March 7, 2018 All
Winning the Deal: Delivering a Brilliant Pitch Presentation to US-based Businesses
Part 5 of Winning American Clients for Outsourced Digital Marketing Agencies
The pitch presentation is when you present your proposal to the client, either via Skype, a phone call, or in person. You’ll go over your ideas, answer the client’s questions, and try to put your best foot forward as the prospect evaluates the idea of partnering with your firm. For larger companies, you may need to do several presentations with different decision makers involved, while for smaller contracts usually only one presentation is necessary. Regardless, this is one of the key steps towards winning the contract, so follow these tips to make sure you get it right! First, let’s remember the key questions your prospects will be asking themselves when evaluating your pitch.
Key Questions to Answer
- Does the agency work with companies within my budget range?
- Has the agency had success with clients in my industry? Have they had success with companies the same size as mine?
- Do the agency’s services match what I’m looking for? A startup might require some flexibility, while a larger company may be happier with an established structure and working order.
- Do I like the people on the agency’s team? Can I see myself working with them?
- Does the agency have the creativity I need?
- Does the agency have the competencies I need?
- Will the agency be easy to work with? Are they available when I have issues? Is communicating with them easy?
- Is the team’s English good enough to make communication easy? Can I trust them with my marketing materials?
- And, most importantly: will this company succeed if I trust my marketing activities to them?
Now that we remember the questions we’ve been focused on answering through our initial communication efforts and our proposal, let’s see how we can make sure to address these concerns during our pitch. Specifically, we’re going to be answering the clients questions about our agency’s creativity, competency, and communication skills. We’ll also be addressing our likability, whether the client will like working with us and can trust us to get the job done.
Tips to Nail your Pitch Presentation to American Clients
- Try to be flexible with scheduling
Chances are, your potential client is a little worried about what it will be like communicating with a team on the other side of the globe. Will the time difference be an issue? Will they be available for questions when needed? The way you schedule the first pitch is a great opportunity to show that these potential issues won’t be a problem.
Make sure you pick a time that suits the client, and try to do so without too much back and forth. This can be difficult with larger companies, as they may need to coordinate the schedules of multiple team members who will be joining the call. Respond to their emails promptly to show you’re easy to talk to and get a hold of. No one expects you to be available 24/7, but some of your business hours should overlap with theirs. If not, it may be worth getting to the office a little early or staying a little late to make sure they know you’ll be available when they need you.
- Let them meet your whole team
Well, maybe not your whole team… but at least everyone who will be working on their project. Knowing who will be working on their account, and getting to know a little bit about their background and experience will go a long way towards building trust. They should have the chance to ask questions of each team member about their experience and how they will approach the project.
This will help address both issues of likeability (will I like working with this agency?) and competency (are these people good at what they do?).
- The best English speaker should lead
A call to pitch a potential client is not the time for egos. If you’re the CEO of a digital marketing agency, but one of your account managers or project managers is a much better English speaker, let them lead. By all means kick off the call, introduce yourself, be available for questions, and add input where necessary. But you need the client to be 100% comfortable that there will be no communication issues if they choose to work with you, and the best way you can do that is by having the best English speaker do the majority of the talking.
- Let their future Account Manager speak a lot
An exception to the best English speaker leading rule is when the account manager takes control. This is the person your future client will be interacting the most with, and they know it! They will want to talk with the account manager and make sure communication and misunderstandings won’t be a problem. Consider putting your best English-speaking account managers on your US-based accounts, your clients will definitely thank you for it.
- Ask Questions!
Remember our article on initial communication, where we stressed the importance of asking questions? Well don’t stop now, keep asking right on through your pitch! As you present your ideas to your prospect, ask for their opinions and feedback. This is their business, and they need to have input on the ideas that will eventually represent their company! Suggestions from the client are not a sign of failure to US businesspeople, they’re a sign of a healthy collaborative process. Specific questions like, “We were between two ideas here, X and Y, but decided to go with this one. Would you agree with our assessment?”, or “Do you think [your target audience] would respond well to this?
These questions don’t just give you information for potential future pitches, follow-ups and interviews (if necessary), they show that you are easy to work with and willing to collaborate. Americans like working with people who will respect their ideas and are willing to put their egos in check and work towards a common goal, so make sure this is the representation you give of your firm!
This will also give you a leg up in follow up interviews and your follow up messages after the pitch, which we’ll cover in our next article!
Nailing the Pitch
Now you’re ready to ace the pitch. If you’ve started with our first article on American Business Culture and worked your way through our articles on your online presence, initial communication, and the proposal, you’ve likely picked up on a few common themes we’ve discussed time and time again. Time is money, so respect your prospect’s time. Ask lots of questions so you can put forward the aspects of your agency that are most relevant to your prospect, and show the ability to be flexible and work well with their team. Make sure English writing and speaking ability when communicating with the client is excellent.
Our next article will talk about how and when to follow up after a pitch, how to handle next steps, and how to get a read on whether you’re going to win the contract.