The Mirren Post-Pitch Client Debriefing Guide

April 15, 2021

Longtime Winmo partner, Mirren, is a training firm that specializes in providing agencies with the skills, methods, and tools to completely transform their ability to grow current clients and win more new business. Keep reading to uncover actionable insights from Mirren managing director, Brent Hodgins, including how to acquire critical post-pitch client feedback.

Whether you’ve won or lost the pitch, getting practical feedback from the client is critical. The goal is to uncover the truth on how effectively your agency performed – to then improve your approach moving forward. This Mirren Post-Pitch Client Debriefing Guide will allow you to do just that.

The Mirren Post-Pitch Client Debriefing Guide

One challenge is that, for the client, this is an uncomfortable breakup call. They want to get you off the phone so they can move on. As a result, agencies rarely get the truth. “It was so close. You were a close second place. I wanted you to win, but it was someone else on the team. You guys were great.” Many agency pitch teams go their entire careers either winning or “coming in second.” Or so they’ve been told. And, with everything being remote right now, it’s only gotten worse.

How to uncover the truth about how well your agency performed

You’ve done a tremendous amount of work for the pitch – often months’ worth, completed in just a couple of weeks. It’s a reasonable assumption to expect constructive feedback. Once you have the client on the phone, lead them through a brief post-pitch analysis process. Having a well-thought-out approach (and set of questions) will help to uncover new insight into your team’s performance.

The Mirren Post-Pitch Debriefing Guide will walk you through the seven key topic areas to address. Within each topic, the guide outlines a set of questions designed to get to the truth. Note that you will need to customize these questions, depending on each particular pitch. As you will have limited time, you’ll need to prioritize which questions you use.

The seven key elements for client feedback:

  1. Team/talent
  2. Chemistry
  3. Strategy
  4. Creative thinking
  5. Solutions
  6. Effectiveness at answering the brief
  7. Overall presentation impact/persuasiveness

Other areas to probe related to the pitch process:

  1. Written submissions
  2. Pricing
  3. The winning agency
  4. The pitch process
  5. One final question

Refining your post-pitch debriefing approach

Be careful of being too grateful for their time. Being authoritative and confident will ensure you get more out of the client. The opposite – sounding meek or apologetic – will reinforce their choice of not selecting you. Part of the goal is to command the respect you deserve, but without being arrogant. Be specific in the questions you ask. Otherwise, you will most likely receive the “oh, so close but no cigar” answer.

As you lead the client through this process, do not let them off with vague answers. Rarely should you take the first answer at face value. Ask the client to expand on each answer. Get them to open up about why you were not selected.

Remember this is a break-up, so the client may initially be reluctant to open up. The onus is on you to lead.

Taking action after the call

Once the call is complete, do not make any immediate and drastic changes to your process. You should not revise your approach based on one call, as the feedback is ultimately from only one person and flavored with a “break up tone.” Instead, look for common threads over time. If you hear the same feedback over several calls about specific areas of your process, then you should make the appropriate changes.

When the post-pitch client debriefing call is orchestrated more methodically, it can play an invaluable role in helping to fine-tune your new business process – converting more business for your agency.

You can download The Mirren Post-Pitch Debrief Guide here.

To learn more about strategies for new business and organic growth, join us at Mirren Live this May 19th & 20th. We’ll be addressing how to grow your agency, win remote pitches and drive organic growth. The goal: build a faster, smarter, healthier agency.

The Mirren Post-Pitch Client Debriefing Guide

Special Registration Discount: our conference partner, Winmo, is providing a $200 discount off the current early rate for a limited time. Use code: WIN200


Brent HodginsBrent Hodgins is the Managing Director at Mirren, a training firm focused on improving the organic growth and new business performance of agencies. He has trained CEOs and their senior management teams in every major region around the world.
His approach to converting business is down to a science – strategic and methodical – but often contrarian. In fact, agencies must break from their ways of the past or risk blending in as another commoditized agency. Prior to Mirren, Brent worked on accounts that included Kellogg’s, Johnson & Johnson, and McDonald’s at Leo Burnett, TBWA, and Wieden + Kennedy.

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