4 best books on pitching for new business? Let me pitch them to you!

Find the best self-tuition books on how to pitch and win new business – we review four of our favourites.

Perfect Pitch: The Art of Selling Ideas and Winning NewBusiness

Written by Jon Steel Published – October 2006 A professional “pitching coach” for one of the world’s largest marketing conglomerates, Jon Steel shares his secrets and explains how you can create presentations and pitches that win hearts, minds, and new business. He identifies the dos and don’ts and uses real-world examples to prove his points. If you make pitches for new business, this is the perfect book for you.

What people thought: “Perfect Pitch is a powerful call to arms to the lost art of presentation writing and, more importantly, making compelling arguments. It made me realize some bad habits I’ve fallen into which need correcting and the need to take back control from technology.” – Gareth Kay “Jon Steel is a rare breed of truly smart, creative thinkers. Though originally from an advertising background, The Perfect Pitch is by no means simply an “advertising book.” It is a book about ideas and how to sell them, regardless of your business.” – Amelia Torode  

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

Written by Peter Coughter Published – January 2012 Occasionally, a great idea will sell itself. The other 99% of the time, you have to find a way to persuade others that it is, in fact, a great idea. Most executives spend the vast majority of their time creating their work, and almost no time on the presentation. Through an engaging and humorous narrative, Peter Coughter presents the tools he designed to help advertising and marketing professionals develop persuasive presentations that deliver business. Readers will learn how to hone their individual natural presentation style, how to organize a powerful presentation, how to harness the elegant power of simplicity, how to truly connect with an audience, how to rehearse effectively, and most importantly, how to win. What people thought: “What you’ll love about this work is the total freshness it brings to presentations. From the very first chapter, Coughter redefines the challenge, resets the approach and shares invaluable tales from the front lines that will make you ache for a chance to get back in the game.” – Dan Wieden, President, Wieden & Kennedy ‘Peter Coughter is not only a master of the pitch, he’s an outstanding teacher. Read what he writes, and then read it again. This book is a gem.’ – John Adams, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, The Martin Agency

Read more

Pay-with-a-tweet: helpful content marketing tool

Are you a business that gives away your content free (as we do)?

Pay With a Tweet

Want to get some reciprocal publicity from your work?

Take a look at Pay with a Tweet from the creative folks at Innovative Thunder

We got a free download e book from Naked Marketing Manifesto

They got promoted using our twitter account

Symbiosis and ‘payback’ all in one!

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Infographics used for business development

Former client, Ctrl-Shift, is a strategy consultancy focusing on personal data and its use online.

They realised that the landscape of personal data availability online has changed hugely in a very short time and despite hysterical outcries about Facebook privacy settings, it is an important area that both brands and consumers should be knowledgable about.

Their concept of “personal data stores” is a really interesting concept that is being built out – imagine you, the consumer, setting the ‘terms and conditions’ for a brand to access your personal information?

It’s called Vendor Relationship Management read more here and here.

But see their great Personal Data infographic published in full with a brief snapshot below showing the 2012 situation…it describes the landscape for legislation, technology, entrepreneurs, corporates and consumers and looks forward in scenarios for each to 2017.

Ctrl-Shift the Personal Data Landscape future

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Brand campaign brief template improvement

Rob Lane my colleague recently wrote a first draft of a new proposal for a client brand and I was delighted that he chose to insert a new section header,

“Your responsibilities”.

Imagine an agency telling a prospective client – not one we’re working with already – that they had to actively participate in delivering to make the marketing programme effective?

I love it.

Now I’m recommending we put this into all new client proposals. It’s authentic and transparent and gives the brand clear boundaries and guidelines that will help us give them exactly what they hired us to do.

What do you do in order to improve your client briefing and agreements?

Read our archive 

What does a modern creative brief look like?

