For the most part we don’t have to chase business, I’m sure we will as we grow, to sustain ourselves. However, for now, pursuing business isn’t a major part of what we do (that isn’t to say sometimes we don’t need to give our clients a wave and say: “we’re still here”.
Regardless of whether we go after business, pitching tends to be a big part of our work. On one of our very early jobs, I found myself called into an ad-agency for a “quick-meeting” to discuss what the client had presented me with. So, naturally, I though it was casual. When I turned up and quickly realised that I was the youngest (by a long way) person in a room of 5 other creatives, account managers and art buyers, it was a bit of a shock. Now, not to blow my own trumpet, but I did quite well and got the shoot immediately. Yet it made me think, as videographers, we’re not taught how to pitch, how to come across professionally. I was discussing this recently with two members of a creative team at one of the ad-agencies I freelance for; they noted that neither are they. Ironically, this came about while I was a preparing a pitch video for them for a potential client.
Now there are many different elements. As an ad-agency, they need to stand out from the pack, be distinct, dynamic and exciting; as videographers, we also need to do this, but on a smaller scale. We need to stand out from other videographers, yet be able to execute what businesses want from us. Dealing directly with businesses is a bit different from ad-agencies, individual businesses can either want to be led, or be completely against any dynamism and want exactly what they want – you just need to know who you’re dealing with. With ad-agencies it tends to be a bit more in the middle.
So, here is a list of what I think is important for pitching in general:
– Listen: Don’t go in like a bull in a China shop, make sure you know what they want. Get an outline before you arrive.
– Know your stuff: The more you know about videography, advertising, design, fashion and other relevant fields, the better. If you’re able to site examples and back yourself up, you’ll be far more employable as a videographer.
– Be confident: If you are unsure, people won’t be interested. Don’t promise or state things that aren’t true, if you don’t know it, say what your instinct tells you, but assure them you’ll check and let them back, it’s best not to commit to anything though as you don’t want to seem as if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Your views may be distinct, so let them know what you think.
– Be true to yourself: As videographers, we all have distinct styles. If you have a style, always bear it in mind and how it may fit into what the client wants. If you’re in a position where you can turn work away, then that’s great, but not all of us are. So, think how your style can be adapted and how you can make their vision your vision.
– Be honest: Lying never gets you anywhere in this business, you always get found out. So let them know what your limitations are, if they want a helicopter shot within a small budget, don’t promise what you can’t deliver.
– Be positive: Businesses will shy away from negativity.
– Be clear: I have had trouble when one, or both parties are not totally clear on what they want, or provide. So be precise with what you say.
– Be creative: Corporate videography is changing. Now it can be creative and exciting, not just bland and direct. So if you think they’re being too down the line, let them know (obviously without offending anyone).
If there is anything else you can think of just let us know. We always want to hear your thoughts.