During the launch of my book The Art of Startup Fundraising this week, I found entrepreneurs that I met over the course of my speaking engagements dealing with the same issue. They were having trouble engaging investors.

The issues with the engagement would be either during the investor outreach, over phone conversations, in person meetings, or when reviewing their pitch decks. (By the way, below is a free pitch deck template that you can download for free.)

My biggest piece of recommendation to founders is that they first and foremost need to establish a personal connection with the investor. Once this has been done they will need to give the elevator pitch and then from there let the investor drive the conversation by stating her concerns. This way the entrepreneur secures engagement and if all the concerns are addressed you are closer to getting the capital in the bank.

Without a doubt the elevator pitch is one of the most important tools in order to get funding. The pitch should address three questions: Who are you? What you do? Where you want to go? Based on my experience and the hundreds of founders that I have met, the best elevator pitches have the following in common:

  • They are 30 seconds long
  • They spark interest and response
  • They are clear
  • They are authoritative
  • They are about their customers and not themselves
  • They highlight a problem and a solution
  • They introduce their uniqueness
  • They are relatable
  • They have an awesome punchline at the end

The elevator pitch will be used in elevators, online, over the phone, text messages, or email. There are in fact many founders that claim they have emailed Mark Cuban elevator pitches that have resulted in hundreds of thousands as well as free advise from the billionaire investor.

Moreover, it is not all about your message. It is also about the way you are delivering it. This means you need to smile, watch out for your body language, and the expressions that show you are excited and interested to be talking with the individual that is in front of you.

In order to nail it with your elevator pitch I would suggest these five tips:

  1. Give your elevator pitch to your team members, friends, and family
  2. Look at yourself in front of the mirror as if you were talking to Richard Branson
  3. Go on Youtube and find some examples
  4. Practice until it becomes natural
  5. Time yourself to make sure it is not too long

As stated above, your elevator pitch should invite conversation. You want to have the listener left in a position to want to learn more about your venture. The story needs to be compelling enough to do so. If you don‘t have the contact information of the investor ask for it for a follow up appointment.

With that being said, there are many mistakes that you should avoid. These mistakes include:

  • It doesn’t sound natural
  • You ramble
  • The market potential is not highlighted
  • It is way too long
  • Lacks structure
  • Heavy on details

Below is a great example capturing the ingredients that are outlined on this post and that you can use for your efforts.

_________________________

Template:

My name is [YOUR NAME], founder of [YOUR COMPANY]. We offer[PRODUCT/SERVICE] for [TARGET MARKET] to [VALUE PROPOSITION].

Unlike [THE COMPETITION], we [KEY DIFFERENTIATOR]. And we recently[RECENT MILESTONE].

[CALL to ACTION]

_________________________

From my point of view, the best entrepreneurs are not the biggest visionaries. The most successful entrepreneurs are those that master the art of storytelling. Without being a great storyteller you will never convince top talent or top tier investors to join you on the journey in order to push things forward.

An elevator pitch is arguably your most important marketing tool as it’s often the first thing that people learn about you. It’s best delivered in person and can be revised on the spot for virtually any situation.

Your next meeting or touch point will include your pitch deck. If you have already downloaded my pitch deck template from above please refer to my blog posts 14 Slides You Need To Raise Capital, Study Reveals The Pitch Deck That Will Land You Millions, and 38 Startup Pitch Decks From Companies That Changes The World for more information.

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