More often than not, great communication concepts get rejected by clients, not because the idea or execution was wrong, but because the work wasn’t properly presented.

different styles for different folks

Know your audience.

In this business, it’s difficult to represent the same idea a second time using better presentation techniques. It’s usually one strike and you’re out. Agencies have to get it right the first time. If marketing communication companies put more care into presenting their recommendations, more work would probably be approved by clients. Clients expect agencies to be masters at presenting work. Poor presentations skills bring into doubt the firm’s overall competency. The next time your agency has a client presentation review the following.

A. Before Presenting:

  1. Understand what you are presenting. Really know what you are taking in. Consider making a logic trail of how your team arrived at the recommended suggestion.
  2. Get help before you go. Discuss with a planner or an expert the target audience you are going after. Look for supporting facts and market truths that will help your presentation.
  3. Assemble your team. Consider holding a stake-holder meeting with everyone involved with the recommendation before you go. Seek suggestions and recommendations on ways to help the client better understand the recommendation.
  4. Review their profile. Follow the presentation rules.
  5. Go in a great recommendation. Make sure you and everyone else on your team believes you are moving forward with a great idea or strong recommendation to the client.
  6. Pre-sell the client. Use a phone call or e-mail to create enthusiasm for what you are bring over. Tantalize in advance without giving too much away. Use members of your team to call and add their support.
  7. Plan the presentation. Know who says what and when. Go in with a presentation plan and then stick to the plan.

B. During the Presentation:

  1. Bring the recommendation to life. Use a story or paint a picture of your recommended course of action to help sell in the client. Words have power. Picture words have more power.
  2. Use a should board. List out what the recommendation should accomplish. And then show how your plan hits the “shoulds” dead on.
  3. Show it, don’t tell it. When possible make your recommendation real by showing it in a newspaper, magazine or on the TV. People buy with their eyes. And then their heart. Use that to your advantage.
  4. Read the room. If the idea wouldn’t fly, take it back and start over. Avoid committee solutions and Frankenads. Be prepared to take the loss and win another day.

C. After the Presentation:

  1. Help the client sell the idea up the organization. Work with the client to get the idea sold in and offer to help.
  2. Thank the client. Win or lose. You asked your client to be open to new ideas and hear you out. If that’s what happened, then show how.
  3. Do a post-mortem. Review the check list and be sure you followed the rules. Great teams get better by reviewing game film and correcting their mistakes.

D. Before the Next Presentation:

  1. Start winning the next presentation now. Get the client involved in looking at the creative landscape or reviewing the market place on a regular basis. Show the good, the bad and the ugly from what’s happening in the client’s space on a regular basis. That’ll probably make it easier to sell in your next suggestion.
  2. Share great work. Even from competition. You can’t hide what the competition is doing and its better your client hears it from you than someone else. So talk about the business and what’s working and what’s not. You are a business partner with your clients and partners act like partners.
  3. Build relationships. Everyone on the team should know and have a good relationship with your client. It’s more fun when more of your team members are personally involved with the client. And it helps during the tough times to have reinforcements who are up to speed on the client and on the market place.

Key Reminder:

Our account service High Gear Training uses personality profiling as a way to help you select your best presentation strategy. Strategy is the key to making a good presentation to a client. It’s all about the timing and what makes a client most comfortable. You are not presenting to a corporation; you are presenting to a person who has likes and dislikes on how he or she prefers to receive information and make decisions.

Agencies are never fired by the companies we serve. Agencies are fired by people at those companies who believe we don’t like them, can’t work with them the right way, and aren’t meeting their expectations in some way. We are fired by people with whom we don’t have good chemistry.


Photo Credit: Vicente Hraste