“I have a photographic memory. I just haven’t deveoped it yet.” – Jonathan Winters

So, we’ve talked about how having FUN and using LINKS contributes the F.L.A.I.R. that motivates investors to care.

What’s next?

A = Alliteration

Say these words.

Best Purchase.

Dirt Vacuum.

Bed, Toliet, Etc.

Kind of clunky, eh?

Now make those words alliterative. (Alliteration is when words start with the same sound.)

Best Buy.

Dirt Devil.

Bed, Bath and Beyond.

More musical and memorable, right?

This is not petty.

Repeatability is crucial to memorability.

And memorability is crucial to you closing a deal.

At the Springboard Enterpises BootCamp in Boston at the Microsoft NERD Center on June 17; each of the 21 entrepreneurs (selected from more than 100 applicants) started with a 2 minute bio presentation.

Their assignment?

Tell us, in 2 minutes, about your credentials and proven track record so we are intrigued, impressed and convinced you have the clout to carry this off.

Here’s what I told the group at the end of their bio presentations – which took about an hour total.

“Okay, I’m giving you each $10 million. You just heard 21 entrepreneurs introduce their business credentials. Who would you invest in?

Look around the room. WHO DO YOU REMEMBER?

Do you remember ANY of the names of the presenters or businesses? What do you remember that so impresseed you, you’re motivated to walk up to that person and initiate a follow-up conversation?”

It was a sobering moment. Because these entrepreneurs realized that most of what they just heard had gone in one ear and out the other.

They realized that unless they did something special with THEIR pitch, the business they’d invested their head, heart, soul and bank account in . . . may go in one ear and out the other of future investors who have heard thousands of pitches.

Think about it. These were 2 minute pitches.

Many pitch forums feature 20 – 30 ten minute pitch presentations, back to back.

Imagine sitting through 8 hours of pitches.

At the end of a l-o-n-g day, pitches start to blend together. They start to sound alike and it’s hard to remember who was who.

That means, unless you do something special to stand out, you’ll be out of sight, out of mind.

That’s why it’s essential to give your audience a hook on which to hang a memory.

If you care about your idea or business, it’s YOUR responsibility to pitch it so crisply and compellingly, YOU’RE THE ONE they remember . . . YOU’RE the one they respect . . . YOU’RE the one they want to talk to at the end of the day.

Alliteration helps.

Look at your pitch, product description, web copy and business name. Are you using alliteration, i.e., Rolls Royce. Dunkin Donuts. Java Jacket. Merlin Mobility? (Kudos to Springboard presenter Margaret Martin for coming up with that magically alliterative name.)

If so, good for you.

If not, go back and insert words into sentences that start with the same sound. It will make your language more lyrical and help you stand out so YOU’RE the entrepreneur who’s top of mind at the end of a long day of pitches.

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“I never metaphor I didn’t like.” – Richard Lederer, NPR’s A Way with Words

In the previous blog, we talked about the importance of having FUN while pitching.

If you’re not having fun; trust me; your audience isn’t having fun.

Now for the second letter in F.L.A.I.R. that helps investors care.

L = LINK

“The quickest way to help decision-makers connect with what your business does is to compare it to something they already know and respect.” – Sam Horn, Intrigue Expert, pitch strategist and author of POP!

Jan Bruce of New Life Solution is already a successful entrepreneur having developed meQuilibrim (talk about a business name that POP!s).

She has a compelling “backstory.” After selling a business to Martha Stewart for millions, for some reason, Jan didn’t feel as happy as hoped.

In fact, as she told our group, she wondered, “Why am I feeling so bad when I am doing so well?”

This prompted a quest to figure out what was going on.

Jan’s research revealed that “stress is the new ‘obesity.'”

It’s reached epidemic proportions and is costing companies billions and compromising people’s health.

She’s developed an “online, guided, self-help progam providing interactive education, behavior tools and peer support on a scalable basis.”

HUH?

See, that’s the problem.

That sentence describes what her business does – but we still don’t get it. And if we don’t get it, SHE won’t get it.

That’s where LINKING comes in.

Comparison provides a shortcut to comprehension.

A metaphor or analogy that links your unfamiliar business to something with which we’re familiar (and fond) fast-forwards our understanding.

Jan knows this and excels at it.

What’s her elevator intro for her business?

“New Life Solution is like Weight Watchers for stress.”

OOOHHHH. Got it.

Are you pitching an idea or venture?

What is it LIKE? Link your new idea or venture to a proven entity your decision-makers respect to turn confusion into clarity.

Believe me, an intrigued “ooohhh” is a lot better than a confused “huh?”

Want to know what the A in F.L.A.I.R. stands for? Keep reading.

“It’s not enough to be the best at what you do; you must be perceived as the only one who does what you do.” – Jerry Garcia

Actually, when you’re trying to get interest from investors; it’s not enough to be perceived as one of a kind.

You must prove how you’re solving a problem that’s costing your target customers money – and you must prove how you’re going to make your investors money.

I am the Pitch Coach for Springboard Enterprises – which has helped entrepreneurs receive more than $5 billion in funding. Springboard grads include Robin Chase of ZipCar, Gail Goodman of Constant Contact and Joni Evans of WowOWow.com

When coaching people on their pitches, I see the same thing again and again.

People tell the story of their company. And they explain what their business does.

That will not convince a venture capitalist to invest in you.

What investors want to know is — HOW WILL YOU MAKE ME MONEY?

If you are asking for millions of dollars – prove to me you have a leadership team with big-brand experience, contacts and a tangible track record of making and managing millions of dollars.

If you are asking for millions of dollars – prove to me you have a first-of-its-kind, evolutionary, disruptive technology, product, service or patent-pending approach with a clear competitive advantage.

If you are asking for millions of dollars – prove to me with metrics and measurable evidence why your business will scale in the years ahead and my investment will pay off and grow.

And if you are asking for millions of dollars – don’t end your presentation by saying “Thank you for your attention.” Give me a clear, compelling incentive to contact you afterwards because you’re offering something intriguing and/or financially impressive that motivates me to want to know more.