It’s Not What You Pitch, It’s How #1 – Pitch In Person

Pitching Stinks. Long Live the Pitch.

Does your studio, production company or creative firm jump into competitive pitches only to see your best work dismissed?

Do clients routinely award competitor pitches that are clearly inferior to your pitch?

Are you contemplating never pitching again?

We all want to win without pitching. You can’t.

As consultants working with firms across the industry, RevThink has dealt with this sore subject for over two decades. Everyone knows pitching stinks. But if you abandon pitching, you’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater… and your firm will miss out.

Because if your motion design studio or production company is going to land the types of highly competitive projects you desire – network rebrands, national spots, and the like – pitching is unavoidable.

But what if you could pitch on your own terms and win much more often than you lose? You might view pitching differently.

The pitch is unavoidable, so you might as well perfect yours

Did you know your firm has much more power in the client / agency relationship – especially in a competitive pitch – than you realize. So perhaps the real reason you hate pitching is… you’re just not very good at it.

Perhaps the real reason you hate pitching is... you're just not very good at it. Click To Tweet

Once you understand how to beat the system and start winning, pitching can actually be fun. So let’s perfect how you pitch.

It’s Not What You’re Pitching, It’s How

If you are crushing the creative but still losing pitches, don’t feel bad. The vast majority of firms aren’t winning, either. We all play by the rules and then later wonder where we went wrong.

Here is an unpopular truth: the problem isn’t WHAT you pitch, it’s HOW you pitch. Instead of playing by your client’s rules, create your own rules… and break them when it serves you (and the client, too) better.

Losing pitches? The problem isn't WHAT you're pitching, it's HOW you're pitching. Click To Tweet

In this eight-part series, I’m going to assume WHAT you are pitching is superb but your HOW is lacking. Let’s dive into the Eight HOWs of Pitching™ to greatly increase your odds of winning.

The Eight Hows of Pitching™

To turn things around and start winning, my approach focuses on helping firms master eight unorthodox strategies relating to both the pitch process and the pitch presentation.

  • PITCH IN PERSON: Because passion and trust are more important than ideas.
  • PITCH LAST: Because by the time your pitch presentation is done, your competitors – and their ideas – will be a distant memory.
  • CONTROL THE PITCH: Because you – not the client – should be the one to walk him, page by page, through your amazing ideas.
  • PITCH A STORY: Because the client loves being immersed in a complete narrative.
  • PITCH ONLY FAVORITES: Because if you lack confidence in your ideas, the client will lose confidence in you.
  • PITCH WITH A WINGMAN: Because without a teammate, at some point you will end up tooting your own horn.
  • LEAVE A LEAVE-BEHIND: Because the client is always wishing, “Don’t tell me. Show me.”
  • DON’T STOP PITCHING: Because your client’s biggest fear is awarding to the wrong firm.

Ready? In this eight-part series, we will look at each HOW in detail and then put them into practice.

HOW #1: Pitch In Person

I’m baffled by how many creatives don’t pitch in person. Haven’t they ever heard the term, “Phoning it in?” Snap out of it. Create a new “policy” at your firm which requires you pitch your creative in person.

Will Travis (former President at legendary studio Attik) told our audience at PromaxBDA CATALYST the story of Attik’s first pitch to the NFL in New York City. Obviously, they were pitching against all the top studios. After his pitch, Will hopped in a taxicab and the NFL immediately called him:

We didn't understand a damn thing you said in your pitch, but your enthusiasm blew us away. We're calling to award you the project.

Now ask yourself, if you had pitched the NFL over the phone – could you have beaten Will? Not a chance.

Pitch in person. Because clients award more based on passion and trust, less on the strength of your ideas. 

(Note: if you can’t travel – or the project is too small to warrant it – be sure to practice #3 – Control the Pitch which we will cover shortly.)

Putting It Into Practice [Conference]

Pitching is one part Sales, one part Creative (The Work) and one part Production. If you’re ready to elevate the Sales component, consider moving these concepts from mere theory to reality at one of RevThink’s one-day Creative Entrepreneurs Conferences produced in partnership with PromaxBDA. Details coming soon.

Up Next

In the next installment, we will dive into HOW #2: Pitch Last.

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