Pitching remotely During the Covid Crisis
This article was written by Bill Hyde, Chief Grohth Officer at DP+ (USA)
At DP+, like every agency, we have been adjusting to a new way of working during the Covid crisis. Zoom meetings all day (we celebrated our 23rd anniversary virtually), sending meal kits to team members’ homes to help them balance work and family, and even pitching business remotely. Yes, you heard that right – we had a pitch that was virtual…and we have another coming up next week.
Pitching business remotely is a challenge. You lose the personal contact that can give you insight into your prospect’s personality and temperament. You lose the drama of “using the whole room” or showing off your space if it’s held at the agency. Despite these and other downsides, what you gain is some control over how each team member presents (scripts are no problem when you’re a 2” x 2” square on a screen that has your presentation on it,) control over the flow of the meeting (people don’t interrupt in the middle of video conferences typically,) AND it gives you an opportunity to introduce the element of surprise.
In the case of our remote pitch last week, we were pitching a retail business that has a lot of promotional activity often driven by competitive pressure. So, we wanted to demonstrate to them that we move at the same speed their business does. What we did is begin the pitch by giving THEM an assignment: We asked them to pick anyone on the call to come up with a promotion that would launch that afternoon. Someone from their team came up with one, I said thanks and we went into the meat of the presentation. What they didn’t know was I had a team member on my cell phone who heard the promotional idea and that we had created a bunch of branded promotional templates for them in advance of the meeting.
At the end of our presentation, just before the discussion slide, I alerted the prospect that our team “back at the agency” had executed multiple creative elements against the imaginary promotion during the course of our presentation. I brought the work up on screen, shared it with them and demonstrated that in the 40 minutes we had been presenting, we could execute a multi-channel campaign for them in that short window of time. Hopefully, the impact of that “product demonstration” will contribute to some good news in the coming days with us winning a new account. If it doesn’t, we learned some valuable lessons we can use in our next remote pitch:
- Prepare a script for each member of the team and practice presenting on the conferencing platform the meeting will be held on
- Make the presentation understandable without a narrative: the slides should explain themselves
- Introduce an element of surprise that will make you stand out from other prospective agency partners
- And remember, for a virtual pitch, pants are optional