Landing Big Deals

In a recent SkillBites Author Teleseminar, speaker and author Loretta Love Huff, CEO of Emerald Harvest, shared strategies for landing “whales” – clients that are 10 to 20 times the size of a typical client. When you can obtain large clients, you don’t have to struggle as hard to garner more clients; it makes business so much easier.

Huff shared a 9 step process for landing whales. The first 3 steps are part of “scouting” or preparing to hunt for whales. This portion includes assessing your sales process, identifying where your clients come from, determining your competitive advantage, and identifying who would be your ideal target customers. The next 3 steps are part of the “hunt” for whales: gaining detailed information about the individuals making the buying decision, preparing your crew and having clear, replicable processes. The final 3 steps are part of “harvesting” the whales, including making sure you have a smooth handoff from sales to operations, and managing the service to build trust and loyalty and obtain repeat sales.

Huff went into further depth on the importance of identifying the characteristics of your ideal whale. Examples include criteria such as total revenue, online sales volume, number of employees, industry, location, marketing budget and philosophy. Some criteria may be more important, so those would receive greater weight. Then when considering a candidate, you can evaluate them against the criteria by scoring them a 3 if they fully meet a criterion, a 2 if they meet it somewhat and a 1 if the criterion doesn’t apply. When you have a system for turning away from prospects that aren’t ideal, you save time and increase your close ratio.

Finally, Huff explained how to look for “whale signs”. Eskimos look for the arrival of a certain species of birds, which show up to feed on the small fish that precede the larger fish that precede whales. When they see the birds, they know the whales aren’t far behind. Depending on the product or service you are selling, your “whale signs” could be bad publicity or a new CEO. To determine the whale signs for your ideal clients, ask yourself what would make the company hungry or in pain so that they really need and want the products or services you offer.

Huff offered to provide a strategy session for members of the SkillBites community. To claim your strategy session, go to

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