12 Jan 6 Tips For Pitching Your Budget
When it comes to pitching the finance section of your proposal you may be expecting to see a few eyes drooping. Nine times out of ten you have already pitched your concept, gone through your case study and highlighted each and every area where you can help make the client’s life better with your product, service or idea. So when you get to pitch the budget, you may feel that no-one apart from the the boss and the finance department are listening anymore. Even if that is the case, you still need to make your numbers tell a story, in fact, it’s a great opportunity to turn your pitch into hard reality in the client’s mind.
Here are some tips to help you turn your budgets into an enticing part of the pitch.
1. The End Figure
Most clients, especially the decision makers, are interested in one of two figures; either how much you are going to save them or how much you make them. So don’t frustrate your prospective client by hiding the figure in the small print. Make it clear and obvious. They will appreciate the transparency, and you won’t have to get out a calculator to work it out in the pitch.
2. Bring The Figures To Life
Next focus on breaking down your budget into manageable, digestible, chunks. You don’t want to put every piece of data you have in there – just a few key figures that you can bring to life.
Where possible, use case studies to bring the numbers to life by comparing what you are proposing to spend to what you have achieved previously for a similar budget. Not everything can be like-for-like, but using financial case studies to compare and contrast spend to outcomes can be a really powerful way to counter potential concerns your prospective client may have.
3. Use those Visuals
Aim to visualise the budget as much as possible, providing clarity around the top line information and the outputs for each of the key costs will be appreciated, and help you tell the story of how the budget connects to the project success.
When developing your pitch presentation, at the very basic consider using a pie chart instead of a table to break down how the budget is split. However, to really bring it to life, you may want to consider creating an infographic to breakdown the key components. If you don’t have a designer available consider using a sites like Canva.com to create your infographic yourself, or consider using a site like Fiverr.com to hire a graphic designer for something more bespoke.
Using infographics can be simple and highly effective, plus they have the added benefit of stopping you (and your team) getting too bogged down in the detail when you are under the time pressures of presenting in a live pitch. As the budget is usually presented near the end of a pitch, you also have the opportunity to visually connect your budget breakdown to the visuals earlier in the presentation – helping to tie everything together.
4. Put it on Paper
When it comes to the details, it can be helpful to provide a print out for clients to review more closely.
At the very least, take a print out from your Excel spreadsheet but if you can, consider getting the information laid out by a designer. Along with the infographic suggestion above, making the specifics of your budget easy to scan whilst not losing the details, will be appreciated by your prospective client and also help you walk through the details.
Wherever possible, highlight important details and always tie the relevant numbers together. For example, if your business works on an hourly rate, then make sure your fees clearly show the details behind the proposed hours for each activity. Hopefully you will say that is obvious, but you would be surprised how many pitch budgets are confusing to understand.
5. Know the why behind the budget
Never enter into a pitch without knowing the ‘why’ behind the numbers. It is pretty common in a pitch for a finance question to come out of the blue. When a difficult question arises, it will make it much easier for you to answer if you know why decisions have been made.
So for example, if you have stated it takes 8 hours for a junior member of the team to write a weekly report, make sure you know why that is. It isn’t unusual for a client in a pitch to pick up this sort of random detail – usually with the expectation things should take less time. So try to get to grips with the reasons why and this will avoid your pitch going down an uncomfortable rabbit hole just when you thought you had the client on-side.
6. Don’t forget the follow-up
Finally, whilst you need to be as prepared as you can be for curveball questions, remember if you really can’t answer, don’t be afraid to offer to come back to the client post-pitch. The last thing you want to do is give the wrong information. Most client’s will be understanding and will prefer accuracy over immediacy. Just make sure you make it a priority to follow-up with the relevant information within 24 hours of the pitch so it is still fresh in everyone’s minds.
So remember, even though you are pitching the budget it doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Keep it relevant and fast-paced, but make sure to take questions. Apply a little pitch theatre and make your Case Study relatable and you might just win that pitch…
If you would like to find out how we can support you with any of the topics raised in this blog post, or need help with a pitch, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 0800 0293739.