Win More By Pitching Less

In many service industries “pitching” is part of the business. Pitching requires a lot of time, costs a lot of money and too often doesn’t result in new business.

What if I told you that you could actually win more if you pitched less?

You may think I’m crazy, but this is just some of the advice given by Peter Levitan in his book “Buy This Book, Win More Pitches”

Peter, a former agency owner and head of business development for Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, wrote the book primarily for agencies, but the principles apply to other service organizations. Although Peter advises us to be more selective in what we choose to pitch, he acknowledges that it is part of business and offers many great tips on how to win more. In addition to the 12 clever cartoons on how not to win a new business pitch, here are three of my favorites:

  1. Talk more about the client, less about yourself: based on his own experience and interviews with 16 of the world’s leading industry consultants, this is the #1 and most deadly mistake made.
  2. Understand the client’s mindset: Peter teaches you how to dig in to the nature of the assignment, the type of firm the client is looking for and what type of firm will best suit the client’s needs.
  3. Stand out: as much as you want to think your experience, people or process is unique, it isn’t. Clients think you look the same as the rest of your competition so you need to work really hard to find and present that unique angle.

More on pitching:

“Buy This Book, Win More Pitches”

“The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business”

Leadership

Leading a group of talented and intelligent individuals can be difficult. Large egos make this a challenge, but it is possible. Jodi Berg, CEO of the well-respected Vitamix Corporation, has figured out a way to lead and align with principles, starting with new employee orientation.

No one debates the importance of trust, but few leaders spend time each day consciously trying to cultivate it. The former CEO of The Campbell Soup Company, Doug Conant, states “without a tangible commitment to trust, our outcomes will suffer.” Here is a nice article on why Doug believes building trust is the first thing leaders need to do to achieve extraordinary results.

Talent

Hiring a person is one of the biggest decisions service professionals make. People are everything, but it takes discipline and time – there is a right way to hire the right people.

In my experience, I’ve observed that most leaders of service firms would prefer their people be extroverted versus introverted. I think introverts are generally shunned. This is wrong and a big mistake for advisors and their clients. Here are 16 examples of outrageously successful introverts.

Sales & Marketing

Selling professional services is more complex than most selling situations. It seems most sales books and literature are written for someone else because they don’t fit with our reality. When selling professional services it is important to study and become an expert on how things really work.

Trust is critical in professional services. Gain it and you may have a chance, violate it and you may lose your entire business. Would 83% of your customers recommend you?

Invest in the important stuff,

David Mariano
Chief Curator

Staying In The Moment

If Steve and Mary are having lunch in a crowded restaurant and Steve is constantly looking over Mary’s shoulder, scanning the room for other people he knows, she notices. Mary feels slighted and a bit of trust is lost.

Or, if Mary is pushing to end the conversation, cutting Steve off or regularly checking her watch, Steve notices. He feels hurried. He can tell she doesn’t really want to be there or has somewhere more important to be. Again, trust trickles out of the relationship.

Instead, Steve could stay with the conversation. He could give Mary his undivided attention for 45 or 60 minutes and make her feel that he cares deeply about what she is saying, asking questions and listening. If he claims ADD as his excuse, he could take the seat facing the wall to help maintain focus or pick a quieter venue.

If Mary has a tight schedule, by all means, she should stick to it. She could simply give Steve the courtesy of letting him know she needs to leave at exactly 12:50. She could set the alarm on her phone to give them a five minute notice.

Each moment of every conversation counts. Each moment either builds the relationship up or breaks it down.

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