Pitching to clients in these uncertain times!

Close to a month and a half ago, our organization decided on working from home given the unfortunate coronavirus situation. All ongoing work had to be looked at and actioned differently! Coordination now had a whole new meaning, where everyone had a lot of getting used to, to do. Not everyone’s lucky enough to have rooms to themselves, honestly in Mumbai it can be considered a privilege, and so conference calls were nothing short of a cacophony in the initial days. Everything was so overwhelming for everyone! But like I said, it was all a matter of time before everyone got the hang of it. And the amount of understanding and patience colleagues have shown in this time – Remarkable to say the least. Also, special mention to the ‘Mute’ feature on calls, what a saviour; surely saved me quite a few embarrassments.

Like everyone else, I predicted that operations would drastically slow down, but as advertisers and marketers would already know, there’s no stopping! In fact, we stepped up and saw what we could create for brands even in these times and have gone all out with ideas and campaigns for almost all brands.

My role at work majorly revolves around pitching ideas, campaigns and an overall digital strategy to existing and potential clients. It’s not very easy convincing brands to invest in digital while you also explain how you add more value v/s thousand other agencies. And now to do it without actually meeting them, it’s just a whole new ball game that no one knows the rules to. All in all, this time for sure has been a huge learning experience, at multiple levels.

When you meet clients in person, it sort of works in your favour because they see you and physically meet you. Conversations in the room are free-flowing, from credentials to ideas to did you check the recent campaign on…? Just in case there is an idea that the client is unclear with, you get it from the expression or the hesitance; and there’s your chance to explain it better with more relevant examples! In the current pitch e-meetings that are happening, reading the room is what I think I miss the most.

Just some tips that may come handy if you, like me, are pitching ideas to clients and convincing them to spend their money on digital:

  • Presentations Beyond Pointers

Make them more explanatory than you would for a usual meeting. Helps the client see-through your ideas till the end. A lot of speaking is involved, sure, but on e-meetings, you can afford to be a little elaborate with the presentations.

Also, the flow is of prime importance. Explain well, what the client is in store for. Helps set expectations and gives clarity regarding your overall approach towards the brief at hand.

  • Need of the hour are ideas, will always be ideas!

Include simple, thought-through, actionable ideas that are relevant to current times. Try to bring something novel to the table. With every brand communicating in a similar space, the differentiating factor is sure to get you some brownie points. Showcase ideas with creative samples or easily executable videos, for clarity of understanding. Explain to them your perspective on how their journey looks for the next couple of months.

  • Don’t lose the human touch, not even on call!

Keep content on the deck as relatable to clients as possible. Make sure the references that you are benchmarking against are of the client’s interest.

Let each slide necessarily connect back to the previous. Add filler conversational slides in the middle if need be, so that at no point in time there is a gap. After every 6-8 slides, converse to make sure everyone is on the same page. Address questions if any so that their attention and interest is not lost. After the call, send out the minutes and action points almost immediately. Showcases proactiveness and involvement; honestly the soft skills, even if on email, go a long way!

When you leave a pitch meeting physically, you know how it was. Call it a gut feeling or instinct, you can tell if you’ve done well or not! Currently, the ‘we’ll get back’ on video calls leaves absolutely no hints for us to take! And that suspense kills. But that I guess none of us can do anything about. Just keep your fingers crossed and look forward to good news!

By Ankita Kulkarni,

Group Account Manager, SoCheers