When it comes to pitching new business, we know there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each opportunity has its own set of needs and goals which ultimately frames how you position your pitch. So, how do you stand out in the crowd and win the business? Do your research. This seems like a no-brainer. As you are reading this, you’re probably saying to yourself, of course I do my research. But is it the kind of research that sets you apart? Research that goes beyond what you can find through simple (or even extensive) Google searches? Research that demonstrates your clear understanding of the client’s core consumers? To achieve this level of research, you have to get your hands on some good market research that is customized to your needs. It may sound tedious and time-consuming, but trust me, it doesn’t have to be. The beauty of this approach is that no one else will come armed with the same data, because it’s your data. How can you acquire this knowledge in the first place? By no means am I suggesting you shell out tens of thousands of dollars on a huge study with Nielsen. Don’t get me wrong—I believe large market research firms are great at what they do, but it probably wouldn’t make very good financial sense to spend all of this money on research for a new business pitch. You could always run a survey for free on a DIY tool like Survey Monkey, but it’s tough to reach your client’s target market when you have colleagues and friends taking your survey. The good news is that there are market research firms, like Lab42, that offer the best of both worlds: reaching a wide range of target markets affordably and quickly, while providing expertise on things like survey writing. Here are four reasons to incorporate your own research into new business pitches:
1. Demonstrate your understanding of their customers (not your network). Understanding the client’s customers is the first step in developing a successful PR strategy. Plus, by doing your own research on their customers, you can prove that you not only know who their customers are, but also why they are choosing your potential client over their competitors. Your understanding of why customers are choosing one brand over another could be used to shape your entire pitch. To gain this insight, you must ensure you really are speaking to their customers and not simply your network of friends, family, and co-workers. You’ll win your client over by demonstrating your deep understanding of their customers and their beliefs. 2. Prove you’re willing to go the extra mile. If you are pursuing an entirely new business pitch, you will probably be going toe to toe with other agencies that are bringing their own ideas to the table. By demonstrating to the prospective client that you will be not only coming up with brilliant ideas, but also immediately validating them, you show that you and your organization is ready and willing to go the extra mile for your client. 3. Go beyond groupthink. You and your team just came up with incredible ideas to use in your pitch with your prospective client. You share these concepts with other individuals in your organization and get the same feedback. Why not take a step back from the ideas and run them by actual customers to get their thoughts? Not only can you use research to validate your initial ideas (which is always reassuring), but in case the ideas flop among the target market, you can get additional qualitative data directly from these customers as to why the idea isn’t as brilliant as you’d thought. 4. Stay ahead of the curve. If you are already using market research for your pitch, how old are the data? Can your competitors obtain the same data? By doing your own market research for your new business pitch, you could obtain data that are not even publicly available at that moment. You could even base your research on an event that just happened a few days ago to really demonstrate to your prospective client that you have your finger on the pulse of their customers.
There is no silver bullet for winning new business, but if you come prepared with unique, fresh insights that you can use to dazzle your prospective client, you’ll stand out in the crowd. Jonathan Pirc is founder of Lab42, a provider of customized market research and consumer insights.