Today at a networking breakfast I listened to a humorous, inspirational, structured and relaxed presentation on how to put a pitch together to win business.  It was by a local expert in the game, Hugo Meares from Sparkplug.

The presentation itself was a pitch in its own right, as you might expect, but was delivered in such a natural way that it left you thinking, “I would love to have this guy on my team”.  He made the point that we are all pitch doctors and so it is the process you follow that is more important than the actual, “have I got a deal for you” message.  And he’s right.  Hey, even getting the kids to bed at night is a mini-pitch event in its own right!  If you have a bigger pitch to put together than getting the kids to bed, you might do well to give Hugo a call.  If the deal is that important, spending a bit more at the front end will be cheap in the end.

To give you an idea of how Hugo puts a pitch together, I have listed the 5 steps that he follows every time:

  1. Scoping  –  who is decision maker in the organization?  Sometimes the decision maker isn’t THE most important person, but find out who has real influence?
  2. Discovery – Dig deep. Take yr time here.  This is the most vital step.  Ask yourself (and maybe the people you are pitching to) “What do you want to hear from me/us to get the business?”  What a killer question!!
  3. Persuasion – The actual message.  How can you help them overcome a problem and what are the outcomes they will achieve?
  4. Delivery – more than just Powerpoint.  Think about the other senses.  Voice.  Touch n feel.
  5. Negotiation – “landing the fish”  Make sure once the fish is on the line you reel them in carefully and they don’t jump off.

The key takeaways I received was to do more work at the front end and last stage of the process than you probably think is necessary.  Also, focus on the OUTCOMES for the client.  What are the BENEFITS they will achieve.  Use stories to engage people’s emotions.   The biggest takeaway…..use an expert where your skills are average.  If the deal is that important, don’t be penny wise, pound foolish.

Andy Burrows

The Trades Coach