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Perfect Pitch: The Art of Selling Ideas and Winning New Business Hardcover – October 30, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0471789765 ISBN-10: 0471789763 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471789763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471789765
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...pitching is a necessary evil, and here Steel dispenses his wisdom on how to come through the other side" (The Drum, October 17th 2008)

From the Inside Flap

"What is the most moving, compelling, and ultimately persuasive argument you ever heard? I'll bet that very few people think of an argument they heard in a conference room presentation."

During his phenomenal twenty-year career in advertising, Jon Steel has won more than ninety percent of the new business he has pitched, winning multi-million dollar contracts from clients like Nike, Sony, Pepsi, Porsche, and Hewlett-Packard. Now this professional "pitching coach" for one of the world's largest marketing communication conglomerates shares his secrets. Steel explains how you really create presentations that win hearts, minds, and new business. He also draws on intriguing presentation examples from the real world—including the O. J. Simpson trial, Bill Clinton's presidential debates, the speeches of Sir Winston Churchill and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and even his own marriage proposal to his wife.

Steel identifies the "presentation crimes" committed every day across the business world and the pillars on which all successful presentations are built. He discusses audience psychology, the importance of listening, and how to use real-world examples to make points more powerfully. Perfect Pitch covers every aspect of the pitch process, from assembling a presentation team to rehearsals and the preparation of compelling leave-behind documents.

A must-read for advertising and sales professionals, this book is a should-read for anyone who makes pitches of any sort—from sales professionals to Realtors who list and sell houses to business executives who want to seal deals. The book ends with an inside look at London's successful dark horse bid for the 2012 Olympics—a perfect pitch.


More About the Author

Jon Steel is Director of Account Planning and Vice Chairman at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, an advertising agency whose clients include American Isuzu Motors, Anheuser-Busch, the California Milk Processors ("got milk?"), Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Polaroid, and Porsche. Jon began his career in advertising as a 21-year-old account planner with the English agency Boase Massimi Pollitt. By the age of 26, he was appointed to BMP's board of directors. In 1989 he left the United Kingdom to become the first Director of Account Planning at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. He has been profiled by Adweek as "West Coast Executive of the Year," by Advertising Age as an "Agency Innovator," and by San Francisco Focus as one of the 100 smartest people in the Bay Area. In 1995, Jon Steel was inducted into the American Advertising Federation's Hall of Achievement for executives under 40.

Customer Reviews

It's easy to read, entertaining and well written.
gaborv
Lots of good thought-starters about what to do (and perhaps more importantly what to leave out) to get people excited about your ideas.
Charles E. Elberson
It is a book about ideas and how to sell them, regardless of your business.
Amelia Torode

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Kay on November 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have to disagree with the previous review. Perfect Pitch is a powerful call to arms to the lost art of presentation writing and, more importantly, making compelling arguments. It made me realize some bad habits I've fallen into which need correcting and the need to take back control from technology.

I think the most powerful point in the book is the need to build the two minute argument for any presentation before you fire up PowerPoint.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amelia Torode on December 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Jon Steel is a rare breed of truly smart, creative thinkers. Though originally from an advertising background, The Perfect Pitch is by no means simply an "advertising book." It is a book about ideas and how to sell them, regardless of your business.

Jon believes that in business we all too often hide behind boring Powerpoint slides as it is easier to simply read from a slide than it is to step out and actually engage with your audience. He believes in finding an active insight from which to base the strategy and thinking and from there, developing an engaging and motivating story.

Essentially in a pitch situation you have a limited period of time to connect with your audience and involve them in the story you are telling. It's not about animated slides or embedded video links.

William Goldman, the scriptwriter, has a very similar premise in Adventures In the Screen Trade. He too talks about the critical importance of the pitch (in his case, pitches for movies) Goldman highlights the importance of finding the hook that captivates and motivates your audience.

Having had the pleasure of working with Jon, in fact on one of the pitches that he references in the book, it is fair to say that he practises what he preaches. The advice he gives is refreshingly free from jargon and rooted in simple common-sense that sometimes we can forget.

This book is an essential tool for anyone who is ever in pitch situations with their clients.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Phome on November 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It would be easy to dismiss (or embrace) Jon Steel's book as a tirade against powerpoint. To say that at worst it's nothing more than a tirade against the poor use of a presentation tool (actual clip art died around the same time as the Queen Mother didn't it?) and that at best that it's an intelligent attack on a tool that has changed the way that we think. Both arguments miss the point. Yes turning Winston Churchill's best speech into PowerPoint is the highlight of this book but it's one point amongst many.

What this book seems to me to be about is creating the space, time and atmosphere needed to think. Whether that means taking a sledgehammer to your blackberry or your officemates to a baseball game the message remains the same - you win business when you have better ideas than other people; and you have better ideas than other people when you allow your subconscious to do some of the work.

Yes the book occasionally meandors, but then so do the best brains. Yes it draws on personal experience, yes it works its way through some seemingly unconnected thoughts, returning to connect only some of them - but then isn't that the central argument in the book. It's the curious mind that wins the day.

So whilst this isn't a bullet pointed, Donald Trump-esque WIN. AT. ALL. COSTS. BY. DOING. IT. THE. BILLIONAIRE. WAY. ! ! ! ! kind of book it is a kinder, gentler, more human, more nuanced and ultimately more insightful peek behind the curtain of big business and what it takes to get the people with the big bucks to buy your ideas.

Perfect Pitch may not be the book that thrusting young American execs may think that they need, it won't be on the shelves of any of the 'contenders' on The Apprentice - which is why so many of their ideas will be as predictable as their hairstyles.

recommended
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charles E. Elberson on September 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a hard book to pigeonhole, as you can tell from the other reviews. It's quite applicable to people in agency life, but it's by no means an ad-person's book. If your life involves coming up with creative ideas and convincing other people to buy into them, it's very worth your time. Yeah, there are some tangents, most are diversions to make a point. Every 10-15 pages I tagged things I want to return to later to put to use. Lots of good thought-starters about what to do (and perhaps more importantly what to leave out) to get people excited about your ideas.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Aroldo Nery on March 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Jon Steel did us all a great favor. A great favor to business people. A great favor to presenters and those who must sit through those presentations.

This book makes you realize things you wouldn't think about when preparing for a presentation. It helps you understand that everything you say during a presentation must reflect what your big idea is. It would make us approach presentations differently. Presentations are conversations. Hey, we are presenting to real people! Let's treat them as such...

It is clear that the goal of this book is to make us all better idea-sellers, not only in the field of advertising. Jon Steel writes some great "to-do" lists, suggesting the best ways to approach certain situations. However, those "to-do" lists are backed up with personal experiences that make this book much more enjoyable and easy to read.

From the mentioning of Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, OJ Simpson's trial and "The Perfect Pitch" - London 2012 Olympic bid presentation - this book shows that good presentations not only win new businesses...
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