Influencing and Pitching is my business
I am an expert in helping you influence customers, stakeholders and donors, and to win pitches to them. This expertise is the result of forty years’ experience in three professions in four continents. In a nutshell I learned to influence not sell, and to pitch with a story not with a presentation.
Let me begin at the beginning. After studying economics and law at Sydney University I had my first taste in sales at IBM when they put new recruits like me through a year of sales training before they allowed us to sell to customers. But I was a poor student because I found early on that the less I tried to sell the more my customers bought from me. I did the opposite to traditional selling and I made the 100% Sales Club without ever selling. I left my red tie and navy-blue suit behind to join Ogilvy Advertising to understand how brands sold products.
‘The purpose of everything we do is to sell our clients products.’
I loved the red neon sign at our reception which reminded us of David Ogilvy’s manta ‘The purpose of everything we do is to sell our clients products.’ Over ten years in three agencies I pitched to win campaigns to launch Foxtel and Lexus and first-class clients ranging from McDonalds and Xerox to American Express and Unifoods.
We won by showing clients we uniquely understood their customers, and to tell that customer’s story. By then it was the late nineties and the big agencies were breaking up. It was then I joined Rogen International and had my first taste of training and consulting in communications.
It was the boom years for Rogen under Neil Flett who helped Sydney with the winning pitch for the 2000 Olympics. I worked on a series of pitches with companies like BHP, Telstra, and Westfield to be partners in the games. In the pitches we won we showed the organisers that these partners were key to delivering the Olympic story.
In 2005 I thought it was time to go out on my own. So, I started my consulting business from a laptop on my kitchen bench. Fortunately, two clients – Fairfax and Nestle – supported me then and remained clients for 10 years. The business boomed and over the next fifteen years I worked on pitches for clients in Australia, the Middle East, China and the US. I crafted my storytelling pitching method so I could teach it to others, and because we kept winning pitches my business kept growing.
More recently I have developed NFP experience by working with Fred Hollows Foundation, International Justice Mission and UNICEF.
To crystalise my thinking I completed a master’s in communication at Sydney University and wrote my first book – Collabradabra: the magic of collaborative conversations.
My experience has taught me two key things about winning pitches, and this is what I can teach you:
- The magic of a collaborative conversation to truely understand the client, investor, or donor. How do we demonstrate that we uniquely understand what they are looking for? The trick is to collaborate, not sell, to not close sales but open relationships.
- How to use storytelling to craft a pitch that is unique and compelling? Storytelling is the best way to pitch an idea, it is the perfect blend of rational proposition and emotional engagement.
So, I offer an experienced and unique approach to winning pitches. If you would like to find out whether I’m the right fit for you, and you are the right fit for me, let me know. Otherwise, whatever your pitch is, I wish you every success.