You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression.

Remember that great ad slogan? Ironically I remember the slogan but not the campaign. Was it mouthwash? Anyway, a quick point I wanted to make, especially to young companies seeking early stage customers or investors, is that you need to take your pitch & presentation very seriously. I work with quite a few early stage companies, many in the tech fields, and have typically found that the pitch, key messages and presentation format is a last minute detail that is usually short-changed and poorly done. Unfortunately, the result is a lack of interest from those early stage customers or investors that they have worked so hard to get in front of. Customers don’t really care about how great your product or technology is and everything that went into making it. What they do care about is why it’s relevant to them and their business. How will this make my company or people more efficient, more competitive, drive more sales, etc…. How is this different that what I’m already doing and how are you different than the resource we are already working with? And on top of that, investors will want to know how you are going to make money, and ultimately, make them money.

If you can’t address those issues in the first five minutes, you’re dead! Sorry to be dramatic but its true. NOT ENOUGH TIME AND EFFORT IS PUT INTO EFFECTIVELY PACKAGING YOUR COMPANY AND OFFERINGS IN A WAY THAT IS RELEVANT TO YOUR AUDIENCES. You can have the greatest product in the world but if the people who make the buying or investing decision don’t get it, and see the value, it doesn’t matter. Think about it. With as much time, money and effort you have put into creating your company and your products, why wouldn’t you make sure you have your presentation as good as it can be for those very important meetings and sales efforts? Why wouldn't you be confident that you can grab their interest and attention right from the start.

Anyone out there been pitched to and thought after two minutes “Oh my God, How long is this going to take?” If you have any horror stories, please share.

And for you Mr. or Mrs. Entrepreneur, do this right. Don’t shortchange the effort, and get some outside professional help if you are about to pitch investors or early stage customers.

Insert self serving plug here: Because I’ve seen this over and over again over the years, I’ve created a one day workshop with a colleague of mine designed to help you nail down your elevator speech and key messages for the purpose of a sales or investor pitch. For more info look at our Perfect Your Pitch workshop.

Also, a great blog that focuses exclusively on presentations is Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds

And lastly, here is a link to some good basic tips:
Marketing Smart – How to Create a Winning Presentation

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