Ditch the Pitch

This week’s paper considers strategies for converting investor calls and meetings into committed capital. We were inspired to write after analysing the thousands of communications we have each year with fund managers and company founders seeking to raise capital. Fewer than 10% of these calls and meetings inspire us (even if the entrepreneur’s products and services are world class)! It struck us that if we feel this way, investors we introduce will be even more brutal in their assessment.


Whether you’re running a fund or a company, chances are that sooner or later you will need to raise capital. Getting the meetings will be tough, particularly for early-stage founders and first time fund managers. Always remember our mantra to 2x your time and budget expectations to raise those first tickets.   


But, we know our tribe are some of the grittiest and hardest working people and so, with our help, those meetings will get booked and seeing them in your calendar is a wonderful thing.   


Here’s where it normally starts to go wrong.


Most teams do this next:


  • Dust off a pitch deck
  • Rehearse a sales pitch
  • Check that everyone knows how to ‘screen share’
  • Select team members to cover slide pages
  • Ask for the order throughout the pitch


And when the day comes for the call, most of these teams will fail to get traction. Faced with the news that a ‘pitch’ is coming, most investors will have tuned out inside 3 minutes and questions will be few and far between. Worse still, the team pitching will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.


So, here’s what the teams with edge do:


  • If it’s a call, make the meeting 15-30minutes max
  • They connect with the meeting attendees on Linkedin and start a convo there and add to CRM
  • They research the heck out of the meeting guests
  • They switch from pitch mode to conversation mode
  • Ensure that personal introductions are less than 30seconds long  
  • They make the investor the VIP in the room and leave their own egos at the door
  • They don’t use a deck for more than just 1 minute of a 30 minute call
  • They pepper the meeting with open questions establishing what a win looks like for the investor
  • They open up about the headwinds and tailwinds in their firm
  • They elect their MVP relationship builder to host their team
  • The ambition for the call is to make a new professional friend with whom to create a win win – not to sell product
  • They read the room and suggest a crystal clear ‘call to action’ finding ways to repeat that CTA at least 3 times throughout the call


Within 1 hour of the call, email and LinkedIn your new pals with follow-ups, reflections, invitations & next steps. Make a short video of gratitude and action on your phone and send it to the group.


Be memorable for all the right reasons during and after every call.        


Folks, conversations create capital, pitches end up in ditches.


Over & out.