How to Write a Killer Pitch for Investors

March 12, 2014

 

One short conversation with a potential investor, if successful in convincing him about the product and your capability, could make all your dreams come true.  So, how do you approach a conversation like this?

You work on your start-up day and night. You have a winning team and do everything in your power to produce the very best product.  Now, all that’s left to do is recruit investors.  You know that the only thing separating you from your lifelong dream is a single conversation.

There is good news and there is bad news.  We will start with the good news – there is a solution! The bad news, however, is that it will take you a lot of time and effort to succeed. If it took Churchill one hour to write every minute of his speech, then writing your speech – one that introduces your start-up, creates both an impact and a desire to hear more, will not be a simple task.  However, by combining a few tools into a single response, you will see that even the most complex product can become exciting, simple, accessible and valuable.  Let’s begin!

Set a goal – Before you sit down to write your pitch, set yourself a clear goal.  A clear goal includes a specific time frame, clarity and quantity.  What is your purpose? Funding? Landing another meeting? Collaboration? Advice? The goal has to be even more focused than that.  For example, if you want to ask for funding – how much money are you asking for? When do you need the money? Do you need it in stages? Or all at once? You should know exactly what you want to ask for.  If you don’t have a clear goal, the chances of attaining it become nothing more than pure luck.

Once you know the speech’s goal, then you can begin writing it:

Teaser – You have been given an amazing opportunity.  You are sitting alone in a room with an investor.  However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that his brain or attention are focused solely on you.  Your task, from the very start, is to catch his attention and make sure it is focused on you, and only you.  There are a few ways to quickly stimulate attention.  For example, one way is to present statistics – which do not necessarily have to be connected to your product.  The data provokes your listener’s curiosity; he is interested in listening and learning about it.  The teaser can also be a personal story, a news item, or anything that will quickly perk up your audience’s attention.  Your teaser will work best if you create a value for it.

Creating value – While finding a way to make your product exciting, you must ensure the listener understands the product’s value to him.  The moment we successfully give the teaser a value, we create a mental short cut and the attention level rises significantly.   For example, when you walk down the street, see a billboard for the lottery that says “scratch and win a million shekels” – the ad both grabs our attention, and creates a value for us – we want to win the million shekels.  Therefore, even if the chances of winning a million shekels go against every logical and statistical calculation, it still caught our attention.  They presented the value we could gain before explaining the general, logical idea.

Make it simple – Once we have caught our audience’s attention, it is time to talk about our product.  Here is the challenging part – are you able to explain, in a single sentence, what your product / company / service does? The greatest challenge of a complex product or particularly good idea is the possibility of making it simple and accessible.

Of course, you don’t use words that are too difficult or fancy – those that create ambiguity or cover up an inability to generate a definition. If you’ve successfully done this simply and succinctly, it will leave you with a lot more time to invest in other components.

Why you? – Toward the end of your speech is the time to explain what makes you special. – Why are you the person/people who can turn this vision into reality? This is a critical point because you are asking the investor to trust in you.  Here you can emphasize your unique background in the industry, the combination represented by your winning team, or your achievements. It is important to remember that most decisions we make are not logical ones, and so, use of your behavior and presentation skills are just as vital in sending a strong, persuasive message as a list of your degrees and achievements.  ** Tip – we have a tendency to attribute more confidence, and, as a result, faith in a person, when his shoulders are square – so sit up straight and they will be!

All of these components, which build a winning speech, will require that you sit at length to sharpen and polish your message.  Sometimes using consultants will shorten the prep time.  Using modern technology to measure your impact is also likely to improve your performance.

Every year around 800 start-ups are established in Israel and, with that number comes increased competition over investors.  The first impression and effect you give off from the very first moment could be the thing to separate you from the crowd, getting the investor to choose you from the sea of entrepreneurs.  As we said earlier, sometimes a single conversation is the only thing separating you from your dream – don’t let it fall through your fingers.

 

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