This naturalistic approach is central to 13 Souls’ approach to pitching. “Being yourself is important,” says Adam McKillop. “We see a pitch as an opportunity to introduce ourselves and what we do. We don’t act differently just because a company is big, for example. We’re always just ourselves in pitch situations.
“Many agencies overlook the fact that chemistry plays a big part in being chosen by a client, so in the long run it’s much better to be true to yourself and present yourself naturally.
"We have really good relationships with our clients and a lot of the work we’ve won recently has been through word of mouth and recommendations from our clients.”
Asking the right questions is central to effective communication, and preparation is the secret here. “Prior research will inevitably lead to the right questions,” explains Paul Davey.
“Visit the client’s Web site and immerse yourself in it. Visit competitor sites, too. If it’s fast-moving consumer goods, buy the product, use it, and see where it sits in the major supermarkets.”
But for Adam McKillop, knowing when to ask questions is highly important. “Often it’s much better to find out answers to questions before a presentation, either directly from the client or by doing some research. I think the client is much more interested in answers at a presentation.”
Keeping a presentation on track in the face of questions and answers is another important requisite skill, advises Andy Holden. “[The constraint on] time is important, so always get back to the thread of the presentation if things wander off – but you must be prepared to be flexible, in response to your audience.”
The most vital ingredient in any pitch is people, and determining who to take will have a huge bearing on its outcome. Stocks Taylor Benson tries to marry individual staff members’ strengths with client needs when selecting who to take.
“We’ve got people who are stronger on packaging, others who are stronger on point of sale,” says Bakowski. “And some are more creative, while others are more businesslike – you fit it to what the situation demands.”
Who will be representing the client should also be factored in, says Andy Holden. “Always find out who will be at the pitch from the client side and ‘match’ the people. If we know there’ll be someone from the technical side, we take one of our senior developers.”