Startups are like online dating when pitching venture capitalists. You’re pitching yourself and your services trying to see if you have a future partner who wants the same services you offer. What makes your pitch stand out vs someone elses? How do you decide? How do you pitch the perfect service?
A person’s immediate reaction to your pitch is going to influence their decision. People don’t necessarily want to see your background, they don’t want to get to know you and be your friend. They are only interested in your services that you can offer. Your services are either interesting or not. It’s that quick.
Here are some insights on how to create that perfect pitch for your company if you are trying to raise money and get the ball rolling.
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND DO YOUR HOMEWORK FIRST
Understanding your audience is crucial to making a good pitch. Thankfully, we have LinkedIn which has become such a versatile tool. You’re able to look everyone up in the room and be able to research their background and common interest points so you have something to base your pitch on. You have to figure out where you’re relevant or not in their world. If you’re meeting a partner at a firm in charge of investing and you aren’t strong, it’s just not going to work.
SET THE FOUNDATION
Build a strong foundation for your presentation by asking three simple questions:
“How long do I have?” If you built your whole assumption upon being there for an hour and you only have half an hour, you’re really going to be stuck.
“Which three things can I explain most clearly?” Getting a feel for what investors want helps you focus your pitch. The market and technology are all that matters to them. Then, you will skew your presentation completely wrong due to the misconception you have about what the team wants to know. Nonetheless, this question also results in your audience verbally committing to your viewpoint. If technology, markets, and competition are all that they care about, then once you address those three, they cannot complain, you’ve done your job.
“Are they able to wait until the end of the presentation to ask questions?” This is a vital rule to establish since you want your presentation to go as quickly as possible. There’s no use taking questions, they’re going to lead you down dead ends.
YOUR STORY: THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY AND HOW YOU WANT IT TO ENCOMPASS EVERYTHING ABOUT THE COMPANY
Do not mention your patent-pending, curve-jumping, paradigm-shifting, enterprise-class, scalable product or service. There’s no reason to differentiate yourself from the other companies the VC is meeting that day. You don’t need to differentiate yourself from the other companies the VC is meeting that day. CEO after CEO will try to use shock and awe to convince these investors to write you a check at the end of 60 minutes. Actually, no! It doesn’t work like that. Instead, you should tell stories about why you started the company.
Ideally, there should be 10 slides per presentation. Ideally, your talk should take no more than 20 minutes.
LET ONE PERSON GUIDE THE ROOM, DON’T OVERPOWER THE CONVERSATION
You know the old adage that investors invest in your team? Don’t fall for it! You really end up with an unstable and jagged presentation when you parade the CEO, CTO, and CMO in front of investors attempting to showcase how dedicated, hardworking, and brilliant you all are.
MAKE SURE EVERYONE HAS A VOICE
Put yourself in the position of someone who is on your shoulder for everything you say. You will always be asked, “so what? “, every time you say something. If you say you have your team working at “ABC” don’t assume your audience will make the distinctive judgment that your team is more than fully capable of getting the job done and is a team of successfully proven individuals. You have to always answer for the little man in that conversation.
PITCH, PITCH, PITCH!
You don’t innately know how to pitch. It’s an acquired skill. Practice makes perfect. You have to repeat the pitch until you’re really smooth with the pitch.
BE MINDFUL, TAKE NOTES AND ALWAYS FOLLOW-UP
When you finish presenting and you’re answering questions, make sure you’re taking notes, or at least fake taking notes. That way it looks like you’re engaged in the meeting and allows for a better follow up.
SQUARE ONE IS YOUR FRIEND, START THERE FIRST
Your pitch is always evolving, both for good and for bad reasons. When a VC expresses concern about the team, you create a team page. Adding a bit of information about the optimal programming language is helpful for the next person. You include a marketing slide when someone asks about the marketing plan. And so forth.
At MCDA CCG we not only create your pitch deck with proven tactics to get a sale and get your business approach across in a concise clean approach, we also guide you on how to properly execute your deck in meetings.
If you’re interested in improving your deck, creating a deck or even coaching on how to better your deck in sales meetings, we can help!
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