Workspace isn't sold on looks alone, and a great pitch is essential to securing new clients. Richard Branson, someone who knows a thing or two about successful business strategies, shares his top five tips on how to hit the right notes with the perfect pitch.
Business centre and flexible workspace operators know the importance of a perfect pitch. They do it every day, seamlessly, whilst chatting with clients or showing prospective new clients around during a tour. Just like those seen on Dragon's Den, pitches and sales spiels are often (and should be) closely scrutinised - and if the numbers don't add up or if the patter doesn't match the product, any business person worth their salt will run a mile in the opposite direction.
Where flexible workspace is concerned, the proof is in the pudding. Clients can see and experience the workspace first-hand which speaks volumes and, as the best business centre managers know, there's no second chance to make a great first impression.
But workspace isn't sold on looks alone, and there is still plenty of room for business centre operators to perfect their pitching skills.
Successful entrepreneur Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has not only perfected his own pitching skills but also has the opportunity to scrutinise others' business proposals on a regular basis. In a recent article on LinkedIn he said that the most impressive pitches all have a few things in common, so here we've summarised his top five essential strategies for that perfect pitch.
Don't get on the bandwagon: Branson says it's essential to explain how you "make a difference" to your customers. He recommends doing so in a "short, sharp, entertaining fashion". After all, in a B2B market your clients are businesspeople with little time to spare, so your pitch or sales process should be comprehensive but to the point.
Know your stuff: You should have "expert knowledge" and demonstrate a solid understanding of your market. The workspace industry is competitive - your potential clients are probably already aware of your competitors and what they can offer, so use your market knowledge to show how you can go one better.
Be realistic: Branson always looks for "a realistic plan" that's practical and well-rounded, covering the key legal, financial and operational plans. Much of this can be covered in the follow-up proposal, but workspace operators should be well aware of the necessities in order to answer clients' questions on the spot.
The long haul: Longevity is key, and Branson is constantly on a wary lookout for "flavour of the month" concepts. Sustainability is important, and you should demonstrate how your business centre is developing and your plans for the future. This is also a key selling point, as a future refurbishment or expansion could seal the deal (just make sure you follow up on any promises!)
Show your strongest hand: Branson says that the best pitches "show their strongest hand" and demonstrate that the business is an exciting place to be. He also recommends showing off the people involved. This is particularly important for workspace operators, as great people and first-rate customer service are at the heart of every successful workspace location.
This is one of many topics on the agenda at the BCA's Annual Conference & Exhibition on 16th May 2013. The overriding theme is 'Space as a Service', and within this concept are multiple avenues that we as a sector will be exploring, calling on business leaders and experts like Ian Marcus of Evans Property Group and Vodafone UK CEO Guy Laurence.