Creating good opens and closes in ad agency new business pitches

Hey there! Had an interesting question the other day from an avid fan. He thought it could be an interesting blog topic: how to craft great pitch openings and closings. Your fellow reader was wondering if there were some best practices he should keep in mind. Here’s a version of what we exchanged. It’s been edited to be more helpful to you.

Dear Thunderclap:

Q: “…our team pitches last and I want to really connect with the group. I would like to draw from your experience — any advice or inspiration would be valuable. Any memorable opens or closes when the agency just nailed it…”

A: “…Opens and closes are all custom-made, based on what you know about a given pitch: not only the challenges a brand might face, the decision-maker’s personalities; and, of course, the content of your presentation.  (So, I can’t help, because I don’t know enough.)

Having said this, though, I can remember a close in an Applebee’s pitch from awhile back. The agency did NOT nail it from a creative perspective. And the agency president knew it. He read the room during the meeting and the work was not connecting. So, he acknowledged as much in his closing remarks, instead reframing the entire pitch as a demonstration of their passion.

That’s probably not going to help you, though. I wonder if the following will. In your close, there may be some value in re-stating beyond the work itself, the other reasons why the prospect might hire you. The easy reasons to “check off” in their minds will be the basic criteria both client and agency have used to get to this point. But you must add to these with a layer of extra benefits centered around the prospect. These will stem from your agency, your work, or your other clients.”

In short, you are convincing the prospect that you can do a better job than another agency.

Yours truly also went on to suggest there might be a role for the senior leader BETWEEN the open and close (while others are delivering content).

Should anyone else have some thoughts, feel free to share! Thanks, and happy pitching.


Oh, and by the way, there’s some really smart thinking others have written about this topic. You can find a little bit of it in the Appendix of my RFP Response How To presentation. Sign up for the RSS feed or simply drop us a line and you’ll get a FREE copy.