Sometimes, being the ‘best’ choice for a prospect isn’t what will ultimately decide whether you get the work. Sometimes, it may be important to be ‘good enough’ or even just ‘safe’. We can’t always assume that our prospects are motivated to find the best option – the most knowledgeable, the most experienced, the most creative, the biggest agency… whatever. Sometimes prospects have other criteria which are more important for them to satisfy.
You think your business has the most expert knowledge; your prospect might be worried they can’t afford you. You know your business has experience of working on big projects with big clients; your prospect might be concerned you won’t view their project as important enough. You know your business has the most unique and creative approach; your prospect might be worried you’ll be too radical or ‘too far out of the box’. You know your business is bigger and has more resources; your prospect might want a more personal and responsive relationship.
You need to consider how you will get a better grip of the potential criteria your prospects might have for influencing who they give their business to. It may be necessary to do some research on who they have chosen to work with in the past or to ask them to provide further clarification about their requirements. You might be able to get a sense of some of the other things which they are looking for – which were left unsaid – or they may even be quite open and frank about their ‘ideal’ supplier.
You might just have to anticipate what their fears or concerns may be about your business and look to address these in your pitch – in a way which doesn’t increase their anxiety further. Don’t wave a red flag around your possible weaknesses or any gaps. You are looking to demonstrate how you are the ‘obvious’ choice because there aren’t any obvious or potential risks.
Finally, don’t make the mistake of failing to read the brief carefully or potentially misinterpreting your prospect’s requirements. If you aren’t sure, ask. It shows you’re interested enough in their work to not just make assumptions. Your pitch shouldn’t be a chance to show off; it should be your opportunity to demonstrate how you will fulfil their requirements. Look to establish a credible rapport or connection with your prospect and try to demonstrate that you can align your thinking with their culture.