Monday, June 8, 2009

Five Sales Pitch Fundamentals That Win Business in a Recession by Joey Asher

Today's special guest is Joey Asher, President of Speechworks and author of How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals that Will Distinguish You from the Competition.

Keeping your current customers satisfied and securing new business is vital to a company's success, especially during tough economic times such as these. Today, Joey Asher discusses the Five Fundamentals found in How to Win a Pitch and how they can help you.

The difference between life and death for many businesses today is one big win – one new piece of business that will allow your firm to ride out the economic storm. If that’s the case for your business, then you better know how to deliver a killer pitch: a new business presentation that allows your firm to stand out from the competition.

Over the last 23 years, my business has helped businesses win billions of dollars in new business contracts. In that time, we have learned that the key to winning business isn’t showing that you’re the “best”. Your prospect usually can’t tell which firm is the best. And if you’re on a short list of candidate companies pitching for the business, all your competition is most likely excellent.

Rather, the key is showing that you’re going to be the best partner for the project. To do that, you need to execute five fundamentals.

Fundamental #1. Present a solution and nothing else. Many of your competitors start presentations by talking about themselves. “Before we start, let me tell you about how our company began . . .” Blah. Blah. Blah. Who cares? Your prospect only cares about is how you can save them money, grow their revenues, or reduce their risk. Detail your plan to help your prospect and tell stories about how the plan has worked for others.

Fundamental #2. Keep it simple. I watched three construction firms pitch to build a new school. No presentation had less than 10 points. None of the messages were memorable. Instead, you should hammer at three messages. “We’ll build your project on time. We’ll meet your budget. We’ll deliver quality work.” Simplicity separates you from the competition.

Fundamental #3. Speak with Passion. If you’re one of three firms competing, you know that your competition can do a great job. Personal style can be the separator. “When it’s close, many of the decisions just come down to who connects with us best,” one CEO told me. Passion in the voice helps you connect.

Fundamental #4. Leave half of your time for questions. Questions address your prospect’s hot buttons. Your competition often makes Q&A an afterthought. Avoid that mistake.

Fundamental #5. Rehearse. “I can always tell who has rehearsed,” said one CEO who has heard hundreds of sales presentations. Most people don’t rehearse much. Practicing sets you apart.

In a recession, the pool of new business is small. Focus on fundamentals to grab your share.

This article is adapted from Joey Asher’s new book “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals that Will Distinguish You from the Competition. It is available at and on Amazon. To read Joey’s blog go to

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