This week I attended the most thought-provoking, challenging and stimulating seminar I have been to for a while…

The Public Relations Institute of Australia was hosting Canadian Blair Enns, a business development consultant for marketing communication agencies. Blair is the founder of Win Without Pitching, a firm whose concept is against the ‘free pitching’ approach used widely by creative agencies (e.g. public relations, advertising, marketing).

The Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns

Listening to Blair discuss his ‘Twelve Proclamations’, I suddenly believed that there was light at the end of the tunnel… No more hours spent researching, brainstorming, writing proposals and preparing PowerPoint presentations at no charge only to be told ‘we won’t need your services’.

Some of these ‘proclamations’ to winning without pitching include ‘We will replace presentations with conversations’, ‘We will not solve problems before we are paid’ and ‘We will charge more’. Based on the giggles going around the room, I think most attendees felt guilty as charged of not following many, if any, of these principles.

One ‘proclamation’ that was certainly thought provoking for me was: ‘We will specialise’. As Blair put it, there are enough generalist PR agencies around; the world does not need another one! People want to pay for expertise and specialisation and it’s only through building this expertise rapidly that agencies will hold more power in the sales process.

I bought Blair’s book ‘The Win Without Pitching Manifesto’, which can also be read on, or downloaded from his website. I haven’t had a chance to read it as yet, but based on Blair’s presentation, I would say it is a must-read for all PR agencies. A word of warning though: it’s not for the faint-hearted creative agencies who are perfectly happy with ‘the way they’ve always done things’ and those who don’t want to challenge the status quo.

As for me, there is reading to be done…!