Pitches or bitches, however you like to call them, drive people crazy. Coffee & Red Bull consumption goes through the roof, but they bring business and sometimes great ideas. Some agencies treat them as “first dates” a way to see if clients and agencies can gel.
I don’t believe there is any particular science in winning them, but here are some tips that might help along the way.
Make prototypes when it makes sense. It is a completely different feeling when client has the app on the phone in his hand, then a board on the wall.There are many prototyping & presentation tools available, (see list bellow) bottom line is don't be lazy...
Choose your word wisely.
When there is a pitch, agencies feel it is tough for them, working hard, days and nights... but for the client it is an equally challenging task. During the pitch presentation days they have to meet a bunch of agencies and hear loads of strategy, creative ideas, business bull... And apparently it gets to them, so from that perspective they do care about what you say, and how you say it.
So here are two key points I remember.
(very rough interpretation)
Say something interesting
This idea will change the world - are the words that immediately wake up clients from their slumber, their eyes are wide open and they are ready to listen.
Even if it doesn't change the world, at least you tried to bring something different to the table and you will stand out from the crowd. Sometimes even things that don't make much sense get stuck in a client’s mind. For sure it is two edged sword, but who dares wins... it’s your call really.
Don't talk too much about yourself.
***** agency for the last 5 years, but I know John from the time we called him Johnny Rocket, we were best mates in high school, we had so much fun.. you remember Johnny...." - you get the point, casual, making sure the relationships are solid.
For client it is like - OMG will you just shut up already, I do not care about you, John, or even less about Johnny Rocket. Tell me about the ideas if you have any, what will they do for my brand, and God, please make this day end fast.
Plan things right
It is really difficult to plan a pitch, as resources working on the pitch might change depending on the workflow, but do your best. Make at least one person responsible for the whole thing. That same person needs to be the first person to accept the pitch and the last person to shake hands with the client before they leave. This one is quite obvious but it is important and more than often, ignored. There are great tools for managing projects like pitches where you might involve freelancers and resources outside of your agency. Trello is quite cool, Base Camp, pick your favorite.