What’s a good pitching success rate?

Sometimes the VPs who hire me to train their teams ask what success rate they should be expecting.

As you can imagine, there are so many variables in play here, this is virtually impossible to answer.

But to give you a number, my experience is that good teams who are pitching a lot and who stretch themselves as far as the outlets they target, land coverage on about 15 percent of their pitches.

What’s important about looking at this number is to acknowledge two things:

– Pitching is hard
– It’s not about what your rate is now, it’s about what direction that number is moving

At my last Pitching Boot Camp in New York, we had about 30 people there. As usual, I could tell by the end of the day which were the ones who were going to get major success. It didn’t matter what their topics were or even who they were targeting. All that mattered was their motivation to go out and actually implement what they were learning. They were more focused on improvement than being frustrated about where they were at.

In fact, one of the guys actually introduced himself to a WSJ writer the night after the first day of the workshop and told me about it the next day!

And Giovana Edid came all the way from Mexico City and worked very hard through the workshop. Her topic is esoteric – she works at an art investment fund – and she had a language barrier to deal with. But I could tell she was committed, and sure enough, a few months later I got this email from her reporting her NYT placement:

I wanted to start this year by giving you a well-deserved THANK YOU. Not only because all that I had learned at your seminar has been so useful, but also meeting you has been a life-changing catalyst for my professional career.

I had found it very difficult to make close contact with the international media. But after applying the strategies that you presented at your NYC seminar, I can proudly present you the New York Times interview with my boss. Furthermore, I’ve created a closer relationship with this reporter, and he accepted to receive the editorial analysis we usually send in our newsletter. I think that this will reinforce the relationship with the journalist and help us become a trustworthy reference in the future. Thank you once more for everything! 

Pitching is hard, that’s a fact. But success – at least as defined as hitting on 15 percent of your pitches – is a choice. You simply choose to get better. Then you find the techniques and systems that work. And then you apply them.

The “next Giovana” will be joining me at my next Pitching Boot Camp in two weeks in Atlanta.

If it’s too late for you to book that trip, you can start learning the same material five minutes from now via my online course, Crafting the Perfect Pitch.

This article was originally published on March 16, 2017

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