One of the most crucial parts of winning a big contract is pitching. It's your chance to sell your business, ensuring you present the buyers with an offering they just can't refuse. But perfect pitching takes practice and research. We asked the founders of healthy frozen smoothie kit company Pack'd, about how they prepared for the pitches that got them into Tesco and Sainsburys.

Packd healthy smoothie kit

How much information did you have beforehand about what they wanted to see?

With most presentations we have had a specific time allocation of 45 minutes and an agenda/overview of what they would like to discuss. For us, this usually means focusing on why our products are different and how we can add value for them.

What medium did you pitch through?

We had carefully designed/printed presentation booklets, business cards and our products. Our Smoothie Kits are very interactive so presentations tend to feel more like a conversation and a product demo than a pitch, which helps steady our nerves and break the ice.

Did you do much research beforehand?

We do as much research as possible in the time that we have available – there is no such thing as being too prepared on this front. It’s crucial to take the time to understand their business inside out and to tailor your approach to match their needs. For me, each pitch is like the ultimate job interview and we prepare so that we can walk away proud no matter what.

How many stages of pitching did you go through?

Usually an initial pitch, followed by a second meeting and plenty of discussions via email, completing forms and organising logistics, before receiving confirmation. The paperwork and logistics can seem like an afterthought but the speed of completing these and attention to detail is key to finalising the deal and launching in the right way.

Packd founders

After the pitch how long did it take to hear back, and how fast did things move afterwards?

I follow up pitches within 24 hours and we usually hear within a week, if it is good news. Once we’ve received confirmation, then it is between 3-6 months before we hit the shelves in a major supermarket. This is because most supermarkets have ‘ranging windows’, and it is important to find out when these are.

Did you have to negotiate much, and how did you approach this?

We are honest with what we can do to make a successful partnership with each retailer, and as long as a deal is fair for both parties then we are happy.

Any tips for nervous pitchers in your position?

I get incredibly nervous before each pitch. My tips would be, to prepare as much as possible in the time you have, write down clear objectives for the meeting (business and personal) and know that you have everything to gain. You’re walking in with a chance of achieving a listing, you’ve already achieved by being brave enough to pitch, and you will learn and gain from that moment on. It’s natural to be nervous - embrace it!

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