A powerful pitch can sway investors to choose you—even if someone else has more traction
Most investors are more likely to fund someone who gave a powerful pitch over someone who has more traction but whose pitch wasn’t as compelling.
The pitching skill—and it is a skill—gives you a real advantage over other entrepreneurs who are not as prepared or savvy.
A powerful pitch takes planning and practice, much like learning a new dance (for more on that, check out my blog on The Fundraising Dance).
Here are a few tips that will take you from mediocre to mesmerizing.
1. Study the art of the pitch
A common mistake is going into a pitch unprepared. A pitch is a story—your story—and there is an art to telling it well.
One book I’ve found helpful (and now recommend to students of my Masterclass and workshops) is Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff.
In just over a decade, Klaff has used his winning formula to raise more than $400 million. In this book, he gives the inside scoop on how you can do it, too.
2. Know who you’re pitching to
When you’re pitching to a venture capitalist, remember that you’re pitching to a person and not a company. Find out as much as you can about the person. What do they care about? What kind of entrepreneurs do they fund? What numbers and metrics matter to them most? Read their blogs, Twitter feeds, and find out everything you can on and offline.
When I was fundraising, doing extensive research not only made my pitch better, it also helped me feel more comfortable, since I knew what they might find persuasive and meaningful.
3. Step outside your story
Every great pitch is a story with an arc. You are the founder of your business and that makes you uniquely qualified to tell it.
The familiarity that comes with living our stories can make it tough to find the right arc. We can give too much or too little detail in our effort to share enough while being succinct and impactful.
A good way to see whether you’ve got a powerful story is to pitch to someone outside your company and then have them pitch it back to you. If they don’t “get it,” can’t say it back easily, or get important facts or details wrong, it means your pitch needs polishing.
4. Stand out from the crowd
You won’t be the only entrepreneur pitching to these investors. So how will you make yourself stand out?
- Know your customer really well. Build a customer avatar and be prepared to speak about him or her. You can even include the avatar in your deck. Speak with great knowledge and depth about who your customer is. Of course you’ll want to cover the standard demographics like age and gender, but you’ll also want to discuss preferences, paint points, and spending habits.
- Demonstrate that you’ve gotten traction. It’s important to show that people need or want what you’re offering. A powerful pitch with traction will make you an attractive double-whammy for investors.
- Know your numbers inside and out. Forward and backward too; I can’t stress this one enough. Key numbers to memorize are CAC, or customer acquisition cost, RUN RATE, or how much you spend every month, and LTV, or the lifetime value of a customer.
5. Practice, practice, practice
This one sounds obvious, I know, but you’d be surprised by how many entrepreneurs I’ve met that don’t take this crucial step. And I mean practice aloud. In front of an audience. Even your kids (yup, I did that).
Public speaking coaches recommend you do three rehearsals for any important pitch: one for content, one for presentation, and one for confidence!
Practicing aloud will help you pinpoint issues so you can work through them before you’re in front of a potential investor. Instead of sweating through your pitch, you’ll be able to deliver it with grace and ease.
They’re not really investing in your company…
They’re investing in YOU. So if you’re ready to take your pitching skills to the next level and want to learn how to close more, consider joining me on October 5th for my Million Dollar Women Fundraising Workshop.
You’ll learn shortcuts to fundraising that will save you months and years of research and join a community of women who can support you in your quest to go further, faster.
I only offer these workshops twice a year and they fill up fast, so register today.
Good luck pitching and remember one of my favorite mantras when fundraising: “Have the fear. Do it anyway.”
P.S. The window is closing for my VIP Coaching group, for a small group of women entrepreneurs who want to work with me for 90 days. Email Allison@JuliaPimsleur.com to learn more. Registration closes August 25th!