Pitching is like a bowl of Chilli


Well if “Life is a box of chocolates” as Forest Gump said, then it’s amazing how similar pitching for new business resembles making a bowl of chilli!

Promomarketing has been on the hunt for those secrets we all need… what really makes one pitch better than the other? The planning? The personalities? The ideas? At Promomarketing, we often report on the success after the pitch but rarely on the science and secrets behind what really makes yours a winner.

We decided to ask pitch guru, Tony Spong, Managing Partner at AAR for his views on what makes up that secret recipe for success. Tony told us a tale about chilli and going from the ‘safe chilli’ to the ‘magic chilli’ everyone wants.

“Pretty much everyone I meet can make chilli. It’s one of the first dishes we learn with rice involved and so it quickly becomes a staple of our culinary repertoire. We can go shopping and grab the ingredients almost without thinking and is a dish we can rustle up safely without too many high dramas.

Occasionally we are forced to swap some ingredients around because we forgot something or didn’t have it in the cupboard or the shop was out of stock but hey, it looks like a chilli and everyone knows it is one, so that’s great. But then one of the guests notices that it tastes slightly different and in a good way. So you have a quick think about what that might be and once you’ve tracked it down you share it with your friends and they confirm that this new ‘magic’ ingredient does indeed make it taste better and you write down ‘your’ recipe for them so they can try it for themselves.

Then several months later you go to another friend’s house and they are cooking chilli. And guess what you think? ‘I wonder if they have a magic ingredient?’, ‘I wonder if they have one as good as mine?’

And bugger me they do! Your friend has been to South America and had ‘proper’ chilli with some very magic ingredients. Now your friend can’t find all these ingredients back here in the UK but has found some very similar and it certainly tastes different. But is it better?

Most of your friends play rugby and that’s how you met them. Now the rugby club always has a big bash and the end of the season and this year you have been asked to help out with the food as have lots of other people. They ask you to make your ‘famous’ chilli which you would be honoured to do of course.

When you get there you see that your friend who’s been to South America is there and has been asked to make his ‘famous’ chilli too. There are a lot of chilli lovers at their rugby club.

At the end of an exhausting day, one vat of chilli was empty and the other one was only half way down.”

If you want to know who won the chilli contest and more importantly why, Tony has teamed up with the IPM for a very special Pitching to Win workshop on 6th July (held at the IPA, Belgravia Square.)

Exclusive ‘Pitching to Win’ half day workshop is available by booking via the IPM website and is available to IPM Members and non-Members. The IPM helps progress and promote the promotional marketing industry.

Tony Spong is Managing Partner at AAR. Tony likes metaphors and whilst we have talked about chilli in this article, his business is working with brands and agencies, helping them make the right choices about their pitches.



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