- My, what a great figure! You need to know your profit projections, balance sheet and basically every figure and margin to do with your business proposal before you go anywhere near investors. Ensure that the numbers all add up, and get at least one or two mathematically-minded family members or friends, if not an accountant, to review them. Make sure you can explain that £1m projected turnover after three months.
- Know Your Audience. Look into your investors’ pasts. Don’t drag any skeletons out of the cupboard or ex-husbands from under the patio, but see what they have invested in in the past. Research their career history and hobbies, ask around any friends in common you might have. Definitely Google them or look up local newspaper archives. If you can get inside their minds and tailor your delivery to them you have a far better chance of walking out the door with that all-important cheque.
- First Impression You should go into every sales pitch as if it were your wedding day, with perfectly ironed clothes, clean and polished appearance and perfect manners (no, not hungover and nervous). Smile and act confidently, but avoid being cocky. Talk slowly and calmly.
- The First Touch Give your investors something tangible. If your business will sell a certain product let the investors touch and play with it. At the end of the presentation give them print outs of your plan, but avoid too much detail.
- Death by PowerPoint Not necessary to making a great sales pitch, this Microsoft muddler can hinder your pitch. Useful for graphics and diagrams, avoid for large bodies of text. If you must use text, stick to the 6 X 6 rule; no more than six bullet points per slide, and no more than six words per bullet point.
- Short and Sweet Avoid sending your audience on the one-way express to Snoozeville, don’t waffle and keep your speech to the point, and concise. There must be a purpose to every single word you use. It might be helpful to write out your patter and see what excess waffle can be cut out.
- Risk Averse All business ventures come with risks, so don’t bandy the term ‘risk-free’ around the boardroom table. Honestly acknowledge the risks, but reassure your investors to why YOUR business will be different, with facts, figures and statistics. Ensure you practice possible responses to questions investors may throw at you, like “Why has no one else invented a premixed salt and pepper mill?”
- Front Load the good stuff You need to collar your audience’s attention like collaring a thief on the Bill. Grab their attention with the boldest statements, most unusual facts and mind blowing statistics. Follow the sales mantra AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action), that action being an autographed cheque from your investor.
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