- Pitching to clients is tough but there is an art to it.
Ankita Kulkarni, Head, Account Planning, SoCheers shares 4 mantras that can help take your pitching to the next level.
In the current remote working scenario, which still doesn’t seem to have an end date, this process has only gotten tougher. Why? Because the process now lacks some of the key elements that a live meeting offers in abundance, like the chance to gauge the level of enthusiasm through body language, or the constant eye contact to hold someone’s attention, or the discussions that flow and extend deeper than just the pitch.
I believe that we often circle the pitching process around simply presenting the PPT, but going beyond is where the real strength of the pitch lies. Based on the insights and experience I've gained, here are a couple of suggestions that work brilliantly for me. Some of these may seem rebellious at first glance, but give them a minute, maybe they’ll surprise you and feel like worth trying. So let’s dive right into it.
Ditch that PPT!
If you’re still reading after that heading, god! you’re brave!
We’re so used to PPTs while pitching an idea that we often forget that it’s not always necessary to have the slides guide your way at every step of the conversation. It could just be a conversation; albeit an engaging and convincing one at that. While PPTs do provide amazing backup and data accessories, an insight stems from cultural and human behaviour, and a human connect can work wonders to establish the idea. So go ahead and tell them a story, one that transports them and makes them see the idea as you do. I don’t hate numbers, I just like stories more!
Oh! And what if you could mix the two you ask? That’s what the next one is about.
You > PPT
You as the speaker should be leading the presentation but what we usually see is the exact opposite, i.e. the PPT leads and the presenter follows. The core reason why people in meetings lose interest is because more often than not what’s on the screen is exactly what’s being spoken. Hardly any anecdotes or experiences are added to make the available information more interesting. That’s a huge no! The pitch has to always be a 2-way communication with unique incidents, stories, etc. told colloquially, fitting the larger narrative of your idea.
Content is King. Context, the Queen
Setting context at different points in the pitch meeting is supremely important because without that, even the best content can fall flat. At the very beginning of the presentation, it’s imperative to let the client know what you have in store for them - whether it is a campaign or just different communication routes, whether ideas are fleshed out to the T or just thought starters. This helps set expectations and the flow for the meeting. So everything that follows just seems easier. When you’re moving from the strategy to the creative part of the presentation, you sum up the key points and then segway into the creative communication. This comprises the journey the team actually went through while putting the plan together. This is crucial as the client must know how it all panned out. It’s simple really - the more the context, the less the questions you leave people with.
Gimmicks win Pitches!
Who hasn’t heard about how the famous Fevikwik Fishing Ad was pitched and won by the great Piyush Pandey at Ogilvy? Another famous story is about how Anil Kapoor from FCB won Mahindra Vehicles’ huge business for the agency in just one meeting. Gimmicks - no matter the scale, just straight up take you two notches higher in the game. It gets the client to notice you, and more importantly remember you. If it’s a pitch you can’t afford to lose - think of something quirky or heartwarming to do during the presentation. Take them by surprise. It just goes on to show the client how excited you are to have their brand on board and that zest is something every client’s looking for at all times. Leave that mark on them, because if it’s a close call, you’ll thank that little hint of drama.
We’re in a highly creative industry and ideating and executing creative projects is literally our job. So, why not add a pinch (or a bottle-full) of creativity and boldness into how we pitch the ideas. Go ahead and create a winning formula that works the best for you and your organisation.