The beauty parade – before the pitch

In contrast to a credentials presentation or document where the content is usually decided by you, the competitive pitch is led by the client brief. Since this is something you should always receive in advance I am going to split my advice between what to do before the actual pitch and then what steps to take during the pitch itself.

Of course, all pitches are not the same, but my suggestion is to use the below steps as a sort of checklist.

Before the pitch – 

Discuss with your team.

1)Clarify and (if necessary) challenge the brief. Make sure that you understand EXACTLY what is required by who and when. In my experience, it always helps to try and start a dialogue with the prospective client before the actual pitch so call your contact, build a rapport by asking questions. In addition, try and get a timescale and a budget.
2)Determine their attendees. Who is going to be there on the day and possibly their job titles. NEVER have more of you than of them.
3)Plan your team around the response from the above point. Who of your team is the leader. Your leader doesn’t have to be the CEO or MD as the pitch might be based on client services or even creative so match the needs of the client to the correct person in your organisation. 
4)Send your team CVs in advance together with any background literature and decide what you are going to leave behind.
5)Know your competition. This is not always possible, but if it is, prepare comparisons with them and try and present last.
6)Travel to the pitch is essential. Always try and travel in the same car and get there early enough to set up. There is nothing worse that setting up while the client is in the room waiting for you!

These are just a few tips on what to do beforehand. The next post will centre on the pitch itself…..

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