Should You Pitch for Every Opportunity You Get?

Ran across an article yesterday about the high cost and low return of responding to requests for proposals by in-house counsels seeking attorneys.   

The article points out that the win rate is only 30 percent and the cost to get to the pitch can exceed $50,000. I once worked with an architecture firm that told me that they regularly spent more than $50,000 to respond to an RFP.

So question arises: is it worthwhile to get in line to pitch for a piece of business?

Of course, the answer depends.  It’s worthwhile if you know what you’re doing in approaching the RFP.

You increase your chances of winning if you do a few things:

  1. Never pitch blind. If you have no relationship with the prospective client prior to the RFP, be careful.  The way to win these proposals is to have a strong sense of the needs before you show up for the pitch. If you don’t know anyone at the company, you won’t have a strong sense of the business issues, won’t have any relationship with the key players, and probably won’t win.
  2. Present a solution. Make sure that you lay out your presentation as a solution to a problem that  your listeners have.  So many sellers deliver presentations that are nothing more than general presentations about the history and quality of their firm or business. No one cares! Deliver a pitch that is focused on how you’re going to save the company money, help them increase revenues or otherwise lower their risk. That’s what business people want to hear.
  3. Keep it simple. So many presentations are complicated and hard to follow. If yours is simple, you come across as easy to work with. 
  4. Deliver with passion.  People want to like the people they hire. If you seem fun to work with, you increase your chance of getting hired.
  5. Leave plenty of time for questions.  Clients want to kick the tires. They do that by asking questions.
  6. Rehearse. If you want to impress the client, practice your presentation out loud many times. Few presenters do it. So it’s an automatic separator.
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