How to screw up a new business pitch

( Running a workshop for an agency on winning new business pitches recently I found epic fails were more instructive)

It is said that we learn more from our mistakes than successes….on that basis I should by now be a very wise person. Because, boy , have I made some mistakes.

Here are five ways you can screw up a new business pitch, each one pretty much guaranteed to result in a loss

  1. At the first “credentials” meeting you talk only about your agencies achievements ( because you have been invited to do so ) and fail to find out about the clients business problem or talk about it. ( You will come off as arrogant and self – absorbed)
  2. You address all your remarks to the most senior client in the room and ignore the juniors and middle rankers, after all he/she is the  decision maker?  ( Wrong, probably – you have just alienated key influencers)
  3. You decide that the client brief is wrong and needs to be “refocussed “ but you fail to explain this until you get to the pitch ( You will probably end up irritating the brief writer in the pitch as you are implying that he/she is a bit dumb)
  4. You present “breakthrough” creative work that is unlike anything the client has run before without showing more “evolutionary” alternatives. ( radical changes of direction for brands are rare and mostly don’t happen unless the clients business is in crisis and they are forced to change)
  5. You spell the clients brand name incorrectly and/or feature the out of date packaging ( I still remember putting up a slide that read “ A presentation to Brids Eye Walls” . In fact I am now in a sweat just thinking about it.

(Obviously the plan is to avoid these!)

 

 

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