I have spent time with overseas experts, and have learnt their secrets. Here are some standout tips…
I spent a fascinating day with 14 investors from the US and the EU last week. What an opportunity that was to pick their brains about pitching and getting the money.
These investors were in Australia looking for companies that had potential for investment.
It was a cross section of investors, both angel groups and venture capital companies. Included were partners from Burrill & Co, Roche, Tech Coast Angels, Finistere Partners, Life Sciences Angels and SHI Consulting.
And I did the rounds, maximised my networking and spoke to them over coffee, red wine and when sharing lots of very good food. Over the next few blogs I’ll let you in on the “the good oil”.
So, what are the key messages from these investors?
There was STANDOUT message that they all put as high priority. ENGAGE.
What does this mean?
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This is a tricky one because it’s as much about the intangible as it is about the tangible.
For a start, you need to be enthusiastic and passionate. Don’t be afraid to show some emotion. Now, that doesn’t mean doing a jig on the table and it doesn’t mean that you drop the professional approach.
Create an atmosphere that is friendly and informal. Relax a little. People prefer to do business with those that they like. And the investors will be your business partners, they will work side by side with you, you need to get on. It’s like a marriage and it will probably last longer.
Be straightforward. You’ve seen interviews with politicians. Well, don’t copy them. Their mission in life is not to be accountable; your mission is to be 100% accountable.
Make a “blow your socks off” start. Get them hooked in the first 20 seconds. That’s not easy so you’ll need to work at this one. Not many people get this right. It takes just the right amount of theatre.
Back up all your statements with facts. Don’t use hype. Then you will get the investors really excited. Stay away from “your opinion” and give them the facts. You can’t do that 100% but if you get about 80% fact then you will be well on the way to engaging the investors.
Keep the energy in the room at a high level. How do you do this?
- Stand up to present and move, but just a little. Remember, no jigs.
- Have two to three presenters/people present from your team.
- Use different forms of conveying information.
- Take samples of your product. I saw a presentation where the company had a huge Honda Golden Wings motorbike lifted by crane into the room. How’s that for enthusiasm!
- Don’t be monotone.
There is more to engaging than you might think. But master this art and you are well on your way.
Gail Geronimos, is the founder of Achaeus, which helps entrepreneurs develop their businesses and she has just started a new site www.pitchingtoinvestors.com with tools and tips about how to develop killer presentations to raise capital.
To read more Gail Geronimos blogs, click here.