Every entrepreneur can relate to the disappointment of losing a bid on a request for proposal (RFP).
It’s a lot of work. After countless hours of research and note taking, the designers compile a presentation deck with the findings that you trust will be more than sufficient to win the client’s heart over—not.
If you want to surpass a few rejections with a strong pitch, check out these tips to give your presentation the edge it needs to win the bid and take the crown.
1. Keep Realistic Expectations
Only 41 percent of forecasted opportunities result in wins because, unfortunately, you are not the only one presenting. Sometimes, clients will schedule as many as 10 presentations in order to make a selection. In a situation like this, it is only reasonable to admit that some of your competitors will have an edge on you in a given aspect of their service.
Instead of fearing the inevitable, find what your own “edge” is and run with it. Don’t let your pitch be a generic coverage of everything under the sun, keep it focused and on target. The presentation should end with your client understanding the unique things you bring to the table, and how your team’s specialties reach beyond your competition’s abilities.
2. Presentation Matters
You are selling your own product or service so you should want it to be appealing from the moment the client lays eyes on it. Your first point of contact for the sale is your presentation.
Look your best and let your materials be a work of art in its own right. Yes, it’s expensive to have your design team spend time on a presentation deck, but assume that your competitors are doing the same, and if they’re not, good for you.
You’ll stand out from the pack.
When you have a beautifully designed deck, the client will immediately begin imagining the possibilities your team can provide for their brand. Marketing is about image, and I have found that projecting an image larger than yourself is often times the gateway to a great contract.
Being a small firm has not precluded us from landing contracts with companies like Gatorade, RJ Reynolds or ALK Abello. Prove to your client that you have the creative prowess to match and even surpass your competitors, regardless of their size.
3. Keep It Short & Impactful
You and your competitors will be bidding for the same project. Chances are you’ll be speaking of the same core services and deliverables and after a while, it will all sound the same to your client.
Do not overwhelm your audience, but instead focus on actively communicating what makes your company unique. They know the basic skills of an agency, so what else do you have to offer? In our experience, addressing the main pain points of client/agency relationship has proven very effective.
Tell your client about your transparent philosophy, about how much emphasis you place on clear and effective communication and the fact that they will have access to senior level professionals within your firm, not some recent grad or intern.
Sixty-one percent of buyers prefer a pitch that is between 30 minutes and an hour, which is a short amount of time to explain your edge and allow discussion. Your unique points are extremely important factors from the client’s point of view. Make sure you address them in precise detail.
4. Follow Up
Keep in touch with your point of contact during the days following your presentation. Remember, after the presentations are through, your clients are likely to be overwhelmed and may forget deciding details of each competitor’s options.
Making yourself available and present for the client is not a bad idea if you want to increase visibility and probability of landing this bid. Don’t overdo it, though. A great way to tastefully make contact after the presentation is to send them an email with additional resources that will further separate you from the crowd and help them in their decision.
5. Repurpose Your Materials
If you don’t win the bid, do not despair! You can’t win them all. Save the presentation you’ve created and make it available on your site for others who may be interested in learning more about your process and hiring your services.
Make sure you edit the presentation to eliminate particular references to a specific client. Do not look at a lost bid as a waste of time. The time and effort you’ve put into the presentation deck can now be used as an asset on your website and a tool to help you prospect in the future.
Winning a bid with a dynamite presentation is a feeling hard to top. If you follow these simple tips you’ll be on your way to endearing yourself to your clients and if not awarded the contract, you’ll at least have another building block on your sales arsenal.