Sometimes an article just strikes you and you wish that you could have written it. This is one of those articles. Being someone myself who prefers the background to the foreground (I count on Nancy for the foreground stuff), I know I need to pay more attention to being able to step in. Here are some great words of advice and encouragement from two women who do it right. Enjoy!
I’m always getting asked about how I raised millions in capital, or how I enticed Tony Robbins to write the forward to my book. And of course, it always comes down to the Pitch!
As a lifetime entrepreneur, I’ve given more pitches than I could probably count. I’ve pitched to investors, joint venture partners, and to those I’m offering my products or services to. And, let’s not forget the pitches to entities that could provide me with media exposure and other advancement opportunities for my business!
As women, we may pitch differently than men do. We also tend to approach business differently than men do. That’s why I was intrigued by a recent Wall Street Journal study and subsequent article titled, Women Executives Make Venture-backed Companies More Successful. Their findings stated, “Venture-backed companies that include females as senior executives are more likely to succeed than companies where only males are in charge.” Wow! What a power statement about the value that women bring to the bottom line of businesses.
This got me thinking about raising capital, making money, getting exposure, and how it all goes back to “Your Pitch.” Whether you are pitching a prospective client, joint venture partner, potential sponsor, or venture capital (VC)/angel investors, you must keep in mind a few very important things.
No matter what you are pitching, it is crucial that your pitch includes a story that is short and sweet. Be clear, concise, and don’t ramble. Paint your picture with the fewest and most impactful words as possible. This is especially true for us women who have a tendency to over-talk. Being concise and brief is especially important when pitching to men because their brains just want the facts without all of the fluff.
Do a walk-through from beginning to end with a flow that builds the understanding and intended response by the time you’re done. If you have talked in circles or left gaps of understanding, then you have killed your pitch.
In reality, there should be no gender differences in pitching your idea to anyone. Here is why… no matter what your gender, you must perform your due diligence and fully know your product and services, as well as answering the “why” for your audience. Only then can you effectively make persuasive arguments to cater to them and to overcome objections or obstacles.
Of course, it goes without saying that you will undoubtedly have the door slammed in your face a few times. When that happens, learn and adjust.
When I was pitching VC’s for funding for my medical company, it took nearly two years of learning and adjusting. But when I traveled the country pitching distributors to obtain contracts that fell outside of the “traditional” terms, I nailed all seven after each pitch. Why? I had learned to do my homework on them, and then crafted a pitch around meeting “their why” (why would they do “that” deal?). I arrived with a finely tuned presentation and was prepared in advance for the objections.
With that in mind, here are my Top 5 Pitch To Be Heard tips:
How To Pitch To Be Heard
Pitch in this order: WHAT / WHY / WHO / HOW / WHEN
1. What is your XYZ idea/product/service? Explain and elaborate about your concept in a compelling and clearly defined way.
2. Why will your XYZ be of value or work? Explain the value and have the hard data to back it up.
3. Who are your competitors and what makes your XYZ better? Don’t ever say, “There isn’t anything like this out there.” Be factual. To your knowledge, the closest XYZ you can find to yours is… (even if it doesn’t even come close, you are demonstrating that you’ve done your homework and you know “your space” in the marketplace).
4. How would your XYZ make your consumer’s life better over your competitors’? How would an investment into your XYZ convert to a satisfactory Return on Investment (ROI)? You have to explain the benefits!
5. When will your XYZ launch, happen, start, end, etc.? Explain your specifics related to timing. Special offer ends when? Product will launch when? Milestones are met when? You get the point.
In closing, always practice your pitch on someone else first. Tweak and get comfortable before taking action. Never give up!
By Suzanne Duret on April 11, 2013
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