It’s the big day. You and your partners have prepared your slide deck, you have your executive summary printed, and are ready to share your amazing investment opportunity. Here are five simple tips that will help to give your presentation an edge on the competition:
1. Tell us what you do within the first 10 seconds.
The first words out of your mouth should explain the idea, the opportunity, the team and the general traction you’ve accomplished. An investor’s time is money and if you are planning to take them on a journey where they will understand your idea only at the end of your pitch, you’ve probably lost them before you began.
Investors want to know within 10 seconds what you do, who you do it for, and why you need to do it now. If you can’t do that in 10 seconds, you can’t sell a customer. Think about it. How long is our attention span as a consumer? American consumers see anywhere from 3,000 to 20,000 ads a DAY, so our attention span is probably less than 10 seconds.
If you cannot explain your concept in less than 10 seconds, a customer probably will not give you their money and neither will an investor.
2. During the question and answer session, be sure to thank and compliment any questions.
This is a trick that allows you to do two things. The first is it shows your respect to the investor asking the question and helps the investor feel that you see them and their question as important. The second thing it does is buy you some time to answer. Prepare some kind of stock phrase that you can say without thinking such as: “Thank you for your question. That is a great question.” It may buy you those few seconds you need to craft the perfect response.
3. If you are presenting as a team, practice your transitions.
I know this may seem trivial, but investors look mainly for three things: TEAM, IDEA, and TRACTION (and typically in that order). If you do not present your team as one that knows who is in charge of what, a huge doubt cloud will form in the investors’ minds. If you transition between team members, introduce them as important. An example may be: “Now, I’m going to pass it on to our director of operations, Julie, who will address our capital needs.” Which brings me to my next tip:
4. Plan for moments to agree with your team silently.
As your team members are presenting, pay attention to their words with the utmost attention. This shows mutual respect among the team. To create even more team cohesion, find places to nod in silent agreement with your team members’ points. This indicates that you are all on the same page. No investor wants to deal with a team who doesn’t share the same vision.
5. During the question and answer session, assign someone on the team to take notes.
This goes back to my second tip. Writing notes about the investor’s feedback shows that you not only respect their opinion, but that you plan to revisit and address their feedback sometime in the future. Investors want to work with entrepreneurs that are coachable and nothing displays that more than taking notes on what they share with you.
While these five tips may seem like small details, sometimes it is the small details that may turn an investor’s maybe into a yes.