Want to sign bigger contracts?

Posted on January 31st, 2021 to Uncategorized

Many clients who come to me, in addition to wanting to sign more business, also want to sign larger contracts.

The problem is they miss opportunities for the bigger play. 

Last week, I observed a sales call between one of my clients and a new lead. She had 30 minutes with an executive from a well-known snack food brand to discuss leading an unconscious bias training for managers.

Now, my client is a DEI strategist. Her aim is to do the larger, more transformative work with organizations; however, she saw this opportunity as a way to get a foot in the door, so she decided to take the call. 

Because she’s my client, she already knew how to handle a call with a potential client: lean into curiosity, asking questions to uncover the client’s true pain points and tensions before pitching any ideas. 

One of the techniques I teach to do this is called “peeling the onion.” It allows us to go deeper with clients, rather than taking their statements at face value — when we get to the heart of the matter with our potential clients, we can position our services in more powerful ways, often for larger opportunities.

By and large, my client did an excellent job on this call. However, she missed one crucial opportunity that could have shifted the conversation from a one-off training to a potentially larger partnership…

The potential client said, “I’m committed to changing this company.”

I thought, “Wow! This is the moment!” I couldn’t wait for my client to peel the onion and discover more about this bold statement!

But she didn’t. 

Instead, she said, “That’s great to hear. Now, do you know how many employees will be taking the training?”


Can you see the opportunity she missed? 

This executive is thinking big. She has big goals. She has a vision. She stated that she wanted to change the whole company — and yet, my client didn’t follow up to see what that meant.

What may have happened if she peeled the onion? What if she had said, “Wow, that sounds exciting — tell me more about that?”

Had she dug deeper, she may have discovered even more ways — bigger ways! — to work together. And, at the very least, she would have been meeting the client where she was at, and that is always the right strategy.

In debriefing this call with my client, she shared that she felt nervous on the call and thought the jitters kept her from being fully present — plus, she was rushing to collect all the information she would need to turn around a proposal for the training. 

To that I said: “OF COURSE!” She was on a call with an executive from an ideal client company — even I felt nervous, and it wasn’t even my call!

Let’s get real — we’re not going to be perfect on sales calls. We get excited. We don’t want to screw up. All of these things can arrest our attention, making it more difficult to stay present and listen deeply for the cues that unlock bigger opportunities. 

How can you set yourself up to be present and listen even more deeply on your next sales call?

We will be talking about this, and more, on the next Sales Roundtable — a free virtual gathering for founders who are leading sales. Check it out and register here!

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