How to win pitches

Be selective

However many you’re going for. Go for half and spend twice as much time on each. The ones you win will be a better match.

Give substance

You can’t solve every problem in a pitch so focus on one key area where you know you can make the most impact and show true consideration. Demonstrate the detail you will go into when appointed.

You’ll usually be speaking to a few different people. Some of them will be excited by your brilliant ideas. Some of them need to tick boxes and avoid being fired for making the wrong choice. Speak to them all.

Make it about them

They don’t give a shit about you. They want the best result and you’re just a vehicle to this. Start with them and finish with you. We go as far as having a slide saying ‘and if you want to know a bit more about us’ towards the very end of the deck to satisfy the box tickers.

Make their ideas better

Take an element of the brief and bring it to life. They’re probably not designers so if you mock up one of their suggestions and add a bit of motion they’re going to think you’re gods gift because you’re already making their idea a reality.

Tell a story

We’re people, we love stories. It might be the story of your process, or it could be the story of how their company and your agency fell in love and walked into the successful sunset together, had lots of little retainer babies and lived happily ever after. Give it a beginning, middle and end and make sure you follow the natural rhythm of the pitch.

Be yourself

I’ve seen other people do amazing pitches and have tried to emulate them. Don’t. Do. It.

Do what’s natural to you otherwise it’ll come across as fake.

…but be different (this is important)

Try and go first or last. Don’t let them leave without remembering you.

Role play, sing a song, read a poem. Run a mini discovery workshop to give them a sense of what’s to come, put their logo in Spark AR and send them a link so they can try it out live. You could even make a video of you making a website in the style of one of their videos (we won this one). It has to be relevant but think of any way that’s not just presenting a slide deck.

Maybe don’t dress up as Italian stereotypes when you have to walk across London at 11am on a Monday morning to pitch Bunga Bunga restaurant (we didn’t win this).

Send them a package before with instructions not to open until the pitch then tell them to open it on slide 5. Or even slide 11!

Run a mini quiz to show that you care about their answers, will listen and work as a partnership. We sometimes ask them to identify a brand just by a colour palette, a typeface or a tagline. By stating that this is what you want to achieve you’re already positioning them next to the big brands that you’ve used as examples. Get them involved as much as you can.

Open up a dialog.

Keep the tempo high.

Win more.


Jacob Beckett| Founder| Vitamin London