So you’ve got a pitch coming up and you really want to knock it out of the park. But, how? Nailing a design pitch is something that comes along with experience, preparation and interpersonal skills. All of which you can improve on after you have done your first few pitches.
However, I understand that you want more than just an explanation on how to develop these skills. You want solutions and advice that can actually aid your pitching skills earlier on and that can actually bring you closer to nailing that perfect design pitch.
I can tell you all the ins and outs of a design pitch down to the closing strapline. But why should you take my word for it? Well, I have over 20 years’ experience of working within creative agencies in both creative and client services roles and I have been involved in 100 plus pitch presentations. I have seen my fair share of the good, the bad and the ugly.
However, I believe that there is one main reason why many pitches fail. There is a lack of preparation and research when organising the initial pitch is concerned. Additionally, people usually forget about the most important aspect of a pitch that seals the deal; charisma and chemistry.
Below I have listed a few of the key elements that need to be addressed to enable you to form the best possible design pitch.
First things first you need to qualify the pitch opportunity – does your company stand a fair chance of winning the pitch? To determine this, you need to ask yourself the following questions… How many other agencies are pitching? What is the pitch going to be judged on? Who are the key stakeholders and decision makers? Are they going to be in the pitch meeting? No matter what your answers are to these questions make sure you research the client you are pitching to. This shows that you know what you are talking about and can revolve your pitch around them. If the decision makers and stakeholders are in the meeting make sure that you research them too. This not only shows good preparation skills but also that you are interested in them as people, not just a job.
Ask intelligent questions
Once you have received the brief from the potential client arrange a pre-pitch meeting or conference call with them. This gives you an opportunity where you can clarify any questions that have arisen from the brief. It’s amazing how many people don’t digest the brief and make assumptions about what a client has asked for. Not only does this show that you have read the brief and understood the requirements it also gives you a chance to see what the client is like before you meet them in the board room.
Pain point solutions
Make sure you understand what the issues are that the client needs resolving and show them that you understand their problems and can provide appropriate solutions. Don’t just make the solutions generic; make sure that they are specific to the client. Coming up with tailored solutions can take up more time but it is worth it. It gives the client a more personalised pitch. This shows that you treat each job differently and are understanding of the client’s different needs. Remember everyone loves a solution that saves them time or makes them look good. So, make sure that your solution appeals to them.
Clients want to believe you will act in their best interest rather than your own. So, show them how your values are similar to theirs within the presentation. This entices the client to envision the project with you because they can see how their goals align with yours. Furthermore, instead of showing graphs, bullet points and portfolios of your company that your potential client could just see on your website, tell them a story about how you increased a client’s revenue by a redesign or something that makes them remember you can deliver results.
When you are presenting your pitch make it an interactive presentation. Listen to the feedback you’re being given. The interaction from the client will give you an indication of whether to skip a piece of the presentation and to focus on something that they actually want to listen to and learn more about.
Finally, one of the most imperative parts of the presentation. When pitching, remember that people buy into people. Clients ultimately choose to do business with people they like. And all clients like someone who appreciates them so make sure you take an interest in the prospective clients as people. Talk about their interests and goals and most importantly be yourself.
If this wasn’t enough for you. Check out my favourite articles about design pitching!
Now that you have the pitching basics down you can start sending out those dreaded proposals. Then hopefully, you’ll be on your way to nailing that perfect design pitch! Happy pitching!