In both competitive and non-competitive tendering processes, clients will often request consultants do an in-person pitch or presentation as the final step in the selection process.
Or prospective clients might ask you to come into their office and provide a ‘presentation on your capabilities’.
Too often we see teams go to these presentations either underprepared, prepared but not with content that addresses what the client’s true needs are, or armed with a presentation pack that is the same as everyone else’s.
Often this is because:
- the presentation follows on shortly after the submission of a tender document that the team has spent many late nights on, with little time or energy left to devote to the presentation prep.
- the client provides a checklist of content they want the consultant to cover, so the team feels ‘trapped’ into what they can do and say, especially with procurement people in the room. They don’t feel that they can interact with the client team in the room.
- there is comfort is going in with a prepared presentation pack that the team is familiar with and that they can ‘hide behind’ as it doesn’t allow too much time for questions we don’t know the answer to.
- they’re ‘cold’ bidding and don’t actually know the people who are going to be in the room.
- they’ve told us they want a presentation on our capabilities, so that’s exactly what we should give them …. shouldn’t we?
Unfortunately, presentations that involve you delivering dozens of slides of content about you and your business and the work you do are extremely high in self-orientation, do nothing to build rapport and trust with the client, and won’t differentiate you in any way from other firms who are doing the exact same thing.
Instead, pitches and presentations are an incredible opportunity for consultants to:
- demonstrate to the client what it will be like to work together.
- engage, engage, engage! Open a conversation with the client and build a relationship.
- find out what their challenges and concerns are about the project that go beyond the brief.
In order to do this, you need to know how to use the opportunity to open up a conversation and connect with all of the individuals in the room.
We can help you to:
- structure your approach to the presentation.
- have the tools to use that enable you to drive the conversation in a structured way that still addresses the points the clients want to cover but is much more compelling and engaging.
- have the confidence to not rely on PowerPoint, but also know how to effectively use PowerPoint when you need to.
- know what questions to ask to uncover the client’s real challenges and concerns.
- Adapt your approach to the different types of people who will be in the room.
- schedule and plan the preparation time to allow plenty of time for the most critical element – rehearsing.
- give feedback and coaching for all team members on their style and content as part of the rehearsal process.
This testimonial is from a large legal firm client, following their attendance at the ENGAGE training and coaching from The Business of Trust team:
“We submitted a tender and were invited as the second stage of the tender process to conduct a presentation. Prior to presenting, we allocated a lot of time to prepare as a team, and also conducted research on the client (annual report, strategic plan, media sweep etc), completed a PEST analysis, analysed personality profiles and likely concerns of the people who would be in the room, and identified what we could foresee were likely to be the top five key issues for that organisation going forward (and not necessarily where we could provide a legal solution). We prepared a ‘placemat’ to enable us to have a conversation with the client about these issues.
The organisation was blown away! We think they probably asked about twelve firms to present. They initially were looking to appoint a panel of 5 but decided to appoint us as a sole provider and said that they had no choice but to do so!
By putting the client at the centre of the conversation, we were able to demonstrate our knowledge and understanding of their business beyond just our legal technical skills. They were so impressed with the placemat as all the other firms has walked in with a USB and PowerPoint presentation! This is a significant win for our business not only because it is of high value, but also because we have been courting them for two years without much of a nibble. So, thank you. We will be adopting this approach to all of our presentations going forward and actually did present in the same manner to another prospective client this week (following a tender submission last year).”