Whether you’re a solopreneur or an INC 5000 CEO on the fast track, your ability to present yourself, your company, and your value, will determine the trajectory of your business
Here are three presentations every entrepreneur must master:
The Positioning Statement. At the simplest level, the positioning statement is your company’s brand message. What do you do, whom do you serve, and how does the customer benefit? It must be clear, concise, compelling and convincing. Aim for 15 seconds or less. To be concise, write your positioning statement as a tweet. In order to be compelling and convincing you’ll need to talk outcomes, not features. It should prompt the listener to say, “How do you do this?”
Here are some examples:
A sales trainer: “I work with sales companies who want to sell more in less time.”
An actress: “I work with savvy professionals to speak with the poise, passion and persuasive power of a Broadway actor."
A divorce mediator: “I help you get your life back.”
Use sensory language and evocative metaphors to create emotion. The brain ignores overused expressions as simply words. Brain scans, however, reveal that sensory metaphors like ‘silky voice' actually trigger the sensory cortex. Hollywood producer, Peter Guber said that he lost a log of big deals in the beginning of his career because he gave investors “a lot of data but didn’t engage them emotionally”. So be expressive - descriptive - and tap into the listeners’ emotions.
Marketing with a Speech. If you’re not speaking to promote your business, you’re leaving money on the table. Public speaking is the most cost effective and yet underutilized form of marketing. Offering seminars and presentations to your target audience, allows you to show them how you can solve their problems and serve their needs. This is much less time consuming than scheduling one-on-one meetings. When the audience sees you in action, it’s like test driving a car. You build trust through your message and live performance.
To succeed with speak marketing, you’ll need to bone up on your platform skills. Poor presentation skills will foster a lack of trust. And don’t make it a sales pitch. The key to success is to engage the audience by giving them an experience. One sales manager taped a dollar bill under each chair. During his pitch to convince the sales team to sell more, he told them to reach under their seats. When they had the dollar bill in their hands he bellowed, “It just goes to show you there’s money to be made when you get off your butt.”
Provide value, offer a few tips, and challenge their thinking. Be sure to have a low entry call to action such as a free strategy session or a discounted product. The goal is to gather sales leads. The easiest way to capture business cards is to raffle off a prize.
Pitching for Dollars. At some point, a company will need funding in order to grow. To get investors to part with their money requires a compelling story. Facts tell, but stories sell. In telling the business story, the entrepreneur must convey passion and confidence. The presentation deck won’t sell itself. I once asked an investor how much weight he gave the presentation. He told me that a strong management team was most important but decided against funding one company because the CEO was a weak presenter. This made the investors lose confidence in the company. Make strong eye contact, eliminate /ums/, and speak with conviction.
The power of passion cannot be underplayed. Research shows a direct correlation between “perceived passion” and the likelihood of receiving funding from investors. A study by Chapman University published an experiment in the Journal of Business Venturing. Researchers asked angel investors to rate the passion and enthusiasm of the presenters while controlling for risk, revenue potential and market opportunity. Perceived passion came in third, outranking education, age, style, or start-up experience.
Another mistake is not knowing the audience. Angel investors are different from VCs. Understand their goals and do research to determine if they understand your industry. Remember to think from their point of view. Investors don’t care about your product. Tell them how they’ll make money. And be sure to get to the point. Investors have short attention spans. “They decide in 90 seconds if they are going to listen and decide in the first five minutes if it’s a NO”, according to Karen Rands, Founder of LAUNCH.fn. The ideal timing for a business pitch is 15-20 minutes.
By mastering these three entrepreneurial presentations, business owners will be able to take their companies to the next level and soar.