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How Not to Come Second: The Art of Winning Business Pitches [Hardcover]

David Kean
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Cyan Books (9 Mar 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904879624
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904879626
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 578,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"If I were a client, I'd make sure any agency pitching to me had read this book." -- Dominic Mills, Editorial Director of Campaign, Marketing & Media Week

"Invaluable for anyone in professional services to improve their win rate." -- William Stancer, Global Director of Marketing Resources, Accenture

"The quintessential book on pitching and winning new business - a definitive guide on how to do it right." -- Tom Watson, Former vice-chairman of Omnicom


A savvy, practical guide to beating your competitors and winning a business pitch - This book will be the definitive guide to winning pitches. Winning new clients is the most competitive activity in business today. Virtually all companies now find themselves having to pitch for work and business. And like any competitive activity - sport, war, politics - there can only be one winner. There are no prizes for coming second. Victory goes to the player who is best prepared, best equipped and best organised. Written by a leading pitch consultant and trainer, this book brings together, for the first time, the trade secrets to winning new clients and business. Practical but powerful, the book covers what prospective clients are looking for at a pitch; what pitching companies usually give them and why they come second (or worse!); and the seven secrets of successful pitching. By implementing the simple advice and methods of this book, your company's pitch process will become professional and your success rate will improve beyond recognition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I'd read this twenty years ago.... 26 April 2006
Really practical advice on how to win rather than receive the dreaded "great presentation, but you were just pipped at the post" phone call. The writing style is accessible and entertaining which makes it an easy - though always valuable - read. Really useful advice on the entire pitch process - not just the presentation itself - which, if applied, should greatly improve your chances of winning. I would recommend this book to anyone who has to pitch for business - maybe with the exception of competitors who will be pitching against my consultancy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's common sense - isn't it?? 10 Aug 2006
What an outstandingly helpful book - which should never have needed to be written

It's just common sense from start to finish, but how many of us practice that?

We will all benefit hugely from it - especially those of us who know best!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The full picture of pitching 25 April 2006
Whether you are a pitch virgin or pitch veteran this book is well worth the read.

Having worked as a Creative Director in both advertising and pr , I have over the years competed in numerous pitches both nationally and internationally and like most people experienced on occasions the pain of what David Kean calls coming a "close second". Or as Jerry Seinfeld calls it "the champion loser".

Like a winning pitch presentation this book gets you to the point in a concise and clear way (i read the whole thing during a two hour train journey). It is well written and gives you the full picture of what winning involves. Talking as much about the personalities as the process. Illustrated with anecdotes (including the brilliant British Rail waiting room) and stories from David's own career. The book covers everything from planning your time and picking your team to perfecting your presentation.

In short, read it before your next pitch and you'll be able to spend your time rehearsing(rehearsing, rehearsing) your presentation and not your excuses for coming a "close second".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for every member of the pitch team 24 Mar 2006
By Julian
I have worked in advertising for over 25 years, pitched and won some great famous clients, but pitched and come second too many times to mention. I have read many books and articles on pitching.

In its criticism of our industry my toes were curling. Kean is right on the money.

Many talk about best practice and maximising chances.

No book nails- until this one- the crucial difference between coming first and second like David Kean's new book. As he says, it can be the tiniest thing. Like the margin between gold and silver in the Olympics. But it's everything. Do not even think about pitching unless you intend to win. And then apply a ruthless discipline to every part of the process.

However if all this seems like hard work, Kean points out that it is not hard work that makes winning pitches. It's much more about being clever; using experience wisely; making plans for what will go wrong; remembering that the pitch content is part of but is not the only thing that wins.

This is a book from someone who really has experienced a life in new business- and is presented with candour, good humour and some great real examples of what to do, and what not to do.

He helps us think more deeply about what is really at stake in the new business pitch and gives us practical help in turning us from enthusiastic amateurs (well we tried hard and everyone said how well we'd done) into serial, professional winners.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally... a practical business book... 24 April 2006
I have a dark secret. I have never read an entire business book. Until now, that is. This book is mercifully jargon free, practical and entertaining to read. For a topic so close to our hearts I can't believe no-one has ever published anything (good) on it.

My copy is already dog eared.

Whoever took it please return it to me asap - you know who you are.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real winner 24 April 2006
By Jean
Compared to typical books of this nature - this was a very refreshing and motivating read. Packed with really smart, practical advice from someone who has clearly 'been there and done it' many times and where coming second is never acceptable. I read it the same day it arrived and felt so inspired I have since purchased multiple copies for my colleagues. It has created a real buzz about how we can put the advice to good use and win in 2006. If you are serious about improving your new business performance - buy this book - your competitors will which is perhaps the only downside!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable. 24 April 2006
A great and easy, clear read. This is essential for those involved or thinking of being involved in beauty parades or pitches. Anecdotal, relevant and pulls the rug away from the feet of those who feel comfortable with second place. Makes you feel guilty about all that new work you didn't win.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for would-be winners 21 April 2006
If you're scheduled to pitch for some business and you haven't read this book, get reading. David Kean offers insights, tips, and home truths that you'd be a fool to miss. Unless you're happy with coming second, that is.
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