Coco Chanel’s Secret To Winning Presentations – Every Time!
I have always (so modestly) rated myself as quite brilliant at new business pitches, and at structuring presentations to win. Deluded fool that I am! This became abundantly clear when I read this story about Coco Chanel. I suddenly realized how naive I was, and how badly I had got it wrong. Here’s the story.
I loved the theatre and acting as a young man. So new business pitches were an aspect of business I was immediately seduced by. The thrill of the chase, the creativity of shaping a great presentation, the fun of rehearsing, the theatre and drama of the pitch. That delicious taste of victory.
I spent years gathering techniques to deliver the perfect pitch, and to structure presentations so they are irresistibly persuasive. The hit rate has been pretty good. It would have been much higher if I had read this story about fashion icon Coco Chanel at the beginning of the journey. Here it is.
I read this story in the outstanding Jon Steel book, “The Perfect Pitch.” It goes something like this. Coco Chanel once said this of dress design:
What Coco Said
“If a woman walks into a room and you go up to her and say: ‘That dress is amazing!’, then the dress failed. But if a woman walks into a room and you go up to her and say: ‘YOU look amazing!’, then the dress succeeded.”
And The Message For Pitches
The presentation is just the dress. The magic- the power- the essence- is THE IDEA.
If you want to win more than your fair share of new business pitches, you have to make sure you have the most powerful, most effective IDEA. And then ensure you wrap that idea up in the very best presentation you can (the dress).
Some Creatives Often Disagree With My Next Statement
I have now come to realize that the best idea always wins. A great idea presented badly always beats an average idea presented brilliantly. IDEAS shine through. Clients can spot a great idea even if they just see a sniff of it.
So-What We Have To Do Is This ….
Always ensure you come up with the BEST IDEA. And then deliver that through an outstanding presentation… and you’ll win 4 out of 5 pitches. Promise.