The Personal Motivations of Your Audience

I had a conversation a month or so ago with an entrepreneur.   She was asking me about pitching to X, another investment firm in the DC area.

I asked her whom she was pitching to at X, and she said Y.

“What is Y looking for in an investment?” I asked.

“$10M check over the life of the fund,” she began.

“No,” I said, “What is Y looking for personally, to make her mark at X?”

“Oh,” she said, “I don’t know.”

Surprising that she hadn’t thought it through; she’s an excellent Solutions Pitch person in general.

My guess would be that Y wants a sleeper B2C property that will brand her as a great investment picker when it gets good markups in the next round or two.  So she wants some connection between the opportunity and her “special sauce”, whatever that might be.

That’s still somewhat impersonal; I don’t really know Y.  The point is: your audience has a personal stake in the opportunity you’re pitching to them.  One of your jobs is to find it out and gear your pitch to making the connection clear.

How to find out?  Well:

  • Homework beforehand.  Be sure to know what Y invests in, what she says in her social digital exhaust, anything else you can gather from the ‘tubes or from people who know her.
  • Ask her at the pitch.  Not, “what is firm X looking for” but “what investments particularly interest you, Y”.  (And, by the way, why they interest Y [I’ve been longing to write that for a long time].)
  • Note what she reacts to.  If she fidgets and tunes out when you’re talking about B2C, then she’s probably B2B.  If she perks up and asks questions about market size, she probably cares about big markets (maybe even mistakenly).

The personal motivations of your audience are completely grist for the mill.

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