As I look back over the years, I knew the pitches that were mine. I knew this huge Symantec deal was winnable, and put together something almost irrefutable. Me and my team showed a torrent ofÂ creativity and logic interweaved with undeniable passion and it paid off. I remember upon winning it, Symantec told us none of their social media agency had lasted more than a quarter with them. I took this on as a personal challenge. I made a point of being annoyingly pro-active. I put them on the back foot. I made sure our work was delivered before deadline and I was chasing them. Obviously, as the service providerÂ you can’t go too far but I went as far as I could in showing my frustration they couldn’t keep up. What were they going to do? Fire us for being too efficient? We delivered results from the very first campaign, which no doubt was critical too.
I write this to those joining agencies now. Some of you may be joining your peers on sales pitches. You’re on one side or the other on pitching. You either love it or can’t fucking stand it. The big ones are a performance and it’s a competition. You know you’re up against agencies much bigger than you, smaller than you, weirder than you, smarter than you, better at pitching than you, and a whole host of variables outside of your control. The client may already be friendly with one particular agency. They may be lazy and just hireÂ a procurement officer with a spreadsheet who knows fuck all about marketing make the big decision because “theirÂ fees were the most competitive.”
The client may not evenÂ give a shit and barely listen to anyone.
I’ve seen all of these and everything in between.
I have beaten agencies far more powerful who dedicated enormous resources toÂ pitches, who’sÂ representatives wore far nicer suits and checked every box they thought would lead to victory. Perhaps, they were a little too good. Look up the Pratfall effect. Sometimes too good is too practiced, and not real and perhaps seen asÂ insincere.
How do you do that?
Precision means ideas are that areÂ laser focused on the client rather than cookie cutter and lazy. ThisÂ takes hard work and dedication.
Creativity means theÂ thoughts you present are unique and unlikely toÂ be found in your competitors presentations. This takes time andÂ talent.
If you are able to present the above with passion, it’s likely you believe in these ideas. It will show you want to win because you want to do the work.
I don’t think it’s wise the most senior person at an agency do all of the talking. They have other goals in mind, such as their financial targets.
The talentÂ who stand nothing to gain from winning the pitch, yet delivers their ideas with real enthusiasm, is more credible than an over practiced pitch with all the bells and whistles.
If anything, their life is to get harder if their team wins. They’ll have more work to do. They want it for the love of the craft. That’s genuine and means any agencyÂ can take on absolutely anyone, any size, any time, any placeÂ and win.
Anything is possible.
… and sometimes the client will go with the biggestÂ agency because they’re the safe option and they don’tÂ want to take any risks. They like their cushy job. I can understand that too, even if I could never be that person.
LikeÂ any skill, the more you practice with real determination, the better you’ll get and the more you’ll win and the more you’ll love it.
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