What lessons have you learnt from pitches that didn’t go as well as expected?

Believe me it happens to us all!  And to prove the point, here are 3 stories from my own adventures in BD:

In a pitch to a high street law firm in Norwich I was stopped by an unimpressed partner.  His grievance was that I had been talking with pride about projects I had delivered for an international law firm. What he wanted to know, however, was what experience I had of working with other high street firms.

Lesson learned?  Keep it relevant and use reference points that will have meaning and add value for your prospect, not you!

In a pitch to a prospect in the automotive industry in Gothenberg during my days at Shell, the pitch team I was heading up included a loose cannon, ironically the Relationship Manager.  When they unexpectedly blurted out “so which one of you has the budget?” they caused a great deal of embarrassment and uncomfortability amongst the client’s team.

Lesson learned?  Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse so there are no surprises.

Going back further, when I was at P&G a normally agreeable client behaved very differently when I visited with my sales manager.  When I was asked by my boss afterwards how I thought the meeting went I said “not well”.  “Why?” Paul asked.  “I tried to do what I learnt on the training course”. “Forget the training course, just be yourself” was Paul’s sage advice.

Lesson learned?  Always be yourself because no one else is as good at it as you.

If you’d like to discuss how we could help your team improve any aspect of their BD, please email us and we can find a time to chat.

Published by sizetenandahalfboots

Douglas is a director of Size 10½ Boots, a specialist business development agency that works solely with the professional services, helping firms grow by winning more new clients and more work from the clients they already have. Although every project is different our work generally falls into one of three camps - strategic marketing support, BD training and 1on1 coaching and independent client research.

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