The Business Development Story That Changed Everything for Sandy Lutton, Chris Graham, and Debby Moorman

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 Chris Graham: What growth story are you most personally proud of?

  • Making the pivot from law to private equity is the thing that Chris is the most proud of. The pivot was hard and took a long time but it has allowed him to make more impact than ever before.
  • One of the examples that Chris talks about is a company where Chris implemented his methodology of growth and after 19 months they grew from $2.3 million to $4.9 million in profit. Rather than just generate more sales, Chris helped them become more process efficient.
  • Chris grew up in a trailer park back in the 70’s where there was still a sense of community. That experience is why Chris is so dedicated to the mission of rehabilitating those kinds of communities now.
  • It was a long process of learning and growing before Chris was able to connect all the dots. Being raised in a poor community, Chris wasn’t exposed to the idea of entrepreneurship and the impact you can have at that level until after he began his career in law.
  • Chris is insatiably curious, which is a trait that has propelled him throughout his career. That curiosity is what allowed Chris to make the jump from each level to the next.
  • After working with families that owned businesses for 17 years, Chris could see things that they couldn’t. This was a big motivation for buying the first business.
  • Chris realized that, over the period of growing the law firm from eight lawyers to 22 lawyers over 24 months, he got himself into a position where he couldn’t use his strengths. Instead of floundering, Chris made the hard decision to cut back to what was working before, which allowed him to eventually make the transition to bigger and better things.


Mo asks Debby Moorman: What is one moment around business development that you are really proud of?

  • The current climate has been challenging, and there is one client in particular that she’s working with right now that she’s proud of.
  • She had the opportunity to reconnect with someone she worked with 15 years ago that recently moved into a more senior role. She reached out to them, but with the way things are right now, she couldn’t meet them in person and have a face-to-face conversation with them.
  • What Debby was able to do was have a conversation with this person and simply learn about their new role. She started to hear things that indicated the company was going through a number of changes and was able to offer herself as a resource to be more successful in their new job. This led to more conversations and helping them with relevant research, and eventually getting connected with the CHRO.
  • This relationship from Debby’s past has developed into a conversation about how they can all work together.
  • By cultivating a relationship with this person, Debby has opened the door to working with the organization in a deeper scope that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, simply by being helpful.
  • For Debby, the commercial transaction is not a focus when connecting with someone. She brings a curiosity to the table that helps her uncover genuine ways that she can help and by following through, she adds value, builds trust, and creates a real relationship.
  • Be helpful and honest, and the solution will happen.
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