By Andrew Neitlich

How often do you pitch ideas to prospects and clients?

By Andrew Neitlich

The more successful professionals do something their less successful counterparts don’t: They pitch ideas to prospects and clients. That way, they create opportunities for work, rather than waiting for opportunities (usually price sensitive and competitively bid) to come to them.

Here is an example:

I just completed a workshop for a university in Oregon. It went well. I thought about who else would benefit from this type of workshop, and called a few old clients and prospects to talk about the workshop, the benefits it created, and how it could help them specifically. I also called an association to talk about creating a similar workshop for them that they could syndicate to members.


It’s important to be proactive.

How about you? Do you pitch ideas to prospects and clients, so that you create opportunities rather than waiting for opportunities to come to you?

  • Jonathan Snook – snook.ca

    It’s most definitely true. Where I work, they are constantly providing pitches. I think it’s one of the reasons we’ve been so successful. Not only do we demonstrate what we have done for other clients or what our technical capabilities are, we also pitch what we can do for them. We provide ideas. We help solve problems the clients didn’t even know they had. :)

  • This is VERY important. My company is currently focusing on small, local businesses. As far as the web goes a lot of them don’t really know what they want, so it’s our job to point them in the right direction.

  • This is so true, I have found this to be the best way to help both me and the client. Not only do I get something out of it ($$$), but the client is happy with their site and my service.

  • You can’t just sit back and expect all the work to come to you. When you have a reputation it’s often easy to get complacent with the amount of people who come to you but as you point out it’s criticially important to be proactive and get out there pitching sales. After all, if the referral line of work dries up you’ll have to do it anyway.

  • This is very good advice, Andrew. Much of the IT world and thus by association, the web development world descended from the old-mode telecommunication industry. The business model there was to sit and wait for a customer ‘requirement’ to come in and thence figure out how to make aprofit satisfying the customer’s requirement. Along the way ‘experts’ made a lot of jokes at the expense of ‘clureless requirements’.

    Web design and web buisness application have come so far and so fast in the past few years that even many ‘;experts’ are actually hanging on by their fingernails. If you want ‘smart’ requirements to work from then stop and consider who is supposed to make the customer smart? If you picked ‘me’, then you have a heads-up on all the ‘olde-moders’ waiting for work to come in.

    Besides, if you pictch an idea that you are confident about and know how to produce profitably, then you have much ;ess chance of being in the pickle of having work to bid on but being unsure becuase it’s a new idea/technology/procedure and you have to either pass on it or bet your company on being able to pull it off, learning as you go.

    There’s some old saw in the sales and marketing world that goes “no customer who bought a drill wanted a drill, he wanted a hole” Show prospects neat clean new holes (business solutions) and they’ll hire you to work the drill.

    Best reagards

  • perception

    I think this is excellent advice, not only do you get more business it is usually highly profitable as well.

    In essence you get to charge more, yet your clients are happier.

    It really helps to put you in that ‘trusted adviser’ position and cements your relationships with your clients. I certainly have much better retention rates these days.

    I think it is essential if you run your business along the lines outlined in your core relationship strategy article.

    The key of course is to only suggest things that you believe will genuinely improve your clients position otherwise it will eventually back-fire on you.

  • jan korbel

    We encourage our client to share their problems with us even if they thought they have nothing to do with the website. This way we get to work out solution that save them loads of work time and we get more money than for the website it self.

  • Dr Livingston

    [QUOTE]Do you pitch ideas to prospects and clients, so that you create opportunities rather than waiting for opportunities to come to you?[/QUOTE]

    Of course ;) I have for the last 2 years kept my clients aprised of any developments that I make, and have done just that more recently.

    This is good as it lets them know that I am advancing as a developer, and it lets them also know that as a developer, I can the job I do for them, I can do so more quickly and easily.

    This reduces the development time, thus it reduces their costs also. But all this is academic, as it should be pretty obvious to anyone that this is a common business practice.

  • Thank you for the reminder Andrew.

    I just got in touch with a few of our existing customers to inform them about some of the new services we’re offering and if they’d like to purchase.

  • pdxi

    I _always_ pitch new ideas to current and prospective clients. Not only does it increase the amount of business that I do with my clients, but it also often creates new revenue streams and cost-saving measures for my clients.

    As the axiom goes, you’ll make money if you help your clients make money, and everyone is happy at the end of the day.

  • imuriente

    This is standard procedure in our company. It has been very sucessful. Clients usually have a good idea of what they want, but they may not be aware of all the aspects involved. When you bring supported ideas to the table you save your client, and your self, time, and possible headaches, and ultimately your project will be more cost effective. This only adds to the quality of service you offer.

  • It’s on my To Do list always when I feel a client’s website can be improved astronomically. :)

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