Storey teller: How to prepare a winning elevator pitch
But being great at selling isn't bragging about the features and benefits of your product. It's about knowing the needs of your prospects and clearly communicating the value proposition of your product in a way that's compelling and easy to understand.
When it comes to pitching to investors, you definitely want to know who you're talking to and what their portfolio looks like. However, in many cases, especially at pitch events, you'll meet a lot of people without a chance to do your due diligence. And that's where your elevator pitch comes in.
An elevator pitch is a short summary of your product or idea that you can present in less than two minutes. A great elevator pitch is simple, clear and delivered with passion. And if you're pitching to investors, it should cover the following points.
Investors are pitched to every day. Their brains are in a default state of hearing the same thing over and over again. The hook is a piece of information, a bold statement or an exciting fact that helps you get their attention and ultimately raise their interest in what you have to say.
Products are painkillers. Investors understand that. As billionaire technology entrepreneur and investor, Vinod Khosla points out," If you don’t have a big problem, you don’t have a big opportunity. Nobody will pay you to solve a non-problem." Make potential investors aware that the customer problem exists, explain why it’s a big problem and let them feel the pain too.
Investors are rarely interested in 'me too' ideas. Explain how you are going to solve a problem and capture their interest and desire with something new and compelling. What can you offer that nobody else can?
Investors invest in people, not ideas. If you're Richard Branson, it doesn't matter what your idea is, you will get funding. If you’re not, provide your track record and explain why you are the person who gets things done.
Traction speaks for itself. If you have potential customers lined up to buy your product then you've built enough traction and investors will be jumping in line to invest in what you have to offer. As John Callaghan of True Ventures points out, "The best entrepreneurs make me feel like the train is leaving the station whether I get on board or not."
Remember the ABC rule. Always Be Closing. If you don't ask at least for a business card, no matter how great your pitch, you won't get too far. Ask them if they're interested and always push the deal to the next stage. It's your startup, take the initiative.
Lastly, never forget that practice makes perfect. Prepare your pitch and practice it everywhere. In front of the mirror, in front of friends, even record yourself and listen to how you sound. Get feedback and improve.
Mark McDonald is the co-Founder and co-CEO of Appster, a mobile app and product development company with offices in Melbourne and San Francisco.
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