Top Tips For Every Pitch Meeting

Agency Insight attends presentations many times a month. We see the good (and some are magnificent), the bad (see below) and the awful (see below too). You would have thought that, as professional communicators, agencies would have mastered the art of reducing the complex to the simple. But this is not always so… Based on the many, here are a few points of learning that can make all the difference in a final pitch meeting.

  • Introductions are important. Who are the people in the room, and why are they there? Set up the meeting to make sure everyone knows each other. Take a bit of time for the client team in the room to introduce themselves. Pictures of attendees with their names can help. Sometimes an icebreaker such as ‘who’s your favourite band?’ adds that human touch.
  • ‘The Seagull’. Sometimes, the presence of a very senior agency principal is welcome, as it shows commitment. At the time of writing a CEO has just introduced his agency and then said “you won’t be seeing me again!” It didn’t come over as a joke; it was taken very badly for an agency that had put in a lot of hard work.
  • ‘The Seagull 2”. We see bright people consigned to the seat at the back of the room as observers, when they have done all the work, and have the best understanding. Don’t underestimate the power of a bright young team member that may not be the best presenter yet, but has really got under the skin of the brief.
  • Stage and time management. Assume there is no more time what has been allocated. Too often we see agencies take time on the front end of a presentation, and then rush and crush the crucial bit. Don’t drone on about ‘why it should be you’ but instead show them through insightful and strategic thinking.
  • Insights that aren’t. Know the difference between research and insight. Anyone can present back research (and it can be helpful). But a real insight is a golden nugget and can win a pitch by itself. Most clients have customer research coming out of their ears – instead tell a client what they don’t know or could not have imagined.
  • Avoid too many words/too many people. The client will probably remember three of four key things. Only big points on the screen, and don’t re-tell them with each new person talking. The most powerful presentation we’ve ever seen had one or two words, and simple graphics, on each chart. Similarly, presenting off A3 boards in front of an audience of 12 is not going to work. What’s more it will probably lose you the pitch after slide/board 3!
  • Have a view. Clients are coming to you for a (clear) viewpoint. Be bold, have a view, substantiate it and tell them how it will transform their business. You can win the pitch for courage in the face of parity among other agencies. Even if you’re wrong.

These few things will help!

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