5 mistakes to avoid when pitching your idea

Learn how to REALLY convince your investors to get the next check with these tips of coach David Beckett - learn more at #bits20

By David Beckett

You've got an opportunity to pitch to the investor you've been chasing for ages, or to that critical customer where you've simply got to make the deal. But it can go wrong. Here are five things to avoid, that will help you make a great pitch, and reach the next level in your growth.

Avoid simply telling, ‘Here’s what we built.’
Everyone I speak to who listens to pitches wants to know what problem you are solving, how big the problem is and whether you have validated your solution with real customers. Whether you have built a platform or used Blockchain is of much less importance than the problem you’re solving. 

Don’t forget the audience
It’s tempting to focus on the story you want to tell. First, though, get in the mind of the audience. Who are you pitching to? What do they care about? What are their biggest challenges and objectives? Are they technical, money or impact-focused, innovative or conservative? And what might be their biggest reason why they might think this won’t work? Making a profile of your audience before you build the pitch will help you operate in their world, instead of simply telling what’s important for you. 

Make sure you’re not telling every detail
You have limited time, so there is no time to get caught up in the details. Give your audience the big headlines of why this is a problem worth solving, why you and your team are the ones to solve it, and your progress so far – then get into a conversation. Ask them: do you want to know more about the product, the market, the competition, anything else? This way you get into what’s on their mind as quickly as possible and start to discuss the real issues they want to talk about.

Don’t ask, don’t get!
A truly professional pitch has a clear beginning, middle and end – and that ending needs a specific call to action. Be transparent about next steps: do you need money or advice? Are you looking for contacts, a follow-up meeting, or do you want them to visit your website, download the app? Make sure it’s something they can do, not just think, and make it simple. Asking for a 300K investment in a 3-minute pitch is fine: but the actual outcome you are looking for is a one-hour meeting, so tell them about that first next step towards the bigger goal. 

And what about you? Are you in the story?
Don’t forget to put yourself into the story: they always want to know why you as the pitcher are committed to this business. Why do you think it matters, what makes you enthusiastic? What makes you excited about the impact you can make? People make decisions based on emotions, and look for the facts to back them up. Talk to the heart as well as the mind. 

You want to learn more about the perfect pitching strategies? You want to get first-hand tips by international experts and coaches about how to improve your business or personal performance? This and many other topics will be covered at the Bits Academy, one part of the Bits & Pretzels Networking Week. Join us now!

About David Beckett:

David Beckett is an international pitch coach, who has trained over 1100 Startups to win over €295 Million in investment. He's also trained more than 16,000 professionals at companies such as, Tommy Hilfiger, ING, PwC and Google in 29 countries, as well as over 30 TEDx speakers. David is the creator of The Pitch Canvas©, and the author of the book “Pitch To Win”.