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How to Spot and Hunt That Big Whale w/ Barbara Smith [Episode 122]

Barbara Weaver Smith is the Founder and CEO of The Whale Hunters, which provides training, consulting, and coaching on unique processes for explosive growth through large account sales. In today’s episode, Barbara and I discuss the key ways you can attract, keep, and manage a big whale.


What was the back story behind the book, Whale Hunting: How to Land Big Sales and Transform Your Company?

Barbara talks about the Inuit people and how they hunted whales. A group of eight people would search for these giant 100,000 lb creatures in a small boat made out of seal skin. When you look at this past history, it is actually very similar to how teams feel in today’s environment when trying to hunt for a bigger client.

How can you get bigger orders?

Define who would be an ideal whale for you. What are the characteristics of the customer who can give you a deal that’s 20 times bigger than your current deal? Barbara tends to look at geography, revenue, company size, and more to find a list of companies under these very specific criteria.

When do you stop hunting the whale?

You stop hunting the whale when you realize the company is keeping their key decision makers and influencers away from you. That’s one of the tell-tale signs that they expect you to take care of the full load and are not interested in a conjoined working relationship. Make sure you are getting treated with respect and that you are getting to know the respective team and the right decision makers.

What are some of the common fears whales have?

They’re afraid of you because you’re new, small, and because they’ve never heard of the town you’re currently located in. The benefits of working with a smaller company though, means you’re faster at delivering, you’re innovative, and so much more. You have to figure out how to take their fear away by reassuring them of your stronger points.

How do you contact a big whale?

Once you’ve identified the big whales you’d like to have, the second step is reaching out to them. Barbara recommends to reach out through a warm introduction and to constantly be talking to various members within the organization. One of your sales assistants or a marketing team member will also need to be watching the trends and movements of that particular company in order to know when it is the perfect time in the market to pitch them.

What is the new book, Whale Hunting: Global Accounts for Creditable Strategies to Win Global Customers, about?

This upcoming book will be a follow-up to the original one. In the book, Barbara takes the reader to a newer and bigger level and teaches them how to acquire global whales. She talks on some of the roadblocks that mid-sized companies may face when trying to manage a whale overseas.

Learn More About Barbara Smith:

What’s the most powerful sales tool in your arsenal?


Who’s your sales role model?

Jill Conrad.

What’s the one book that every sales person should read?

How To Swim With The Sharks by Harvey Mackay.

What’s your favorite music to get you pumped up for a meeting or sales call?


What’s the first sales activity you do every day?

Barbara reads her email first.

What’s the one question you get asked most frequently by sales people?

How does Barbara close it? You have to know upfront how you’re going to close it. You have to have knowledge and built trust in order to succeed.