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Pitch It to Win It

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This article was contributed by Yannick Edmond

As a freelance SEM specialist, I have found increasingly diverse businesses reaching out to me.  They have run the gamut from air conditioning firms in South-Africa, to flower shops in Texas, to movie websites in France and even some medical tourism organizations in Israel.

 Despite the vast differences in these businesses and their campaign needs, I have found that to successfully win over all types of clients requires a remarkably similar pitching approach.

Sending a written report with stats, predictions, colors and graphs are all very nice and eye catching, but over the years I have learned that to truly win clients, I need to pitch in person, face to face, mano a mano.  I can send the customer all the dry facts and show him how everything will be done and his business will grow in a way that he should already book a cruise for the French Riviera, but dry numbers have several flaws:

  1. They can be too long and technical so you risk becoming a boring snoozefest and losing your audience.  
  2. It may seem too flashy and it might give off a “fake” vibe.
  3. It lacks a personal touch.

Whenever possible, I try to make the presentation in person.

This method has several advantages.  Firstly, I am able to  visually present the main points and then based upon audience reactions or responses adapt in the moment to highlight specific points over others.  Nothing beats the human touch, a handshake, a joke or two, and being able to explain points in detail and clearly to all audience members is priceless.  Finally, offering a Q and A session at the end and making sure all concerns have been addressed and neatly answered.    

It is recommended to use an online presentation platform to avoid any glitches and have a safe backup somewhere in the cloud. There are several PowerPoint online alternatives available on the market.

What about the times when I can’t get to a client in person?   Sometimes meeting in person is just not  an option. In such cases, it is crucial to maximize all  online capabilities to the fullest.  In these circumstances I always prepare an online presentation.

The “dry numbers and facts” have to be presented in an appealing way and a simple Word or Excel won’t do the trick. Microsoft’s PowerPoint may look like the best option, but I have come to the conclusion that this isn’t the optimal solution not only because it is incredibly time consuming but also because the clients themselves lack the necessary software to view the presentation.  PowerPoint online alternatives are a must for just these situations.  These offer a vast choice of templates for any purpose and beautiful layouts of slides are already provided.  Once done, simply send your client a link to the PowerPoint Online presentation you’ve made.  emaze and Prezi are probably the best options out on the market offering both free and professional versions. Before you arrange your meeting online, make sure to send your potential client the link to your presentation so that they have a chance to review it and come prepared with questions.  

My recommendation for online meeting platforms are Skype & Google Hangouts.  If there is a follow up meeting, it usually should involve answering any further questions to close the deal.

In short, though we are in a fast paced online environment, nothing beats the human touch. Remember that detail which is crucial as it will help you to close a deal or alternatively realize you’re pitching to the wrong group.  If the face to face option isn’t possible this time around, make your online presentation what makes you stand out from the competition by using presentation visuals and layouts that demonstrate a winning flair.

good presentation