“Shouldn’t I be respectful to the investors as I pitch to them?” my client Amanda asked.
“Yes! Being trustworthy and respectful is valuable. But now is when I need to put this in few words. You fell off the edge and became too deferential,” I replied.
When I speak of “too deferential,” I’m talking about crossing the line in which it seems that one is being meek and submissive.
The truth is: We invest in leaders — not servants.
To effectively pitch, you’ll do better to meet investors as a peer. You need to rehearse so well that you prepare your own subconscious mind to operate on a higher, more confident level.
(As a Pitch Coach, I’m glad to be coaching people to higher levels of connecting with investors and key advisors.)
One of my mentors said, “You have more power than you think. If they’re talking with you, they want something.”
Author Oren Klaf tells himself “I am the prize” before he meets high-level investors or clients. His point is that he is bringing something of great value to the listeners of his pitch.
This is a vital point. Without the innovators/pitch-makers, so much would be missing in this world. You ARE bringing something truly valuable to the table. And in this way, you are a peer of the people in the room.
Lie: People will trust you if you’re too deferential (submissive) to them.
Countermeasure: Prepare and rehearse so you meet the person as a peer. Stand forthrightly in the value you bring to the table.
Secret: “My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” – Jane Austen (in her book Pride and Prejudice)
“Don’t let what you don’t know scare you, because it can become your greatest asset. And if you do things without knowing how they have always been done, you’re guaranteed to do them differently.” – Sara Blakely, creator of Spanx
When one is too deferential, one shows that one has “lower status.” Top investors feel their Alpha Status and they trust others who also have Alpha Status.
The head of an angel investors group told me, “If you go in asking for advice, you’ll get funding. If you go in asking for funding, you’ll get advice.” I understand her point. Still, it’s vital to approach investors as if you’re a colleague asking for a consult. You do not want to come across as a servant begging for help. Why? As I mentioned, we invest in leaders! We do not invest in people who are unsure of their own worth. The reason is: It takes a confident person to persist, ask the right questions and to pull everyone through the adversity to complete any project.
Principle: Meet them as a peer.
Countermeasures: Rehearse in effective ways so you can answer tough questions. Focus on the value you bring to the table. Remind yourself that the world needs you to get this project to come to fruition.
Power Questions: Are you feeling confident in the value that your project will manifest? What can you do to build up your confidence in your project and your confidence in yourself to bring great value?
CEO (leading teams in United Kingdom, India and USA)