Ad agency new business: capabilities presentation tips

Must be the THREE cups of coffee yours truly has had today, but here are a few quick thoughts on how to change up your agency new business development capabilities presentations. You know, how to get away from the typical powerpoint slides that feature your agency’s special, unique proprietary process, the logo page and the list of capabilities/services you offer.

  • Avoid the “save as” presentation. Just like an RFP, the very best capabilities presentations feel like they’ve been custom-made for the prospect. They demonstrate an understanding of the prospect’s challenges and how you can help solve their problems…better than other agencies. Of course, there will be a key set of points you’ll want to convey. But how you get to them in each presentation could be different, and should be developed based on the homework you’ve done around the brand’s challenges. And don’t forget the other side of what should drive presentation content and context – the personalities of the decision-makers!
  • Focus on the prospect straightaway. If you’re not talking about them within five minutes, pack up and go home. Have a POV on what their challenges might be. Tie them to challenges you’ve helped solve with other clients.
  • Think “discussion” rather than “presentation.” Presentation can suggest one-way communication: you speak, they listen. Asking open-ended questions, seeking confirmation and setting expectations at the beginning are three simple ways of getting your prospective client talking.
  • Set up your cases properly. They need to scream relevance. Why did you pick these stories? How do they relate to the prospect’s challenges? Are there any implications there for this prospect? Get your prospect’s opinion. Get ’em talking…!
  • Share an idea or two if you have one. You can always make more and you may not get another chance. It’s another great way to get the conversation ball rolling.

These are just a few ways to get your mind thinking about how to maximize this opportunity. Happy pitching!

P.S. At some point, feel free to remind me to post some ways to avoid or minimize the crack of our industry – powerpoint.