Educate your client and win the pitch

education-picHave you ever lost a pitch for business to a company you consider inferior to you? A company that makes all the right noises, puts up the big guns, but you know is going to get juniors in and deliver mediocre work? Have you ever asked the client why they chose the competition and got vague, or even irrational, answers in response? It hurts, doesn’t it? You know you’re the best, dammit, why can’t the stupid client see it? Instead of falling for all that flim-flam and razzle dazzle.

Well, it’s your fault. You should have had a discussion with the client about how they were running the selection process, about how they see the world.

If they have a proper pitch and evaluation process, they may share it with you and then you will know what questions you need to answer and how you need to formulate your pitch. If they won’t share it then you should be able to tease out some of the detail through questioning. They should see that you are taking a professional approach to the exercise by making yourself as well-informed as possible, which will reflect well upon you.

But many companies, especially smaller ones, don’t have a defined pitch process and a proper basis for evaluating the different pitches they get. Which is why they come to the ‘wrong’ decision and choose someone else, swayed by rhetoric and emotion rather than making a decision based on logical analysis.

So why don’t you help them by educating them on how to run a pitch? Write up a pitch evaluation process, listing the 10 most important questions they should ask when selecting a supplier, the ones YOU would ask if you were in their position. Give them the view of poacher turned gamekeeper.

You can even put it all in a handy table for them, with a column for each company so that they can score them as they go along.

Obviously, you have to be sure you score well against these questions. And you may put in a couple that will challenge your competitors (for example, if you are a small operation up against the big boys, getting them to have to say who exactly will be working on the account, and what their experience is, will highlight your strength of personal attention).

If you educate your client so that they run the pitch by your rules, you have a much better chance of coming out on top. And they get a better result too.

(Blog inspired by @kristelV and the rest of the @TagTribe #CreativeCrew)

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