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The Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following Kindle Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Length: 242 pages

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Allen, the guy who pitched and closed multi-million-dollar Fortune 500 ad campaigns, says, "Behind every decision is an unspoken, visceral, emotional motivation. Tap that, and you win." He identifies three hidden agendas, which go beyond solving the problem at hand, and present opportunities to salespeople. Wants: This shows the decision makers that you not only understand their business, but also where it's going. Help them visualize the future and how your product/service plays a role. When prospects see that you can help them navigate, you win. Uncovering questions: "If you had to write a corporate dream, what would it be?" What frustrates you about the perceptions of your company in the marketplace?" Needs: The initial problem acknowledges that "something's missing." Decision-makers seek assurance that your solution will work. If it doesn't, it creates other problems -- their decision-making capability and credibility become questionable. In order to win, you have to show that you have their back -- you'll do what it takes to make it work. Uncovering questions: "What keeps you up at night?" "What might set your plans back?" Values: Every salesperson does homework on prospects. But many don't look at corporate mission statements and similar information to understand the context in which decisions are made. Still fewer look to understand the values of their prospect's customers. If the values of your firm don't intersect with those of the prospect and its customers, you lose. Uncovering questions: "How would you define the value system in your company? Your customers?" "What drives your business?" Like the ad campaign he created for MasterCard, Allen's advice on uncovering and addressing the hidden agenda is "Priceless." - Jim Pawlak, HartfordBusiness.com

About the Author

Kevin Allen is a masterful pitchman and perhaps best known for leading the pitch team for Mastercard's iconic "Priceless" campaign. For 20 years, he served on the front lines of business development with advertising giants McCann-WorldGroup and the Interpublic Group, and at Lowe Worldwide, where as Vice Chairman he helped the company gain Ad Age's recognition as "Turnaround Agency of the Year" in 2009. Growing big global brands, including Citigroup, Nokia, Nestle, Deutsche Bank, Johnson & Johnson, and Unilever has been the focus of his career. Now at the helm of KevinAllenPartners, a company dedicated to growth services, training, and mentorship, his client list includes Omnicom, Swedbank, M&C Saatchi, Burberry, and Smythson. A frequent speaker at advertising and marketing conferences, Kevin is also a visiting lecturer at the European Business School of Regents College London and Columbia University Graduate School of Business. A graduate of Dowling College, he holds a Certificate in Economics from Queen Mary College, University of London, and an MBA from Adelphi University. Lawrence Flanagan: Lawrence Flanagan is the Executive Dean of College of Business at the University of New Haven. He is regarded as one of the most accomplished global marketing leaders in the country.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 458 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Bibliomotion, Inc. (17 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #467,865 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having heard about Kevin Allen from various trusted colleagues in different fields of expertise across multiple sectors I had been looking forward to his book and have not been disappointed - especially after seeing at an event last year.

As someone who is time-poor but keen to draw on the experiences of others this book is a somewhat a panacea for me in that I want to have practical examples as well as having some formalized frameworks to apply in their day-to-day activities. I often have bought books or read papers from academics or specialists in certain disciplines but have lost interest in them before completing but the `Hidden Agenda' is a rare thing that is enjoyable to read, you actively engage with the speaker and actually come away `buzzing' with how to apply this to your daily activities.

Also as someone who was unwilling to label myself a `salesman' through a perception that it wasn't how I wanted to be seen this book has been extremely useful in redefining my approach. I can testify that I have closed new business using these techniques and presented new strategies to management, which has helped our wider team develop a new approach in terms of targeting new business.

If you find yourself, especially in this current economic climate, having to learn (or redefine) certain roles within your own company or strengthen your skills within a larger organisation to demonstrate a wider depth of knowledge this book will be of significant interest. We all, to a greater or lesser extent, get involved in driving our companies forward and this book recognises the different 'roles' we can all play in that pursuit.

Business is all about growth, understanding your audience and refining your approach in line with your values. I don't normally post reviews but this book and in particular Kevin Allen warrants it. Highly recommended - this could well become a modern business classic.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I actually met Kevin Allen at a marketing event in London, where we spoke for quite a while, afterwards I decided to read the book.

As someone who has run his own business, in the past, I immediately wished I had read this book years ago as it gave real structure and insight in to how to plan and win business.

What also made this book a great read was the narrative, it was not one of those business books that takes you months to read, but more of a story that you can't put down.

I met Kevin again after reading the book, as I really wanted to learn more from him, and luckily now I will keep learning from him as we now work together.

Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business & Create a Following
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Format: Hardcover
Initially, I misunderstood this book's title, incorrectly assuming that Kevin Allen - in the manner of someone who has planned a treasure hunt - would help his reader to locate something of substantial value. In a sense that is true. However, that "something" is essentially worthless unless and until (a) the person who uncovers it understands and appreciates it and (b) knows how to use it to best advantage. Case in point, vandals raiding the ancient library in Alexandria used copies of plays by Greek playwrights such as Aeschylus and Sophocles as fuel for their fires.

I selected the title of this review from a longer passage in the Introduction: "Get it? Get what? The `what' is the [begin italics] hidden agenda [end italics], the emotional motivator behind all the statistics, the business jargon, and the other things that surround any key business issue. It is in fact how people make decisions, with their hearts."

Allen is a veteran advertising executive and an accomplished "pitch man" but clearly agrees with John Hill, co-founder of Hill & Knowlton, that the best pitch is one that offers "truth well told." He shares everything he has learned about how to prepare and then present such a pitch for the readers whom he characterizes as "you dreamers, strivers, fighters, doers, and itchy-feet people `growth aspirants." Allen is convinced that, for them, their ability to pitch "is the very spearpoint and lifeblood of achieving these ambitions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is very rare when I read outside the discipline of psychology/psychotherapy, as I am always daunted by the prospect of the challenge of being lost in jargon and jingoism. The 'Hidden Agenda', works well as an introduction to understanding what's at core in the dynamics of boardroom human transactions - desire and the significance of unlocking the emotional assets party to the client and market situation. Equally, what is called for is the development of the mindset to uncover the core desires of your audience and then 'to deliver like a litigator' on this basis. A must read for the budding entrepreneur in you. Kevin - job well done! Thanks.
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Format: Hardcover
Kevin Allen has written an intriguing and interesting book, which will be useful not only to account people in advertising agencies responsible for pitches, but also to anyone who needs to persuade. He has a distinguished career as a pitch person, i.e. the individual responsible for leading the high-value pitches that agencies make to brands (which he followed up by forming a consultancy company that advises in this area, and of course this book does no harm in that regard). It makes extensive use of a type of psychological analysis - meaning in this case an understanding or set of assumptions about how people work, how they make decisions, how human interaction takes place. It's an unashamedly personal analysis based on his own successful experience, and in a number of cases the average psychologist would be unlikely to agree with his use of various terms, but it's more useful to consider the point he is making under his own terms.

By the way, I think the book has tremendous application for marketers wanting to understand segmentation.

The "hidden agendas" of the title are the fundamental desires that underpin a buyer's decision process, the ambition, belief or worry that drives his or her decisions. Allen argues that emotions and desires are locked into an agenda, often unspoken, which significantly influences the decision. He proposes that to win business or to create your following you need to link two vital ingredients together: the business problem and the hidden agenda. The goal is to connect to this hidden agenda, showing the audience that you understand them and what they truly seek. For this he defines three terms, wants, needs and values (these are the three significant terms that he defines, somewhat arbitrarily, according to his own purposes.
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