If you love Russell Peters as much as I do, you will be very familiar with that famous line. As funny as it was, I use it now for the sake of sending out an important message: Be a man, and learn how to approach a VC properly!
Ever since I’ve begun tweeting and blogging, my deal flow has taken off. I am sourcing more deals than ever before and seeing firsthand the mistakes entrepreneurs make when they go looking for the golden goose who will lay them the funding egg.
First piece of advice: APPROACH WITH CONFIDENCE.
A few years back, I grudgingly became a PUA (Pickup Artist, think of Neil Strauss’ The Game) at my friend’s behest. One of the key lessons was to always approach women with confidence. For entrepreneurs, this is no different.
In short: Don’t be such a goddamn pussy, and just come up to me!
Almost all the founders who approached me seem afraid, like I was some VC boogeyman. Truth be told, most VC’s are like boogeymen with the added unpleasantness of a huge ego. But this is precisely why you need bigger balls than a Spanish matador.
VC’s love the high they get from being pitched to, even if they know their time is being wasted—there’s something inherently ambrosial about it.
VC’s also have a “shitty entrepreneur defense shield” (in the PUA world, it’s what’s known as a “bitch shield”). Women have this defense to ward off any would-be suitors they deem to be inadequate. VC’s developed their own version to deflect the crappy pitches we have headed our way.
If you do have the good fortune of catching my attention, please, for the love of baby Jesus, do everything in your power to keep it! Make it snappy. If you don’t, I will fall into a comalike trance where I begin to picture you in your underwear to keep myself from completely drifting off.
Long-winded pitches are the worst. You’d have better luck just coming up to me and saying, “Bitch, gimme all yo money!”
Approaching with confidence is just one obstacle you will have to traverse; the really hard part is what you do AFTER you get my attention.
Continuing with the PUA theme: Another important concept I learned was how to “DHV.” This common PUA term stands for “demonstrations of higher value.”
For example, if you approached a girl at the bar successfully, your next task would be to demonstrate value in order to keep the ball rolling. If there is no incentive for the girl to continue to invest in the interaction, attention dries up, and she either gets bored or rejects you completely.
This can be done in many ways:
-Social proof. Show the VC right away that your startup has the attention of other suitors.
-Poke fun at me. No joke. If you can come up with a funny and lighthearted jest at my expense, you might get me laughing. Laughter is always a good way to break down my bitch shie….*ahem* “VC barrier” and be more receptive to your pitch. E.g. One time an entrepreneur said to me, “I love your tie…I think it would look better on me though!”
-Tell an emotionally charged and engaging story right away. One of the first things I ask is, “What problem are you trying to solve?. In most cases, I get long-winded spiels filled with technical jargon—not cool!
Just tell me a good story about how and why you came up with the idea. Maybe you were on the crapper one day and a moment of inspiration came over you. Or you had an accident that gave you an idea. Just look at how compelling Mark Zuckerberg’s story was.
So far you’ve managed to approach me with confidence and demonstrate value; now what?
Body language. This is crucial. You might think your pitch is the most important thing, but having the right body language is the key to really selling it. After all, most communication is done nonverbally.
Keep your hands out of your pockets or behind your back. Being more jittery than a crack addict shows too much nervousness, so stand with the poise of a soldier. And most importantly, be ANIMATED. I don’t want to feel like I am hearing a pitch from HAL 9000.
Move your hands and arms as you speak (like how Italians talk, but toned down slightly).
Talk with passion. Have pregnant pauses in your dialogue from time to time. Speak slower than usual. Maintain a fair amount of eye contact.
Well, that’s it. If you have any more suggestions, I would love to hear them in the comments section below.
Happy pitching, entrepreneurs!