Sales Talk for CEOs: How Word of Mouth Was All We Ever Used to Attract New Business with Nancy Duarte (S2:E20)

Jun 23, 2022 | Sales Talk for CEOs Podcast

What would you do if you had all the business your company needed to grow exponentially and more? A never-ending line of people waiting to work with you.


That’s what this week’s guest was fortunate to have. Her company, Duarte, was built on word of mouth, and now for the first time after 33 years is hiring an outbound sales team.

How did she do it?

I’ve been following Nancy for many years and I’m a huge fan. Nancy Duarte is the CEO of Duarte Inc., a company that specializes in the art of persuasive communication. She’s known as “the Storyteller of the Valley” and the author of six best-selling books, including Resonate and slide:ology. Her famous TedTalk has had over 3 million views.

Her company did something others didn’t do, they did it exceptionally and they “killed it” on service. They over-delivered in every capacity so all their business came from word of mouth. But listen to learn why it was hard to have this kind of growth.

How did she drive so much business to her company?

She created a category, built the presentation for An Inconvenient Truth (2006) with Al Gore (won an Academy Award), published a book, did a TED Talk (2010), published more books, and continued to delight customers, It worked and it drove business alright, but it was very demanding.

She told me, that they had more business than they could manage so they had to learn to say no. One of her company values is, “We will only scale at the speed of quality.”

We all want more business and we can’t all do TED talks, work on Academy Award-winning movies and write books, so what can we do? Don’t just deliver what you sell, delight your customers.

What amount of growth could your company have if they focused on delighting customers and getting more word of mouth?

Listen to the twists and turns in Nancy’s story and see how you can relate it to your own.

During our conversation, Nancy discusses how she has grown her company using inbound sales. You’ll learn her strategies to get leads pounding on the door, including top-quality service, word-of-mouth marketing, and thought leadership. She also shares insight into how she qualifies leads to ensure she works with the right clients. Nancy’s story includes a cautionary tale about growing too fast and the details of how she’s recently set up the company to scale. If you want to handle inbound sales more effectively, you’ll want to listen to this episode!

Watch the podcast below or on our YouTube channel.

Highlights of this Episode:

[1:54] Early sales experience: “I was scrappy and tenacious.”

[5:20] New technology, new business ideas

[13:37] Growing a business with inbound sales

[18:49] “Cautionary tale…growth brought us to our knees.”

[23:37] Preparing to scale

[32:36] Adding outbound sales to a mostly inbound system

[40:48] Communication tip for CEOs: it’s all about empathy

About Our Guest

Known as “the Storyteller of the Valley”, Nancy Duarte is CEO and author of six best-selling books. For over 30 years, Duarte, Inc. has worked with the highest performing brands and executives in the world. Duarte is a communication expert who has been featured in Fortune, Time Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company, Wired, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Cosmopolitan, LA Times, and on CNN. Her TED talk has had over 3 million views. She has won several awards for communications, entrepreneurship, and her success as a female executive. She’s ranked #67 on the list of top 250 Women in Leadership, and is the #1 Global Communication Guru. As a persuasion expert, she cracked the code for effectively incorporating story patterns into business communications. Oh, and she has two grandsons and a grand-dogger.

Connect with Nancy Duarte in the links below:
Books: slide:ology and Resonate

You can learn more about and connect with Alice Heiman in the links below:


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