You already know that it’s vital to conduct extensive research before pitching. But do you do it early enough? Like before you even decide to go ahead and pitch? It takes time and money to put together a compelling client pitch, so you want to go into it knowing exactly how and why your firm is the perfect fit. And no, it’s not always about partners and prices – sometimes it’s about understanding their business drivers, focus areas, and challenges, and then showing how you’ll help.
If you can determine the company’s strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be able to produce a better and more impressive pitch. And you’ll be able to add greater value over the long term; for example, by sharing and interpreting trends.
Put the spotlight on their business, not yours
It’s easy to wax lyrical about how experienced and fantastic your team is – and there is a place and time for that – but it shouldn’t overwhelm everything else. “Show, don’t tell” is a good motto to follow. Show them how deeply you understand their business by sharing opinions and knowledge, or tell them about a big win by sharing a lesson you learned from it.
No one likes death by PowerPoint. Mix it up a bit by minimizing the text on screen and putting the detail into a printed document that you can leave behind. Spend some time working on the look and feel of your presentation too. Keep it fresh and clean, and remember that client pitches don’t have to be boring.
Invest in long-term relationships
Building real relationships with prospects is just as important as the pitch itself. Larry Bodine wrote a great article on this. He suggests making use of LinkedIn or inviting your prospect to events like a sports games or wine-tasting, amongst other tips.
Of course, a real relationship is one that grows over years. You shouldn’t think of clients as just business – they are an investment. If you promptly return calls and emails, and earn their trust, they will come to you when they need help.