I recently trained a great mid-sized agency on how to present – they had won their last three pitches, but felt it was too difficult, too much upheaval, too much work.

winning new business pitch team

Build a winning ad agency new business team!

So they called us. After a one-day session the team called it a “life changing” event. The president, a long time player in the marketing world, told me that, “I have a long ditch covered with the bodies of worthless consultants!” My training was the first time he felt not only did he get his money worth, but the ideas and concepts we presented would serve his firm well for years.

A few of their comments on the highlights from our post training survey:

  • Understanding profiling will be huge in winning
  • Have a checklist is great
  • Breaking the presentation down to various roles
  • Less reliance on PowerPoint
  • Totally changed our approach to preparing for pitches
  • Big help in how to develop a process
  • Dress rehearsal required to conduct a well-drilled presentation
  • Wow. Loved the numerous techniques to own the room
  • Presentation tools
  • Subliminal things

Below are the 12 keys to winning any presentation we reviewed as part of the training. Each section had more detail, and much more content!

12 Winning the Pitch Presentation Rules:

1. Understand the Difference Between Advertising and New Business

The number-one reason for presentation loss by most agencies is confusing new business with the skills they need to do good marketing communications. There’s a big difference and the lack of understanding here is the reasons so many firms have trouble with growth. Too many agencies end up playing it safe and staying within the rules. New business is about winning.

2. Take the Lead Right from the Start

From the beginning be the most interested. At the RFP stage be the most tantalizing. At the agency tour stage be the best-organized agency. At the final presentation showcase the best presentation team. Do these things and you win because you’re in the lead. It’s difficult to win first place from back in the pack.

3. Quickly Decide If You Want the Account

Make sure you have a good chance to win. Check chemistry (your type of people). Successful agencies quickly decide they want the account, and then they decide what it will take to win. Are you willing to put in the time, energy required to win?

4. Know How the Agency Will Be Selected

Will it be a relationship win? Or a big idea? Will options carry the day? Scorecard? Today many prospects and search consultants use scorecards. Often the second-best agency wins the entire account on points. Think about the scorecard and make sure you achieve high marks in every category.

5. Agree Early on the Presentation Make-up

Most clients are disappointed at agency presentation time because they expect a show and they get bored instead. Focus more on the presentation: speaking skills, use of tools, ability to relate, eye contact, sentence structure, organization of thoughts, humor, and appearance. Organization of overall show, including setup, refreshments, tent cards, podiums, the presentation structure, use of time, and dramatic effects. Your agency must own the room.

6. Decide on the Agency “Hero”

New business is all about showcasing the people. Make sure you clearly identify the prospect’s hero: the one person who can stand up, carry the day and slay the prospect’s key issues. They must be the right profile, right title, right responsibility, and most importantly be great at presenting. And not the agency president!

7. Use Profiling to Win on Chemistry

When your agency profiles correctly and thereby shows versatility, you win. All members of the agency management team must understand how to identify different profiles, how to build trust with each one, and most importantly, how each will make their decision. Each profile is looking for something different in an advertising agency. Knowing the correct profile determines the presentation tactics you select.

8. Establish the Presentation Chunks Early

You must treat the entire presentation as a series of acts in one play. Introduce each act with interest. Build to key points. And end each act strongly. Write out dull sections and put the information in the leave behind. This makes the leave behind more important, which is helpful.

9. Present the Right Way

There is a power to presenting the right way, use it. Maintain eye contact, build a story, connect with the audience, and much much more. Little things like practicing “Nancy Reagan” (your team looking adoringly at whoever is speaking) to keep the audience focused and avoiding dead screen time with title slides. Don’t introduce the next speaker (agenda covers that) and practice TV time with quick cuts to the next topic.

10. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

A major presentation is worth 8 hours of rehearsal. If you don’t have time to do rehearsals, then don’t do the presentation. Fly into the presentation city a day early if you must.

11. Build a Team of Winners

It’s a smart agency who uses the same people time and again to win key pieces of business. The teamwork shows through, and this means a lot to prospects. Round out your team of winners with new additions each time, such as adding appropriate account handlers and designated creative team members, but have them join a core team of experienced presenters who know how to win.

12. Call Sanders Consulting Group

Remember the stress, the agony, the confusion, the money, and the disappointments you went through with your last presentation attempt? If you had only done this type of presentation the last few years, where would you be, you wonder? Don’t be so set on doing it your way. Call us and discover how winning agencies really know how to pitch.

Presenting To Win is optimized to achieve the greatest success for your firm.  The course is taught on-site at your agency. Attendees are taught the basic principles of personality profiling as a core competency skill set which is built upon throughout the course. At the end of the day you will have a clear understanding of how to take advantage of all the new presentation tools and win more presentations.

Most marketing firms just make excuses and keep making the same mistakes over and over. Give us a call and let us show you a better way, 412.897.9329 or send us an email [email protected]

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Photo by ~iris-maria