Winning Without Attachments
“Please see attached concepts and tell us what you think!”
“Please see attached scripts and tell us what you think!”
“Please see attached storyboards and tell us what you think!”
When I read the above sentences, what comes to mind someone’s hard work being crumpled up and thrown down a garbage chute. The ball of trash rolls down taking twists and turns before landing on a pile of similar pages in a landfill full of attachments.
It’s easy to get caught up in the convenience of email, but I purport that nothing beats an in person meeting when creative is involved. There are several problems you encounter when sending your hard work off into the great unknown of your client’s inbox.
1. You have not prepared your client to pitch FOR you
You don’t know who will see this document. As easy as it is to send your pitch via email, it’s even easier to forward it without reading. If your client hasn’t been prepared to pitch FOR you, they will not be able to meet the objections of others. Others objections are often reactionary and sometimes delivered firmly. By the time you hear the feedback, you’re not even sure you’re talking about the same piece anymore.
2. It is unlikely that you will INSPIRE your client with a document
Creative ideas have to come with context, and inspiration is contagious. When your client shares the concept, they will speak with the same enthusiasm with which it was delivered the first time.
3. We all see different words between the lines
People communicate and think in many different ways. Some will analyze things very logically. They may assume that your choices were arbitrary, or some sort of compromise, or that you just put a few hasty words down on paper to get it out the door. The only way to prove to them that every single word you wrote had a strategic purpose for their brand is to spend time supporting your reasoning where they fail to see your intentions.
4. You miss the opportunity for face time in an increasingly digital world where we crave authentic experiences.
If you had to choose one time for an in person meeting, I’d make it the initial concept pitch meeting.
So you did it. You carved out a block of everyone’s schedules to get together and share your ideas. To ensure success, here are 3 things to keep in mind as you prepare.
1. The introduction: Get them ready to receive the information
Try to avoid any negatives, but rather what is the positive version of that. Instead of “these are really rough concepts,” you might consider explaining that you left these concepts top level so that everyone could contribute to the small details. Get them in a creative mindset. If they are thinking logically, they will be thinking about the legal department and about details that are not yet of issue. This can be a quick show stopper. A conversation killer. Don’t under any circumstances give them anything to hold in their hand, or especially to read.
2. Show and tell
For the visual part of your presentation, use images instead of words. When meeting attendees are presented with a page full of words, they will turn their attention there and switch to a more logical state. Guide them through with your voice, which is far more musical than a written paragraph. For visuals, pull up big images that reinforce your conceptual ideas. Most presenters agree that lots of text in a presentation is bad, and to instead use small summaries of what you’re saying verbally. If anything, stick to some key reinforcement words and leave it at that. This is an acceptable time to swipe some Google images or stock previews. You are pitching the concept and may procure the rights when it is being paid for and broadcast.
3. Show your intention
Be sure to interject your well-designed advertising strategy at the right times. This is harder to do in writing because it doesn’t necessarily flow well, so make sure to get that into the pitch experience. For instance, “This idea will immediately make the viewer say, ‘This woman has something in common with me. ”When we say this, it celebrates the good choice rather than chastising the bad. It catches flies with honey.”
THAT’S NICE…IN THEORY, ALLEN.
I can see 10% of you shaking your head. I get it, this isn’t always possible. Your clients are located in another state or your schedules just aren’t matching up. When I consider the above important factors of the in person meeting and the tenets of the pitch, I’d just scrap for whatever you can get. For instance:
- Teleconference! Use Skype, GoToMeeting, UberConference, or one of the other countless options. Last resort though! OK?!
- Send visuals by email, or snail mail(?!), or a picture only slideshow accompanied by a phone pitch. Because the slideshow is solely pictures, even if they cheat and look through before your phone pitch, you’ll be revealing each picture’s secret meaning as you walk them through the presentation. It can be very exciting.
- Pitch to them on the phone before sending any written concepts or scripts. At least they’ll be able to hear your voice and understand more of your intention making them a better internal pitcher.
Another objection may be that if you’re a great writer, none of these problems really exist. I contest that this is not about the skill of the writer, but the infinite places or rather conditions in which the receiver can be when they get the information. If you are a skilled writer, you know that you can’t write for every audience at once, but the skilled interpersonal communicator can sense their audience and adapt in seconds, even for varied communication styles.
While you wouldn’t hand anything to the audience prior to the pitch, definitely leave them with a takeaway. What this document really represents is their summary notes to back them up when they continue to pitch for you within their organization.
Good luck and happy pitching!