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Perfect Pitch: The Art of Selling Ideas and Winning New Business Hardcover – Oct 30 2006
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"...pitching is a necessary evil, and here Steel dispenses his wisdom on how to come through the other side" (The Drum, October 17th 2008)
From the Inside Flap
"What is the most moving, compelling, and ultimately persuasive argument you ever heard? I'll bet that very few people think of an argument they heard in a conference room presentation."
During his phenomenal twenty-year career in advertising, Jon Steel has won more than ninety percent of the new business he has pitched, winning multi-million dollar contracts from clients like Nike, Sony, Pepsi, Porsche, and Hewlett-Packard. Now this professional "pitching coach" for one of the world's largest marketing communication conglomerates shares his secrets. Steel explains how you really create presentations that win hearts, minds, and new business. He also draws on intriguing presentation examples from the real worldincluding the O. J. Simpson trial, Bill Clinton's presidential debates, the speeches of Sir Winston Churchill and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and even his own marriage proposal to his wife.
Steel identifies the "presentation crimes" committed every day across the business world and the pillars on which all successful presentations are built. He discusses audience psychology, the importance of listening, and how to use real-world examples to make points more powerfully. Perfect Pitch covers every aspect of the pitch process, from assembling a presentation team to rehearsals and the preparation of compelling leave-behind documents.
A must-read for advertising and sales professionals, this book is a should-read for anyone who makes pitches of any sortfrom sales professionals to Realtors who list and sell houses to business executives who want to seal deals. The book ends with an inside look at London's successful dark horse bid for the 2012 Olympicsa perfect pitch.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The most important thing I have gotten out of this book: an understanding of the power of stories. If you try to make a point and can find a story that precisely makes THAT point, the impact is incredible. Stories are not technically charged, and people usually enjoy listening, often lowering their guard, since they don't feel the presenter is trying to sell them something.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Jon believes that in business we all too often hide behind boring Powerpoint slides as it is easier to simply read from a slide than it is to step out and actually engage with your audience. He believes in finding an active insight from which to base the strategy and thinking and from there, developing an engaging and motivating story.
Essentially in a pitch situation you have a limited period of time to connect with your audience and involve them in the story you are telling. It's not about animated slides or embedded video links.
William Goldman, the scriptwriter, has a very similar premise in Adventures In the Screen Trade. He too talks about the critical importance of the pitch (in his case, pitches for movies) Goldman highlights the importance of finding the hook that captivates and motivates your audience.
Having had the pleasure of working with Jon, in fact on one of the pitches that he references in the book, it is fair to say that he practises what he preaches. The advice he gives is refreshingly free from jargon and rooted in simple common-sense that sometimes we can forget.
This book is an essential tool for anyone who is ever in pitch situations with their clients.
I think the most powerful point in the book is the need to build the two minute argument for any presentation before you fire up PowerPoint.
What this book seems to me to be about is creating the space, time and atmosphere needed to think. Whether that means taking a sledgehammer to your blackberry or your officemates to a baseball game the message remains the same - you win business when you have better ideas than other people; and you have better ideas than other people when you allow your subconscious to do some of the work.
Yes the book occasionally meandors, but then so do the best brains. Yes it draws on personal experience, yes it works its way through some seemingly unconnected thoughts, returning to connect only some of them - but then isn't that the central argument in the book. It's the curious mind that wins the day.
So whilst this isn't a bullet pointed, Donald Trump-esque WIN. AT. ALL. COSTS. BY. DOING. IT. THE. BILLIONAIRE. WAY. ! ! ! ! kind of book it is a kinder, gentler, more human, more nuanced and ultimately more insightful peek behind the curtain of big business and what it takes to get the people with the big bucks to buy your ideas.
Perfect Pitch may not be the book that thrusting young American execs may think that they need, it won't be on the shelves of any of the 'contenders' on The Apprentice - which is why so many of their ideas will be as predictable as their hairstyles.
This book makes you realize things you wouldn't think about when preparing for a presentation. It helps you understand that everything you say during a presentation must reflect what your big idea is. It would make us approach presentations differently. Presentations are conversations. Hey, we are presenting to real people! Let's treat them as such...
It is clear that the goal of this book is to make us all better idea-sellers, not only in the field of advertising. Jon Steel writes some great "to-do" lists, suggesting the best ways to approach certain situations. However, those "to-do" lists are backed up with personal experiences that make this book much more enjoyable and easy to read.
From the mentioning of Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, OJ Simpson's trial and "The Perfect Pitch" - London 2012 Olympic bid presentation - this book shows that good presentations not only win new businesses...
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