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The pitch.

Right, we've got a bag full of fresh leads after reading last weeks blog (here).


And the good news is, the most difficult bit is done.


You got their attention. You quickly identified value that you can add. And now you just need to turn it into revenue.


In this blog I'll share some learnings from my own agency, of how to increase the all important conversion rate of your pitches.



Broadly speaking, there are two types of pitch.


  1. The RFP (request for proposal).

  2. A speculative pitch.


You want to try and avoid option 1 at all costs. An RFP process is long, slow and resource heavy. Plus, the nature of the process means you are directly competing with other agencies.


Basically, if you find yourself in an RFP process then you're too late. You've missed your chance to get to a client before they open it up to the masses. The tactics that I shared in last weeks blog (here again) should allow you to avoid RFP's for good.


However, there will be occasions where there isn't an option to avoid the process, and you still want to win the client.


My advice here is to be bold.


Challenge the brief if you don't believe the client is asking for the right thing, or not being ambitious enough. The only way to really do this effectively is to be willing to lose the pitch. This will give you a level of bravery that you didn't realise you had in you.


For the pitch itself, below are my tips on how to win more than you lose.



Slide 1

This is the slide that will either get their attention, or start them daydreaming.


I see so many pitches that leave the best bit until the end. And often, pitches overrun and you don't get a chance to present them.


So please, use slide 1 to summarise why you should win the contract.


"We see an opportunity to grow your business by 21% by reducing ad wastage"


An example that would capture the attention of most CMO's.


One slide, one statement, done.


Any more text or imagery that you add to this slide now will detract from the statement. So don't.


Discussion

Now to be clear. The very best case scenario would be where you don't get past this first slide.


The best pitches are a discussion, not a presentation. You want the statement to provoke an interest from the client and a 2-way conversation.


That brings me onto...


Team

You need the right people on the pitch that can thrive in that discussion. Sales people should be quiet and subject matter experts should be vocal. This is now a demonstration of expertise.


Story

The next 5 or 6 slides should tell the story of how you will achieve the statement on slide 1.


No random slides about capabilities you want to tell them about or sell them.


If it doesn't fit within the narrative of the pitch, then save it for an upsell later.


Commercials

By the time you mention the commercials, the value should be clear. Plus as you're engaged in discussion at this point, you have every right to ask the client for their thoughts on the commercials.


Does it match their budget? Would they prefer a different commercial model?


There's no reason to leave a pitch wondering anything. No harm in asking. And much easier to do if you've avoided slide overload along the way.


Team, office & awards

If you really must include this, then do it at the end. You don't want to waste precious time at the start by telling the story of how you founded the agency in your bedroom and won the regional Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2018.


Trust me, the client cares about their own business far more than yours.



I see no reason why a pitch deck should be longer than 10-15 slides.


Firstly, slides take time to create. And usually time from client teams that are already stretched.


Secondly, you need to leave time for discussion at every point. Use the notes section of the slides to pre-select questions to ask the client at each stage.


Make sure you leave the meeting or call knowing exactly how it went.



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