( 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
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- You spell the clients brand name incorrectly and/or feature the out of date packaging ( I still remember putting up a slide that read “ A presentation to Brids Eye Walls” .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!)