It's a feature of agency life that we have to pitch for new business. For me it's the most exciting part of my job. The challenge of building relationships, identifying the problem, building a team and then presenting a compelling solution. There's no better feeling that when you get that phone call and you hear the words: "We'd love to work with your team".
But with the highs come the lows. Pitching is a drain on resources; it can be a drain on team energy; and it can be a demotivating process when the result goes against you. The words: "we liked you all but......." strike dismay when, on the odd occasion, I hear them.
I always therefore keep an eye and an ear open to feedback and to advice from those in the industry who I respect and who have the experience. That's why this short piece in PRMoment caught my attention. Any insight into the reasons why prospects fail a pitching agency has got to be worth reading and in this article, Annabel Dunstan of Q&R provides the top five reasons from her firm's research into the topics.
And in short they are:
1. Wrong chemistry in the room
2. Inability to articulate the problem the prospect is grappling with
3. Size matters, or at least the appearance of size
4. Lack of transparency over budgets and blended day rates
5. It felt like a lecture - we wanted dialogue
It's worth considering these five simple points when analysing recent losses. There are many other secrets to successful pitching - some of which I will keep to myself! But the fundamentals are well covered by this list. For me, chemistry is key. As is the ability for us as an agency to understand the true pain the prospect is facing (and sometimes, the prospect may disagree!).
There's an element of the dark arts about successful new business, but so long as experienced practitioners like Annabel share their insights, those dark arts can be laid bare for everyone to take advantage of!
Losing a pitch sucks. Not least because it takes valuable (unbillable) time, energy and resource to give a PR pitch your best shot. More than that though, is the sense of rejection and in many cases never really getting to the bottom of why it didn’t go your way. Why didn’t you have the pitch magic?