PITCH PERFECT is a new book designed to help professionals win more pitches. These tips come from the world of selling and have been adapted for professionals such as lawyers, accountants, surveyors etc.
- Don’t wait to be asked to pitch – instead, agree which clients you want and go about the process of meeting them. Impress them with your insights into their sector, their company and their strategic issues. Ask lots of intelligent questions.
- Find out who’s responsible for selecting advisors. Sometimes we rely too much on just one individual who we hit it off with. There are usually others in the frame who will be important. You’ll need to meet them and impress them as well. Often there are still other people who may be influencers of the decision.
- Find out what’s important to this client. What are their needs? There are different types of needs:
- Needs for the company (eg rigour/quality, timeliness, value for money)
- Needs for the key individuals (eg making their life easier, helping them look good)
The best way to flush these needs out is, again, to ask good questions.
4. Don’t just pitch by telling the client how good your firm is. Express the description of your firm’s offering in terms of benefits. If you want more clarity on this, consider the statement ‘We have an office in Brussels’. This is a feature of your firm’s offering. The client could easily think ‘So what?’. The best firms at pitching will explain why having an office in Brussels is a benefit to the client.
5. Don’t just explain the benefits – provide evidence. This makes your pitch come alive. This transforms your pitch from just words to helping the client touch it and feel it. This technique allows the client to know it’s true.
6. Have a project plan for producing the pitch. Too many firms end up rushing the preparation and have to have a back-of-the-taxi conversation before presenting. You’re unlikely to be at your best if you do that.
7. Show you really understand the clients’ needs in your proposal. And put this up front in the document. Again too many firms start off with ‘we have this…’ and ‘we’ve done that…’. This approach doesn’t build any rapport.
8. Be impressive and engaging. Know your stuff. This helps generate confidence in the mind of the client. Be engaging by listening really well to the client and showing that you’ve listened and understood what they’ve said.
9. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Not just your inputs but the answers to their tricky questions. Take along your juniors who’ll be doing a lot of the day-to-day work. Clients will be reassured to meet them.
10. Be open about fees and give options. Many firms suffer from a disease that I call ‘price-itis’. The key symptoms are that they fear they’ll have to be the cheapest to win the work. Very few services in the professional services sector are bought just on price. Value is the key thing to focus on. Sell your services first and negotiate on price afterwards.
These tips and dozens of others are available in The BD Handbook for Lawyers – PITCH PERFECT, available on Amazon and directly from the publishers at http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=2212
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