There’s 2 Ways to Win Every Agency Pitch! Which One Is For You?

By Jason Swenk on February 11, 2014

Saying NO to the traditional agency pitch process will dramatically increase your profit.

There is always a ton of debate around pitching. For me, there are two ways to WIN a pitch:

  1. Win the business.
  2. Decide the potential client is not right for your company and decline the pitch.

A little confusing? Let me explain.

Through talking to clients and other agencies, I wanted to determine the real costs of pitching and the results were alarming. Clients usually underestimate the cost of a pitch by 3X under the actual cost for a large pitch. For example, a client thought the agency would spend $50,000 on a large pitch when the agency actually spent $150,000 to have a chance to win the business. The agency is taking a huge gamble. You have a better chance to go to Vegas and put that $150,000 on black or red.

In these cases, what usually happens is the agency gets really excited at just the prospect of having a particular company as a client. They jump into putting together a pitch before settling down and deciding if even going after, let alone taking on, the specific company is good for the company’s bottom line.

When I was trying to move my agency to the next level, I knew I needed to strategically decide which clients would take us there. We started talking to a marque client, like Legal Zoom, and I specifically outlined the below questions to help me better judge where to put our resources.  I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t afford to waste $150,000 on just a chance of winning the business.

  • What will “success” look like in 12 months?
  • What are the biggest challenges in being successful?
  • Do we have access to the decision makers?
  • How does this success match up to our business goals?
  • Is the client open to a different pitch process?
  • Is the client willing to build the strategy and approach together?
  • What is the budget and does it work for us?
  • Can the agency be successful with this opportunity?  

By asking these questions and being honest with yourself, you can determine very quickly if this is an opportunity that is right for your agency. I remember turning down over 25% of the business that came to us through this process.

Let’s put that into numbers. The industry post pitch closing average is 33%.  The averaged spendt per pitch is $100,000. If you pitch 10 clients in a year that is a total cost of $1,000,000.  Rough number to swallow. By deciding which companies are even worth pitching to, you can easily get your pitching costs down by $250,000. Our closing percentage was 80% once we started using this process. (Side note: If you want to know the other stuff that we did to increase our closing percentage to 80%, check this out.)

Decrease in cost +  increase in closing opportunities = MORE PROFIT

Another crucial thing we did was build the proposal with the client versus doing an RFP. We turned down almost all RFPs. This cut our proposal time down to almost 30 minutes because we worked specifically with the client and we created an awesome proposal template.

If you would like to learn our proposal process, check out this FREE video.

Deciding that a business isn’t a good match for your time and resources is almost as important as winning the business. In many cases it is more important. You don’t want to waste your time and money chasing the wrong client.

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