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How to Keep Investor Leads Warm After the Pitch

You’ve been chasing investor leads for months, and finally you’ve scored the opportunity to meet with a genuine prospect. You’re half way through your pitch, and you can already tell they’re just not digging it. What now?

Anyone who’s sought capital from investors will be familiar with this situation. The fact is that early-stage investing is a numbers game, and not all investors are going to like your pitch. So if you can tell early on that they’re not catching what you’re throwing, what do you do?


Don’t Make It Any Worse
A common mistake that founders make in this situation is to dig an even deeper hole for themselves. When they sense the investor isn’t liking their pitch, they’ll start saying anything they think might bring the investor back on board – this often involves unrealistic promises and offers that the investor will see straight through; and only serves to reduce the credibility of the founder.

All Is Not Lost
Once you’ve identified the investor is not liking your pitch, you can still gain a lot from the situation if you can turn it toward getting some feedback:

Display open-mindedness: Asking for feedback will show your willingness to take on constructive criticism and work on your weaknesses, which will be considered positive traits by investors.

Identify holes: While you won’t get this investor on board, the experience and feedback might allow you to identify some holes in your pitch which will make the next one much stronger.

Preserve the relationship: By trying to gain something from the situation, you’re much more likely to preserve the relationship with the investor, and increase the potential for investment in the future. Being a founder is a career, and each investor meeting is an opportunity to start a life-long relationship.

Obviously your goal should be to avoid situations where your pitch isn’t well received, but how?

Common Mistakes That Spoil A Pitch And How To Avoid Them

Problem: Your pitch is too long winded.

Solution: Keep in mind investors are generally very busy people who receive numerous pitches, so make yours punchy and highlight the points you think will be of most interest to them. Don’t make them sit through a 30-minute presentation to hear the 3 minutes of content they’re most interested in.

Problem: Assuming they are your target audience .

Solution: While the benefits of your offering might be blindingly obvious to you, your business partners, and your target customers, that doesn’t mean they’ll be so obvious to investors. Often, the best way to convey benefits is by telling a story about a real person who needs your solution – allowing the investor to see the world through your customer’s eyes will help them understand the critical need for your offering.

Problem: Unrealistic calculations of market demand.

Solution: Investors will know straight away if your calculations of demand are bloated and unrealistic. Rather than stating the total market value and the percentage you’re going to capture, figure out the realistic number of customers within reach right now, and if you can, weave in the capabilities of your existing sales process to work out how many of these customers you’re likely to capture.

Problem: Thinking your solution is the only one in the market.

Solution: This mindset is very dangerous and is only going to make you look naive to investors. However, if you can show them how you’ll exploit the competition’s weaknesses and position your offering to dominate, you’ll have a much more plausible proposition.

Keep Your Chin Up!
The key to creating a thriving business is persistence. If you talk to the owner of any successful business, they’ll be able to offer a very long list of the difficulties they faced in getting their business to the successful state it’s in now. Dogged persistence and the ability to improve are a surefire combination for success.

Before we close this article, here’s a video on “Create and Pitch a Successful Business Plan” with David Ronick who is a co-founder of upstartbootcamp.com, which helps founders start up smarter via on-demand courses, coaching, and webinars.


What pitching stories do you have? Have you been able to turn an investor rejection into a later success? How’d you do it? Let us know in the comments.


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