Ninety-nine percent of the calls, emails, etc. that get through to me are early stage entrepreneurs who want to pitch their idea and ask for money. And if I say no, they ask who else I can introduce them to so they can make another pitch. Really?!?
Let’s compare this type of activity to other similar human experiences and see how it feels.
- What if the Headmaster of an exclusive and expensive private school calls me up, takes me to lunch, and pitches the idea of my precious children changing schools, friends, and teachers, me paying $20,000 per child per year, tells me that I need to act fast in order to get the last few spaces available for this semester, and then graciously gives me a few days to think it over.
- What if I’m sitting in an airport by myself waiting for a flight when a nice, well-intentioned young lady asks me for 15 minutes of my time. She proceeds to sell me, with a well-polished slide deck, loads of compelling data and testimonials on why I should run away with her and start a new life “on the side” for three to five years. I kindly and professionally explain to her that this type of “deal” is not for me. She tries to overcome my objections a few times, but, realizing I am not her target market, begins asking me for referrals to three or four of my closest friends. Young, old, any gender, any professional background, any relational status, etc. None of that matters, just so they have lots of disposable income.
The crazy thing is that the two scenarios above and a cold investor pitch all have one thing in common. They all lack a relational foundation. They are all asking for something deeply profound with a profoundly shallow approach.
Even so, we all know of people who have blindly invested after a killer sales pitch, changed to a prestigious school just because it was prestigious or picked up a new “family member” on a whim. And as startups, we often practice our pitch in daydream mode, hoping that the next investor meeting will end with those eight magic words, “Who do I make the check out to?”
Unfortunately, the types of people who make those HUGE life decisions without a strong relational foundation and careful consideration of the pros and cons, often don’t make the best long-term investors, school board members, or life partners.
You and I are strong, intuitive, inventive, professional entrepreneurs. We don’t need to stoop to the cold investor pitch. Let’s put the cold pitch behind us and build those relationships for the long haul. Knowing our potential investors as people first and then investors. Building the trust that allows referrals to flow. Educating in a way that creates win-win startup and investor outcomes.
Together we can build trust, relationships, and positive outcomes for all.