Zig Ziglar once said that “Everything is selling.” While many people have an adverse reaction to a statement like that, I believe it is true.
Think about it. Whether you are
- a parent trying to get your kids to eat their vegetables,
- one person asking another person out on a date,
- an employee asking your boss for a raise,
- an inventor trying to get funding for your invention, or
- an entrepreneur searching for funding,
You are selling. Entrepreneurs need capital to grow. But if you can’t get it, your idea will drift for years of frustration. You’ll be pouring your heart and soul into your business, but never achieving the success you know you deserve. You’ll feel stuck and overwhelmed, unable to convince investors to buy into your business—and never really know why.
You need to be able to sell your business idea, product, or service to investors.
But for many people, selling feels difficult. It may be a lack of confidence, a lack of clarity about what you are selling, or a lack of creativity when it comes to your pitch.
But it doesn’t have to be difficult when you know the secrets of a perfect pitch. I’ve received over 50,000 pitches in my career so I have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t.
If you want to be more successful, gain more confidence, and get exactly the results you need, you must learn to apply these 10 steps to the perfect pitch.
1. Start with the “Tease”
The “Tease” step is where you “set the hook” and plant the seed that captures the person’s attention in the first place. Reveal and demonstrate the problem as graphically as you can by talking about the problem your idea, product, or service solves.
Remember, a little showmanship is valuable here. This step sets the pace for the rest of your presentation.
2. Follow Up with the “Please”
In the “Please” step, you demonstrate how your product or service will totally solve the problem revealed in the “Tease” step…and preferably in the most efficient, elegant, or cost-effective manner.
Tell them why what you are selling is better than any other product or service in the marketplace. And be sure to cover as many features and benefits of your product as possible.
I like to demonstrate a “magical transformation” to provide the WOW factor. (Think of the late, great Billy Mays showing how Oxi Clean gets stains out.)
3. Show Your Idea, Product, or Service in Action
A powerful demonstration is one—if not THE—key to a successful presentation and should be practiced until you can do it in your sleep. Showing the multi-functionality of your product will give you massive bonus points as well.
So if your product serves several functions, be sure to showcase each one of them.
4. Accelerate the Value of What You Are Selling
If you’ve watched any well-done infomercial you’ve probably heard the expression “But wait… there’s more!”
If you’ve presented properly, you’ve already at least half-way convinced the person that your product or service is simply a “no-brainer” to fund.
But then, by adding, “But wait… there’s more!” you add value that pushes them over the top.
If you truly believe that what you are selling is something the world needs, give your customers as much value as you possibly can.
5. Provide Rock-Solid Testimonials
There is no better “social proof” that your product or service does what it says it does than third-party testimonials. You can sing the praises of your own product until you’re blue in the face, but providing rock-solid proof from other people is vital to creating the perfect pitch.
Here are the best types of testimonials to use:
- Consumer—real people who have used your idea, product, or service
- Professional—people who are experts in your industry
- Editorial—experts who have objectively reviewed your idea, product, or service
- Celebrity—famous people who your target customer will recognize and respect
- Documented—facts, figures, and data that support your claims
6. Highlight Your Research and Competitive Analysis
Your prospect will want to see that you’ve done your research on:
- Your product or service itself
- Your industry
- Your target market including size, demographics, and psychographics
- Your competition
The more data—facts, figures, and statistics—you can present in your Perfect Pitch, the better. This information proves, without a doubt, why your product or service is unique and how it alone solves a particular problem better than any other solution in the current marketplace. It also shows that you’ve done your due diligence and you are well positioned in the marketplace.
7. Reveal Your Dream Team
Teamwork makes the dream work. —John C. Maxwell
A dream team helps you grow and scale your business. They provide expertise in key areas and keep you from making mistakes. It’s vital to have your Dream Team in place before making your Perfect Pitch.
A dream team can consist of:
- Board of directors and/or
- Advisers that can help you scale your business
- Legal advisors
- Accountants/Financial advisors
- Industry experts/Analysts
- Social Media/Marketing experts
- Other guides specific to your industry
Every business must be prepared for the worst, and have an action plan if things go south — the economy tanks, a huge competitor comes in and tries to take out your business, etc.
But you also must be prepared for the opposite.
What if your business takes the market by storm? You could be faced with either massive growth…or bankruptcy if you’re not prepared.
A well-defined Dream Team will guide you through either one of these scenarios.
8. Show Why You Need The Money
Money isn’t everything, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the “gotta-have-it scale.” —Zig Ziglar
This step is fairly self-explanatory, but how will you use the money that is invested in you?
If you aren’t clear on your needs and how you’ll use the money, it will be difficult for an investor to get behind your plan.
Here are some questions to consider:
- How are you going to use the proceeds if advanced to you?
- Why are you raising capital?
- Is it to expand operations?
- Invest in more inventory?
- Hire staff to build the business?
- Buy new operations machinery?
Investors want to know where their money will be going and to make sure it’s used wisely. They also want to know there’s a concrete plan to pay it back!
9. Outline Your Marketing Plan
A marketing plan goes along with an investor’s desire to see how his or her money will be utilized.
- How are you going to get the word out about your product or service out to your marketplace?
- How are you going to generate “buzz”?
- What’s your plan for distributing your product or service to the world?
An investor will need a full understanding of how that will work before buying in.
10. Ask for the Money!
At this point, it’s time to move in for the “kill.” You’ve presented your case like the highest-paid lawyer on Wall Street. You’ve removed all doubts that any investor might have at this point about funding your deal.
If you’re on Shark Tank, at least one of the sharks is foaming at the mouth to partner with you on your deal. So now it’s time for the “Seize” phase of your Perfect Pitch – ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT!
It’s important to pitch with confidence and remember that your idea, product, or service has the potential to change the world.
Selling Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. —Abraham Lincoln
These 10 steps to a perfect pitch are your axe and sharpening stone. Put in the time on the front end before making your pitch and you will reap the success on the back end.
I’ve used it to myself to generate over 5 billion dollars in sales, so I know it works. It’s worked for me and countless others I’ve invested in and it will work for you too.
Want to Make the Perfect Pitch?
I’ve created a simple cheat sheet to help you craft your best pitch to potential investors. If you follow this proven process, you’ll position yourself to get the money you need for your business.