Book Review: How to Win a Pitch


Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win their ideal clients by becoming seen as authorities in their field.


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Selling Professional Services

Book Review: How to Win a Pitch

on .

If you're short on time, here's my review in a nutshell: Buy this book.

Before the full review though, an admission: I hate the word “pitch”.

Now don't get me wrong, I've been involved in more than my fair share of pitches; won (and lost) multi-million pound consulting contracts as a result of “beauty parades” and “bake offs”. And I've learnt what works for me by learning from my mistakes and watching true experts perform in the field. But for me, the word “pitch” brings up all the wrong images: slick haired, dark suited, fast talking professionals who pitch at the clients rather than engaging with them.

So in truth, when author Joey Asher offered to send me a review copy of How to Win a Pitch, I wasn't really looking forward to it. I was expecting the usual platitudes about dressing well, body language and performance skills.

I couldn't have been further from the truth.

What the book does deliver is a no-nonsense guide to the key fundamentals needed to win sales pitches. Page after page I found myself nodding in agreement, or occasionally thinking “great so far – but I bet he doesn't cover X” – only to find it explored in detail a few pages later. And I don't just mean coverage of the basics – there was plenty in here that was new to me – despite my years of experience.

Asher's five fundamentals are simple: ensure that the pitch is

  • Focused on a business solution
  • Simply organised
  • Delivered with passion
  • Interactive
  • Well-rehearsed

As he points out, so many pitches are done so badly that simply doing well on at least some of these fundamentals can significantly differentiate you from your competition. But the book doesn't settle for that – it delivers rock-solid techniques and methods to excel in each area.

Take the first fundamental: focusing the message on the business problem. Rather than just stating that this is important, Asher delivers a strong questioning methodology to enable this (and more importantly – highlights the importance of genuine listening over using techniques), and then gives multiple examples of solution focused pitches for the reader to learn from.

This is repeated throughout the 5 fundamentals. Strong advice, strong examples, elegantly and effectively communicated.

And make no mistake – these fundamentals are absolutely vital – but often overlooked. The number of senior professionals I've seen violating Asher's principle of rehearsal, for example, is simply staggering.

This book is one of those rarities that presents a simple framework that “beginners” will be able to understand and use – yet still crams in multiple gems of wisdom and insight that even highly experienced sales people will learn from.

If you get involved in sales pitches and presentations in any way (and if you want to sell big, there's no doubt you will) – then you must buy this book.


*** Update *** Joey has just emailed me to say that the book will be in stock at Amazon on May 17th. But if you want a copy now you can buy one at


Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win their ideal clients by becoming seen as authorities in their field.

  • user

    AUTHOR Bob Bly

    Posted on 6:28 pm April 6, 2009.

    Use of the word “pitch” in the title concerns me. If he thinks of selling as making a pitch, implies the author is out of touch with what is working today in selling.

  • user

    AUTHOR Ian Brodie

    Posted on 8:47 pm April 6, 2009.

    Hi Bob – nice to see a copywriting legend make it over to my site!

    To be frank, I too was worried by the use of the word pitch.

    I needn’t have been.

    The word “pitch” is common currency amongst some of Joey’s key target clients. I know this to be true in the UK too as professionals like lawyers and architects are some of my best clients. For them – as for those in the media – the “pitch” is the key presentation to the potential client of what you propose to them. Whether we like it or not, whether we believe it’s a good way of buying/selling or not – the reality is that huge projects are won and lost in sales processes culminating in pitches like this.

    But what Joey does is get behind the concept of a pitch and focuses on how you can develop an approach based on what the buyer really needs. He even covers how to win a pitch without actually pitching – just by listening and understanding the clients needs better than the competition.

    So while the title of the book may be “how to win a pitch” – possibly in order to attract the attention of Joey’s key target clients – in reality the book is not at all about what we would traditionally understand by the “pitching”.

    Bob – I really recommend you give it a read yourself to see.


  • user

    AUTHOR Deimar

    Posted on 8:45 pm January 14, 2012.

    Personally I believe the most important of a pitch is to be able to communicate Who you are? What problem do you solve? and How you can help them?. if you are able to give confidence and a good picture of your business, you got your pitch. this post tell lot about it: “Dressed to pitch: Guide for a successful business pitch”

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