This post is not about writing the winning pitch. This is about humanising the process to deliver the winning pitch. There is far more to the delivery of the pitch than just the pitch itself.
The process begins the moment the invitation to pitch has gone live. You may think that the only thing that matters in this process is to respond to that invitation, but don’t forget that you’re dealing with real people. It’s an obvious thing to say, but think about it some more.
When you’re pitching for work, you’re effectively going up against other agencies to persuade the client to pick you and your business to go forward with a project.
What can you do to have a competitive advantage
What to do when the brief lands?
“How do we answer this brief?”
“How are we going to win this piece of work?”
“What do they want to see?”
“How should we design our pitch?”
Responding to the brief is not meant to be a straightforward process. Feeling a paralysis of some sort is more common than you think.
But put it this way: if your business was not competent in responding to what the brief is requesting, it would not have been approached in the first place. In business, no one wants to waste time, let alone their own time. Let that reassurance change your approach to a productive “how are we going to win this piece of work?”.
Your mindset will influence your approach to this process.
The foundation to building the right pitch
The client has opened the door. You’re invited to show them more about your business, but why wait till the big day to do so? As much as this is about business, don’t forget that you’re dealing with real people. So before you put pen to paper on your proposal, you need to do some groundwork:
- Introduce yourself and your business: A simple “we’ve just received the brief from your colleague and I was wondering if I could spend five minutes with you just to ask questions about your business?” will reach the attention of the person running the project. This initial step indicates that you care about this work. How can you build on that?
- Be STRATEGIC about your contacts: Build relationships in response to the brief with key individuals who are connected to the brief. Marry up the senior figures in the business with that of the client’s side. Find ways to include relevant members of your wider team with the relevant ones on the client’s team. This should be across multiple job roles and different departments.
- Be GENUINE in your interactions: The better the relationships, the better the chance you have of winning the pitch. However, don’t force the interactions. Let it form naturally. This will allow the client to generate their own impressions and predictions of how smooth the project would run if they were to go ahead with you and your business.
- Be FOCUSED in your interactions: Ask productive questions about the brief. Identify other relevant needs and pain points not mentioned in the brief. How can you (further) tailor your pitch to meet those needs? What further benefits can your products and/or services deliver for the client?
The more relationships you have with the client’s side, the more touch points you will have to set the right impressions whilst also gathering more information related to the brief. You’ve gained enough insight to have a competitive advantage, so how do you present it?
The building blocks to winning the pitch
THE TEAM | PREPARATION & REHEARSAL PHASE
- Team selection needs to be according to the pitch: Make a strong positive impression to the client by selecting the best suited experts in your business to showcase relevant quality expertise.
- Effective communication for team cohesion: It doesn’t matter how well you have built the right story around the pitch, if your team members are not all singing from the same hymn sheet then all the groundwork efforts fall apart. Unify your messages and ideas.
- Encourage healthy collaboration for team productivity: Speak up (more). Ask (more) questions. Put forward (more) business suggestions. Allow others to do the same. When team members feel safe and encouraged to contribute they effectively and efficiently work together towards achieving a shared business goal.
THE DELIVERY | REHEARSAL & DELIVERY PHASE
- Be a personable professional: The pressure to win a pitch can have you giving a dry, rigid, and forgettable delivery. What clients look for are professionals who are genuine, naturally approachable, passionate about their work, and knowledgeable about it.
- Don’t just deliver to your client, personalise your engagement with them: What are the other needs and pain points you learnt about your client that your business can resolve? Also, what different ways can you think of to make the engagement with clients memorable to the client?
THE FEEDBACK | PREPARATION & REFLECTION PHASE
- Let the client know in advance that you will follow-up with a feedback interview: This will prompt a mental note for them to take extra notes during the pitch to later share with you in the interview.
- The quality of your questions will get you far: Whether you win or lose, having a feedback process in place will only be immensely beneficial for the growth of your business depending on the questions you ask. Don’t be embarrassed to ask what the winning business did better.
- Evaluate your feedback: Over time, your pile should get bigger from the number of other proposals and pitches you have delivered. What are the recurring common themes? Where are the areas of weaknesses? Where are the areas of strengths? What can be improved?
An ongoing process of refinement
There will always be more to the process due to the multifaceted nature of it.
One way to speed the process of refinement is to get in touch with us. We can further assist on how to improve your business’s strategy for winning the pitch.