There are plenty of tales out there of sales pitches which for one reason or another, completely bombed. This one from the Harvard Business Review is one such example.

So, what can we learn from it? A quick summary of the situation: a consultant was referred to a potential client. The referrer gave him plenty of background – he felt prepared. The meeting was unexpectedly reduced to 20 minutes. The potential client complimented the consultant on a recent book, boosting his confidence and encouraging him to cut to the chase. The consultant explained what his approach would be and presented his view of the situation.

At first glance, it might not be clear whether this meeting went well or not. However, the consultant didn’t win the work, and the potential client was not impressed. But why?

Knowing when to speak and when to listen is key.

The consultant felt that he had a good grasp on the situation and could appropriately treat the problem. The potential client was not looking for an approximation of possible treatment, but to be listened to and understood, fully. The pitch was centred around “here’s what I can do for you”, rather than “what do you need?”

“I was listening to gather enough information so I could make a case to Dan that I could solve his problem. In other words, I was listening simply to empower my speaking.”

At Business CoPilot, we live by the mantra “treatment without diagnosis is malpractice”. It’s a saying which, had the consultant known it, might have prevented him from failing in the meeting. His was a botched diagnosis, coloured by what he wanted to gain from the meeting, and how he wanted to be perceived. He made no attempts to listen and react to the potential client, or to see things from his point of view.

“What would I do differently next time? I would sit in the chair I was offered and listen to Dan tell his story. Then I would ask him a number of questions to make sure I could see the situation with his eyes, analyze it from his point of view, and feel his emotions.”

And that is exactly what you get from a 1-to-1 with Business CoPilot.

Contact us now if you would like to start the diagnostic process. Call 0117 317 8147 or email