Pitching your business is an essential skill to master in order to grow your business. And, if you want to grow your business, you must be able to pitch it successfully. The way you say things is as important as what you actually say – and could mean the difference between attaining the investment needed – or being turned away. No matter the result, every opportunity to pitch is an opportunity to get better!
Now in their eighth year of listening to entrepreneurial pitches, ENGEN Pitch & Polish, in association with Engen Petroleum, Nedbank, Raizcorp and Caxton Local Media, have identified six distinct pitching types. Which one are you?
The first three types fall into the category of ‘content pitchers’. These types are either getting it wrong – or right – from a content point of view.
The Investor-Ready Pitcher
- You are the ideal pitcher! Your business case is clear with a defined product or service, which is ready to be taken to customers.
- You have done your market research and can prove that people want what you are offering.
- Your sums add up and you can demonstrate a clear Return on Investment (ROI).
- Your pitch is purely sales-focused, with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
- Investors want to see the real you and understand your business – they are far more interested in you, than your product or service.
- Be real and be honest.
- Technicians only want to speak about the finer details of their product or service. They use too much jargon and technical terminology. The result is that the investors’ attention is lost as they stop listening.
- Investors need the whole picture to make the ultimate decision.
- Focus your pitch on how your business is going to make money.
The next three types fall into the category of ‘style pitchers’. These types are, unfortunately, getting it wrong from a style point of view! When you are confident in what you are saying, you will come across as authentic, credible and authoritiative in your field.
The Floor-Gazing Dancer
- These pitchers are so nervous they can’t look the investor in the eye. Instead, they stare at the floor and tend to move from side to side.
- This pitch is hard work for an investor as the movement is dizzying and lack of eye-contact alienating.
- Resolve to make a concerted effort to stand straight and look people in the eyes.
- The mumbler speaks incoherently and softly.
- If investors cannot hear your pitch, they aren’t going to invest in your business.
- Practice is key to gaining confidence in yourself and what you are saying. Record your pitch and listen to yourself. Become aware of your fillers and replace them with pauses.
The Racing Driver
- You speak so fast that it is difficult to grasp your business offering and model.
- This can intrigue an investor if spoken with confidence. However, it often leads to an ineffective pitch.
- Refine your pitch. Shorten it and select places to breathe and connect with the investors. Plan your pauses. Enunciate clearly.
No matter the content, or style, of your pitch, a good pitch tells a story and a good story needs refining and rehearsal. As Alan Shannon, head of Nedbank Relationship Banking Sales, says “anything that distracts the audience from your message makes the message less effective.”