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The Perfect Pitch

by Judy Neer,Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When it comes to new business, the question on most agencies’ minds is—What do clients really want in a pitch presentation?

I can’t underscore enough that the work, the thinking behind the work, and the people should be the focus of every final presentation. It’s not about one winning ad. It’s about demonstrating what your agency can provide a client for the long-term. However, assuming that the meat of the pitch is there, are there still “extras” that might enable one agency to eke out a win over another?

Yes. But they might not be what you think.

Tchotchkes, mugs, and building an entire supermarket in a conference room were once lauded as highly as a great ROI track record. Today, clients do not want to see thousands of dollars spent on a complete room transformation or tons of food. Nor do they want a super slick new biz team. 

Here’s what clients want to see in a final pitch:

1) The right people in the room—Make sure that the team giving the final presentation is the team that would work on the client’s business.

2) The right people presenting—Don’t have the CEO present the entire pitch. The Account Director should lead the meeting and everyone from the Creative Director to Account Planning should be vocal and present.

3) A well-rehearsed presentation—If you’ve done it right, and multiple people will present the final pitch, it should be rehearsed as a team. 

4) Streamlined content—Keep the presentation tight, concise and on task. Save your ancillary (though no less brilliant) ideas for when you win the business. 

5) Time for questions—Seems intuitive, but leaving time for questions is a neglected step in many presentations.

6) An agenda—Another item that seems like a given, but in the midst of beautiful boards and reels, make sure somebody distributes an agenda that everyone can have in front of them at all times.

7) Placemats—Consider it a tchotchke with a purpose. Clients love placemats featuring the photos and names of the agency team members. They can keep in front of them throughout the presentation and refer to it as needed.

Again, the final pitch is not about one great execution or one larger than life presentation. The tips above will help keep your presentation streamlined, but the content must be there. We counsel our clients to pick an agency that demonstrates the strategy, execution and people they need for a partnership, not a project.

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