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What to do after a Pitch to Win the Deal

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March 9, 2018

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So, you’ve put together a killer proposal, nailed the pitch, and now you might be wondering what to do next. Well, stop wondering, because we’re going to tell you!

 

First of all, if you followed our advice for nailing the pitch and asked lots of questions, you might have asked the client what the selection process will look like going forward, and what their timeline for making a decision is. This question will tell you if they’re planning on future interviews and how soon you should expect a decision, and should shape your follow up strategy as you hone in on winning the deal.

 

Make Sure your Writing is Mistake-Free

Before we dive into the process and tips here, remember that good communication is just as important as ever in this stage. Get all of your writing to clients checked by the native English speaking editors at Writesaver and make sure your writing is mistake-free.

 

How Should you Follow Up After the Pitch?

 

You’ve now nailed your pitch, asked lots of questions and gotten client feedback on your presentation. You have a feel for what the client likes and doesn’t like about your offering. Now is your opportunity to show your collaborative skills and creativity, all while showing them that they are an important client and you value their time. How are you going to do all this in one email? Easy. You’re going to personalize your message based on your conversation and make modifications to your pitch based on client feedback. Your email should go out no later than the day after your presentation. Let’s do an example:

 

 

Hey Steve,

 

It was great talking to you and your team yesterday. We learned a lot more about your business, and we have even more great ideas to help boost your marketing.

 

We thought about what you said about our proposed Social Media Advertising Strategy, and specifically our idea to include images and videos of [puppies] on your social media account. We understand your point that your dog shelter has mostly older dogs, and you don’t want your account to be misleading. We’ve altered our proposal, we thought that maybe instead of the puppies, we could feature your older dogs on our account, but take videos/photos of them interacting with smaller children, especially kids who haven’t seen dogs in person before. The kids’ reactions are sure to be funny and cute, which will increase social sharing like the puppy videos would, but we’ll be able to highlight the older dogs at the shelter and show how family friendly and sweet they are at the same time. Let me know what you think!

 

We’ve also changed our proposal to reflect the new target audience you suggested, we had originally calculated our paid advertising projections based on the entire state of California, but since it makes more sense to focus our ads on Los Angeles County only, we’ve included the new projections here.

 

If you have any other questions about our pitch or anything else just let me know!

 

Best,

John

 

 

What’s Good About this Email

 

Well, apart from its perfect, Writesaver-corrected English…it shows the client you’re listening to what they say. In the pitch, Steve told us that he was concerned about one of our social media ideas, because he felt it was misleading.

 

Rather than get defensive about our expertise and our ideas (what does Steve know anyways?!), which is a sure way to lose a client, we showed that our agency can think creatively while still getting the desired effect we’re looking for. By getting the email back to him the next day, we show we’re available, able to think quickly, we’re able to take feedback constructively, and we’re very easy to work with. All great things to show our client! We’ve also opened the floor for him to ask questions, which he’s sure to have now that he has had time to think about our pitch and raise new objections.

 

What to do in a Follow Up Interview

 

Your client has just contacted you and wants to talk again? Now what do you do? First, you should, of course, ask questions. Get information about what the next interview is about. Does the client just want to ask a few specific follow up questions on a call? That’s fine, and chances are no special preparation is needed, just answer the questions in the same manner you’ve been handling the client so far. Show you’re collaborative and easy to work with, ask questions, and showcase the abilities of your agency.

 

 

Second (and Third, and Fourth) Pitches

 

What if you’re potential client represents a large company, and he wants you to go through more pitches with other team members. Should you give the same exact pitch again? The answer is…maybe. Again, ask questions and get a feel for what the interview is going to be, what their job titles are, and what is likely to be most important to the new people you’re speaking with. It’s possible (but very unlikely) that you’ll want to give the same pitch again, even if you’re speaking to a completely new room of people, all with similar job titles as your initial point of contact. Why?

 

You asked lots of questions during your last pitch and after, and you now know the best parts of your proposal, and the parts that didn’t resonate so well! You get to change the worse parts and make them better! How many times do you get a chance to do that in a job interview? So take advantage of it! Send over a new, updated proposal before the new interview, complete with changes to your proposed marketing strategy based on the feedback you received in the last pitch. Come up with some new ideas based on the feedback you received, directly address your client’s key objections and questions, and make any other changes necessary. Follow the same tips from our [link: nailing the pitch] article for this pitch with your new, updated proposal. You’ll be sure to nail this one too and be even closer to winning the contract.

 

 

Get a Read on Whether You’re Winning the Contract

 

Oftentimes, the client will tell you exactly where they are in their process. If they say something like “we’re still evaluating all of our options”, or “we’re still hearing pitches”, it means just that. They’re trying to schedule pitches with lots of agencies, are doing their research, and are still in the process of making a decision. If this is the case, don’t take it as a bad thing! They’re making a big decision on how to spend their money, and want to make sure they make the right choice. Let them take their time and make a decision. Don’t follow up more than once a week if they don’t initiate the conversation, and when you do follow up, make it valuable and relevant, not just an email to pester them about the status of the project. An email like:

 

Hey Steve,

 

Hope your agency search is going well! I spent a little time yesterday reviewing {his competitor name}’s paid advertising strategy. I like how they use {specific tactic/strategy name} in their advertising campaigns, but I think we can improve upon this for your account, by {change that makes his account more effective/better than his competitor’s}.

