We’ve all been told that when we’re presenting we should Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS).
But how many of you follow this — or better yet — know how to follow this principle?
I read a story recently about the “Best Seed Pitch Ever” on Fred Wilson’s blog. Wilson is the co-founder of Union Square Ventures, a New York City-based venture capital firm with investments in Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Zynga, Kickstarter, and 10gen.
Wilson has probably heard 100s if not 1000s of pitches from entrepreneurs asking him for money, but he says this pitch was the best.
If you’re not familiar with coding terminology (I’m not), Fred’s post might not make a whole lot of sense. Don’t worry, I’ve distilled the important points of the pitch into two stupid-simple steps you can follow.
First, here’s the pitch as told by Fred Wilson:
It was 2008 in our old offices on the 14th floor of the building we still work in. My partner Albert, who led our investment in Twilio, had met Jeff and was impressed with him and his vision for Twilio. He asked me if I would meet with him and so I did.
Jeff came into the conference room, sat down, and said “we have taken the entire messy and complex world of telephony and reduced it to five API calls.”
I said “get out of here, that’s impossible.”
Jeff proceeded to reel them off and I said “wow.”
He then pulled out his laptop, fired up an editor, and started live coding an app. He asked me for my cell phone number and within 30 seconds my phone was ringing.
I said “you can stop there. that’s amazing.”
It was, and remains, the best seed pitch I’ve ever gotten.
The big takeaway here is Jeff lead with his best stuff.
He didn’t waste time introducing himself, or his team, or talking about market statistics.
He told Wilson what he had and then showed him.
Stupid-Simple Sales Pitch
Next time you’re pitching a new idea, follow these two steps:
STEP 1) CONTEXT — Give your audience the context they need to “get” what you’re about to demo. This is where you want to make your claim i.e. my product can do X.
STEP 2) DEMO — Show your audience what you just claimed your business can do.
STEP 3 (Optional) FILL IN THE BLANKS — At this point in your pitch, your audience should be impressed/ curious. If your demo was a success, they will start to ask questions. Take this opportunity to clarify some things, like objections, introduce your team, etc.
The best way I’ve found to think about this style of presenting is to think about all the times you’ve had a great conversation with someone only to realize you never got that person’s name until after the fact. You say something like…
Wow, we’ve been talking for 10 minutes now and I realized I never got your name. Hi, I’m Nick…
Everyone can talk about market statistics, projections, their board of investors…
But only you can show what your product or business does that nobody else’s does.
Some of you might be wondering how this stupid-simple sales pitch would work if you were pitching just an idea for your business and you had no working product or prototype to demonstrate.
Here’s what you do: Copy what Jesse Itzler did. I wrote about how Itzler successfully pitched his private jet company to NetJets in my How to Craft Presentations That Sell essay.
The secret is to show what’s at point B rather than tell.
Test This on Your Next Tinder Date
Here’s a cool thing for you to try on your next date night.
One of ETR’s contributing authors Oliver Emberton wrote an article about How to Connect Deeply With Anyone (in 5 Minutes).
This is an awesome article.
P.S. Most articles or books that ask the reader to imagine or follow specific instructions fail to actually get their readers to take the desired action. Notice how persuasive Emberton’s call to action is in his article. I’ll be stealing this.
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