Several months ago I had my first ever formal pitch to a company where I didn’t know the people at beforehand, and I found my notes on it which I thought I’d share! It was actually not that intimidating, as they were really nice and I’ve had more practice now.
The bit that kinda stressed me out was writing a formal Business Proposal, which they asked for afterwards. Whilst I have been on the receiving end of these sorts of things, I’d never written one. To make matters slightly more pressured, they wanted it within a week.
Things that helped:
- I secured an “in” to be able to talk more to their techie, who was awesome and really helped me get to grips better with their problem
- I gave several thought-through options, given that it would be a new relationship I wanted to make sure I explained my preferences to them, and gave them a better understanding of my expertise
- I asked for feedback several days before the deadline from their Project Manager, to make sure I was providing what they wanted
- I used LaTeX to write it, which meant I didn’t need to muck around too much with making a custom stylesheet, since it looks great without effort
Things that were hard:
- I had no idea really of timescales (#noestimates), and from initial conversations this was very important to the client. I made sure to give an option to be more lean about it: by which I mean take the most important small chunk and do that as fast as possible
- Deciding on pricing, for a customer used to having free work done for them
If you’re doing a Business Proposal, don’t panic, it’ll be fine: just get as much feedback as you can so that you have an engaged, happy customer.