If you work as a consultant or for an agency, you probably spend a fair amount of time being remarkable, convincing, and irresistible. Of course, not all days turn out that way, and I have had a number of client pitches that could have gone better. What matters most is being able to learn from mistakes, and perfecting pitch techniques as you go along. In my opinion, it’s not enough to just deliver a seemingly good pitch on the surface, but rather to read between the lines and peer into your audience’s thoughts.
Key Pitch Indicators
We recall only about 50% of information that is delivered to us, 24 hours after processing and segmenting that information. Coupled with a lack of motivation, this is a key reason most people never create actionable plans – they simply can’t remember every relevant piece of information that they need to succeed. Similarly, in a client meeting, one can expect that the client won’t recall everything you talk to them about.
SEO, by its very nature involves a fair number of technical points in any discussion, and this is most likely what the client will not remember. Therefore, its important to have the right meeting overtones which a client can recall at any point because they can relate to what you’re telling them. These include:
- Key Metrics They Understand – ROI, Brand Awareness, Recall : Not Clicks, Page Views, Bounces.
- Case Studies of Past/Present Clients – Success that can be replicated for them.
- Timelines & Budgets – Impart actionable strategies, and associated investments.
Parts 2 & 3 relate to being able to read between the lines and really ‘read’ the client as you present. Things to observe include body language, inquisitiveness, lack of interest, and anxiety. The undertone of any meeting involves the direct perception of what is being said. In normal relationships, people always focus on what is coming out of their mouths, rather than how what other parties perceive what they are saying. In a client meeting, it’s imperative to read the client as they process what you are imparting. Some take aways a client perceives from a meeting that is going well includes:
This Guy/Girl Knows His/Her Stuff – Specialization is key to the success of any capitalist economy, and successful businesses understand that the value of their time in doing what they do best, while outsourcing the rest.
Glowing Recommendations – Case studies and testimonials help create trust and confidence in your skills. A colleague of mine name drops a lot during meetings, not to show off, but to reference all the good things his clients have to say about him. After all, who doesn’t want to work with the best, or have the best working for them?
You Will Take Care of Me and My Interests – The intangible value of positioning oneself as a thought partner to your client is paramount to building long-term profitable relationships. No contract, pricing attractiveness, or real business value can beat the trust that a client can place in you to ensure that their interests take precedence over your own in servicing them.
3. The After Taste
Much can be said about the after taste of any meeting. Looking back at many of the meetings you might have been part of in your career, you probably won’t remember all the details, but are sure to remember how you felt after a particular meeting. By following steps 1 & 2, here is the ideal emotional recall that a client has after a great pitch.
The Warm Fuzzy Feeling – Man, that was a great meeting, wasn’t it? So we’re really going to this? Damn, I’m pumped about getting started. Those are all emotions that a client can feel after a great pitch.
Sign Now Because Time is Money – Nobody likes wasting time and opportunities, especially when you know you’re losing business to competitors. Instilling a sense of urgency will entice a client to sign earlier than later.
Anger & Testosterone – Strong A-type clients feel like they have a new weapon in their arsenal after understanding the potential of capturing market share from their competitors. I’ve had many an experience where the client has said ‘Dev, let’s blow them out of the water…’. This can work in your favour, as long as you set reasonable expectations for results with your client.