By Lois Kirkpatrick,
Loudoun County, Virginia Economic Development
You need funding. An investor has said “yes” to a meeting. Now, how do you get them to say “yes” to your pitch? Here are eight secrets to successful pitching, according to national business experts featured
in USA Today, CNBC, the Huffington Post, and other sources.
1. Know that you have less than three minutes – in fact, around 30 seconds.
New York-based business strategist Geri Stengel reveals that investors make their decision about your pitch within 30 seconds. Goldman Sachs says your pitch should only take three minutes max. Either way, the idea is to get to the point quickly. Figure out what’s most compelling about your product or service, and say it in the shortest amount of time - with passion.
2. Sell yourself.
Investors have to believe in you. They want to know that you have the expertise and perseverance to make your business succeed. Tell them why you’re a good risk.
3. Don’t rely on a power point.
There’s a reason why TV shows like “Shark Tank” don’t allow contestants to use Power Point. It’s too easy to create a presentation that’s dense and boring. Your goal should be to engage investors with a passionate dialog about your business.
4. Do your homework.
Know who’s sitting in front of you. What is she interested in? What other ventures has he backed? Know as much as you can about your potential investors before you step into the room.
5. Solve a problem.
What specific problem do you solve? For example, if you’re selling a new type of drill, understand that your customers don’t really want a drill. What they really want is to make holes in wooden boards. Be able to tell investors exactly what problem your service solves.
6. Know the facts.
What are your competitors doing? How will you compete against them? What research supports your performance projections? Give investors solid reasons for confidence in you and your team.
7. Practice, practice, practice
What’s the one question you hope investors won’t ask? Know the answer to that question in advance, and practice explaining it calmly and clearly. Rehearse your whole presentation over and over so that when you’re in front of investors, you’ll be relaxed and confident.
8. Ask for what you want.
A vague request will get vague results. End your presentation with a strong, specific request. Ask for the funding range you need, and explain exactly how you’ll use it to accomplish a return on their investment.
The bottom line is, being passionate and prepared make it more likely that investors will say “yes” to your pitch.
Content contributed by Lois Kirkpatrick of Loudoun SourceLink, a proud affiliate of U.S. SourceLink, America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs.