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Taking Sales to a Higher Level


Savills ranked top in Learning & Development Award

Programme to Improve Pitching Skills delivers a Return on Investment of almost 350%


The challenge

Pitch success rate in previous years was 50% and particularly strained for more complex pitches. Expecting Savills reputation and experience to carry them, experienced surveyors were compiling pitches last minute with no preparation or rehearsal; less experienced employees were following suit. Savills’ head of development approached the people development team and asked for help improving pitching skills.

What Savills did 

  • Designed an in-house course, in conjunction with Mercuri International.
  • Senior fee earners and business development colleagues within the development services team gave their time to be interviewed by Mercuri about: their current approach to pitching; their perceived strengths and weaknesses; their identified success and failure factors; and typical projects they had pitched for in the past, both won and lost.
  • Created a two-day workshop “Raising the Bar” (RtB), comprising a series of masterclasses of best practice techniques, such as building personal and professional rapport and handling objectives.
  • Interspersed with the masterclasses, delegates took part in realistic and challenging meeting simulations, designed to resemble the sales process end-to-end, from an initial five-minute fact finding call with the client, to individual meetings with three key stakeholders, and finally preparing and making the final pitch to them.
  • Split attendees into teams in a competition to win the prestigious contract, re-enacting the real-life competitive nature of the process. A coach works alongside them as they experiment with the new techniques and peer-to-peer feedback helps hone their approach.

Benefits and achievements

  • Before the course, Savills won 50% of pitches. In 2014, the development services team achieved 60% pitch success, meeting an incremental target of 10% and sitting 5% above the current company average.
  • To demonstrate RtB’s contribution to this figure, employees have estimated that they have won at least an average of 8% more pitches since attending.
  • There has been a 44 percentage point increase in the number of people who rehearse before making a telephone call; a 47.1 percentage point increase in the number of people who rehearse before a meeting; and a 27.7 percentage point increase in the number of people who rehearse before a pitch.
  • Employees who have attended RtB were asked to estimate the approximate value of additional fees they have won as a result of the training. The average estimate was £18,381 (increasing to £20,077 when singling out the development team whose course has been running the longest).
  • These estimates equate to a combined total of £772,000. This has therefore produced an approximate return on investment figure of 348%.

Judges’ comments

“Clearly a Learning & Development response aligned to business need with compelling metrics to illustrate the impact.”

More Information

From the Personnel Today Awards - Claire Allerton, 4th December 2015

Savills UK were victorious in the Personnel Today Awards 2015 for their learning and development initiatives. Personnel Today profiled their winning entry, for the Award for Excellence in Learning and Development (more than 1,000 employees).

Savills (UK)

Savills plc is a global real estate services provider. It has an international network of more than 600 offices and associates throughout the US, the UK, continental Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, offering a broad range of specialist advisory, management and transactional services.


To find out more information about how we can help you increase your pitch conversion please contact +44 (0) 330 9000 800 or email:


Savills ranked top in Learning & Development Award