One of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when presenting for the first time is placing the focus on themselves rather than on their prospective customer’s needs. In these situations, entrepreneurs typically do an excellent job of explaining their product or service, but they fall short when it comes to truly connecting with their audience.
Presentations can and should share details about a young company, however, the most successful pitches are designed to enable a customer to discover benefits of a product or service as they relate to solving a problem or lessening a pain point.
Here are three suggestions to help you avoid this mistake when presenting to potential customers:
Get to know your potential customer in a real way
Do your research and figure out who they are and what’s important to them. Understand their vision and goals, any initiatives they have in place, their method of operations, their community outreach efforts, who’s a part of their management, and so on. Spend some time on their website looking for general company information and reading their annual report; you may be surprised at what you learn.
What’s the point? You want to incorporate the “intersections” between their operation and yours into your presentation. Whenever possible, use their words to illustrate your points and to explain why you will make a good partner for them.
Create a solid business case for the match or partnership
If you cannot do this, perhaps they’re not such a good potential customer for you. This is the classic “you-have-a-problem-and-I-have-the-solution” moment, but it is also more than that. You are uniquely equipped to solve their problem because you can demonstrate how you’ll solve it with what is uniquely important to their company. In my experience, I have seen the impact of this strategy take entrepreneurs to another relationship level with companies. Suddenly, you are on their team because “you get it.”
Know what you want
Be as specific as possible with your “ask.” Don’t go in hoping to create a relationship but not knowing what that relationship should look like from your perspective. Your perspective is now informed by the research you did and case you made in the points above, so your ask should be in line with your potential customer’s expectations. This will give you a better shot at success.
Remember, as an entrepreneur pitching to potential customers, it is not about you so much as it is about your future customer.
For more useful tips on getting your venture started the right way, check out JumpStart’s helpful Entrepreneur’s Toolkit.