High pitch costs often far exceed potential profits from a new client in year one. Today, clients ask more companies to present ideas without willingly paying fees for the efforts. What if a client could be won without pitching and pitch costs were re-invested in better quality service than what those can afford that engage in routine pitching?

A recent but not isolated case from Germany proves it’s possible.

A world leader in specialty products called for tenders when one contender suggested a pre-tender audit before deciding to accept the invitation. The audit’s objective was to clarify client intention, the judging process, criteria for choice and seeking answers to topics not covered in the brief.

Initial surprise by the prospect made way to the understanding that this audit would also benefit the client by uncovering internal divergence and helping to converge common understanding. Six board members including the owner agreed to participate in the audit; results were outstanding and the contender’s engagement was rewarded: it was chosen for a complete rebranding operation with a long-term contract.

Investing in this audit not only demonstrated the winner’s commitment but also gleaned a deep understanding of the client’s real issues so that a “Dream Team” could be put together which had all the relevant experience required by this specific client. When the results of the audit were presented to the client, the contender followed it up with its own “pitch” and was chosen on the spot.