Numerous blog posts have been written to guide you towards an irresistible investor pitch. From maximum slide count to ideal content and seductive financial presentations. You name it, it’s out there. I too researched many of them and I am compelled to sprinkle in a few communication-oriented extras after I sat down recently with a new CEO to review his own investor pitch.
The goal of the investor pitch is clear: convince the investor of the validity and future success of your profitable idea and business plan, so they are willing to sign over a nice sum of money so you can make it happen.
Below are my communication tips to set you up for pitching success!
Tip 1: paint the dream, not yours but theirs.
Investors are being pitched all the time, by great companies like you … and not so great companies too. Be sure to capture their attention within minutes (seconds?) by painting the dream first, then tell them who you are, what you do and fill in the rest.
Do some research and tailor your dream, um, I mean pitch. What exactly are your investors looking for? Find those things that go beyond a great financial return and present your business as a story in which they play a prime role.
Do they want to be perceived as cool and cutting edge because they just invested in a ground-breaking innovation that will change people’s lives all over? Do they want to gain increased respect from peers because they are on the ground with a business that finally provides the solution their industry has been silently struggling with for years? Do they want to look grand in their family’s eyes, and if so how? Do they want discounts, free products, VIP treatment? Simply put, is there something else you can do for them …?
Tip 2: why are you worthy of their money?
Here comes the meat. Instead of veering into formal territory, keep the storyline going but switch it up. People still connect with stories, more than with facts and numbers. However, a Stanford University study found that combining stories with relevant data leads to a retention rate of 65–70%!
Create an interesting dynamic between your story and intermittently back it up with your well-prepared business facts, research, and projections. What is the problem you are solving (nail it!), what is the need you are fulfilling, and how are you (re)presenting the ultimate solution everyone has been waiting for.
Tell your official story but make your investors the “perceived hero,” not you.
Dare to go beyond financials and subtly add in those things that matter to your investor on a more personal level …
Tip 3: don’t brush over the “how.”
Of course you are ready to explain your go-to-market strategy and exactly how you are planning to get traction. Did you also remember to mention your point of differentiation and effectiveness as a company, and as a brand? Name your competitors, and set yourself apart.
Have you considered how you will get some press exposure? Do you have an angle and/or short term initiatives to do just that? It matters! Briefly touching upon this topic to show investors this too is on top of your mind may already set you apart from any other pitches. Even better: make sure you have a preliminary press-kit ready (if possible) that they can take away.
Also, don’t forget to include how and how often you are going to keep them updated too. Will you meet with them quarterly, will you send them monthly email updates? Make that promise now, it shows consideration and respect. If they invest in you, they want to hear from you!
Tip 4: “the jock is more important than the horse.”
No matter how great your business concept is, your management team will make or break the deal. Have they done this before, say so – even if they failed – and show grit. Instead of a resume summary, highlight their most amazing accomplishments and keep their full resumes handy in a binder if desired. Your investors want to be sure you have what it takes to see this through … show them.
And forget not, a successful management team is more than a combination of brilliant minds, be sure to add some brilliant leadership too.
Tip 5: how excited are you, really?
When you give a verbal presentation, dress the part but also radiate how driven you are to accomplish this goal, reach this dream. Keep the business tone yet don’t underestimate the power of passion and excitement to draw someone in and recruit them on your team – you already know it’s contagious!
If and where appropriate, don’t be shy to ask your investors if, when, and how they would like to be involved when given the choice …
The internet is overflowing with great advice to build the very best investor pitches. Short versions, long versions, do take note. As communication strategists we are here to help you structure and deliver your content in the most effective way possible to up your chances of reaching your investment goal. Your well-designed slides matter, and so does their order to support the flow of the storyline. The personal touch matters, the underlying psychological angle matters, even your hand shake does.
Facts, numbers, and words are powerful. But the way you deliver them will make them stick.