I picked up “Success From Pitch To Profit” from the library. It’s a collection of stories from the BBC of the entrepreneurs who had pitched to the Dragons in the Dragon’s Den programme as well as accounts from the Dragons of what they are looking for and what will work for them. It is a very useful book to help prospective pitchers to understand what is expected of them.
A point well made by Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden is how essential it is to do your research before presenting your business to the Dragons – or indeed, any potential investor.
Deborah Meaden says,” Once you’re ready to pitch to investors, rehearse in front of someone you respect and admire. Memorise key points. Use your own language – anything else will sound false. Present yourself as smart and well-groomed, but at the same time you’ve got to feel comfortable in what you are wearing, you’ve got to be yourself. Above all, be honest; all good investors have in-built bullshit detectors!”
In 2008, the Max Planck Institute of Human, Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig did research on brain function and the decision-making process (as reported in Science Daily http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080414145705.htm). They discovered what I think are two very exciting facts.
- Any decision made happens 7 seconds before you are aware of it.
- The unconscious decision is far more accurate than the one taken consciously.
So…… every decision gets made in the unconscious – and then conscious thinking will come up with reasons to back up the decision you’ve already made or overrule it.
How to influence that unconscious decision-making process in the person you are pitching to – whether you’re at interview, winning agreement from the members of your team, gaining investment for your business or just plain making a sale?
As Meaden aptly puts it,” People buy from confident people”.
When you are confident: knowledgeable (you’re confident in your research), passionate (you believe in what you are saying) and convincing (your unconscious signals such as open body language, varied vocal tone, upright and commanding posture and compelling ‘presence’), you are sending messages straight to the unconscious mind of the person you are pitching to. And it will be those that produce the most successful results.