There is a saying that we learn more from our failures than our successes. This is only true if we study our failures and learn from them.
When Agencies do not win the pitch there is a tendency to go for the easy excuse:
“It was a just dog and pony show. They knew who they would give the account to from the start”.
“Our competitors are almost willing to work for free. We can’t do that.”
They also tend to believe the white lies that prospects feed them.
“We really liked your work but Headquarters forced us to go with Agency X”.
This might help them to handle the disappointment but it does not help solve the problem
The only way to really know what happened is to do a cold hearted post mortem.
Ideally, you should be able to film your presentation. Then set up a session with the key players. Establish upfront that it is not about laying blame but about getting better. Look at the film and ask yourself the following:
What did we do well? What did we do wrong?
Where did the presentation turn? What five things can we do differently and better the next time around?
It is hard to do this but after two or three sessions you should be able to identify and address major issues. Before long you will find yourself doing post mortems of your wins.