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How to kick off a more persuasive agency pitch

How to kick off a more persuasive agency pitch


Most agencies kick off their pitches – and spend the first 20-30 minutes – talking about themselves. Perhaps they are sharing a history of the agency, or their capabilities or a case study. The agency team is proud of their agency’s success, client list and capabilities.

And those agencies may be losing their audience from the outset of their presentation.

The prospect wants to talk about THEIR business. The agency is instead talking about THEMSELVES.

This is a key chance to differentiate your agency. How can you better engage your audience from the start?

The best way to engage your audience is to talk about what matters most to them. You do that by ensuring there is alignment with the prospect regarding what is most important.

Here’s how: start by saying something like “let’s quickly review what we’ve heard so far about your business challenges and opportunities”. Have a slide or flipchart handy that recaps those issues. For example, for a retailer the issues may have been:

  1. Build the brand
  2. Increase store traffic
  3. Build basket size
  4. And do all of the above simultaneously

Step them through the list. Check to see if they agree.

But don’t stop there – after walking through the list, ask the following questions:

Are these still accurate?

Is there anything that we’ve missed for any reason?

If the prospect edits or adds to the list, make a great show of editing your list.

You now have a current list of business challenges that you can address during your presentation. And your agency will be the only one with this up-to-date list. This is now your agenda – your prospect’s business issues.


You’ve also gotten the prospect to spend even more time discussing their business challenges. You’ve shown that you have listened and “get” them. You’re aligned.

With that alignment around the challenges the prospect is facing, you’ll be ready to transition to your analysis and strategic approach to these challenges. And you’ll be on your way to winning more business.

Steve Boehler, founder, and partner at Mercer Island Group has led consulting teams on behalf of clients as diverse as Ulta Beauty, Nintendo, Microsoft, Zillow Group, UScellular, Stop & Shop, Qualcomm, Brooks Running, and numerous others. He founded MIG after serving as a division president in a Fortune 100 when he was only 32. Earlier in his career, Steve cut his teeth with a decade in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble, leading brands like Tide, Pringles, and Jif.