How to Successfully Pitch
George Zaloom is the CEO of Go Play (http://goplay.com). You can see more content here on Docstoc.
It is very stressful pitching. I personally have pitched to studio executives, venture capitalists and investment bankers. It is almost a paralyzing experience. You need to do everything you can to disarm the people you are pitching to. One thing I found is to let people know that you are there for a reason and that you are going to get something out of the meeting. I always ask for a bottle of water. It does two things, it shows you are strong and you will get something, at least a bottle of water. It also helps in case you get dry mouth and your lips are sticking together. If you take a sip you will sound muych better and much more professional. Make a bond with the person you are talking to. Do they have kids in the same school area? Where did they grow up or go to school? Disarm them with personal details from your life and their life, if you are able to share, maybe they will be willing to as well. Then your pitch, your meeting will evolve from there. Find a personal point to the discussion and relate on a more personal basis. Your dealings from there will be more effective.
Another thing to do is to pitch off deck. People feel it is a softer sell and more personal sell. If you don’t need a power point deck with a laser pointer and charts people will understand if you can pitch off the deck. You can ask them after if you want to come back and pitch off the deck but often they will tell you, “thank you, you’ve given me a really good idea of what your business is about.” It puts you ahead of the game.
Often you are in the room, giving out a lot of information and are pitching to three or four people, make sure you make eye contact with those people. It is hard to look directly in both eyes, but if you focus on one eye instead of two you may find it easier to focus. If you do this you won’t lose your place in the pitch. So do this and you’ll have a good meeting.
It is very stressful pitching. I personally have pitched to studio executives, venture capitalist, investment bankers and you walk in there and it’s almost a paralyzing experience. So you need to do everything you can to disarm the audience that you’re pitching too.
One thing that’s always good that I found that somebody told me a long time ago was let people know that you’re there for something. You’re there for a reason that you’re going to get something out of the meeting and one of the most important things you can do is ask for something in the beginning and I always ask for a bottle of water and it does two things. It shows that you’re strong and you’re going to get something from that meeting. You may only get a bottle of water but at least you’ve gotten that but you have an emergency bottle of water in case you get dry mouth. There’s nothing worse than being in a pitch with being able not to speak because your lips are sticking together but I’m going to show you right now if you have a bottle of water ah you can sound much better and much more professional.
Another thing you can do is you can also try to make a personal bond with that person that you’re talking to. Do they have kids in the same school area that you’re going to? Where did they grow up? Where did they go to school? Disarm them with personal details from your life and their life. If you’re willing to share may be they’ll be willing to share too and then pitch your story, your business meeting will evolve from there but find a personal point to that discussion that you can relate to that person on a much more personal basis and then you’re dealings from there will be that much more effective.
Another thing to do is that a lot of people go in with Powerpoint decks and full presentations. I’ve often found that if you can pitch off deck you’re that much better. People feel that it’s much more of a softer sell and again it’s more of a personal sell. So if you don’t have to you know whip out that Powerpoint deck and get up and stand up and do that presentation and point to numbers and use a laser pointer, don’t do all that stuff. If you can pitch off deck, if you really know your business I think an investor will really understand that or somebody who you’re trying to sell will really understand if you can pitch off the deck. You can always give that to them as a lead behind. You can refer to it. You can ask them after your pitch if you want to go back and pitch on the deck but they’ll often say you know what thank you, I’ve really gotten it. You’ve given me a really good idea of what your business is about.
So be prepared to pitch off deck if you possibly can. You’d be that much more ahead of the game. And one other thing I’ve noticed is that you’ll often be in a room, you’ll be giving a lot of information out to people and you may be pitching to one or two or three or four people. It’s really important to make eye contact with those people in the room. Don’t be staring at the wall. Those people they’re to hear your pitch. How can you make an effective connection with them a really direct connection really want to try to look them in the eye but if you’ve often tried it it’s hard to look people directly in both eyes. So one trick is also to actually find one eye to look at and to focus in on that. Either the left eye or the right eye and then you won’t find that you’re distracted by that person staring at you ‘because it can be really disarming and sometimes you can lose your pace oh my God it just happened to me-- you can lose your place in the pitch. So focus on a good eye and then you’ll have a good meeting.