Pitching for New Business in the Virtual World
By Charu Nathan, Creative Head of leading branding agency making waves in Digital Marketing & Social Media Marketing
As a digital marketing agency, it has been a real challenge to break the ice and build a connection over calls/Skype so far and the depth of connection you build as you get that ‘through the keyhole’ moment we have found to be a real asset in the pitch process. There is an element of ‘camera etiquette’ which you have to navigate, our preference is camera-on as being able to ‘read the room’ and see people’s expressions is a big part of the pitching process and to get a sense of how well ideas and strategic thinking are being received. This is especially important if you are pitching for an entire branding mandate including social media marketing creative strategy. It’s tricky if the client chooses not to switch their camera on and it becomes more like a conference call as that is a more stilted pitch environment. If clients take a while to process their thinking or don’t want to reveal their initial thoughts then a wall of silence meets all the hard work.
Google Meet and Zoom have been the most popular. Testing the software beforehand is worth it so there are no tricky moments when you realise you have been on ‘mute’ for the first 10 minutes of the call and no one noticed! If you find it off-putting watching yourself on screen it is good to know how to switch yourself off so others can see you, but you don’t have to watch yourself present. Putting yourself on mute when others are talking is also helpful as it cuts down the background noise and eases the pressure if there is a risk of barking dogs or children interrupting in the current working environments.
The big question is what do you need to prepare differently for a virtual pitch, compared with a face-to-face one? Well, keeping docs simple, and clearly written, sounds obvious but even more important now when communicating things clearly via video is needed. Also, share your screen where possible, rather than sending the doc in advance, so you can be in control of what they see when, so clients aren’t skipping ahead and you can help drive the attention.