By Dan Olson
The main reason you win new business
Nothing is quite as misunderstood as the agency’s new business pitch. Survey after survey states that client’s almost always pick an agency because of chemistry. Does this mean that only the agencies with likable people win? No! As much as you would like to think so, the chemistry for agencies is created through how the agency acts in the pitch.
They Listen To Us
Every agency is given an RFP or a brief to follow. This is where several agencies just never get it. They can never see the problem they are being asked to solve. But those that approach this from a point of humility and curiosity and seek to better understand exactly what the client is looking to solve, increase their advantage. It is the agency that takes the time to get this understanding that gains the advantage. Too often I saw agencies try to ft their “solution” into a fix for client’s problem and it becomes a sales presentation, which the clients see immediately.
They Have An Idea
The most important thing an agency can do is get to their idea early in this effort. Once an agency has their idea, then they can do what they do best. Write the brief and develop the presentation. The clarity in which any idea is presented is the primary key to success. Many times, agencies feel that it is quantities of executions they feel will wow a client. This just makes the decision more complicated and can be overwhelming. A single idea or two presented with a few well-articulated expressions will win every time over volume of executions. Never present more than three. If you can’t show your worth in three ideas you shouldn’t pitch. Remember clients are people too and they need clarity to help them decide, not overly complicated scenarios.
They Are Prepared
When something looks easy it’s because the team doing it has worked very hard in preparation. When you think about it, your new business team has been working on something for six weeks and you have to present your ideas in 90 minutes. The presentation has to be stellar or you run the risk of never getting the audience to understand your ideas and it’s brilliance.
This comes down to knowing your stuff. Know it. Rehearse it. Plan ahead for the questions you might get asked and designate a specific person to answer each question. A well-orchestrated presentation does not come by chance.
Finally, always be ready and able to shift at any moment, go with your audience, they are never wrong in what they want to hear and tell you.
They Are More Interesting
A famous study of why people pick others in bars and clubs pointed out that they pick the most interesting person in the room. What makes a person interesting to you, most of the time, is because they find you interesting, and are willing to get to know you. The same goes for agencies. Many agencies take way too much time touting themselves and their awards when what’s more important is to take the time to let the client share more about themselves, their brand and their challenges. What they share will help the agency in knowing how to act, talk and present for a better result and you will also appear much smarter as a group. These are just a few of what helps to make your chemistry better with potential clients.