Build a relationship first, then pitch your idea. It is important to build a relationship with potential investors/prospects before you pitch to them.
A business pitch is a presentation by one or more people to an investor or group of investors, though it can also be an email, letter, DM, or even an impromptu conversation. The goal of a business pitch is generally to secure the resources and funding necessary to move forward with a business plan or to continue with an already established business or venture.
Why is it important to build a relationship with potential investors/prospects before you pitch to them?
It shows you are human. We’re social creatures, and humans like making connections with other humans.
They like to feel listened to and a part of something, so taking away the human element of the pitching process by sending a robotic, formulaic, unpersonalised pitch will turn prospects off quicker than you can say “please hire me”. If they don’t know anything about you as a person, ignoring you is no sweat off their back.
When you don’t add the human element on the end, prospects don’t care about you. They don’t know how you can help them so they don’t care about it. The key is to get them to care.
Step by step guide:
1. Find out how you can help them
Before connecting, you need to understand if you have anything that could be of genuine value to the investors. Do you have access to valuable information they don’t? Do you have deep expertise in an area they invest regularly in? Would they be interested in receiving your short and informative monthly company update with confidential data and insights? Figure this out before you reach out.
2. Get in touch physically or through email
If you have a mutual connection, ask for an introduction. If not, you need to craft an irresistible intro email. It needs to be short, clear and straight-to-the-point. Whatever your spin is, make it something they can easily say ‘yes’ to.
3. Get in touch online/social media
Find out where your prospect is hanging out online, whether that’s on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
Interact with them there, whether that’s by replying to a Tweet of theirs, sending a thoughtful comment on Instagram, or sharing one of their company posts on LinkedIn with your own spiel added for good measure.
Repeat this for three days, so you’re not just coming across as a one-hit wonder to the prospect. By now, the prospect should know who you are as you’ve cropped up a couple of times in one week.
Once you’ve started a dialogue with them (as in, they’ve engaged with your engagements), you can start ramping up to the actual pitch.
4. Follow-up regularly
This is the magic sauce. If you want to build a long lasting relationship, just follow up. It has a physiological effect called the mere-exposure effect.
According to Wikipedia, The mere-exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. In social psychology, this effect is sometimes called the familiarity principle. The effect has been demonstrated with many kinds of things, including words, Chinese characters, paintings, pictures of faces, geometric figures, and sounds.[ In studies of interpersonal attraction, the more often someone sees a person, the more pleasing and likeable they find that person.
Remember to keep thinking like a marketer. Keep it short and relevant and make it about them. Choose your words carefully so that you’re perceived as someone going places.
4. Be patient
Relationships take time and investment. If you follow up consistently for 6 months to a year, eventually investors will remember you. Maybe they will invite you to one of their events. Maybe you can provide input into one of their other deals. Relationships are hard to predict but they usually pay off over the long-term.
Finally, regardless of whether you’ve slaved away over your pitch for 100 hours, or whether you’ve sent out twenty in one minute to get your numbers up if you’re not creating that connection in the first place, you’re likely not going to get a response.
Awaiting your thoughts and questions in the comments below. 🙂
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