You have been focusing on pitch preparation for a new client, for a specific time and date. Then suddenly the client changes the time and date of your presentation. As you read the message, you realize they’ve changed the time and some of the parameters!
What To Do When Your Presentation Changes
Do you change everything based upon new information? To a certain extent, the fundamentals of your pitch preparation and presentation will remain the same. New information only changes some of the things you need to be prepared for. If you’ve done your research correctly and thoroughly, you probably had a couple of scenarios for your presentation.
But do not be rushed into making wholesale changes to your original response in order to fit a new time and date and new parameters. If it looks like the pricing structure or parameters of the job have been expanded, take time to rewrite – even if it means asking the client for a different time.
Scope Changes Impact Pitch Preparation
For many people this will feel kind of strange to do, because after all winning the work is paramount. It produces the revenue and is why you are doing the pitch in the first place. If the changes are so significant that you could find yourself in a losing strategy don’t do it – I would ask for more time.
If you go into the presentation with new facts and figures to present, and you haven’t thoroughly researched them, you could find yourself having committed to a project is going to cost you money instead of making money. I recently had a client put forward a proposal and a presentation, and then they were asked if they would like to know how to shave off money. I believe this is a trap; in other words working with us is so prestigious and we can help you and show you how to shave off the costs.
Don’t Blindly Agree To Scope Changes
This would mean losing money for my client. My advice is don’t do it – you are not in the business of buying business. In other words, if you say yes you are paying to work for this client. If you think about it this way, that you are paying to get business, it puts a whole new spin on the idea of doing your pitch. The other place you can really get hung up by failing to pay enough attention to significant changes in the project is when you reach the question and answer stage of your pitch. If your pitch presentation hasn’t been sufficient to research all of the ramifications of the project changes, you can appear to be very unprepared. That doesn’t reflect well upon you, even though, due to the sudden scope changes, “it’s not your fault.”
Be Careful About Being Asked To Bid Below Your Breakeven
I often see companies pitching on a contract for a large elite company, thinking that it is so prestigious to work for them that they’ll take a loss doing it. I think this is a very big mistake, because information circulates so freely in this world. The details of your pricing may be shared, and the next client you’re preparing a pitch for may have a lower figure in mind because of that. That then becomes a new baseline for losing money!
I personally have pitched a project at working cost to a regular client, knowing that it will end up producing more work – even though it’s not highly profitable and is breakeven. However, to start working with the client at a “loss” is a waste of time, even if they are a prestigious well-known company. There’s a big difference between accepting a “reference” client at breakeven, and working at a loss. I consider being asked to work at a loss, or even far below the industry norms, to be a predatory and destructive practice sometimes used by large companies. It helps their bottom line, but will destroy yours.
Take the time you need for your pitch preparation, and be careful not to let last minute changes throw you off your best. If you need more time, ask for it, and if scope creep has set in, renegociate or reprice as required to win a bid that benefits you as well as the client.