When you lose a bid presentation or pitch, apart from feeling frustrated at the time and effort that has been wasted, it can have a significant effect on your business sustainability and puts even more pressure on you to win the next contract.
Astonishingly some companies are happy with losing as much as 75% of their pitches without reflecting on why!
Now you are entitled to feedback after the event but in my experience most of it isn’t of any use in terms of improving your next pitch so out of curiosity I did some research with many people who sit on procurement panels. I asked them for their candid feedback about what they hated and here are the results.
This is what you don’t get in your feedback….. and you may find a few surprises!
“I really hated your presentation”.
“I hated your introduction”.
“I hated the middle of your presentation”.
“I hated your so-called conclusion”.
“I hated the way you delivered it”.
“And don’t even get me started on the PowerPoint slides……”
“It’s hard to summarise the reasons I hated it but…..”
Here are the main seven….
Seven reasons I hated your presentation and why it didn’t win:
1. Your introduction didn’t grab my attention:
“Your presentation started in the same old way that every other one does. I’m not interested in being told yet again how long your company has been in business. I’ve read it in the written submission. You didn’t tell me specifically how you meet the needs of this project. You could have started by sharing an interesting story or a surprising statistic. You didn’t. I quickly sensed it was going to be a very long day”.
2. There was no structure to it:
“I couldn’t figure out where it was going. It was disjointed. You seemed to be rambling. There were no clear transitions from one part to the next. You never said anything such as, “Now that we’ve talked about X, let’s talk about how that impacts Y.” And as a result, I couldn’t figure out where you were and where you were leading me”.
3. It was overloaded with technical detail:
“I did want to know some facts and figures but I couldn’t read most of it because your slides were overcrowded with tables of figures. Why didn’t you just highlight your most important points, tell me why they’re relevant, and add some memorable supporting data in the form of diagrams which are much easier to read?”
4. Your delivery was soporific:
“Your voice was flat and showed no energy. You were often difficult to hear. You showed very little passion for what you were talking about and if you’re not passionate about the project why should we want to work with you?”
5. You read from your PowerPoint slides:
“You didn’t engage me because you kept turning your back to read from the slides. If you don’t know what you are talking about without using the PowerPoint as a crutch then why should we want to engage you? If you were going to put everything on your slides, why didn’t you just give us the handouts and leave? PowerPoint is supposed to visually reinforce your most important points – not serve as your notes”.
6. You didn’t manage the Question and Answer session:
“Have you ever thought of going into politics? because you gave politician’s answers. Each time you answered the question you wished we’d asked (that you’d obviously prepared the answer for) instead of the ones we did. You avoided some genuine concerns because you hadn’t even thought about them which doesn’t inspire confidence”.
7. Your presentation just stopped :
“I somehow made it through your presentation without nodding off but then you ended it by muttering, “That’s it”. There was no summary of the key advantages of working with you, there was not even a “Thank you for listening”. So the last thought I took away with me was that you couldn’t be bothered to make it worth my time to listen. This was your opportunity to show us why we should work with you, to show us how you are different but you wasted it.”
No matter what type of presentation you give I think that there is something for all of us in these comments.
So next time you prepare your presentation or pitch you might want to keep these in mind and think about how you can avoid them ……
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