Having the product or idea and the confidence in it is just a fraction of what you need when it comes to selling it. So what do potential investors really want to hear in that all-important interview? Here are some of the things you should learn in order to make a great pitch and hopefully secure that investment you have been hoping for.
If you spark interest with the first line you speak, then you will have the investor’s attention. Asking them if they would like an easier way to do their housework or sparking controversy by saying that most women are lazy and hence need this product so they can sit and put their feet up and do their nails. Be careful not to alienate your potential investment so adapt this joke accordingly to suit your audience.
For example: Why invest in robots? This product will make your lazy spouses happier than you can ever imagine. This is the future. Plain and simple. In a few years, every household will have one.
Eye contact, voice and confidence
This is more important that you might think. You might have the best business idea or product that potential investors have seen in a really long time, but if you can’t hold eye contact with the people you are trying to persuade or show them that you are confident even in the face of nerves, they will not believe what you are selling. You might be the most passionate person in the world, especially when it comes to your own ideas, but if you don’t display that passion or belief in yourself and business, how is anyone ever going to believe what you are saying? They will probably switch off before you get to the most important part: money.
Practising projecting your voice is a good way to combat the nerves, or at least the display of nerves, when it comes to the big day. And remember, as someone always taught me, don’t forget to take the time to breathe properly. Breathe from your abdomen, not your chest. This will really work in your favour if you can get the hang of it, and it will help to relax you too.
Getting to the point
We all tend to beat around the bush when we are nervous. This is where you must teach yourself to deliver your pitch in a limited amount of time. You should make a list of all the points you need to consider: voice, ear-catching first statement, reasons your business is vital, i.e. highlighting the opportunity, return on investment, and make all of these parts strong but brief. No-one wants to sit through a diatribe of numbers and words that last more than a few minutes.
You will never get an investment in your idea or product without knowing the exact figures: start-up costs, budgets, investment returns, marketing plan are all aspects that you’ll have to brush up on. Expect quick-fire questions and getting used to giving quick-fire answers. Be prepared to know how many ‘robot vacuums’ you expect to sell in the first year, how much per item, and what the expected return is per item and annually. Read business books, soak up as much information as you can and use as much business and finance terminology in your daily life as you can stomach.
Having the right experience
Going in blind with a fantastic idea is just potluck if you manage to get investors on your side, but rest assured, they will also take you for a ride. They will squeeze out as much share in your business as humanly possible, and without experience you will be more likely to accept whatever they offer you. This is where you need to be clued up. Having experience of business on your side is all well and good, but not everyone does. A good idea would be to start pitching your product to as many people as you can, start with family and friends, people you know from business school or circles, then think about moving on to banks and/or real potential investors one at a time. Build up an experience of getting your pitch right and dealing with different offers and personalities first, before you sell your soul. And hopefully you will sell less and less of that soul each time you do it. Knowing how to politely reject an offer or taking much-needed time to think before you act will be of paramount importance to you when it comes to the crunch. You’ll know when the time is right. Then, and only then, should you accept, and of course be willing to haggle – it is YOUR business after all.
So these are just some of the pitch features that you should know how to deal with inside and out before stepping in to that all important interview. Happy practising!
Bio: Eileen Archer is currently a resident blogger and a chief writer at EssayPlanet.org. After obtaining a Masters in English language she decided to dedicate her time to creative writing as well as providing assistance to students. She spends her free time reading, writing poetry and studying for a PhD in an art-related field.