Call our Rescue service for advice on crafting your perfect brief

Shout! Interview with Corey Eastman of Teehan + Lax

Corey Eastman is the new business director at top user experiencer agency, Teehan + Lax.  He approached us saying “your blog is on my daily RSS feed along with other agency sales blogs.  I try to stay up to date.”  And we were so flattered, we asked if he’d like to be interviewed.

Corey Eastman, Biz Dev Director

Creative – what does it mean to you?

The Agency of the Future to me is all about balancing the client agency relationship.  In the past it’s favored the client and the agency has been reactive.  Blair Enns I’ve met a few times and I’m very influenced by his philosophy.  I look back to what he talks about – agencies being specialized and focused using conversations rather than presentations and being selective about who you work with.

I found the Teehan+Lax philosophy on the company page of their site.

John Lax and Jeff Teehan are two super smart guys.  When we started out, we chose not to rely on the legacy of working models passed down from old agency world as the basis for our new company. Instead, we challenged the conventional formula and created a new approach and process. Even as we’ve grown in size and scale, we still are committed to:

  1. partners on every piece of business, from the first pitch through to the final deliverables;
  2. small, agile teams to make the most effective use of your budget;
  3. direct access to the people actually doing the work, so no more “broken telephone” or account managers promising things that can’t be delivered.

How did you get into new business development?

My background is competitive athletics – I played professional hockey which almost made competitive sales a natural transition for me.  I’m very driven and I have a strong passion for success.

What training would you recommend for anyone wanting a career in biz dev?

I think it’s all about communication and sharing stories and ideas.  Reading, writing, speaking, listening and body language / personality.  I did toastmasters and they are very good at honing speaking skills; get formal sales training and invest in a company that will invest in you – I did the IBM program; take ownership and read blogs; read books (Spin Selling is my favourite).

What has changed in new business techniques in the past few years?

Marketing and sales are converging – the reason I think is the internet.  It’s put the consumer in control.  The buy/sell process – which has become more digital.  We are moving from conducting business offline towards being mainly online.  John Lax always says “we have to create more value than you capture” quote from Tim O’Reilly.  Read more

Shout! The Marketing Agency Blueprint: Paul Roetzer interview

Paul Roetzer is a striking, energetic man.  We met after I’d read his first book, the Marketing Agency Blueprint which explains how he has founded a PR agency in a 21st century mould.

You worked in a traditional agency – how did they view biz dev?

They didn’t really have it – they were reliant on the traditional networks of the founders. The growth was dependent on that and referrals. Some limited efforts to do DM pieces and promotions.

Is that normal?

Yes I think in a lot of cases – agencies are built that way. We did research in 2010 into PR agencies only a small % were blogging. They were trying to provide social media services but weren’t doing it wll for themselves.

Agencies tend to come last and that’s why they haven’t done good biz dev work. Take care of your own needs after everything else. I find that messaging and websites are often outdated and they rely on reputation and networks and RFPs for new business.

In the book you liken your business plan to a football field – Why?

I tend to see everything in a sports metaphor. Whether we are bringing in entry level talent (the draft) versus free agency. When I was trying to figure out how to explain to clients how the [online] market was evolving and how these strategies were integrated and they rely on each other, I tried a Venn diagram and in my mind I started thinking about watching

Drive Charts – showing progression down the field 10-20 yard line. This was an analogy – we have to do each of the phases systematically to eventually get to the end zone or the goal. I also wanted to represent different things at once – audiences (stadium) the brand (a place).  See Paul’s diagram here.

Inbound Marketing Gameplan

How do you manage the agency website internally?

One of the senior consultants is also the agency’s marketing manager and is also the blog editor. In most cases her role is to keep the editorial calendar up to date and the team of the writers – we try to do 1-2 per week.  We also have a premium content strategy – the book started as a 2010 e book; we did “The marketers guide to web design”. We also have plans to do premium content which isn’t paid for but is just high quality. Gated content = lead form to access.

How does she report and on what?

