You’ve submitted your proposal, you’ve met the requirements, impressed the client with your expertise and well-structured response, and now you’ve been short-listed to present your pitch to the client. Here’s some more free advice on how to keep your hopes alive of winning the contract, based on my experience of managing the selection process for my clients. By way of background, typically I will send out a set of questions the client would like answered and (where appropriate) a range of tasks we’d like demonstrated, such as a web content management system or a contact/donor management system.
- Don’t waste the time you have been given. Spending 10-15 minutes of your allotted time extolling the virtues of your company and staff isn’t going to impress the client. You’ve probably already said it all in your proposal anyway. It’s much better to demonstrate your expertise and the virtues of your company by the way you meet the brief for the presentation.
- Answer the questions you have been asked. A really good way to do this, as demonstrated by a recent winning supplier, was to answer each question with an example of how that had been done for another client, e.g. how they would approach simplifying the information architecture of the proposed website. Using examples makes it real for the client listening to you and builds their confidence that you could help them.
- Make sure you cover all the bases in your demonstration. If we’ve asked you to show the basics of how to create, modify and move a web page using your content management system, it’s a good idea to make sure you do that! If you really want to impress, don’t just use a basic boring test site or test data for your demo, make it relevant to the client by using some of THEIR content, their contacts or their organisation. It shows that you have put a wee bit of effort into understanding their world, and it really does go down well with clients. Again, it’s about building their confidence that you understand them and can work with them.
- Keep to time. This includes arriving on time (slightly early is best, so any projectors, laptops etc can be set up) as well as keeping an eye on the progress of the presentation. There will usually be someone from the client managing the time, but it’s more impressive when you explicitly keep track of it, manage questions, cover everything you’ve been asked AND finish on time. It builds the confidence for the client that you can manage a project to time! It may only be a little thing compared to a full-blown project, but if you fail to keep to time, or ramble about in your presentation, then it makes the client wonder if you can manage a project to time.
Finally, if you want to know more about the communications aspects of pitching to clients, check out voicebusiness, who provide tips & training on this and all other aspects of communicating.