There’s nothing more costly in agency life than losing a new business pitch.

Don't lose your next new business pitch.

Don’t lose your next new business pitch.

Out the window go all the time, money, and energy spent on a prospect that goes with another agency. A competitor no less. After all, this is a zero-sum-game.

What happens when you lose? News of the loss causes the agency’s self-confidence to fade. Agency morale drops. Fingers get pointed. Self-criticism begins. It’s a destructive process that can damage the very heart and soul of the firm.

For this reason it’s important that agency management move quickly to repair the damage. But instead of adding to the negative feelings with another round of “here’s-what-we-did-wrong” incriminations, be more positive. Get some professional support for your agency on how to do it right next time. And turn the loss into a powerful learning experience.

Rethink Ad Agency Presentations.

Most agencies haven’t changed the way they present their work in years. It’s the old “aren’t-we-great case studies” followed with a “BIG IDEA” and then followed with the mind-numbing “oh yeah, media, tactics, execution… blah blah blah” style. This results in weak presentations that blend in with every other marketing firm. These “tried-and-true” presentations are supposed to be something prospects will remember. Supposed to inspire. Supposed to win!

4 Thoughts On Presentations:

  1. Clients expect agencies to be experts at presenting. Back in the day, in the golden age of advertising, agencies were the magicians of industry. With a simple idea they could transform markets, brands, industries. And “agency people” were master presenters. The pitches were simple, but had style, substance.
  2. When pitching, lose the slides. Slides can only show one concept or thought, and these will be forgotten when the next slide appears. It’s more powerful to use props, mind maps, logic trails and emotion to help prospects first understand and then accept the agency’s point of view. Put the emphasis up front; help clients grasp the strategic thinking behind the recommendation. Integrate media, marketing, planning and creative all together in one strategic sweep prospects easily appreciate.
  3. Follow a map. Mapping techniques encourage prospects to use both their logical side and their emotional side to evaluate the agency’s position. This blending encourages acceptance that moves the agency into a position of trusted advisor rather than creative vendor – a strategic partner that prospects are more willing to hire.
  4. Present with style. If done well, the agencies presentations style will impact client retention as well. When an agency changes to a more visual style, moving away from just PowerPoint presentations, fewer recommendations get rejected because when clients understand, they buy. The agency spends less time on rework and staff morale zooms. Productivity soars. Write offs drop. And the agency’s creative reputation improves because more daring work gets produced.

What separates great marketing agencies from all the others is not better thinking. It’s the ability of those agencies to pitch their ideas better. And great work won’t sell if it’s not pitched properly.

I hope this helps, and if you want more information please let me know. Last year we helped firms win $75,000 to $150 million with our pitch consulting.


Photo by TrickD123