Same as clients – traffic, organic, lead generation, blog subscriber base, social media and how engaged – followers and likes we have.  We do a monthly scorecard – pull the data out of GA and Hubspot and create a spreadsheet thta shows core numbers, assess it and 3 takeaweays – highlights, learning snad what we’ll do next month.

Tomorrow, read Part 2 of the interview with Paul.

In the meantime, why not buy the book [affiliate link] it’s in hardback or Kindle editions.

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How to Launch a skincare brand on a small budget

The local business incubator here in Auckland is called The Icehouse.  It’s an impressive place buzzing with activity.

Creative Agency Secrets was asked to prove its salt by giving some free consulting to a new organisation, DirtyMan.co.nz Perversely, it is all about keeping men clean!

Avoiding costly product launches

The team is a start-up and was looking to gain profile without too much hard cost.  Our suggestions included:

  • Painting up an old caravan to take to events
  • Asking supermarkets about promotions based not in-store ($$$) but in the car park
  • Setting up google alerts for three phrases aligned to the 3 personae of their ‘ideal customer’ profiles
  • Set up a press or media page on the website to host high resolution pack images, past coverage and background information
  • Print A5 leaflets on light card single sided and then use the back for several different purposes: a Postcard; letterbox maildrops; product information – just overprint in black when you need them

Prioritising your time and money

We time showing DirtyMan how to prioritise their decisions with regard to which promotions to spend money on and how to pick the ones that would give the best return.  They were considering a radio show sponsorship, leaflet drops to households and joint promotions with other non-competing brands.

For a startup, we think the best promotions are those that

  1. Bring a customer face to face with the brand
  2. Drive awareness to a new audience based on someone else’s data list

We recommended assessing any joint promotion based on the size and quality of the database of the other company.  And so a sports team sponsorship that has a supporting newsletter (especially an electronic one) and a Facebook fan group is probably worth more than a radio show with no mailing list.

What were the outcomes?

Here’s what Tracey Orange, the owner had to say after the briefing with Creative Agency Secrets:

Yes I did find my meeting with Rebecca useful, we have been busy talking to lots of people over the last week or so and I guess I am taking bits from everyone I speak to, and then formulating our plan from here.

After meeting Rebecca we are going to use some of her suggestions, one was to get out and meet our customers face to face and we now are looking for a cheap promo vehicle brand up and use for onsite promos and events, (if you know of any old land rovers for sale please let Mike know), she also gave me some good things to be talking to organisations we want to align with and not to be just giving stuff away but to leverage product for contacts database names and she also suggested getting hooked up with a clothing brand or similar and then the next day we spoke to someone who is going to see about hooking us up with a menswear clothing brand so fingers crossed.

Would you like access to our ideas?  Think about how to apply these to your own brand.

Get in touch and ask for a FREE 20 minute chat on the phone or Skype.

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5 Questions to ask a creative agency at your pitch

Interviewing the brand and being interviewed as the agency are core skills for pitching.

Getting to “the close” for new business and a signature on the contract requires a clear purchase decision from a brand decision maker.  If you are pitching to a brand – prepare for these questions that they should be asking you.

When you get invited to pitch there are 2 reasons you are in the room

  1. Your track record indicates you should be good enough to do the job
  2. Your future WILL deliver an excellent job
The questions are designed to reassure the brand marketing team that you will be in their future – collaborating, partnering.

Chief Marketing Officer pitch questions to agency

So how can you tell what the future of this agency will be?  the same old, same old competent delivery of past campaigns or new and exciting incremental creativity that will accelerate your brand in front of consumers?

First question: Vision

What do you, the agency, think is the future of marketing/advertising?

You want to know whether they are aware of new technologies, brands moving to new social platforms and integrating mobile solutions into their campaigns.

Second question: New Hires

Tell us about the new team members who have joined this past year.

What are the characteristics of these people and why did they join the team?  Are they crazy future-ologists, or competent deliverers.  Will they bring new expertise to the team (see answer to question 1 above) and can you see your brand leveraging their knowledge to advantage?

