Suspense And The Investor Pitch

We’ve all been in a theater watching an actress inside a haunted house, walking slowly toward the room where a hatchet murderer was hiding.

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The music got louder as the girl’s hand got closer to the door knob… and people started squirming in their seats preparing for the inevitable.

You knew what was gonna happen and so did everybody else. Yet, everyone still got worked up. Why? Because you wanted to get worked up. You wanted to get excited.

It’s the same thing when you’re pitching.  Investors are there to get worked up.  They want to get excited about what you’re pitching. They are there hoping to find and  invest in the next Google, Apple, or Facebook, and they know that might be you.

As you get closer to your financial slides, start looking for small movements. Focus on the investor’s body language.  Pay attention to those who begin to squirm a little.  Not squirming like they’re scared, but like they’re trying to see your slides better, and trying to hear you better.

Some times it’s very subtle, just a small “seating adjustment”.  Other times they will uncross their legs or arms and then cross them the other way.

Other times, they’ll lean forward, or if they’re sitting at a table they will pick their pen up or lean waaaay forward and squint and almost frown at your slides. But like I said before, don’t worry about that.  When it comes to body language, things aren’t always what they seem to be…

They are thinking and counting and doing math in their head and trying to remember everything.  You’ve got them right where they want to be.  “All up in” your pitch.

Keep in mind, you’ll also have investors who will do the exact opposite, they won’t move at all.  They will sit there like a statue when they’re interested.  Their face will show a slight squint with their eyebrows pulled together just a bit.

They don’t look sad or in pain, they look serious. Almost angry, but their lips aren’t pursed.  I call that “focus face”.

When you see these signs, those are the investors you want to engage with. In a crowd of 40 to 50, there may be 3 to 5 who will show you what they are really thinking. When you spot them, lock eyes with them and speak directly to them.

Not so long that it’s weird or uncomfortable, but a bit longer than usual. Keep your eyebrows up just a bit longer and show a slight smile when you begin talking to them as well. This shows recognition and gives them an even stronger feeling that you’re talking directly to them.

It will take a couple of pitches to get the hang of it, but once you do, you’ll find you have more meeting requests from investors than you ever expected.