When your agency makes the decision to participate in a formal pitch for a client’s business, you are embarking on a long and arduous process. There are often at least two stages to have to get through and sometimes three or more. Each stage has its own specific purpose combined with differing client expectations. Not to mention quite often differing audiences assessing your performance at each stage of the game. How do you ensure that you keep your agency in the game all the way to the final decision? Here’s how.
The best way in which I have ever heard this process described came from an outstanding new business professional named Cleve Langton. His enviable track record of success at agencies like DDB is unmatched in the industry. Cleve describes it as “needing to appeal to both the left brain and the right brain as you move the process”. He is so right.
The initial meeting most often requires the agency to deliver information required to create positive perceptions and deliver the information required primarily by the left side of the client’s brain. As you move further into the process, the right side becomes more important. Let’s take a look at why.
The Initial Meeting. The initial meeting is about covering the bases and convincing the client that they made the right decision to include you in the pitch process.
- Demonstration of your excellent creative ability.
- Your professionalism.
- How you think strategically.
- Relevant experience and case studies.
- Examples of results/success delivered for other clients.
- The caliber of your team.
- The confidence you have in your work and ability without showing arrogance.
The Final Pitch. The final pitch relies much more on right brain issues. You have made it through all the screens. You are seen as competent and it is now down to the more emotional issues, concerns and decisions. Especially, if the quality of the pitch work is very similar between the agencies.
- The chemistry between the team itself and the team and client. Do they feel they want to work with you?
- Perception of the strategic insights and the creative work and ideas.
- Level of innovation (within their comfort levels)
- Enthusiasm and passion of the team.
- Client confidence level in your ability to deliver what you promise.
- Appealing compensation agreement.
So as you prepare for each stage keep in mind the purpose of the presentation, what questions the client will be asking in their minds, and how best can you answer them. At the same time as differentiating your agency and team.