You have competed your initial proposal based on a lengthy RFP and feel you have put your best foot forward. You then make it through the initial down select and your company is chosen to come onsite and pitch your solution to the team. Now’s your time to shine and really show off your agency’s capabilities. Sure, the potential client can read all about you and your agency based on your website and RFP response, but this is your time to really make an impression – an opportunity you want to make sure you nail. Here are five tips on how to not mess up during the delivery of the pitch:
1. Forget to bring team members who will be working on the
Everyone knows the senior level employees have the most experience and can speak more fluently about your business and company, but the potential customer wants to meet their account team or at least, their account lead. They need to understand they can work with that team and assess if there is a connection there. It is essential to have individuals in the room that will be working on the account approximately 50% of the time. No customer wants to feel as though a bait and switch has taken place and the account team they met and liked is only working 5% on their account.
2. Use a boilerplate, non-customized presentation
No one wants to be labeled as generic or “cookie-cutter.” When developing the presentation make sure to reference as much information about the client as possible. Use the correct logo, utilize the scope of work from the RFP and actually solve the specific problem that you have been invited to solve. It is great to give an overview of your services and capabilities, however, the client wants to feel as though you understand their business and have tried to jump in and present the solution as if you have already won the business.
3. Criticize the client’s current situation
You are bidding in an RFP and therefore the potential client is unhappy with a service or product they are current receiving. Be positive. Come to the pitch with a solid solution or a series of potential opportunities that your company can offer. Do not just point out the obvious, which is that what they are currently experiencing is not working.
4. Be unprepared for questions
When preparing the presentation, plan to be interrupted. When you are performing a dry run of the presentation, remember that areas that are covered quickly, may end up taking twice as long due to questions by the clients in the room. Do not assume you are going to be allotted extra time because the client seemed engaged and asked multiple questions. Be prepared to understand where in the presentation you can proceed lightly or jump over without losing the overall objective of your presentation. This will allow you to still finish in time and show your flexibility, which ultimately will keep the client happy.
5. Pay no attention to how you're using your time
Most likely you have been given an agenda and an allotted amount of time for your presentation. Do not perform death by PowerPoint. Make sure both your agenda items and number of slides will fit within the specified timeframe, but also keep point #4 in mind. This can, at times, be the trickiest to balance. Remember more can be less and if you can get to the crux of your position, the abilities your company has in performing this service and solve the problems that have been presented by the client without 100 PowerPoint slides, you again have found favor with the potential client.
Be mindful that during the pitch, the client is not only assessing the content you have presented but also the culture fit, personalities presenting and time management skills. While, these 5 points do not cover everything you need to deliver a winning pitch, they will save you from being the company the potential customer regretted inviting to the pitch in the first place.