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    Monday, February 2, 2009

    Increasing your chances in the pitch

    Bringing on new clients can be challenging; you have relatively little time to be up to speed with the company, its offerings and the market. Then there’s the competition! Here are some tools that can help you in the pitch:
    1. Love what you pitch
    It’s tempting to go after the best earning prospect, but not necessarily the smartest long term strategy. If the most lucrative market doesn’t match with your own interests, your lack of enthusiasm could betray you in the pitch, not to mention make memorising facts difficult and hamper your creativity.

    Go for accounts you can really get passionate about. Instead of waiting for them to land in your lap, network at shows, conferences and other events where these businesses can be found, make direct contact with the top players in your favourite field. Consider a pro-bono project to break into your favourite market. When you are pitching within a market you love, you stand a far greater chance of winning and keeping your client.

    2. Get up to speed with what’s happening in the market space
    Reach beyond research of the company’s own marketing materials and product sheets. Read up on competitive companies and market news. Track down and read relevant blogs, do a Twitter search on a key term to tap into links to the latest news and articles; it can be a goldmine for market research.

    3. Have a good natter!
    Gather opinions; hearing and debating several diverse opinions on a topic provides fuller knowledge and greater confidence in discussing that topic in the pitch. Approach peers, people in the industry and Twitter friends for insights (many Twitterers are happy to help with information on their own business sector or specific area of expertise. There are Twitterers that actively invite questions, for example @IreneKoehler holds ‘How Can I Help’ Wednesdays via Twitter, inviting people to Tweet their questions on all sorts of topics including life, business and travel, with a #canihelp prefix.

    4. The wow factor (if it makes you go wow, write it down)
    While you are doing your research and preparing to stand in front of your prospect, it’s useful to remember that if it makes you go ‘wow’ it will make a great talking point in a meeting. Write down the things that wow you; you’ll be surprised how many of them will spring to mind during the course of the pitch.

    5. Think quirky
    It pays to give a little extra thought to what you could do that is a bit out of the ordinary, attention grabbing, even if it’s not in the PR brief. Performing above expectations will rarely put you at a disadvantage (be mindful of the client’s budget, mind you!)

    Hearing technology company Sensear ( has fun choosing deliberately noisy, lively and unusual venues for events, knowing that attendees will appreciate it and a live demo of its speech distinguishing technology will be all the more impressive; a break from the comparatively boring format of a quiet hotel conference room, hey?

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