Business Development Series Posted by David McDermott

As we enter a period of economic recovery there are likely to be more opportunities to pitch for business. This is what you have been waiting for. The recent economic climate however has meant that procurement is more rigorous than ever. It is therefore vitally important that you make the most of every opportunity you get. It is crucial that you deliver a persuasive pitch that hits the mark and wins you the business.

And that demands far more than catchy attention grabbers:


edoMidas have a unique, proven methodology based on audience and presenter research. This research has resulted in a comprehensive approach covering all you need to know about how to win that pitch.

Winning strategy

The first thing you need is a compelling persuasive strategy. Many presenters fall into the trap of building up a logical case before finishing with their conclusion or desired outcome. This process is often more informative than persuasive and usually consists of lots of historical information about the pitching organisation. David McDermott, Managing Director of edoMidas explains however that in 78% of these cases the result is failure.

This means that you should be clear about the desired outcome of the pitch from the start e.g. “We are here to make the case for…” or “Our objective today is to seek your approval to…”

Your outcome should be followed by a “hook” i.e. something that is going to make your audience really want to listen e.g. an opportunity, fear of missing out, a killer fact, curiosity or key question (see also Top 10 Attention Grabbers). This should be supported by a maximum of your three strongest arguments for engagement (SAFE). It’s important to remember that your audience is more tuned in at the beginning and the end of your presentation. In psychological terms this is known as primacy and recency. You should therefore take this into account when sequencing your topics i.e. your strongest should be delivered first and your second strongest at the end leaving your third one in the middle (1-3-2).

David goes on to explain that when you elaborate on your three strongest arguments for engagement you should keep this to a minimum and make it credible, otherwise you run the risk of being questioned on lesser, weaker points or irrelevancies. Having decided on the 3C’s (Concise, Compelling and Credible Justification”) you should anticipate the questions stimulated and prepare the answers. Remember many pitches fail in the question and answer session. Therefore it is absolutely vital that you prepare for this too and don’t try to answer all the questions in the presentation.

Engaging content

The most successful presenters are very selective about the factual information that they deliver. These are the facts that they can relate to the audience in a meaningful way. David affectionately calls this the “you factor” and explains that it should, “run through the whole fabric of the presentation”. In other words you are making your information relevant throughout. For example, phrases like, “This will minimise your exposure to risk”, “By doing so you can increase your efficiency by 25%”, or “This approach fits well with your strategic objectives”.

For credibility you need to back up with examples, research, or credible third party references. Audiences enjoy a good story but remember to keep it punchy. Also, use strong language like “key”, “critical”, “important” etc to emphasise your strong points and messages. Often presenters fail to instil confidence in their audiences by using weak language like “think”, “hope”, and “try”.

David also explains that the most powerful, yet underused technique to engage an audience is the rhetorical question. So consider this, “Do you want to be an influential presenter and make the perfect pitch?” If so, why don’t you try out this successful approach?

Finally, you can also use rhetorical questions to highlight the key strengths of your proposition, put yourself in a favourable position and plant questions in the audience they are likely to ask your competitors.

You can also read David’s article, How to position yourself against the competitors for more strategies to improve your pitching skills.

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