Wanton Verbosity: The Death of a Sales Pitch for Investment

Last week I managed to open the door to an investor for an early-stage business

The candidate came via a colleague I have known for a few years who I like and trust. During my 2 year stint as a funding matchmaker in my previous company, I know how rare it is to get businesses in the door and at the table of genuinely interested investors. I did not know the CEO so I asked that we had a coffee first so that I could get to know him a little bit. He had an impressive business track record and I was quite excited by his business idea.

I gave him one instruction: be clear, relevant and succinct in your answers

He nodded and continued to talk about how wonderful he thought the business idea was. We went into the office of the potential investor and it all started to go horribly wrong almost immediately, when he spent over 5 minutes (not as it transpired) answering the first question. The business owner spent at least 90% of the meeting talking and answering questions that were not asked. This was clearly because he did not have good answers to the questions that were asked.

He took so long to not answer some of the questions that the investor attempted to interrupt to try and bring him back on track

He was quick to interrupt the investor to not answer the question that he had only half heard. This is a symptom which is very common in the business world. Some people just will not listen or read the communication cues of those that they are with. In my debrief I pointed this out only to find that he was “trying to anticipate other things that he wanted to know”. Exactly how he thought this was a good idea, especially as it transpires: he is not psychic, I have no idea.

The upshot is that regardless how good the idea is, I will not be bringing him to any more investor meetings

Not just in the world of business, but also in life: those who are simply waiting to talk, rather than listening to what is being said and acting accordingly, are gold to any business. There are way too many people who are too stuck in their opinion to change it, and these people can be toxic to organisations and their team dynamic.

This is why investing in people skills training is a really good idea for teams.

For details of my accredited people skills training programme contact me to find out how it can help you and your team.

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