Category Archives: Pitch Tips

The Ten Truths

This is a presentation and conversation that I have had with a number of clients across the years. I am dusting it off and bringing it back into the foreground for 2018. Some of the points are obvious yet the obvious gets overlooked in the  heat of battle.

Some of the points are provocative and provocation is sometime the only way to win.

Here is your link to the PDF

If you want to discuss any of the ideas here to turn the whole piece into a team game or seminar let me know and we can easily arrange to make it so.

Say it in 7: Develop the Game Plan

The Say it in 7 approach to structuring your pitch, story or proposal starts with the client/customer’s pressing challenge and ends on actionSay it in 7 is the methodology to create a pitch/proposal/idea and present it in 7 slides.

In 7 slides we can communicate ‘why our solution’ and back it with evidence that is appropriate to the people who will make the decision.

With fewer slides, each slide has to work harder.

With fewer slides, there is more opportunity for the customer to fill in the blanks with Q&A

Next Steps: The last slide (slide 7) asks for action. We want to get a ‘yes’ rather than a ‘maybe’.


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Prep for Meetings – Yes, its checklist central . . .

Again, with the same team, our thoughts turned to overall meeting preparation, and again the list is longer than we think!

  1. Personalised PowerPoint – Have you? Aside from adding their logo and changing the date
  2. Case studies included and are relevant
  3. Anecdote: What personal stories can you tell
  4. What will you teach them in the meeting?
  5. Metrics – because aside from stories people take numbers away from the meeting
  6. Investment analysis – how is this company doing?
  7. Right audience in the room – are you sure?preparation
  8. Industry – how is their sector doing?
  9. Competitors – how are their competitors doing?
  10. LinkedIn – and try not to leave it to the last minute
  11. Research individuals – see #11
  12. Facebook – might as well see #7
  13. LinkedIn – Connections
  14. Roles – who on our team is doing what?
  15. Three run throughs please, if the meeting is that important
  16. Right resources
  17. Run through your demo in live mode – if you have one
  18. Salesforce what is the company’s entry
  19. Lockdown 48 hours prior. Meaning the presentation is ready 48 hour before the meeting, it is agreed and no content needs to be changed and so the only thing we do is rehearse this

Anything to add?  Contributors will receive a free copy of 22 Questions: How to win more business


Tech Check – get ready for that meeting

I was working with a team the other day and the conversation turned to technology mess-ups in meetings and how disruptive this is.

  1. OK, I said what do you need to check? Here is what we came up with:
  2. Wi-Fi – will there be a connection in the room?
  3. Cables – do you have all your leads?
  4. Dongles for your mobile Wi-Fi
  5. Beamer Projector – will they have one?
  6. Thumb Drive with spare copy of my presentation
  7. Take a Backup PC – if the meeting is that importantteck prep
  8. Battery Charger and is your battery charged!
  9. Giveaways for the delegates? Sweeteners and leave-behinds
  10. Clean Desktop – move all the icons off the desktop into one folder
  11. Skype and other alerts on your PC turned off.
  12. Browser Bar clean and tidy if you are doing a demo
  13. Clickers and mice to hand and with fresh batteries
  14. Software malware checked – if needs by
  15. Water – (for your body technology)

Anything to add?  Contributors will receive a free copy of 22 Questions: How to win more business

What will convince them?


The right evidence will convince the client is a critical component of your successful pitch

What convinces me may not convince you! It is how we bring our proposition alive with evidence that will give the client a reason to believe us.

Sometimes no amount of facts or figures will give the right approach; at other times a detailed analysis is the bare minimum to convince the decision-maker. Where the client sits on this continuum is for you to find out – again, you are looking at your understanding of the audience. Sometimes this boils down to simple questions: ‘What do you need? What can I best give you to help you make the decision?’

Determining whether facts and figures or some other form of evidence will convince the client is a critical component of a successful pitch. Look no further than a legal case: material is entered as evidence and can be accessed by both sides, but it is sometimes the ability of one party to make better use of the evidence that wins the case.


Will they decide today?

When in a meeting or when giving a pitch, a good question to ask is: is the contact prepared to act now and to give us the go-ahead? Have we reached a clear point in the presentation at which we can confidently ask them to accept our proposal?


Will they decide today? Or . . .

The best time to ask for business is when we are face to face (rather than in a follow-up email), provided the contact has been given a clear benefit of saying yes today (rather than ‘maybe’ or ‘we’ll get back to you’). What is the benefit to them of an early ‘yes’?

It could be making special materials or products part of your solution. It could be including the client in a special piece of market research. It could be securing the services of a specialist in your team to help the client implement the solution. Or, it could be offering one of your recognised senior leaders to speak at the client’s kick-off.

I have worked with several teams to brainstorm a list of benefits aiming to secure an early ‘yes’. It is easy for teams to come up with a long list of ideas from which team members can pick the best one for a given client situation – to make saying ‘go ahead’ easier.


In what ways can we best come across as a team?  There are two aspects to this question.

The first is preparation. Preparation for the meeting or presentation is essential. Assign a leader, book a room and run through the material you are going to use. Pull a colleague into this session and ask for an unbiased opinion on your approach.

In addition, determine, if you are able, what questions will arise and how you will answer them.

The second aspect concerns the meeting itself. Ensure that everybody has enough time to deliver their material and speaks slowly enough to create gaps to allow a colleague to ‘come in’ with an additional point or answer questions you did not plan for.

Very often, it’s about where your attention is when it’s not ‘your turn’; looking interested and reassuring (mentally being on your toes) is another good way to show you are playing as a team.


. . .looking interested



A BIG THANK YOU to contributors Anita Payne, David Harris, gi-solutions group, Jack Manzoor, James Deveraux, Jason Dawes, Karl Knights, Katy Garner Foy, Marc Bresseel, Marc Cox, Martin Cowgill, Martin Hummel, Neil Robinson, Pete Hanford, Peter Farfaras, Raconteur Media, Simon Marquis, Tim Greatrex, Tom Bowman and Tom George.                                             PITCH TIPS 2014 Index   pdf

The home of 40 exciting ideas about winning business

The home of 40 exciting ideas about winning business


Jimmy C mentioned in a recent mail – pitch tip would be the following prep work before the meeting.

prep prior

Jimmy C says “Find out first . . .”

Find out everything you can about the attendees on the client side, which is public information, for example, on LinkedIn or corporate websites. It would be helpful to know which companies they worked for before, which can also give clues to whether they will like your idea or not and how to present your idea in the best way.

Find out everything you can about the company: Wikipedia may not be all verified information, but it gives clues to what other people might think of the company. The “criticisms & controversies” section on Wikipedia can sometimes be quite insightful.

This sounds cliché, but if the client did not give you clear objectives of the project before the meeting, it would be good to deduce the objectives from points 1 and 2 above.

James Chue is the Account Director at CNBC covering Japan, Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand –  More CNBC  More on James


Martin Cowgill, Director, Global Partnerships – Yahoo!

five minutes in

Martin’s advice – focus on the first five minutes.

Martin advises ” Instead of going straight into your pitch, focus your first five minutes on getting to know whom you are presenting. Whilst setting up or waiting for everyone to settle, ask some general questions to find out a few things that you may have in common with them. Finding common ground can go along way to them paying closer attention to what you have to say and eventually buying in to what you are pitching.           More on Martin