To succeed in pitching, simply ask more questions says The Wow Company

To succeed in pitching, simply ask more questions says The Wow Company director

The most successful agencies are the ones that simply ask more questions. This is according to a research from The Wow Company, which looked into what the UK’s top-performing agencies do differently when it comes to sales.

From this, co-founder, Peter Czapp has come up with 21 killer questions that he sees the most successful agencies using and will give your agency the sales edge.

Ahead of his appearance at The Drum’s Pitch Perfect in September, Czapp gives us a little taster by discussing three sales challenges that his panel will help you solve.

Attract the right type of clients

We've all probably experienced the pain of the 'wrong' type of client at some point in our agency lives. So, how do you avoid these and instead attract the type of clients and work that you really want? According to Czapp, the key is to be really clear about who you want to work with, and why.

He insists: "The more clearly defined this is, the more successful you will be. A great question to ask yourself is 'what can I be the best in the world at?' It’s a question that forces you to focus. You can’t be the best in the world at everything, so you’ll need to narrow down the options.

"This question will also force you to narrow down the type of clients you want to work with. The more niche you go, the easier it gets. If you want to work with everyone, you’ll need to market to everyone. That’s exhausting."

However, he added that if you can narrow your focus to a point where there are only a small number of potential clients (and you happen to be the best in the world at something they’d want to buy) then things get really interesting.

Massively increase your conversion rate

Coming second in a pitch is a feeling of huge disappointment many will have experienced. What you might not know is that in several of those scenarios, you had little or no chance of actually winning the work, due to a whole host of factors that weren’t known to you when you started the process. So, how do you work out which pitches to go for and which to avoid?

Czapp says that the key is to ask the seven questions that he has identified as critical to working out your likelihood of success. In his research, Czapp discovered that the agencies with the best conversion rates were those that meticulously assessed the likelihood of them winning before they decided whether to pitch.

He explains: "If the answers to the questions gave them a score below a certain level, they didn't pitch, regardless of how tempting the client or project might have been. This allowed them to use their limited resource far more efficiently, massively increasing their conversion rate (and their profitability too)."

Negotiate with procurement departments

If you work with large clients, you will almost certainly have had a run-in with a procurement department at some point. It’s the dread of many agency owners as they see the profit they hoped to make eroded away by ruthless number crunchers only interested in one thing.

"The good news is that there are three questions that you can ask procurement departments that will turn the odds back in your favour," says Czapp.

"When interviewing agencies that had successfully negotiated with procurement departments, I noticed a common trait amongst them that surprised him. They didn't get into a battle. Instead, they stated their intention to work with the procurement department to help them achieve their objectives.

"They then asked three questions that changed the dynamic of the relationship and ensured that the project would always be profitable."

Czapp will attend the The Drum’s Pitch Perfect, an event which focuses on helping agencies win new business. Check out the website for more information and to purchase tickets for the one-day event, Wednesday 13 September.

Sponsors of the event are BD100 and Digitas.

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