The pitch is unavoidable, so you might as well perfect yours.
As a subset of mastering Sales, pitching is an art unto itself. And finally, our journey through the Eight Hows of Pitching finally comes to a close.
In this series of articles, we have been taking a hard look at the real reason the majority of firms don’t win pitches: it’s not what you’re pitching, it’s how you’re pitching.
These eight best practices will give your brilliant ideas their best shot at winning within a competitive sales process, such as RFPs, RFQs and the like.
Last week we focused on HOW #7 – Leave a Leave-Behind because the client is always wishing, “Don’t tell me. Show me.”
This week, we look at a mistake that most shops never realize they are making, until it’s too late.
8. Don’t Stop Pitching
When the pitch presentation is over and the client politely advises you:
“Thanks for everything! We will let you know when we’ve made a decision.”
Ignore that advice.
Until you have been informed of the formal award decision, be tenacious, relentless and enthusiastic as you continue to follow up.
Why would you disobey your client’s direction? Because in Sales, your goal is always to keep the conversation moving forward. If the conversation is alive, you are winning. If it stops, you are losing. It’s that simple.
If the sales conversation is alive, you are winning. If it stops, you are losing. It’s that simple.
How can you follow up without being a nuisance? Offer your expertise. Here is one example strategy of piquing curiosity by making an offer your client can’t resist:
“You said some things during our pitch presentation that really got me and my team thinking. So we did some 11th hour explorations. I’m looking at them right now and they are brilliant! You guys really need to see this. Call me…”
If the client takes you up on your offer, scramble and prepare something brilliant. That’s the easy part.
Don’t stop pitching. Keep the conversation moving forward until your expertise has proven to the client that your firm is the right choice. Because your client’s biggest fear is awarding to the wrong firm.
THE EIGHT HOWS OF PITCHING™
The picture of HOW to perfect your pitch is complete as you learn how to leverage your assets to the greatest effect. Along with the other HOW strategies, you are ready to give your creative – your WHAT – its best shot.
To recap, here are the eight strategies in this series:
- PITCH IN PERSON: Because passion and trust are more important than ideas.
- PITCH LAST: Because by the time your pitch presentation is done, your competitors – and their ideas – will be a distant memory.
- CONTROL THE PITCH: Because you – not the client – should be the one to walk him, page by page, through your amazing ideas.
- PITCH A STORY: Because the client loves being immersed in a complete narrative.
- PITCH ONLY FAVORITES: Because if you lack confidence in your ideas, the client will lose confidence in you.
- PITCH WITH A WINGMAN: Because without a teammate, at some point you will end up tooting your own horn.
- LEAVE A LEAVE-BEHIND: Because the client is always wishing, “Don’t tell me. Show me.”
- DON’T STOP PITCHING: Because your client’s biggest fear is awarding to the wrong firm.
Further Reading: Advanced Pitching
Should you charge a pitch fee? Assign copyrights? Secure permission to show your pitch publicly? When should you bow out?
These questions become very important if you are pitching a large project, say six or seven-figures. For further reading, I invite you to learn how to raise objections early, uncover red flags, derail the pitch and gain the inside track. See my article on the Expert Pitch Methodology.
Now Pitching Can Be Fun
The power of perfecting your pitch is formidable. When your studio masters the Eight Hows of Pitching™, you will be poised to go after big rebrands, show launches and campaigns… and win more often. The strategic byproducts are sizable, too, as you will no doubt vastly expand your network, establish your studio as an expert firm, and substantially increase your firm’s revenue and team size.
Now you’re ready to master this yourself. So get out there. The problem hasn’t been what you’re pitching, it’s been how you’re pitching. Next time, whether it’s just you and your client riffing on an idea over a cocktail, or you presenting a million dollar rebrand in the corporate boardroom, you have greatly increased your odds of winning.
And like any game, once you start winning – yes, even competitive pitching – becomes fun.