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Updated 29 Feb 2020

Rich Mulholland’s secrets to pitching like a pro

If you want to move your business forward, clients need to care about what you’re selling. According to Rich Mulholland of Missing Link, that starts with a killer pitch. 

Nadine Todd, 20 November 2015  Share  0 comments  Print

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Most pitches are ignored, mainly because the business owner is so busy showcasing themselves and their product, that they forget the most important aspect of getting a client’s attention – figuring out what they need.

“The trial of OJ Simpson is such a great example of this,” he says. “The defence based everything on the bloody glove, and created this simple slogan: if it does not fit, you must acquit. Their strategy was simple. They wanted to draw attention to the fact that OJ’s hand was too big for the glove. That simple sentence beat mountains of science. Why?

Related: Rich Mulholland is blowing up the pigeon-hole

“The prosecutors had a better product, data and experts, and yet they still lost. It seems crazy, until you understand that it’s not about the product, it’s about the pitch – and they lost the pitch. They failed to deliver on what the customers (in this case the jury) cared about.”

Frame the problem

Rich -Mulholland -speaker

How do you avoid this same problem in your business? First, you need to understand that you can have a superior product that your client needs and still lose to your competitor. How do you avoid this? You need to frame the problem.

“I hate the quote that you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” says Mulholland. “You can show them the lovely water, splash them in the face and tell them all the incredible properties of water, but if they’re not thirsty, they won’t care less about the water.

“It’s much easier to make the horse thirsty. Thirsty horses drink water. You need to first create an itch, and then provide a scratch. Make the horse thirsty and then serve the product. What we tend to do is serve the product first. You need to make them feel the pain if you want them to act.”

Related: Rich Mullholland: Differentiate or die

The formula for success

According to Mulholland, the solution is to reframe the way you think about your next pitch meeting. “There are six points to keep top of mind when designing your pitch: You need to galvanise, educate, provoke, comfort, persuade and inspire.”


Luckily, there is a formula for success, and it’s based on these four steps:

  1. Give them a reason to care
  2. Give them a reason to believe in what you do
  3. Tell them what they need to know
  4. Tell them what they need to do.
  5.  Don’t, under any circumstances, lead with ‘who I am’.  No one cares.
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About the author

Nadine Todd

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