Using Progressive Disclosure to win pitches.

Using Progressive Disclosure to win pitches.

Winning new business is a little bit trickier right now. Well, a lot trickier. Fewer opportunities to pitch on, which are harder to find. But they’re there.

So when you find yourself with a good opportunity, you need to make it count. To win, you need to capture the hearts and minds of your potential clients, which isn’t a straightforward journey.

The competitive landscape is fierce, and clients have high expectations. So to stand out and secure a deal, you must not only meet the client’s needs but exceed them. Simple right?

Everyone talks about ‘breaking the brief’. But what does that really mean?

One strategy to win is progressive disclosure. A technique that can make your sales pitch memorable and differentiate you from the competition.

Progressive Disclosure: Unveiling the power of surprise

This strategy involves revealing valuable information outside the initial brief and pitch process at various stages of the process, creating moments of surprise and delight that build deeper connections and set you apart from the competition.

It involves strategically revealing new and valuable information during your pitch. Unlike a conventional sales pitch, where you might lay out all the details at once or, more likely, disclose the information you’re being asked to when you’re being asked to do it.

Progressive disclosure involves a series of calculated reveals that offer unexpected value.

These incremental surprises are designed to engage, inform, and delight the client. When executed effectively, progressive disclosure not only distinguishes you from the competition but also strengthens your relationship with the potential client — because you’re showing you actually give a s**t about their business by investing more in your side of the pitch.

Why progressive disclosure wins pitches

In the world of B2B sales, trust is key. But so is giving a s**t about your clients business.

Rightly so, clients are often wary of the sales process. You don’t get much time to get to know each other unless you’ve been smart and followed the don’t sell philosophy ahead of the process itself. But progressive disclosure can help.

When done right, this approach can build trust by demonstrating your commitment to the client’s success and understanding of their unique needs. Here’s why it matters:

1. Deepens Engagement

Instead of overwhelming clients with a boat load of information, progressive disclosure allows you to engage them step by step. By revealing details as the process progresses, you maintain their interest and ensure they are fully absorbed in your pitch and leaving them thinking what might they give us next?

2. Enhances Understanding

One of the most significant advantages of progressive disclosure is the chance to tailor your pitch to the client’s specific needs. You can adapt your message based on their reactions, ensuring that you address their concerns effectively.

3. Creates a Memorable Experience

People tend to remember experiences that evoke emotion. Progressive disclosure can create moments of surprise and delight, making your pitch memorable and positively impacting your client’s perception of your brand.

4. Builds trust

By gradually providing valuable information that goes beyond the initial brief, you demonstrate your commitment to the client’s success, which in turn builds trust. Clients appreciate the effort you put into understanding their needs.

The Progressive Disclosure framework

Now that you understand the importance of progressive disclosure, let’s delve into the framework to help you master this technique:

1. Define the deliverables and do more

First thing’s first. What exactly do you need to do to win the pitch? Define what would win you the pitch, then add extra to ram it home. Sometimes it’s as simple as working backwards from your desired goal, figuring out the steps required, and then just getting it done.

2. Break the process

One of the most common downfalls we see is the lack of relationship building in sales, and the same goes for pitches. If you can find ways to interact with the client above and beyond the opportunities you’d normally get, you’re on to a winner.

3. Show you know their business

Do you actually care about winning this business? And why do you want to work for this client in the first place? Show you care, in whatever way makes sense to you (within reason!). A client that knows you give a s**t about their business is a client that’s more likely to spend money with you.

4. Creativity and strategy

Get creative. Get fruity. Get outside your comfort zone. Share those bigger ideas that go beyond the brief and make it real for them. Come to mention it, push the client out of their comfort zone, too. Everyone loves a bit of fun, and if you can’t have fun in our industry then when can you at work?

5. Live the brand

Whether it’s a sustainable, B Corp yoghurt brand or a zany confectionary company, live and breathe their brand. Become a customer, use their product and experience the service they offer. It goes back to the point about caring about their business — if you’re not clued up, then what’s the point?

6. Show how you work

A crucial one — the client wants to know how you work. Sprinkle in additional extras to your pitch to demonstrate how you work, whatever they may be. Wow the client with skills they didn’t know you had.

Successful examples of progressive disclosure

One example of this is when we pitched for the mobile transformation for Flybe.

To break the process we progressively disclosed a variety of value add activities. In the early stages of the pitch we delivered a variety of conceptual thinking. At the tissue pitch we presented back research we’d undertaken.

But this wasn’t just desk research — we’d sent one of our team members on back to back consecutive flights across the UK who interviewed passengers and staff on the flights and at the airports, capturing unique insights and evidence of our activity.

We rounded the final pitch off with a full working coded prototype. Suffice to say we won.

The second example was for Costa Express and their pitch to redesign and develop the application that sits on their coffee machines you see pretty much everywhere.

This was a pitch through an intermediary, so immediately harder to break the process with.

However, we adopted the progressive disclosure approach and found ways to weave in conceptual thinking, design thinking, creative concepts, customer profiles and use cases during and inbetween the process. Including leveraging the tissue pitch to elbow in as much value as we could.

On the day of the pitch we went overboard with the pitch theatre and when the client arrived we had a full size prototype set-up using a 42” portrait touch screen monitor with sound effects.

Yes, we won that one too.

Let’s wrap this up

So it just goes to show, that progressive disclosure and going that extra mile makes a difference, especially in this fiercely competitive market.

Mastering the art of progressive disclosure can set you apart from the competition and help you win those coveted contracts.

By strategically revealing valuable information, addressing concerns, and creating emotional connections, you not only meet your clients’ expectations but exceed them.

This creates a memorable and compelling pitch that forges deeper connections and increases your chances of success. So, the next time you step into a B2B sales pitch, remember the power of surprise, and pitch to win!


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