1. Not focusing on the client – A good pitch document is not about you. It’s about the client, their needs, and how you can help them. Anything else is just a brochure.
2. Failing to engage from the start – Psychologists have shown that our unconscious brain makes decisions faster than our conscious brain. That means you want to appeal to the unconscious brain from the start. How does the front page look? Does it grab attention? Is it clear what you are offering? What about page two?
3. Bad assumptions – A good pitch helps a client with their needs. If you understand their needs, you can write a well targeted document. A badly written document makes assumptions about what the client might want.
4. Talking about themselves too much – The client should be the star of the document, not you. A client does not want to read about how great you are. They want to know what you can do for them.
5. Not having a clear story – Stories are a powerful way to communicate. They link facts together into a logical sequence and they have a natural rhythm that makes them a pleasure to read. Even the driest pitch document can be told as a story.
6. Confusing features with benefits – The second rule of sales (after ‘know your client’) is stress the benefits. Where features are listed it shows either laziness or that you do not understand the client well enough.
7. Making it hard for the client – Is the document a pleasure to read? Is it summarised well? Does each part push the story forward? If not, you have not made it easy for the client.
8. Too many words – It is easy to say too much. It’s tougher to be succinct, engaging and compelling.
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