Pitching to win in the new normal

Written by
Parveen Kaur

In most parts of Asia, including Singapore, we are seeing some form of “normalcy” return to our daily lives but many of us may still not be heading back to our offices, colleagues or even watercooler moments anytime soon. The same applies to our clients who may be on split team arrangements or only require certain functions to return to a physical workplace.

What does this mean then? Basically that we are continuing with virtual client interactions and this extends to new businesses pitches too. While a lot of the same rules still apply when it comes to winning a pitch, the virtual environment requires that we double up on efforts to impress a prospective client.

I had the pleasure of attending a very insightful webinar organised by Marketing-Interactive, one of Asia’s leading sources of advertising, marketing & media news, on learning how to ace and conduct engaging virtual pitches. Below are some of my key takeaways that I hope you also find useful in closing the deal, or even just presenting to an audience over a video call:

  1. Make sure you work even harder to make your pitch/presentation stand out in the crowd during these virtual times
    • Audiences are not going to be as engaged and are likely to have a shorter attention span. Visual body cues may also be minimal or non-existent. At the beginning of the presentation, you could have simple ice breakers where you talk about latest news you have read on the company or share personal fun, interesting anecdotes in relation to the company/brand.
    • Get your audience to stay interested by including pauses to ask questions, or even incorporating polls for audience participation.
  1. Be very clear about the objectives of the meeting and your end-goal
    • Best to keep to no more than three items on your agenda.
    • Presentations should be succinct and even shorter for virtual presentations – more visually appealing and less wordy.
    • Assign a meeting leader to set expectations and explain R&Rs (roles and responsibilities) at the beginning of the presentation.
    • At the end of your presentation, spend time doing a recap and ask specific questions that will help you get the feedback you are looking for – not vague responses.
  1. Always conduct 1, 2, XX dry runs with the team
    • Remember to test-run your tech platforms ahead of meetings, and ensure you have back-ups (phone lines, pre-reads, videos recordings or audio recordings of presentations) when presenting as technology may not always be on your side. Do not hope for the best, prepare for any scenario.
    • Sending pre-reads as sneak peaks (not the full deck but a trailer version) is strongly advised especially with virtual presentations just in case technology fails you on the day. This also gives the client a general sense of what you will be presenting so it helps them prepare questions in advance. (Give clients pre-reads at least 48 hours ahead of the presentation.)
  1.  Assign a facilitator for all presentations – this person should not be a key presenter
    • The facilitator will observe the presentation and jump in to manage time and R&Rs, prompt participation and discussion.
    • The facilitator can also assume this role on behalf of the client if they do not have a leader – gives the agency control of the presentation and meeting.
  1. Last but not least, always rehearse, manage your time wisely, and ensure team R&Rs are crystal clear. 


Now let’s go win more pitches!

Note: You can access the full webinar recording here: Closing the deal: Learn how to ace and conduct engaging virtual pitches.

Written by
Parveen Kaur