Pitching new clients or investors is perhaps one of the most stressful aspects of working at an agency, especially if you are considered responsible for developing new accounts or strengthening the relationship with current clients.
If you are part of the business development team at your company, knowing what your potential clients value and consider their main performance indicators may be the most valuable thing you can learn during initial pitch meetings. Here are some of the key questions you and your team should ask:
Why did you reach out to my agency specifically?
Understanding why a potential client chose specifically to reach out to your company is a key way to differentiate yourself from the competition. Even though they are obviously already interested in what you and your team have to offer, hearing it in their own words can ultimately be the most valuable way for you to discover how best to meet their needs.
What are the most important projects are you currently working on?
Chances are, your clients have a few main projects or pain points that you should learn about right away, even if you are not going to be working directly on those particular projects. Therefore, knowing about these projects and keeping them in the back of your mind is an essential step towards building a long term relationship that benefits all parties.
Where do you see your company in five years? In ten years?
While this question might seem clichéd at first, knowing what your clients’ long term goals are is an invaluable part of helping them create a successful campaign. Seeing where they hope to go can help you design a marketing plan that fits into your client’s overall grand scheme – which may make you and your services invaluable in the long run.
What does success look like for you?
Hearing how they define success in their own words is quite possibly one of the most important items you can discover in any initial meeting with a prospective client. After all, you may have certain KPIs or other achievement metrics in mind, but the client definitely has their own ideas – and a boss/C-suite to report back to with their personal expectations as well. Being on the same page in this regard might be the most critical facet of the budding relationship with any client you’re pitching.
Which other agencies have you considered working with?
While it might be a bit of a blow to the ego to hear positive things about your competition, it can also be one of the most valuable questions you can ask during a pitch meeting. Researching competing firms and understanding what elements of their services appealed to your potential clients will make smarter and more prepared in the long run.
Understanding who, what, how, and where your potential clients find your agency is perhaps the most valuable knowledge you can uncover during the pitching and business development process – and the first step towards doing so is asking these key questions during the initial meetings and phone calls, so you can tailor your pitch to your client’s exact needs, goals, and desires in the long term.
What are your favorite questions to ask potential clients? Leave your input in the comments.
Originally published Mar 24, 2014 3:44:33 AM, updated July 28 2017