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Entrepreneurs give countless pitches, in a multitude of different formats, targeted to specific audiences. Because there is no "right" kind of pitch, it makes it very hard to create a pitch and to know what information in relevant to each audience. Below we break down pitches into 4 categorizes and give some advice around creating your pitch. At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide the best path forward for each of your pitches.
Categories of Pitches
- A pitch for networking events and general conversations with others.
- A pitch for business plan competitions or other competitions that award cash prizes.
- A pitch to potential investors or a bank loan officer.
- Pitches aimed at acquiring customers.
Each one of these pitch categories requires a distinct strategy. The following questions should be asked for every individual pitch:
- Who is my primary audience?
- What do I want from this presentation?
- A meeting or follow up activity is ideal
- What is the best alternative to a meeting?
- What does my audience want to hear above all else, value proposition?
- What is the best medium for this pitch?
Early founders sometimes have a hard timing leaving the training wheels behind by not using a slide deck or supporting documentation. However, many times the best medium is just the founder of the company talking face to face with the audience with nothing to get in the way.
The Conversation Pitch
Your primary audience for this type of pitch is most often referred to as the general public. The key mistake that founders make with this type of pitch is not making it a conversation. The general public audience does not need to know all the intricate details of a business or business idea, let them lead the conversation via the questions they ask. Pay attention to non verbal ques, body and facial language, to determine when a person has heard enough about the amazing business.
The Competition Pitch
This pitch is all about the show and being a great ringleader. The key to a successful competition pitch is to dazzle and amaze the audience. Your primary audience for this pitch are the judges. Each competition is different and has a different makeup of judges. Common judges are investors, city leaders, local ecosystem builders, and successful entrepreneurs. Know your audience so you can speak to their interest. LinkedIn stalk them, if you know who they are beforehand. A pro-tip: don't exaggerate your current status or traction, see what that can lead to by listening to this podcast. The Pitch: A Pitch Gone Horribly Wrong.
The Cash Pitch
This is the most well known pitch and your audience is potential investors. Most people think, a pitch deck in front of a group of investors with 5 minutes to explain why an investor should invest in the company. That is also where most entrepreneurs get it wrong! The most important aspect of this pitch is "What is your goal?" The wrong answer is to get money. The right answer is to get the investors to what to take a longer meeting with you. To do that, your goal is to get them to want more and to ask a lot of questions. Questions are a great sign in this type of pitch. Don't try to answer all of the potential concerns in your presentation, that is what the next meeting is for.
Sales, the most important pitch of all. A great sales pitch is tailored for each specific customer or target customer type. You might have specific talking points that hit on different pain points experienced by each customer you are targeting. This is also supported by your marketing efforts feeding potential customers into your sales funnel. You will have all kinds of supporting documents and materials for this pitch type. Common examples are website landing pages, printed sales sheets with features and benefits of the product/service, explainer videos, and sales scripts.
Get a list of the specific items most commpnly found in each of the four pitch types by creating a free account on this website. This also will give you access to our on-line slack ground for founders and those that help founders.