’s simply human interaction. Think of business development as an opportunity to get to know someone, understand what they need from you, and how you can bring value to them.
  • Sandy is a firm believer in having a reason to pick up the phone and call a prospect. You need to understand what value you can bring to the other person and then deliver on that.
  • Sandy created an informal CFO network for prospects she was working on building relationships with. This kind of value group is a great resource for the prospects and naturally leads to the prospects wanting to do business for you.
  • If you have value to add, that gives you license to reach out.
  • Put yourself in the potential client’s shoes. The people they take the time to connect with are the ones that are bringing their uniqueness and value to the relationship. It can be as simple as a book recommendation.
  • Once you start to invest in a relationship, it’s much easier to find ways to add value. Sandy and Mo list a ton of different ways you can help a prospect and add value to their life.
  • Everybody makes the assumption that technical expertise is all the same (even if it’s not), but they always pay attention to the people that care.


Mo asks Sandy Lutton: Tell us your favorite science, step, or story from the GrowBIG Training or Snowball System.

  • Sandy’s favorite science is the Herrmann Brain Dominance Model because it opened her eyes to understanding how her pitch was communicated to other people.
  • The Protemoi List is another strategy that stands out. Knowing who the most important people are in regards to your business and your success, and building a process around it, is a key element to success. Relationships are paramount, and the Protemoi List puts them front and center.
  • Before the Protemoi List, relationships were unstructured. When you have someone on your list, it becomes intentional and mutually beneficial.
  • Sandy’s list used to be longer, but over time she narrowed it down as she learned her limitations and the precise value you can bring to the relationship.
  • How many people can you proactively reach out to in a month in a helpful way that you don’t get paid for. Ten is a great place to start.
  • Give To Get is another favorite strategy. For Sandy, she lays out the overall plan and the steps where the client can engage her to take the next steps. A great Give To Get instills trust in the vision and endears the prospect into working solely with you.
  • The last step that Sandy appreciates is the idea of a value group. By building a network of CFOs and building those relationships over time, she has created a group of raving fans that turn into valuable business.


Mo asks Sandy Lutton: What is a business development story that you are really proud of?

  • One moment in particular stands out from Sandy’s career in regards to business development. Part of her role at the Speaker’s Bureau was to secure talent, and Sandy was working on securing a famous world leader. The twist in the story was that the first in-person meeting with the CEO didn’t go well which made landing this client much harder than they expected.
  • They spent too much time talking about who they represent.
  • The big influencer in the decision was the Chief of Staff, and by uncovering their goals it changed the dynamic of the relationship. In listening to them and finding out what they needed, Sandy was able to put the right team in place to support them.
  • Understanding what they ultimately wanted to achieve was critical in the decision-making Just like the Snowball System teaches, keeping them involved in the process was crucial, and in the end they won the business without giving everything away for free.
  • Many people fold too quickly when it comes to high pressure proposals. Challenge yourself when you feel like you have to go in at your lowest price in order to win the business, because it might not be true.
  • Sandy is most proud of the fact that they landed the client by identifying the right team and making it clear that going to the lowest price wasn’t the right move. Resist the urge to discount your service by negotiating too soon.


Mo asks Sandy Lutton: If you could record a message around growth and business development and send it to your younger self, what would it say?

  • Early in her career, Sandy was intimidated by business development and felt that she had to win them over while being perfect, but it doesn’t have to be an intimidating process.
  • Business development is simply about building relationships. Sandy would want to help her younger self take the fear out of the process. It can be fun and engaging, and you will learn a lot along the way.
  • Practice for perfection, but play for progress. You start to see how brilliant your team is when you plan ahead, and even if you don’t win the business, you improve for the next one.
  • When you’re in a meeting, look for the little wins and what the next step along the way is. Make sure you tackle all the issues and break things down into small steps. Moving anything forward during a meeting is a win, so keep that in mind.
  • Instead of trying to wow the prospect, just give them what they are looking for.

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