Pitch Perfect

Big Red Car here. Hope you are well because it’s another day in paradise here in the ATX, y’all. It is warm, sunny and a little cool this morning but it will be smoking hot this afternoon.

On Earth as it is in Texas!

So The Boss has been looking at a lot of “pitches” — presentations used by entrepreneurs to solicit funding from angel investors and venture capitalists. Much has been written on this subject and there is a lot of advice out there — some of it is even good advice but a lot of it is bad advice. Very bad advice.

What is the objective?

The objective of any pitch is to provoke the interest of the audience in pursuing the potential investment.

It is all about starting a conversation. Conversations are two way dialogues. Remember that.

It is always important to focus on the objective.

What is the call to action?

The call to action — what the entrepreneur wants the investor to do first — is to engage by asking questions.

If the investor doesn’t ask any questions what will you conclude?

If the investor asks questions, you can discern their level of interest and the direction their thinking is going.

The pitch then has to provoke questions and not put the investor to sleep. Not the high hurdles yet, right?

Less is more

When it comes to making your pitch, less is more.

When you give just a whiff of revealed truth, the investor is going to ask a question and then it’s game on or “engagement” here we come.

The slides are your chapter headings only

Almost every pitch The Boss has seen recently overwhelms the investor with way too much information on the individual slides. They are like a swamp impeding smooth movement as the water and the weeds grab at your ankles. It becomes hard work. It becomes tedious. It is fatiguing and it leads to failure to engage. Tell a story using the slides as your chapter headings only.

The slides are chapter headings and your pitch is the chapter headings plus the words of the story itself.

Recently The Boss saw a fairly good pitch deck. It defined the overall market as being $150,000,000,000. The number of potential customers was 25,000,000 websites. The targeted cross section of the overall market was 2,500,000 individual companies who were most highly qualified. The actual HVTs (high value targets) was 250,000 easily identified websites.

The slide telling this story was overwhelmed with data and pictures and information. It was like trying to snort hot wet oatmeal.

The presentation was streamlined to four slides which were as follows:

 

 

 

Imagine the simple storytelling that would relate the following facts from the preceding slides:

1. The overall market for this service is approximately $150,000,000,000 — a huge market.

2. The number of participants in that market is 25,000,000 websites.

3. Of those 25,000,000 websites, ten percent or 2,500,000 are low hanging fruit.

4. Of the low hanging fruit, 250,000 are high value and easily accessible targets.

The story tells itself and the slides are only the chapter headings in identifying, defining and assessing the market. One is left with the unimpeachable conclusion — this is a big market and a big market opportunity. It is simple storytelling unencumbered by slides that are difficult to understand and which distract from the storytelling.

Alternatively, you might do the same thing with the following slide. It is your choice.

Either way — GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY. Use the slides in your pitch deck to provide the chapter headings only and tell your story. Now remember you will have to write out and rehearse your story. There is no substitute for preparation. Prepare and rehearse success. You can do it.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Be kind to yourself. You deserve it. Don’t let your troubles trouble you, you won’t even remember them in a year or so.

  • I think the pitch should tell the audience why you do what you do, not the features advantages and benefits of the business. It isn’t pencil selling, it’s selling a dream.