Posts

Did we answer the brief?

It’s a simple question, right? Well, sometimes we forget to revisit the brief – with 48 hours to go, all the slides are in place, everyone knows who is presenting which bit, and we love our creative territory. BUT if we pick up the brief and re-read is there a chance we have gotten a little carried away? Is there a chance we have lost sight of the question in the brief…

Ponder this – which is worse: re-reading the brief to know that you have driven down a different path than what was intended 10 days ago and reworking it now OR losing the pitch because you’re way off base….?

The more often the pitch lead re-reads the brief during the process the better – every few days, challenging each component in the response, also with new eyes looking at it fresh. As you get through each key stage seek out someone who doesn’t work on that client’s account, who hasn’t seen the pitch – they should have lots of questions that help keep you on track.

Is your response focussed on the client, the decision makers – take time to think like them, consider where they are in their business cycle; is it all about the numbers for them; are they conservative or progressive; do they prefer traditional or radical thinking; are they wanting to make their mark with leadership; what is the brief really trying to achieve?? If you aren’t sure – call the client – we all like to be involved; we like to think we are somewhat creative; but we don’t want to do your job for you – so be clear on what the client can help you with. Don’t give away the house, make sure that when the client turns up for the pitch they are intrigued; they are excited; there is some anticipation for what you and the team have come up with.

Answering the brief is fundamental, of course, but it’s a lot more than what’s on the 5-odd bits of paper you have been given. If you have a tissue session, or time with the client, use this time as part of your pitch. Do things differently than you have previously, shake things up so your client knows they are important to you. Make it personal, don’t send 8 people when 3 can deliver it best. If you are pitching on new business, then impress them with what you know about their business, remember – it’s not about you, you have the door open…don’t let it close on you on the way out.

Before you go into the pitch, take a step back with at least 24 hours to go and critique your solution – have we answered the brief?; if you were making the decision are you 100% confident you would choose your solution?; Have you aimed it fairly at the decision makers to suit their style and wants?; and, if you do not win the pitch what would you change – well, change that now!?!

Enjoy!

NSW Business Chamber

This blog was also published by the NSW Business Chamber

Pitch strategy

Pitching can be like shooting fish in a barrel, or it can be like hunting with a “fundamental” vegetarian handling the spotlight – or a combination of both. It comes down to your product right? Well, that certainly plays a big part, if people want what you have to sell it should be easy, however, your pitch strategy can make or break the size of your success. Like all sales and marketing processes the way we pitch has evolved – in the eyes of your potential customer they should be an audience-of-one, no one really wants a generic pitch. Each of us are growing accustomed to having everything personalised to us, so this would only be amplified, the bigger the prize!

Before going to market it is prudent to spend time defining your strategy and setting deadlines for each phase. As the objective of each conversation with a potential client is to get to the next conversation with them and the decision makers in their business – a well considered approach will serve you well. At each of the stages ask the questions you really need to know:

  • What’s the percentage chance that this will be successful?

  • Which components do you love (and hate)?

  • How could we modify our offering to meet your objectives?

A fast no, is better than a long drawn out (and expensive) maybe.

The complexity and cost of your product or service will determine how much time and/or money you should invest in your pitch process. You may start the process with a phone call, or a teaser in the post, or a 15 minute coffee catch up – whichever you choose, but remember it’s all about the potential client, so personalise it.

Keep the discussion focussed – spend as little time as possible talking about you or what you’re trying to ‘sell’. Be succinct, pique their interest and be clear about how you think your product or service might help meet their objectives – aim to have them talking for two-thirds of the conversation. Plan out your questions, keep them open and be really focussed on what ‘keeps them up at night’, what are the core problems they need help solving, where are the gaps in their business that this solution may solve.

Remember, at each stage your objective is to get the next meeting, so be clear on what you want to achieve, what information you need and what will happen next.

Good luck!