Almost all of us have to pitch. Whether you're a freelancer, in a small agency or huge advertising firm, pitching is part of the industry. Pitching is also a challenge with huge stakes. Do well and you could win new clients and new business. But what's the secret to doing well? This panel presentation had industry experts Simon Conlin, Jon Finkelstein,  Daniel Granatta,  Jon Lax,  Daniel Schutzsmith and Geoff Whitlock sharing their advice for best pitch practices.  Here are some of the key messages they shared:

  • Know the company and the problem they're trying to solve. If you don't know the company well, research them online. If you don't know the problem, ask the company. Most companies are willing to clarify their RFPs when asked.
  • If you've done the research, but still don't understand the problem, pitch yourself! Use your portfolio, ideas and numbers to back it all up.
  • Understand what the advertising marketplace is looking for in general.
  • When you're pitching to someone you know, pitching is a relationship game. If you're pitching someone you don't know, it's a numbers game.
  • Don't spend an enormous time coming up with the perfect idea. Come up with a good idea and spend the rest of your time creating a great presentation.
  • Be passionate about your idea! Your passion will come across in the presentation.
  • Think of a pitch like a job interview or like a first date. The pitch is the first building block of a new relationship.
  • If you're a weak presenter, do not be the one to pitch. Send the best presenter in your organization to do it.
  • Present one or two key ideas, not a whole bible. Don't overwhelm your client with information.
  • "Mine the hell out of your contacts." They are your best new business leads.
  • And maybe the best bit of advice: make friends with the head honcho's executive assistant at the firm you're pitching to. They could be your best ally when its time to schedule vendor meetings.

One panelist also shared two book recommendations that will help you win sales, customers and increase revenues:

Do you do a lot of pitches for new business? Please share your tips for pitching in the comments.