What does a pitch feel like? How should it feel? Pitch dynamics.
Big Red Car here on a spectacular Texas spring day, y’all. It doesn’t get better than this. It was 53F this morning and it will be 83F this afternoon. On Earth as it is in Austin By God Texas!
So, I’m talking to two founder CEOs and we get on the subject of the dynamics of pitching. [Huh, Big Red Car, the “dynamics?”]
By dynamics, I mean the sense of the encounter, the style with which you pitch, the personalization of the pitch, what the pitchee (the funder) is thinking and looking for. So, we discussed it for an hour and some fajitas.
Here is what we settled on.
Before we go any further, let’s acknowledge that that first meeting, if successful, is the first of 5-7 touches before you are looking at a check. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
What are we looking for, Big Red Car?
You are looking to make the VC/funder care about the problem you are solving and to believe in your solution.
That is the most basic objective.
MAKE ME CARE
If you use your ten slides as the chapter headings and carefully tell your story, you are mining for questions. When a funder asks questions, he is indicating interest.
Interest is the pre-cursor drug to caring. Nobody cares about anything they are not interested in.
Make a connection, founder/CEO, please
You are looking to connect. Connection is like opening a door.
Same school? Same sport? Same interests? This is personal.
Nobody ever invests in anybody they don’t like. Connections build the bridge of relationship.
It is a petty thing, but do some homework and know who you are pitching before you walk in and find out you’re pitching the VC arm of the Hells Angels and you don’t even know how to ride a Harley.
Go into the lion’s den looking like a lion
Look the part, dear reader. Do enough research to know how your audience faces the world — blazer, button down collar shirt guy? Sweats? Tee shirt and shorts? Know your audience.
What would Dale Carnegie say? “Dress like your audience and create an immediate bond and sense of comfort.” He would say that. I promise you.
Follow up, get the next meeting
Follow up. OMG, I cannot believe I have to tell anyone today to follow up. It is how you do it that is important.
How? An immediate, noteworthy hand-written note card with another business card in it. Old School, but very effective.
The notecard trick.
Answer any questions which were raised that were left unanswered. Short, sweet. Show you were listening.
Cross your fingers, be lucky
Do not underestimate the role of luck in pitching. It is real.
You catch a funder on the aftermath of a pleasant experience, you get one experience.
You catch a funder after his banker calls his note on his yacht, completely different experience.
One day, the funder has just done a deal in your industry. “Sorry, that basket’s full.”
Another day, the funder has just gone to the paywindow. “Very interesting, I have a few bucks to play with.”
Luck. Make some.
Remember, there is a thing called pitch dynamics. Use it to our advantage. You got this.