BD tips and insights

More tips on nailing the sale – doing your best in pitch meetings and during shortlisting interviews

Sell yourself

No matter how clever a professional or a ‘natural’ you are or how beautifully presented your tender or bid was, you’ll put in a  far better performance  –  at a pitch, prospective client meeting, shortlisting interview or beauty parade, or whatever  –  with a little preparation.

Maybe you’re great on your feet, maybe you enjoy the adrenalin rush, perhaps you’re confident, and you’re probably already pressured and busy enough (aren’t we all!)  –  but don’t depend on ‘winging it’ to put in your best performance.

Tips on doing your best in pitch meetings and during shortlisting interviews

Preparation  –  even a little  –  will help. Thorough preparation makes perfect. Don’t count on a second chance if you fail to do well the first time.

Preparation means planning  –  more than a quick glance at the file (worse still, the proposal) on the way in the taxi. If you are presenting with colleagues plan to have at least one ‘run through’ of how you will handle the meeting at least 48 hours before

Do the background research. This won’t give you a competitive edge  –  but it means that you won’t be at a disadvantage relative to all your competitors who have done their homework. And believe it:  many of your competitors are surprisingly thorough on background.

Think  –  hard and beyond the obvious.

  • Ponder the client. Make a ‘thumbnail’ sketch, distilling their key attributes, their industry and business, their culture, their likely challenges and objectives.
  • Ruminate on their current/past advisors and professional relationships.
  • Realistically evaluate any past dealings you’ve had with the client –  from their point of view – how do they define value?
  • Marshal what you know about their industry and business and work out how what you are and have an offer makes you ‘right fit’.
  • Work out what you think is the ideal result for the clients. Then figure out how you’ll contribute to that outcome.

And what to forget about during your pitch meeting or shortlisting interview and focus on instead

Forget about what makes your firm so established/old/experienced/special/safe  –  instead, think about how what you can do will make a positive difference to the client.  Focus on how you’ll help  –  how you’ll add value.

Also forget about talking too much. Instead, listen  –  intently.  Listen to the words, but make sure you hear the messages.  Respond to the messages  –  not just the words.

Preparation and a focus on the client makes a whole lot of difference  –  it will not show that you understand what’s what for this client, but show that you are both ready and willing to help.

For further tips on preparing for pitch meetings or shortlisting interviews also check out our blog for more formal competitive selection processes: Nail the sale – doing your best in tender shortlisting interviews.

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