What Makes a Good Pitch?
This is good place to start on the funding journey, and it’s probably not what you think it is.
Before you even start to think about the pitch itself, you need to think about its purpose.
Most people I see pitch for funding get crucial elements wrong, even before they start their pitch.
They are not prepared.
Before I further my case, have a look at the pitch below…
The reason that I selected this is because it is broken up into 5 parts.
How many parts of this video did you watch?
I’m guessing that if you either didn’t go beyond the end of the first video, or you watched them all. You are welcome to tell me if this wasn’t the case!
This is because it takes less than 7 seconds to assess whether you like someone, or not.
If you didn’t, it brings up a good point when pitching: not everyone is going to like you or your pitch, but you only need one investor to like it enough for you to get going.
To do that, you need to put your own uniqueness into the pitch.
The critical element of this is: do they like you enough to want to continue the conversation? Ultimately; people buy people.
Whilst Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den are great entertainment; it’s very rare to have someone hand over a six-figure sum of money within 10 minutes of meeting you. They will want to do at least some due-diligence.
A common mistake is to believe that it’s all about the business/opportunity itself.
It’s never just about the business proposition: it’s about you. The first question any potential investor asks, whether consciously or not, is: Do I like you?
Likability is a big part of pitching. The first 7 seconds of your pitch in any situation usually indicates the general direction of where it heads. Whilst that is not always the case, it takes a much bigger effort to win someone over after a bad start than it does to lose them after a good one.
Rapport is important.
Being confident and passionate about your business/product is always where to begin. Uncertainty in your pitch starts with doubt about your offer. If you cannot justify your valuation, you will likely find yourself dead in the water.
Let’s start with what worked in the Quickflip pitch above:
- A confident entrance with a smile (smiling massively helps with rapport-building)
- A clear introduction highlighting the purpose of the pitch
- A personal story to give context to the problem he solved
- Humour to get the sharks smiling as well
- A solid business case, with 4 patents to prove it
- He knew his numbers
- A very memorable presentation demonstrating a great connection to, and relationship with his target audience
- A friendly demeanour whilst taking the first rejections
- Flexibility to make a deal happen
- He had all of the sharks following his commands in the demonstration, adding greatly to the rapport-factor
Whilst there are certainly areas that could be improved upon, especially with the negotiations, he did what he needed to do and was happy with his result.
Most pitches will not give you this long but he utilised the Q&A section to drip feed other relevant information into the pitch.
Because he had so much rapport, he was able to get away with slightly longer answers to some of the questions than they needed to be.
The reality for you if you are pitching for funding is:
Unless you are on Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank, it’s unlikely that anyone is going to hand over their money after a short pitch. They will want to find out more before they invest.
This will usually involve a follow up meeting.
And this for most people should be the only focus of your pitch.
Your only goal is to sell yourself and your opportunity succinctly enough to get an investor to want to find out more.
When that happens you are over the first hurdle, and your pitch has worked. Then the journey continues. Unfortunately, most people pitching will never reach this point because they are not pitch-ready.
Being pitch-ready will not guarantee you get funded but it will massively increase your chances. On the basis that less than 1% of start up businesses receive angel or VC funding, it becomes clear that pitch-readiness is not a luxury: it’s essential.
And this is where I help the CEO’s I work with.
Public speaking/pitching is a separate skill to having a good idea, being a genius or a good CEO. Thinking that one causes another is the biggest mistake I hear when I speak to people looking for funding. The big mistake is: “I am the best person to pitch it,” before spewing information that wasn’t asked for in the hope that the more you say, the better investors will understand.
The opposite is true in a pitch situation where less is almost always more.
If you don’t think you need to invest in pitch-readiness and you have attempted to get investment already, you are likely to waste a lot of time and eventually affect your mental health in an adverse way.
Seeking investment is usually touted as a numbers game, which it often is. If you are not pitch-ready those numbers will likely continue indefinitely.
If you want to know if you are pitch-ready, have a chat with me and I’ll soon be able to tell you.
Thank you to Shane on Unsplash.com for the image.