You’re dead if you are not specific
Friday, June 20, 2008/
Pitching to an investor? ‘Ra ra ra’ just doesn’t cut it. Here’s what you need to say…
I have just got off the phone after being interviewed by someone from the US about my views of pitching. And a very interesting point was raised that I want to share with you.
One of the listeners gave a short pitch, and unfortunately it was the classic ‘blah, blah, blah’. Lots of general statements about making five to 10 times the investor’s money from this technology that has no competition.
That just doesn’t cut it.
To really make an impression you need to be very specific in every statement. I hear this all the time:
“Our management team is the most experienced in the industry. I have many years experience working for the largest international companies and I have also been successful running my own business. I have worked in this industry and I know how to make a success of this business.”
“Mary Smith, our marketing director, has worked overseas for quite a few years and she achieved a high level of success in her last company. She has worked for two early stage technology companies and Mary knows how to manage the marketing side of businesses just like ours.”
“John Jones is our technology director. He has over a 10 years experience in this field. In his last position John was responsible for a major technology breakthrough and brings this experience to our company.”
What’s wrong with this?
- It’s boring. It simply does not grab the investor by the throat and say “Listen to this. This is powerful stuff”.
- This statement could apply to lots of companies. It is not specific enough.
- The presenter is wasting valuable time with this “next to useless” information.
- It is a statement of opinion. The investor has no basis to make his/her own assessment whether or not this is a good management team.
Let’s replay it.
“In the last 18 years I have worked for IBM, Google and Microsoft at senior management level. Twelve of those 18 years was spent in the UK and the US. For four years I was working with Google at head office in California. During that time I gained a real insider’s view of what’s happening in the internet marketing space. Two years ago I established iiMarketing. I successfully sold that company for six times earnings.”
“Mary Smith, our marketing director, has worked in the US for the last six years. During that time she worked in senior marketing roles for 1Marketing and NetExpansion. Both early stage companies. While at NetExpansion, Mary was instrumental in helping to raise $5.5 million in venture capital. The company achieved their sales budget for the two years that Mary was in control of the marketing plan.”
“John Jones is our technology director. For the past 11 years he worked for three small dynamic companies that specialise in internet marketing. Corporate Communications, Technology Solutions and Internet Marketing. He headed up the teams that developed the technology platforms for these companies. In February, Corporate Communications won the Asia Pacific award for their internet marketing technology – a testament to John’s ability. John knows how to manage technology teams to deliver solutions on time and within budget.”
Your whole pitch needs to sound like this. Then I guarantee that you will have the investors on the edge of their seats.
Follow these points and you will really sharpen up your presentation:
- Be very, very specific.
- State names, places and time frames.
- Use numbers.
- Identify highlights and mention them.
- Don’t use hype. Give the investor facts so that he/she can decide if this really is impressive stuff.
- Avoid stating your own opinion. Of course you are going to say how great everything is – you have a seriously vested interest. Respect the investor and give the investor facts and figures. They can then decide for themselves how good you are.
Till next week…
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.