Ask For What You Need

image 05 ask question

I’ve been working on marketing Pitching & Closing and am learning a lot in the process. I have never done any form of marketing before (other than perhaps my own personal brand) and it’s been an interesting experience understanding how to spread the word. Part of this marketing means asking people for various things: favors, purchases, introductions etc.

In this process, I have also had to learn very quickly how to ask for what you need, not what you think the other person wants to hear. This is a common need in sales and business development and is a very practical skill to have.

For example, Alex and I have been speaking with various universities and academic institutions about using the book in classrooms. Having to make the ask outright: is there any way a professor, teacher or department would consider adding it to the curriculum? Even if you think it isn’t entirely feasible for the other side to meet your exact needs, making the full ask makes it easier for the other side to meet you halfway.

It’s as simple as ripping off the bandaid and knowing very clearly what you need from the other side. Make your ask specific and detailed (like, I’d like you to consider using the book in this particular course for 1 semester as a trial-run), and the other side will be able to form its opinion – and hopefully say yes. The worst thing that happens is you get a “sorry, we can’t help you at this time.” But the clearer and more precise the ask, the more likely it is that you can find a compromise for both parties.

Ask For What You Need

We Wrote A Book! Pitching & Closing Comes Out July 25


I’m excited to announce that my good friend, Alex Taub of SocialRank, and I have written a book. The book is called Pitching & Closing: Everything You Need to Know About Business Development, Partnerships, and Making Deals that Matter. The book is being published by McGraw Hill and you can pre-order your copy starting today.

I often get asked about the process of moving into tech and especially, business development: what kinds of skills are required, what jobs are available, and how to be successful in doing deals. Indeed, I met Alex asking exactly the same kinds of questions. Over the years, we have discovered that there is limited material on the topic, and so we sought to create our own playbook.

For those who don’t know Alex, he is the most well-connected business person in the New York tech community, and has been writing a very popular personal blog and a bi-weekly column for Forbes for the past few years. Sometimes, he asks me to help him formulate ideas and edit the posts. So I was deeply honored and truly floored last spring when Alex approached me with a game-changing opportunity: to be his co-author on a book on business development.

What can you read about in Pitching & Closing? The book spans 5 major topics and dives in-depth about each. Part 1 is about the business development basics. What is it? How is it structured and organized at companies? What does it entail? Part 2 is an introduction to partnerships. Part 3 takes an extensive look at the process of pitching and closing, the namesake of the book. Part 4 is an overview of industry best-practices. And Part 5 features war stories from some of the best names in the business, including Charlie O’Donnell (Brooklyn Bridge Ventures), Gary Vaynerchuck (VaynerMedia), Jesse Itzler (Marquis Jet) and many more.

The purpose of the book is twofold: first, it is meant to serve as a guidebook to the art of business development and closing deals for people already in the industry. Second, it is meant to used as a training manual for new graduates or graduate school students who want to learn more about the industry and how non-technical roles work at tech companies.

Let’s be actionable: how can you help?

1. Buy the book! It’s available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indigo and other major booksellers. The book will be available for shipment on July 25, 2014 and is also available on audiobook.

2. Spread the word to college and graduate school students and professors. Alex and I are hoping that this book will be used for educational purposes in addition to just for industry professionals. If you are a professor or know of anyone who runs a program that might be interested in using the book as part of their curriculum, we’ll be happy to talk. Email us at or

It would be out of character if Alex and I didn’t use this as an educational opportunity for others interested in learning about the book writing process. Over the next 2 months leading up to the book launch, we’ll be sharing insights about the process, real-time tips, and additional snippets of content that you might find valuable. Stay tuned for updates on our website and of course, on Twitter @pandc.

We Wrote A Book! Pitching & Closing Comes Out July 25