Pitching to clients can be something of a scary task but love it or hate it, it’s something we’ve all got to do. Here we’ve provided a set of tips to help you improve your pitching technique...
01. Communicate effectively
Before even getting to the pitch stage, make sure that you’re liaising with your potential client efficiently, be that over email, phone or face-to-face. Also, try to be personable with your client and forge a bond. Should you win the pitch, they'll want be assured that you'll be professional and understanding should any creative issues arise.
02. Do your pre-pitch research
It's no good just knowing the brief inside out: you also need to know the company look and feel if you're going to have any chance of sounding like you know what your talking about.
Research the company website for any news, as well as the wider industry in which they operate. Also, try to find out which designers or agency they may have used before, as well as previous projects, to understand what they’re looking for differently this time.
03. Deliver through the lens of your client
This will help with our next point: use your research to create a concept that resounds with the clients’ needs.
Try to see the bigger picture of what it is that they want to achieve. Understanding what the client wants from the off will avoid any issues arising over creative direction later on.
04. Prepare for non-design questions
A pitch is there not just for the potential client to sound out your creative ideas but also to test your ability to complete the project well. As well as your design concepts, make sure you’re armed with worked-out costs and timings so the client knows exactly what to expect and when.
05. Listen to the client
During the pitch, make sure you stop and properly listen to any objectives thrown up by the client. Understand any doubts they may have and try to provide intelligent responses - the more you engage with the client, the more rapport you’re likely to build and the more likely they are to remember you.
06. Present with confidence
If you're convinced your design is the one that'll bring the client the results they're looking for, then say it proudly. Being prepared will give you the confidence that you need and having a few practices beforehand will show you your strengths (and weaknesses, to overcome). Most importantly, let your personality shine through!
07. Take feedback on board
Whether you win the pitch or not, client feedback is one of the most important things to come out of the experience. It's one of the few opportunities you'll have to get some really honest opinion about your work and how you perform. Make sure that you closely consider any comments made and think about how you can use these to improve in the future.
Words: Natalie Brandweiner
Natalie Brandweiner is an online journalist for MyCustomer.com, covering social media and marketing, and has a keen interest in design.
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If you would like to share any tips for pitching to clients, tell us in the comments below...