Ditch the pitches, OK, but where’s the proof?

As a business development consultant working with creative groups, I attended a recent ‘win without pitching’ lecture – by Blair Enns – with an open mind.

Enns’ talk was engaging, his theories prompted some challenging questions from reputable groups in the audience, and I left wondering how I can take something from this lecture for the benefit of groups I work with. So, was I actually convinced by all this theory, or left still searching for answers to the free-pitch conundrum?

Having subsequently read Enns’ ‘Ditch addiction to the pitch’ article, I must ask, where is the proof?

Theory can draw you in, but proof is more convincing – let’s hear from half a dozen groups that have won without pitching. One testimonial from Studio LR in Scotland is all I’ve been offered.

Despite how this sounds, I respect the work of Enns’ company, Enmark Performance, and share the view that free-pitching is a flawed practice. With fee-paying clients on consultancy books, for example, how can clients feel assured that groups produce their best quality work for an unpaid pitch? However, a notable lack of evidence is where the theory starts to work loose.

Proof of what I do is provided on my website in the form of e-mails received from companies I’ve approached on behalf of consultancies. Perhaps the ‘win without pitching’ theory would benefit from something equally transparent – maybe some of those case studies Enns talks about.

The industry is crying out for a best-practice alternative to free-pitching – one that provides clients with ‘fit-for-purpose’ assurances while reducing the impact on consultancy (and client) time and resources.

In the meantime, groups should ‘think creatively’ about their terms of engagement, and consider proactively communicating their policy to prospective new clients.

Simon Teer, Teer Business Development in Design, Bushey WD23 2ND

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