Third question: Team Structure

What is your creative team structure and composition?

Listen hard to how many ‘traditional’ job titles are described.  Find out about the digital specialists – are they in a separate group who get brought in to assist or are they part of the core delivery group.  What about outsourcing production and expert tool creation – how honest is the agency about areas in which they are not expert and are buying in talent.

Fourth question: Modern Marketing Communications

Tell us about recent campaigns that were not advertising-led

How many message delivery tools have they used that were not print or TV advertising, direct mail/email or public relations.  Look for innovation and incorporation of ‘gamification’, apps, integration with social media (leading edge at the time of writing is Pinterest, G+), brand collaborations and joint ventures.

Fifth question: The Delivery Team

Who will be working on our account and why?

The individual attributes of the core account team matter.  This will help you get round the agency that pitches with one team and delivers with another.  Why does the agency pick each individual and what are their skills – you’ve got to work with these people.  Go and check them all out on Linked In and Facebook.

The Agency’s reply 6 questions

We found this post from W+K London in which they tried to give the reciprocal questions the agency should ask the client.

  1. Who are the decision makers on the pitch and on the agency’s work?
  2. What are your criteria for judging the success of your agency’s work?
  3. Is your inclination to aim high and do something extraordinary, or to settle for the ordinary and avoid the risk of failure?
  4. What made you consider us for this pitch?
  5. How many agencies are pitching and who are they?
  6. Will you pay a pitch fee?

Go forth and pitch.  But be careful!

Thanks to Edward Boches for the original inspiration for this article

Read more articles on 3 New Business Pipeline and 6 Creating Opportunities from our archive.

 

 

Selling disguised as market research

Marketing Research with Tumblr

Business development tricks of the trade:

Have you ever tried disguising new business prospecting as ‘market research’?

Finding new customers to discuss your business products and services with is difficult for many people.  Many people have a natural fear of the unknown and ‘cold calling’ strikes a death-knell in many people’s darkest fears.

Let Creative Agency Secrets show you some of the insiders tricks of the trade –

and learn to find an easy way to discuss new business without the fear and pain.

We all need Market Research

Market research is a valid business activity – without it you cannot know what the market and pricing is for your services and products.   What few people realise is that many prospective customers are happy to give their advice and opinion to you, free of charge in the name of market research.  They are frequently motivated by the hope that if your situations were reversed, you would assist them.

Asking questions about how other people view your products is very easy to do.

Email introduction for market research survey

Imagine this – an email asking for 15 minute meeting to get an opinion about a new service offering.

Dear Rebecca, we’re planning a new email list de-duplicaiton service for launch in the autumn,  As a previous customer of XYZ co, we’d value your opinion on the features and pricing of this service.  

Could you spare us 15 minutes on a conference call to give us your views?If you have time next week, I’ll send over a short briefing note explaining our plans. 

Best wishes

Could you send something like that out?  Individually and personally addressed?  You could send it using Linked In using their mass-mail feature?  Maybe add in a ‘poll’ if you want a voting response (though this is less personal).

Case study – market research for affiliate consulting services

One of our coaching clients has plans for a new environmental consultancy around carbon credits. The two partners in the business have found a service they want to sell and asked our advice about pricing.

We recommended contacting prospective customers and seeking meetings or phone conversations with them to do market research into their appetitie for this service.

Not only does this approach allow a direct conversation with a possible decision-maker; it allows you time to explain exactly what your product/service does and how the customer might benefit. They listen carefully because it’s a ‘market research’ dialogue not a sales pitch.

Nice, eh?

 

Additional thoughts

Our client is a busy lady who works in 2 businesses – building up the new one while running the existing one. We discussed how she prioritise her time. Our conclusion was that if she could specify the 3 questions needing answers from the market research, her business partner could do the calls and visits. In this way she can ‘direct’ the work but spend her time on the other, income-generating business while still progressing developments on the new venture.

See other articles about Pipeline development and Opportunity creation by searching the categories on the right.

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