6 ways to simplify the client pitch

Meeting with a potential client can turn into an expensive and time-consuming chemistry test, says the author. Here are ways to fix it.

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I don’t mean the new reality TV show about advertising agencies, although the debut episode was a losing proposition—contrived, tedious, and unrealistic. Instead, I’m referring to the one aspect of the show that hit home, and that was the pitch itself.

On the show, a team from McKinney, the first of two ad agencies competing to win a client, files into a stark conference room, engages in awkward chitchat, and begins an upbeat walk-through of its lead creative campaign idea. The energy feels forced as the camera zooms in on the client executives, who appear blank-faced, bored, and distracted.

The vacant client reactions were probably a function of editing, to heighten what little tension the episode contained, and (SPOILER ALERT) McKinney comes out on top, so there’s no abuse here. But the uncomfortable presentation scene made me reflect on the typical search process in which agencies turn themselves inside out and throw lots of time and talent at a creative assignment in hopes of winning the prize.

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