L'Oréal's Alison Williams' top 5 pitching pitfalls

From cold calling to dressing like a banker, L'Oréal's head of events Alison Williams shares her top five pitching pitfalls with C&IT.

L'Oreal's Alison Williams
L'Oreal's Alison Williams

1. Cold calling

I actually don’t answer my landline now because I can’t cope with the volume of cold calls I get. Suppliers need to be a bit more creative in how they get my attention. I tend to find new agencies by checking out what they publicise in the media.

2. Coming in over budget

When you’re pitching, don’t come in over budget. It just shows to me you’ve got poor money management skills. If you’re given a budget you need to stick to it!

3. Missing details

If you’re coming to pitch, make sure you use the correct logo and that you know which brand you’re coming in to pitch for. I actually had an agency come in last year to pitch and they used the wrong logo. Make sure you understand what the brand and is and what they've done previously.

4. Sending the wrong people

People need to think about the brand they’re coming in to see. They need to make sure that their attitude and dress is right for the environment. They need to look the part. One agency came to us dressed like four bankers. Think about the brand you’re going to present to. If it’s a finance company then perhaps that’s appropriate, but it’s not right for us. We're looking for people who are a bit quirkier and have an edge. Show you’re in touch with the brand.

5. Being afraid to ask for help

If someone’s been invited to pitch and they need to ask me questions, I’m always here. If we’re going to get a better pitch, you need to try to get into the heart of what it is. I don’t mind helping people understand what it is we’re trying to achieve. 

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