Telling stories is a popular format for presenting material that’s easy for a listener to understand. In trying to raise funds or to make a sale, the presentation needs engage quickly, and be succinct. The presentation won’t close the deal, but it does open the discussion that leads to a deal.
Here are why questions to focus your story’s content for better engagement.
- Why does the market have the issue you’re trying to solve?
The foundation to any business product’s value is how it addresses a business issue. Useful is better than cool to business. It’s not enough for one company to have an issue or for the issue to be occasional. Address the business issue and not the technology.
- Why are you talking to me?
If the audience doesn’t see a reason for their involvement, they’re lost in 15 seconds. The other side of this question is knowing your expectations from the audience.
- Why hasn’t someone else come up with a solution?
Everybody likes to think they have a unique idea. Typically, the difference between ideas is execution. If you’ve identified a real issue, clarify why yours is the best answer. Listen for feedback to understand where the story can be better developed.
- Why won’t markets use another way to make a fix?
Clearly state the alternatives. They exist, including doing nothing. Enumerate the advantages and vulnerabilities to the options in a manner that puts your product in the best light. Customers can be ingenious at taking your observations, then developing their solution.
- Why won’t somebody copy your product or idea?
There was a time when development and set up expenses inherently built long delays into product knock-offs. Patents are not ironclad protection and will be expensive to defend. The best medicine here is to be good, be fast, and be likeable.
- Why will prospects buy from you?
What is there about your organization that makes it compelling as the provider for the solution? Know your efficiencies and explain in simple, short terms. Beware of talking yourself into a hole from which you can’t deliver.
- Why is your team the right group to run the business?
It’s one thing to have an idea and build a good beta product. Demonstrate that your staff and organization understand the industry issues as well as how to execute reliably.
- Why should anyone put their money into the venture?
A customer wants to see financial improvement from their operation. The investor wants to see a return on the money. Demonstrate character and responsiveness that validate the contribution from the product. A smart VC will want to know why you need their money, but more importantly, what else they can contribute to the business.
- Why don’t you have more customers today?
The best validator for a product is paying customers. Other customers feel more comfortable if they feel others have worked through the development issues and found value in the product. They all want to be early, but none wants to be first.
Investors use the same gage to validate their participation. Tongue in cheek, they call it, the greater the fool theory. “I might be nuts to buy in, but somebody else did too, and someone else will pay more than me.”
With answers to these foundation questions, the base content is available to build the VC pitch and sales support materials. Listen carefully to the questions, which are actually golden insights. Be sensitive to time because no audience will stay engaged forever. Remember that in the end it is a story with a hero. Make your product the hero. The best presentations are more story and dialog than diatribe.