New business pitches can be just like dating. Sometimes, it’s love at first sight and other times, its hell
But, as Marketing Consultant Robb High correctly points out, a romance is more likely to flower if you avoid some obvious mistakes.
We’ve committed some of these gaffes, and many others as well.
Recently, we did everything right and won a competitive pitch against large agencies. Then, we turned right around, violated every rule in the book, and handed a ‘sure’ thing to a competitor.
We were prepared for the first meeting. We’d rehearsed three times, relied on a few visual supports (but, no powerpoint) and made sure we could hit our proposal’s high points in 20 minutes or less. The end result was magic. We knew we’d nailed it as soon as the meeting concluded.
We were unprepared for the second opportunity. We didn’t rehearse, relied on an endless powerpoint presentation, brought the wrong ‘team’ to the pitch and allowed the conversation to meander.
Our crack Strategy Consultant Darryl Salerno listened to these two tales and advised us to be more judicious in the future. He suggested that when we do commit to pitching a piece of new business, we should go all out: that means rehearsing, assigning a team leader, staying away from dull powerpoints and choosing the appropriate account team.
Darryl’s advice, like High’s, may sound academic. But, the best and the brightest agencies often fumble when it comes to new business fundamentals.
Hey, if it was easy, we’d win all the time. But, what fun would that be?
Thanks Steve. You’re 100 percent right. It’s amazing and frustrating that we still make fundamental mistakes after all these years.
A nice post Steve. It just underscores that the selling process, no matter what you are selling, is indeed formulaic to a large degree, and often due to the repetitiveness of the formula (read boring), hard to stick to, despite it’s seemingly inherent simplicity and effectiveness. Managing the sales process is exactly that – almost anybody can sell and close – it’s the pros who always come prepared, and win more often that not.