Posted by Anonymous on 2009-07-02
Entrepreneurs always talk about the pitch. A Mike Tyson knock out pitch can get you another meeting, but what about after the pitch? How about before? Hell, how about from the moment you step off your front porch to the second you return?. A 24/7 game face will drive you to the promise lands 3x faster than simply wielding the magic when you've got the mic. Here are 3 tips I've found to work wonders before, during, and after the pitch.
1. Smooth entry. VC's and angel's alike will judge you from the second the tip of your polished shoes crosses that door jam. Chin up, calm stride, and eye contact from the moment you have a line of sight. If you've done your research you'll know exactly what their hobbies are, portfolio consists of, and hopefully a mutual acquaintance you can reference off the bat. Don't hold it for longer than a minute. They want to see that your personable, but professionalism and punctuality are key. Make a point to note that you have another pitch later that day that starts 2.5 hours from now. They need to know that you're sought after, busy, and they aren't the only duck in the pond.
2. Practice your pitch in front of a mirror starting with the entry. Everyone looks foolish when they're putzing with the projector, so practice the pitch from the top with a computer and projector handy. It detracts from the great introduction you just made, and allows them to push their pencils and think about how badly they want to get home to watch Jack Bauer in 24. From the moment you've loaded the deck you should be on fire. Eyes lit, smile wide, and rotating eye contact the entire show. VC's and angels invest in entrepreneurs, not companies. They need to feel your fire, align with your mission, and ultimately know that you are the captain that can navigate their $ to $$$$$. Vary your tonality, conduct the tempo of the pitch, and ultimately you will command their attention and peak their interest. Mr. Smith has a great post on the 5 rules of pitching. I highly recommend it.
3. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT leave right after questions. Get your business cards into their hands, have a quick chat, and get that 2nd meeting. How many VC's or angels can acutely assess how bad ass your opportunity is in one 10-20 minute pitch? Very few. If you didn't give them enough kick in the pitch, that's your fault and they'll simply want you out the door as quickly as possible. But if you did your job in the pitch, they've either got a "yes" in their head and you'll be invited back anyhow, or they have a "well we've got a ton of other deals to look at. This one's good, but I need more." More often than not it's the second one, and that's a result of the massive entrepreneurial talent here in the Valley.
A 24/7 Game Face can make the difference between getting the 2nd meeting and being shown the door. If you can't stand behind your vision with pride, confidence, and flare, no one else will, even if they'd like to.PRIVATE: Members Only