Creating chemistry was a tall enough order before migrating to online pitch meetings. In the absence of sitting around a table, popping up to whiteboard ideas, hearing the sounds and feeling the energy of the room, agencies have had to adapt their approach to pitching business virtually.
If being “pitched at” wasn’t painful enough before, being talked to for an hour over Zoom is worse. So, how do agencies create chemistry, create lean-in from clients and create trust via a Zoom pitch? We’ll tell you, it is tough, but it can be done.
Here’s how you can create pitch chemistry, virtually:
• Icebreaker: Do something different to show your team’s personality. Our personal favorite is team “fun facts”. Think less about the formal introductions and more about how you can get your potential client to connect with who you are as people. Clients don’t pick an agency because of your agency name or how long you’ve been in business or where you opened your first shop or how many people you have; they pick an agency because of your people. Focus on what matters and we recommend keeping intros to under 5 minutes.
• Make the pitch interactive: Without sharing too many winning secrets, walking people through a slide deck with narration is not interactive. Real-time ideation and game playing is interactive. You should not be afraid to be creative. Today, virtual meeting applications come equipped with polling options, interesting background suggestions etc. Play around with some of these features to animate your next meeting.
• Pause regularly to ask for feedback: This allows for natural banter and creates a conversation. Conversation leads to chemistry.
• Time clock management is key: With virtual meetings, you can’t lag around after your pitch for a quick chat or continue the conversation while you’re walked to an elevator; when the meeting is over, it’s over. Don’t waste valuable time telling the client information they are already aware of about your company. Yes, it is fine to set the stage, but they don’t need you to read them their pitch brief or spend time talking about yourself. Dive into objectives and focus on how you can help the client solve their challenge.
• Gather relevant background: Do your research about who you’re pitching and ask them about a shared detail (you both happened to go to the same college, you noticed they speak a language you do, they worked for your childhood bestie, something). These moments matter.
• Don’t talk over the client: Talking over your potential client is not one of the establishing building blocks for creating chemistry or successful long-term relationships. When you hear the client you’re trying to win start to talk or if you see that their body language show that they want to say something (yes, you can tell even on Zoom), listen to them.
Just like when we all used to meet in person, the agency who wins does the best job of creating professional chemistry; they get the client to lean-in and buy-in at every step of the way. The same is true during a virtual meeting.
Smart brands aren’t picking the cheapest agency or the agency who answered the 128 excel question questionnaire best. They are picking agencies they trust. Trust is the baseline for building a successful relationship. These micro-engagements help to establish that trust and build chemistry.
Building chemistry virtually isn’t easy, but it can be done. We hope these tips are helpful the next time you are virtually pitching.