Are you all about the one call close, or are you more inclined to allow your prospects to put off today what they will never do tomorrow? Do you spend more time sending reams of information and creating pipelines than you do pitching and closing decision-makers?
If you feel that you may be more messenger than closer, then you may want to take a dose of medicine from those who chase the championship and pitch for venture funding (and the leviathans of capitalism they pitch to) the next time you decide to let a big fish slip out of your hands.
Entrepreneurs in search of funding are not pitching for commissions, they pitch for life, limb and future. And, when odds are that the company you are incubating will most likely go stillborn unless you close the deal, every wasted pitch is one more nail in your coffin. Such is the world of the innovator seeking start-up capital; a no holds barred, pit fight with Venture Capitalists and Angel investors (sharp, savvy, opportunity hungry sharks that have little patience for wasted time and useless information). Those with the power to write checks suffer through thousands upon thousands of pitches from all manner of pie in the sky dreamers, all with the next “best thing since sliced bread” idea, and all in a mad scramble for seed money.
When it comes to winning venture funding, bare knuckled entrepreneurs and the tough-as-nails VC’s who hold the purse strings say, when pitching, if you can’t get it done in 7 minutes, then you can’t get it done! That’s a balls-to-the-walls sales training truism that any contender who wants a shot at doing big deals should take to heart. The fact is, you have a miniscule amount of time with which to present your idea (and make it stick) to an impatient heard it all before VC. Under these circumstances you have no choice but to come out swinging and make a big first impression. It’s a lesson that all cold calling hunters should take to heart. Whether pitching for start-up capital or advertising space, chiefs and decision makers (if you have the gumption to call them) can make your month or make your life. And, if you intend to make a real impact and draw first blood, then you’d better steel yourself for the stone cold fact that there are no tomorrows, “tomorrow,” a real closer cashes your check and lives your dream!
In order to put yourself in the right frame of mind to go big game hunting, consider the Elevator Pitch as the only sure fire way to take down an elephant. In VC speak, the elevator pitch has you construct your presentation around the following concept:
Imagine that you are the only one in an elevator at the top floor of one of the best hotels in the city and, before the doors close, in walks a world famous billionaire who you’ve recently read is looking to invest heavily in exciting new ideas and bright, enthusiastic people. As the doors close you realize that you have a private, one-on-one audience with one of the most motivated money-men on the planet, and you have until the elevator gets to the lobby to give that man the pitch of a lifetime. What would you say and how would you say it? How fired up would you be?
Every pitch you deliver should be an Elevator Pitch. Getting face or phone time with a Chief Executive is a battle all into itself. The sheer determination and mind bending perseverance necessary to gain an opportunity just to go head-to-head with a real decision-maker breaks most sales careers. Why bother going through all the hassle and frustration of trying to get a chief executive on the phone if you’re not going to pitch as if your life depended on it. Make no mistake, the elevator pitch is the single most powerful and effective method ever conceived for presenting to those who have the power to decide, so sharpen your blade and be ready to pitch the dream at a moment’s notice. And, when the doors inevitably open on what should be the elevator ride of your life, just remember one thing: don’t forget to close!