 

As always, just let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to assist in any way I can.

 

 

Best,

John

 

 

What’s Good About This Message

 

This message keeps you top of mind, shows you’re thinking about his company and your potential collaboration, and best of all, it’s valuable and doesn’t pester him.

 

 

What Not To Do

Imagine you’re a client, interviewing 7 different marketing agencies and trying to select one. You’re still in the process of evaluating pitches, talking to your boss to get his opinion, and meanwhile your car broke down and your kid is sick, staying at home from school. Meanwhile, six agencies send you emails every other day asking where you are in your process and when you are expecting to make a decision, while sending you messages about all of their agencies accomplishments and how great they are (which you’ve already heard before). One of these agencies even has the gall to call you while you’re taking care of your sick child! Ugh, automatic “NO” to that one!

 

How To Do It Better

 

The other firm, meanwhile, you haven’t really heard from much at all. They followed up after their pitch with some updates and new ideas, and have been answering your questions when you ask, but you haven’t heard much else in a few days. Then you get a nice, short email from them, showing they’re still thinking about ideas for your account. And their idea was actually pretty good! And most importantly, mercifully, you’re under no obligation to follow up, because they didn’t ask anything! No “when can I expect to hear?” or “what part of the process are you in?” or “what did we do wrong? Why are you still considering other agencies?”. So nice. While the other companies are indirectly demanding your time by asking questions that require a quick, direct response (or risk being rude, which most Americans don’t like to do if they can help it), this company is being respectful of your time. What a change!

 

You want your agency to be that company. The one respectful of your client’s time (remember: Time is Money!). The one who adds value to your prospect when you contact them, rather than asking something from them.

 

But… How Do I Know What Stage They’re At?

 

Ideally, during your pitch you asked when you should hear about next steps by, what their decision process will look like, if there will be other pitches, and other relevant information. If the client is well behind their own schedule, and they will be (Americans almost always underestimate the time it will take them to complete something), don’t stress. If it has been more than 5 days since their stated deadline, you can send out an email like this:

 

 

Hey Steve,

 

Just wanted to reach out and see where you are with your agency evaluation process. Is there anything else you need from us at this time?

 

Also, did you see the news on {topic relevant to client’s industry}? With all the questions going around on the topic in the media, it seems like it could be an interesting topic to write some content on by answering some of the common questions people have. We could use it as part of our PR strategy since the topic is so trendy now.

 

Hope everything is going well and the decision making process is going smoothly!

 

 

Best,

John

 

Why This Email?

 

You don’t want to be annoying, but sometimes, you just need to know where the client is at! This email subtly asks where the client is at in their agency selection process, but hides it in something valuable and relevant. With this, you’re able to nicely ask for an update from your client, while still leaving them with a positive impression.

 

What If you Don’t Hear Back?

 

After you follow up, if you don’t hear back, it’s usually because the client simply doesn’t know what to tell you. Most business people will tell you if they are still hearing pitches, have decided not to go with your firm, or, of course, if you won the contract. If they simply don’t respond, there’s a possibility they are just being rude and have decided not to respond, but most American businesspeople are more professional than that. More likely:

 

  1. They want to select your firm, but are waiting on their boss’s approval. They don’t want to tell you this, only to have to take it back if the boss says no.
  2. They chose another firm, but you are the second choice. They still haven’t worked out all the terms with the other agency, so they want to make sure the contract goes through before they say ‘no’ to you.
  3. They simply forgot to respond to your email, or got busy with other things. This generally means nothing for your chances, other than they’re probably still evaluating their options
  4. They’re on vacation, enjoying the sun! They’ll get back to you when they return.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts: What To Do and What Not To Do

 

We’ve gone over the ground rules for what to do and what not to do when following up after your pitch. In short:

 

  • DO NOT follow up incessantly after your pitch, asking for updates.
  • DO follow up once, within one day of your pitch, thanking them for their time and providing relevant updates to your proposal based on their feedback.
  • DO NOT call to follow up if your primary method of communication has been email.
  • DO follow up with short, relevant updates/information on their advertising campaigns and your proposal, no more than once per week (if they don’t initiate contact).
  • DO update your proposal based on client feedback for any future pitches.

 

In short, DO NOT be annoying by pestering your prospect. Somehow, many outsourced business development/sales people seem to think the more contacts they make, the more likely they are to win the sale. DO NOT do that, it will not work. DO be respectful of your prospect’s time and decision making cycle. DO add value to your client with every contact you make.

 

In our next article, we’ll talk what to do after you’ve won the contract. We’ll focus on what the contract should include and negotiating the terms. Now go win more customers!

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