“Don’t give us another f***ing PowerPoint Presentation!”

October 21, 2013

Winning a competitive pitch

Our client, a leading Financial PR agency, was ready. They’d prepared a new business pitch for weeks. It was a big PR contract and they wanted to win. The timing wasn’t perfect: they’d been given the last slot on a hot Friday afternoon. And they knew the competition was tough.

They sat in the cool modern reception area on the 10th floor of the client’s City offices, overlooking the River Thames. Already they could see people leaving early for the weekend.

The stern receptionist called them in. As they entered the room they sensed that the client was not happy. Ties were off and there was a dejected look in the room. The CEO summed up the problem in his opening lines “Whatever you do, don’t give us another f***ing PowerPoint presentation.”



The words Pitching, PowerPoint and Presentation are often (mistakenly) seen in the same sentence. But, the dynamics of a new business pitch and of a presentation should be different.

When a clients say “we’d like you to come in and present some ideas…” they probably do NOT mean “Please take us through a PowerPoint presentation.”  In fact, a pre-prepared PowerPoint is often the worst way of communicating. It is one of the biggest mistakes we see in new business pitches.

Imagine yourself as the client. What sort of company would you like to work with? Would you prefer a supplier that comes in and tells you things, or one that engages you in a conversation?

The skill to turn a new business pitch into a positive conversation is one of the most valuable things we teach at BBA.



So, what happened with our client’s pitch?

As soon as they heard the CEO’s words they knew they were in with a chance. Our client started: “You’ll be pleased to hear that we haven’t brought a presentation. What we have brought today is the team you would be working with, should you choose us, and some ideas that might just solve your issues. But, before we say anything, we have a few questions for you……”

Ninety minutes later, (the meeting over-ran) they left. And a half hour after that, they received a phone call. They had won the business. It was a great start to the weekend and to a long, happy relationship.

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What Our Clients Say

“The new presentation properly represents the institutional quality of our fund. It has been a step change of us.”

Erwin de Kleijn Head of IR, Saemor Capital

“This training has contributed directly to new business – including a new FTSE100 client.”

Michelle Elstein Head of Business Development, Olswang LLP

“BBA transformed our pitch into a compelling investment narrative. They undoubtedly helped us secure Sky TV as an investor.”

Gerry Bastable  Director, Blast Films