How to win pitches and influence people

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Pete Gill of The Survey Shop sent through part four of their research into the market for PR agency services in the UK called Winners metrics and how to win more pitches.

Interesting take-outs include:The five important elements to ensure that an agency is long listed for consideration were:


  • Reputation
  • Relevant previous experience
  • Getting to meet or know someone on the clientside
  • Being local
  • Having an understanding of the clients particular requirements

Getting shortlisted boiled down to:


  • Having impressive and well presented credentials
  • Relevant sector experience
  • Expertise
  • Proven track record
  • Being local
  • Contrary to popular wisdom in agency, when an incumbent is asked to repitch, the clients think that they have a fighting chance of retaining the business
  • Almost 80 per cent of winning agencies had at least one pre-pitch meeting with the client
  • A winning pitch team almost always had between two and four people in it, though this would not be full account team
  • Over 70 per cent of winning teams wheeled in the managing director or CEO to the pitch
  • Over 60 per cent of winning teams did not improve on the clients brief to them

Winning pitches had the following common elements:


  • Confidence in their ideas
  • Conveying that winning the account was of personal importance to them
  • Conveying the impression that their would be an efficient team to work with
  • Strategic thinking
  • Quality of the ideas presented
  • Developing a rapport
  • Responding to questions
  • Filling the detail on how they would acheive success
  • Asking questions
  • Previous sector expertise

The most important attributes to get across are confidence, commitment and efficiency. The traditional PR preconceptions of them being nice people or fun to do business with did not have a marked part of their responses, or maybe marketers just would not admit that wanting to be seen as professionals.


Money talks kind of: winning agencies fees were average for the shortlist rather than the cheapest.


I am looking forward to the next two parts of the research Client Perceptions, ROI, Evaluation and Achieving Satisfaction: Inhouse, Outsourced or Both?