As #eventprofs we’re all familiar with the dreaded pitch day. The endless days working on the deck, sleepless nights, trying to get it absolutely perfect and pre-empt any and all questions your potential new client could ever dream of. Pitches are incredibly important – you need to be better than everyone else and, if you win, you could be bringing years of profitable business with a client relationship that could bring endless future opportunities. On top of all that, an exciting new project can invigorate your whole team. But not everyone is experience when it comes to pitching and, in the last month, we ran a mock pitching exercise for our team at Sleek Events. Here’s what our most junior team member got out of it as a young #eventprof and the advice she’d give to others.
My first event pitching experience
As a junior employee, who is fairly new to the events world, pitches can be scary and carry a lot of pressure. Being able to practise pitching with a trial run is really important and helps the team feel more prepared for when the big ones come in! So, recently at Sleek Events, to practise our pitching skills, we decided it would be a useful exercise to treat our own Summer Party for suppliers and industry friends as an event we needed to pitch to win – the ‘client’ being our MD & Founder. For budding #eventprofs out there, here’s how we did it…
- Firstly, we all came together as a team and identified who would own each area, depending on each individual’s strengths and expertise. Next, we decided on a timeline of deadlines to set ourselves, so we had plenty of space to review each stage and refine our presentation in good time before pitch day.
- After researching each component – such as venue, catering, marketing and comms, entertainment and fundraising – everyone came together for daily team meetings to review progress. We made sure we were all aligned in terms of group actions and helped each other to refine next steps. We kept a close eye on the budget and utilised all of our contacts to keep costs down – it was a charity event after all!
- Once we had received sign off on big decisions such as venue and entertainment options from relevant directors, we worked on pulling together all the elements into one presentation deck. We spent a lot of time making it look interesting and aesthetically pleasing. Then we all gave it a sense check and our best proofreader ensured the flow, spelling, grammar and consistency of message were all on point. The little things are just as important as the big things – attention to detail never goes unnoticed!
- With the deck finalised and costs confirmed, we spent some time rehearsing and decided who would deliver each section of the pitch. It’s important to strike the right balance between knowing your subject but not sounding too rehearsed – you don’t want to lose your personality as that can be one of the things that wins you a pitch.
- Finally, it was pitch day! We’d all had a good night’s sleep and a healthy team breakfast to set ourselves up for the day, going over any last minute notes. The pitch was a great success and, luckily, we won it! Now the real planning (and all the fun!) could begin.
Our MD was extremely impressed with all our hard work and how serious we had taken the exercise. It had brought us all together as a team and helped us identify our strengths.Our party is next week – keep an eye out on our social media to see the fun you can have when you’re fundraising!
Here’s our top tips for a successful pitch:
- Build your story – create a pitch that flows. Showing a beginning, middle and end, like a story, will not only help the client see that this event would be a success but will also give them an insight into how you work. If the pitch is clear, well thought through and shows a clear progression plan, they will want to work with you. It’s all about making your client’s life easier!
- Think long-term – consider what your long-term opportunities might be if you win this pitch. Opening this door may lead to plenty more projects, so be prepared and think beyond just this event.
- Get creative – presenting unique ideas that will grab their attention is a sure-fire way to impress a potential client. Let them know you have really thought about a variety of options and solutions to bring about the most memorable event. Using client case studies to demonstrate your expertise helps solidify your position as event professionals and will add gravitas to your pitch. They want to know you can actually follow through with what you’re proposing.
- Teamwork makes the dream work – not only is pitching to your boss a really worthwhile exercise for pitching experience, but it’s also a fun team-building experience. We now feel prepared for our next client pitch and feel like we can handle anything that is thrown at us. As they say, practice makes perfect!