Sutras for a Perfect Pitch

“We are pretty impressed with your proposal. Let us meet again to discuss the details and freeze the deal.” This was Sudhir’s reaction to Rachel’s advertising campaign designed for them. Rachel was always successful at pitching her ideas to clients and often her colleagues wondered how she managed to do this?

Rachel, tailor-made her presentations, after studying the client’s background, attitude, approach and focus. Her presentations had a maximum of 10-15 slides which had more visuals than text. Here are the sutras that she followed while pitching to her clients.

She was very well aware that there are no fixed rules; there is an exciting interplay of many elements. The pitch has to be custom-made according to the needs of the client. What works for one might not work for the other.

Convincing someone of an idea isn’t that tough if you follow these sutras:

  1. Maximum impact in minimum words

Keep it simple and stick to the point. Maximum impact should be made in minimum words. Grab your audience’s eyeballs in the initial five minutes, else you’ve missed the bus. A great idea packaged in a compelling way hits the target. Your audience is interested in what you have to offer and how it’s going to benefit them. So your pitch should be compelling enough to grab their attention, have them involved and sustain interest.

  1. Listening is learning 

If everyone speaks then obviously there is nobody listening. Even though you disagree with someone’s point of view, have the patience to listen carefully. Don’t think about your pitch while you listen, just focus on what your client or audience is trying to say. When you show interest and respect their point of view it builds trust and a connect gets established which leads to long-lasting synergies.

May be your client is not able to express his ideas in the right manner. So it’s your job to ask relevant questions to clarify points.

  1. Do your homework 

Research is a harbinger of every idea. Every idea should be based on thorough research. So as you compete with ideas and other people who pitch to your prospective client, research a lot about the client, industry, customers and what new you can offer. You will be looked upon as an expert and a bond of trust with your client will definitely develop.

Sameer swept the negotiation and grabbed the deal to the utter frustration of his competitor. All that he had done was to research about his client to know that the client expected an approach to deal with the impending potential crisis and he won the business as he was focused and to the point and had understood the core issue.

  1. Images speak louder than words

While designing your presentation use effective and relevant images that catch the attention of your customer. They should capture the idea that you are pitching. Use few words to support the text. Your presentation should be a narrative that connects and inspires your audience.

  1. Ponder on the solution 

Connect with your audience by presenting a solution and ponder less on the problem. Discuss the ramifications of the solution, how it’s going to change the way they do business and how business will grow.

‘Crossroads’ had a challenge in getting their customers into their store. Ankita carefully studied the problem and why was it that the customers were discouraged from visiting the store. It was largely because books were being downloaded and sold online. She suggested a digital marketing campaign that would drive the customers back to the store.

  1. Your team is your trump card 

From the lens of the prospective client, a leader who is pitching the idea is just a touch point. What matters to the client is the enthusiasm, passion and commitment of the team, which will eventually engage in and execute the project. Let your prospective client get a fair glimpse of your team’s participation level and their commitment.

  1. Build a story

No one likes monotonous discussions and presentations that don’t focus on providing solutions. Weave your solutions in the form of a story, which takes the audience through the challenge, brainstorming and solution. This kills two birds with one stone: the audience is gripped by the story and understands the purpose of providing that particular solution.

  1. Sound bites; audio visual impact 

Using sound bites and vox pops to support your idea imprints on the mind of your prospective client, that the idea is endorsed by people. It re-emphasizes the intent that you are here to provide the best answer to their challenges. There is also an unstated assurance that the team will leave no stone unturned to deliver results.

Be realistic; under commit and over deliver. Gauge the efforts and resources needed to deliver. Only then should you commit. Pitching is about being honest, realistic, creative and patient. All these sutras put together will get you that positive response from the client that you so eagerly wait for.

So all the best.

GO ALL IN  with the sutras for a perfect pitch and come out on top.

Lavang Asthana Khare on LinkedinLavang Asthana Khare on Twitter
Lavang Asthana Khare
Executive Vice President at GolinOpinion
Lavang Asthana Khare has been associated with the Indian Communication Industry for over 15 years. She is an experienced leader in the field of corporate communications, public relations, public affairs, crisis management and issues management.
Lavang's last stint was with the world’s largest retailer Walmart where she took care of their corporate affairs. She was earlier part of the senior leadership team at IPAN Hill & Knowlton Strategies.

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