Use a Secret Advantage to Pitch Well and Get Funding

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“I want a secret advantage so I get funding when I pitch. What do you suggest, Tom?” an audience member asked me.

“Remember that you’re on before you get on stage. Even while you’re in your car, coming near the location where you’ll be pitching, you are ‘on stage,’” I said.

“How is that?”

“You’re revealing your personal brand the whole time,” I said.

Perhaps, you’ve heard about George who was running late for a job interview. He was stuck behind a slow-moving car. He beeped his horn—a lot. The driver in that car refused to go faster. Then, to George’s horror, the car pulled into the parking lot of the company where George was set to be interviewed. And…yes, the driver of that car proved to be the interviewer who did not offer George a job.

George was “doing his interview” before he even walked into the building.

A Key Advantage – Have Finesse in Meeting Investors Before You Go On Stage

What happens to investors before they hear pitches?

They get cornered by entrepreneurs looking for funding. A bunch of entrepreneurs spill out their ideas in a rush when they meet the person. In the restroom. At the door. Anywhere.

That’s not finesse.

Spilling out your ideas (and trying to impress the person) is similar to losing your lunch in front of the investor.

Here’s the Solution:

Engage the Potential Investor in a Real Conversation

Create a warm connection.

The vital action is to get the person talking and to demonstrate your trustworthiness. How? In your way of listening well.

Recently, I interacted with two entrepreneurs and a particular venture capitalist.

Both entrepreneurs had great ideas, but I felt uncomfortable about connecting them with the venture capitalist. Why? It was their people skills. One didn’t demonstrate the confidence and track record of guiding teams to completing projects. The other one was a … horrible listener. This person, in every conversation, was trying to prove how smart he was.

Both entrepreneurs would benefit from learning how to create warm connections. Also, they both need to have a personal brand that demonstrates that they are trustworthy, helpful, organized and respectful (with audiences I use the mnemonic device of T.H.O.R.).

When You First Interact with An Investor, Use “Gentle Questions”

Here are some “gentle questions”:

  • I’m [Your name] and you are …?
  • Are you looking forward to something in particular this evening?
  • I’m curious. Are you looking for something in particular when you choose to invest in a company?
  • What are you looking forward to?

I call these “gentle questions” because they’re easy to answer, and the other person often enjoys answering them.

Additionally, one does not use all of these questions in a conversation. You’ll note that there is some overlap. The point is people like those individuals who listen well. I advise my clients: “When you’re listening, you’re winning.”

 

Make Your Replies Relevant

You ask questions so that your replies are relevant to the person you’re talking with.

One of my favorite quotes is:

In truth, I am a verb. – Steve Chandler

Avoid trying to be “an impressive person” (a noun).

Instead, do a positive action: listen well.

 

Demonstrate That You’re Listening

Use what I call Reflective Replies:

  • That sounds frustrating. What happened next?
  • That sounds disappointing. What did you want to happen next?
  • That’s sounds intense. It sounds like that was tough to endure.

My point is that you’re not just responding to the content of what the other person says. You are demonstrating compassion and that you’re hearing the feelings involved. You “reflect” the person’s feelings back to them. You say, “That sounds” – in that you do not tell another person what they’re feeling.

 

Realize the Truth – People Invest In You

Ross Perot said that he wasn’t really investing in Steve Jobs’ company or product. He was investing Steve Jobs. Things went well for Perot—when Steve Jobs maneuvered Apple to buy his company for $400 million—Perot had a big return on his investment.

In summary, use the secret advantage: Create a warm connection before you go on stage and deliver your pitch.

Warmly,

Tom

Tom Marcoux
Spoken Word Strategist
Pitch Coach – Executive Coach

CEO
Speaker-author of 44 books

PitchPowerFest.com


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