Mindset to Approach a Design-led Sales Pitch

Know what others expect of you when contributing to a ‘Pitch Presentation’

A little extra effort could go a long way

At OOZOU, to our design team, ‘a sales pitch’ is considered a challenging task where designers have to work together to express creativity with problem-solving skills, while appealing to the prospects at the same time.

Working on a pitch shouldn’t be much of a hassle for a team of designers. You might think that they share similarities with a ‘portfolio presentation’ type of work. Even so, when it comes to the company's sales pitch, there may still be some noteworthy things that we can improve upon when making contributions to the presentation.

Some research won’t hurt

Don’t just dive into whatever UI design you feel like doing at the moment. You can’t solve the problem if you don’t really know what it is. If your potential client gives you a brief and criteria for the pitch, read it. That’s the main priority you should be answering for.

Take some time to explore


Additionally, try looking up their product or service and see if you can conduct some quick research on their business and competitors, figuring out how the current situation could be improved further.

Define the ideas

As stated above, it’s likely that your potential client probably likes more than just an out-of-this-world UI with a shallow concept. Before any screens are made, consider what you want to solve. Try giving yourself (and your team) some thought-provoking questions like:

  • Are they focusing on the right problem?
  • Do they need to expand/focus more on their target user group?
  • Could the problems happen because of a bad UX practice?

Seeing the ‘true’ problem of a product is perhaps the most important aspect of your solution.

Outline your structure of the pitch first

You are probably excited about that great idea you want to try out. The suggestion would be to roughly plan out the overall layout of your presentation first. Put notes on each page to quickly come up with the amount of time you have to spend and how detailed you want them to be.

When you have your slide outline, discuss with your team to see if there’s anything worth adding in or cutting out to save time. Run it roughly in your head to see if the slide order is connected in a sensible way to tell a coherent story. Any presentation shouldn’t last too long or contain too many pages or the prospect might not pay enough attention to what you’re saying.

Point out what’s wrong

If need be, weak spots and glaring issues of their current product are worth mentioning in order to paint a bigger picture of what’s not been going so well. Do your research and try your best to figure out why. Be respectful and keep the critique constructive and reasonable.

Be open-minded and do your best to research and suggest your idea for a solution. Give them the benefit of the doubt and keep in mind that they might have a solid reason for that particular weak spot on their product. After all, they called you there for a reason.

If you can’t explain it reasonably, it doesn’t make sense

You cannot win clients over with your design alone. Practice giving out concise answers and opinions. Consider if you also have anything to back up your design decisions. Anything could be of use while presenting your concept, be it from quick research or even your own experience as a designer.

Try talking over with your colleagues the reasons behind your design in order to confirm whether they’re on-board with you. Everyone in the room might stay silent during your presentation, but always keep yourself prepared with firm answers for any potential question. This will foster more confidence in your idea and that feeling will permeate into your voice as well.

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Be honest

You’re not tricking them into working with you. The most common mistake I notice is that people are often afraid to be honest and only say the things they ‘think’ their client wants to hear. It’s deceiving and could risk your engagement in the long run.

The whole pitch process is to show what your team/company is capable of and to highlight your problem-solving skills. Accept that it may not be the definitive solution that your soon-to-be client ultimately wants. After all,  they have been running the business for who knows how long. You're not gonna solve all their problems in 2 days making the pitch anyway!

Speak up for you and your team. Be humble, stay realistic.


Don’t overcommit on perfectionism

Chances are you probably have about 5-10 minutes to present your design portion of the pitch at the meeting. Be careful not to over-prepare the mockup screens. You may unintentionally spend too much time on making a spotless non-practical UI. If you think that it’s ‘good enough’ to carry your point across, move on to the other part of the presentation. You can always come back and polish it up later.

But make it memorable

That being said, no one wants to look at a lifeless design pitch with calculated responsive text line-height. Make it the way you’d want it to look on your favourite dribbble artist page! You can work out the realistic details later on when you’re actually working on it. (provided you landed the contract in the first place!)

What an incredible coffee machine they have

Let your work leave a lasting impression. If you can breathe new life into generic-looking design conventions and make it as eye-catching as possible, that alone would leave a good impression for the client. Make it so that when someone mentions the company’s name, they will likely remember your team’s ‘stunning’ slides.

Now go out and make your team proud!


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Gavin
I'm a full-time Product Designer (and a Front-end enthusiast) at OOZOU in Bangkok, Thailand
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