Agency side, it’s not unusual to find yourself going up against a fellow SEO agency for new business. What factors will ensure you capture this new business opportunity and leave your competing agency in the metaphorical dust?
I recently read The Perfect Pitch by Jon Steel of WPP, and it’s got me thinking about how I sell my agency when presenting to potential clients. Namely, that it’s of the utmost importance to go in understanding (to whatever degree possible) what a client is looking for and customize your pitch to fit their needs.
Below are some of Steele’s main points:
Have at least 2 practice pitches before presenting to a new business opportunity. Steel even advocates writing scripts so Bobby knows he’s talking about the agency’s blue chip PPC experience while Amanda is confident in detailing Social Media opportunities. By practicing, everyone knows what to expect when the actual pitch occurs and no one will be re-hashing points others have already made.
Many Slides Does Not a Presentation Make.
In the past, I’ve worked at agencies with a long standard “This is How SEO works” presentation chalk-a-block full of text and ripped SEOmoz images. While it’s great to prove to the client “we know lots of stuff “ to follow that with “And now, we will have an SEO brain dump on you to prove we know lots of stuff” isn’t going to leave new business opportunity gasping for more (probably just overwhelmed).
Steel wants to make sure the presenter is the focus of the presentation, not the slides. He argues that in PowerPoint presentations the “bullet point dilutes thought,” and suggests the majority of text be deleted in favor of images. This way, the presenter is the focus of attention and not the words behind them, which appear by tacky transitions and are often accompanied by cheesy Clip Art.
Owning the Room.
Don’t be afraid to move furniture and reconstruct rooms to fit your needs. If the projection screen points to an awkward wall, ask to have it repositioned, if the chairs are uncomfortable ask for different ones. Organising the chairs “in the round” encourages audience participation while the typical speaker standing in front of the audience is less engaging.
Best Sellers May Not be the Most Senior People
Office politics often dictate who should meet and present to a client, but you may be loosing out on some of the best talent in your agency/department! Have the presentation given by those who present best, who appear naturally confident in front of an audience, who deal well under pressure and can think on their feet when the questions start rolling in. This may be a mid level PPC expert, and not the assumed Senior Search Marketing Consultant.
Encouraging and handling questions.
Make a list of popular questions clients ask with correct answers (“Our competitors have a blog, do we need one?” “If we had to pick PPC or SEO…”). Whether you prefer to handle questions at the end of a presentation or encourage them to be asked as they pop into clients heads – be careful not to go off on too far a tangent. This can kill the sense of direction of an otherwise strong pitch.
The next day, be sure to send a card or make a phone call which reiterates your agency’s core message from the day before. This is also an opportunity to address any concerns the client raised which perhaps couldn’t be answered during the pitch.
Ultimately, there are a million ways to customize a pitch for a client which this post barely skims the surface of. A pitch, like any good content, is about holding a conversation with the receiving end, not talking them to death with how well qualified your agency is.
Please let SEJ know what your tips are on how to improve an SEO pitch? If you’re an SEO client, what was it about your SEO agency that really grabbed your attention? Looking forward to your comments!