JA Consulting | Get your pitch strategy right


Professional services pitches – get the strategy right

We get asked to support a range of pitches from those worth a few thousand $ up to those worth 10’s of $millions. But how do you get the pitch strategy right? I was recently asked about the differences between small and large pitches. I think my audience was a little surprised when I said that the fundamentals are the same. Of course, the amount of time that’s sensible to invest will vary hugely. Those 10s of $millions pitches we support have large budgets with very substantial rewards when you win.

So, what are the fundamentals?

Your pitch has to match the client’s need. Obvious isn’t it? It may be obvious, but we see far too many pitches where the need isn’t obvious and/or the solution’s link to the need is not clear. Sometimes we are told “we aren’t sure what the real need is”. If you aren’t sure, then don’t pitch. (OK, in some markets, occasionally you just can’t get any time with the client but at least set out what you think the need might be and be dead explicit about how your solution/approach/characteristics meet that need.)

In the more formal pitches do not assume everyone has read the proposal, even if you’re led to believe they will have read it. That’s a challenge – pick out the most important parts of the proposal for the pitch – ask the client what the key things are they want to hear about. And keep linking back to the client need “you have said …. this is how we/our approach will give you that”.

And when you get to talking about you/your solution/your business then focus on the things that are truly distinctive. Make sure you explain why the distinctiveness is valuable (or potentially valuable) to the client.

When you get on the topic of cost then be careful with signals you might send on your readiness to negotiate. Explain how you have got to the fees, if the client is high risk be prepared to explain how that impacts fees.

In summary, a great pitch strategy looks something like this:

  • Client needs/issues/challenges and our understanding of them
  • How our solutions/approach can meet those needs/issues/challenges
  • What makes us distinctive – why choose us
  • How we get to the fees

What’s your experience of pitching in professional services been like? Tell us about your successes. Or, in hindsight, what you would do differently to secure next the pitch. Email me at johnmoss@jaconsulting.co.uk

Next time….

Persuasive content and delivery of the pitch

Just how do you create a pitch that’s really persuasive? And what do you need from the team that’s delivering the pitch? All this and more in Pitching Part 2.


About John MossJohn’s extensive background in sales, marketing and general management has been followed by three decades in management consultancy. John is fiercely committed to helping individuals and businesses grow and succeed; his talent for spotting what needs to be done, his tenacity for making sure things then happen, his commitment to growing long-term business relationships and his ability to impart that knowledge to other people make him an inspirational consultant, leader and coach.