There are many ways that a company can get customers. Whether it’s through online sales, direct selling, or referrals, the key to success is knowing what the customer wants and providing it to them in a way that provides both value and good service.
In many industries, particularly the tech and creative ones, you may have to directly pitch for the work outside of a formal tendering process. This usually involves providing both a pitch document and presenting your ideas in front of a number of people.
Some people are great at pitching and love the process. Others are less so. Dropping the ball when it comes to pitching can lose your valuable contracts, even if your solution is the best one.
So when it comes to pitching, here are some ideas to make yours the best it can be.
Don’t get personal or unprofessional
It is extremely unprofessional to base your pitch around attacking the competition or incumbent company. Not only does it make you seem petty, but it’s not really selling your own company. People want to know why your solution is the best, not why other people’s are worse.
For example, if you’re a development company who are pitching to help a company get started with integrated payment processing, then you want to talk about the features of your solution.
Focus on them, not you
A pitch isn’t just an opportunity to rattle off a list of your achievements. Yes, a prospective client will want to know that they’re in good hands, but mostly, they want to know that you understand their problems and can provide the solutions to them. By all means, include some supporting information in your presentation or documentation but don’t make it all about you.
Ask questions in advance
The company you are pitching to might not be very experienced in providing briefs. This can make it difficult for you to get to the heart of what they really need, Unless they have explicitly stated otherwise, fill in any of the gaps you need before putting your pitch together. Making assumptions could send you down the wrong path and waste time and money.
Know your stuff
The pitch process usually has a section for people to ask you questions, this is where you could trip up. Not only do you need to know your own solutions, but you need to know about the wider context of your client, their history, and their sector.
If you’re asked a question that you genuinely don’t know the answer to, just let them know that you would have to look into it for them before giving a full answer. People can usually tell if you’re bluffing it.
Pitching can be a stressful process, but there are ways you can improve your chances of winning the business. A lot of them are basic things that can make a huge difference. Style over substance may wow people sometimes, but if you’re not up to the job, they’ll soon find out.