If you didn’t get the chance to join our webinar last week with the Startup Hypeman, Rajiv Nathan, on “How to Not Suck at Pitching Your Startup”, you missed out on the best 60 minutes of 2020. Just kidding, but it was a highly entertaining and informative session from Raj, who is an expert on helping entrepreneurs perfect their elevator pitches, sales presentations, and investor decks.

He was named an “Agent of Change” by Huffington Post, has given a TED Talk on being an expert in vulnerability, and has been featured on NBC Sports, Inc., and Forbes, among others. 

We laughed at Raj’s hilarious, yet accurate, metaphors about the struggles entrepreneurs face while pitching, cried at an example of a powerful and emotional Google advertisement, and even sang the theme song of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air together –which is apparently a perfect example of a quality pitch. Who knew?

Raj tells us these 5 things are sure to improve pitching:

    1. One of the most important things an entrepreneur can focus on is perfecting the message to prospective customers. While there are so many things an entrepreneur needs to focus on every day, above all they need to nail down a central message that will drive their sales pitch and every other aspect of the business. If entrepreneurs don’t authentically connect with their prospects, they will struggle to sell their products.

      Raj explained that some entrepreneurs get stuck on a “messaging treadmill”. This might be you if you’re trying to move forward but keep getting held back by being too in the weeds, too technical, or too caught up in the many other aspects of running your business.
    2. When pitching your product, think like an entertainer instead of an entrepreneur. Use emotions to appeal to your prospects and leave them buzzing with excitement about your product.

      For example, a band would never play its entire list of songs during a concert from start to finish; instead, they carefully craft a setlist that creates an experience for the audience that makes them feel connected to the band. Similarly, a pitch should be easy to follow and focused on connecting your prospect to your product.
    3. Avoid getting in the technical weeds and speak to what matters most to your audience. Don’t try to explain the nitty-gritty details of your product to make it sell, instead sell your prospect how they’ll be much better off once they use your product or solution.

      For example, if you’re selling a dating app, you should market the happy couple that met on your platform instead of the platform itself.
    4. You can easily communicate your message by using the “Que PASA” formula:

a. Problem: What are your prospects struggling with?

b. Approach: What would the situation look like if the problem disappeared?

c. Solution: What is the solution your company has created?

d. Action: How can prospects learn more or buy your solution?

5. A well-defined problem is already half solved. The better you define your problem, the less you have to say about your solution. Those listening can start to formulate the answer themselves. 

Raj used an example from one of his client companies, FanFood, which is a concession stand mobile-ordering app for sporting events and in-person gatherings. FanFood always begins their pitch by explaining the problem many sports fans face when trying to get food at a game: they end up missing major plays or “the big catch” because they were waiting in line to get food. The problem is always relatable to audiences hearing the pitch, and on several occasions, people have shouted out the exact sports play and game they missed when they were trying to grab a hot dog! The problem is so clear and relatable that FanFood’s solution seems like a no-brainer.

We would also like to give a special thank you to Mario Dealba who bravely pitched his company, Elektrik, in front of the virtual crowd and won an awesome startup gift package including:

Thank you to the Birmingham business community members who generously donated this package.

If you’re interested in using any of Raj’s services, you can connect with him here, listen to his podcast here, or watch a recorded version of the workshop here.