In the comedy world, there’s something known as a “Tight 5.” That’s a 5-minute set of prepared jokes and stories told in a way that makes sense and keeps the audience engaged.
Young entrepreneurs can learn a lot about developing a set from comedians. Why? Because, like stand-up comics, you need to know what you’re going to say before you say it. You’ll need to find the right words and phrases, in the right order, that will grab your audience’s attention and keep it.
Times you’ll need a practiced sales pitch:
When selling your idea or product, your chances of success increase if you prepare to answer common questions. And just like the funniest comics out there, you’ll need to practice a LOT before you take your show on the road.
1. THE HOOK
The start of your pitch needs to grab your listener’s attention immediately. You want their ears to perk up. Draw their focus. Make them think, “This is interesting. Tell me more.”
That’s your hook.
When creating your hook, consider the following:
- What common problem does your investor or customer have?
- The unique and effective way your product addresses that problem
- The hopes and desires your investors or customers have in solving that problem
Let’s say you want to go into the biotech industry. You’ve created an app that will help patients log their medical history, including prescriptions, doctors, and procedures, all in one place. Your hook might sound something like, “Don’t you hate how long it takes to fill out forms every time you see a new doctor?”
2. THE PERSONAL CONNECTION
Who is the person you’re talking to? Other than a potential source of money – either venture capital or profit? Are they young or old? Professional or casual? A parent? A doctor? Your friends?
When you know the person to whom you are pitching, you can make your pitch personal. Something that affects them. Remember: you’re not only selling your app, you’re selling a better way of life.
Let’s say you’re pitching your medical history app to parents. Think about what parents need: more time, less stress. Their kids have, at the minimum, a pediatrician and a dentist. Maybe there are orthodontists, psychologists, or medical specialists in there. Has their child had a lot of ear infections recently? What was the date of their child’s last vaccine? These are all things a busy parent needs to know!
Your personal connection would be to let the parent know that there’s an easier way to keep track of the entire family’s medical history. No more keeping random notes or scrolling through endless lists of contacts to find a doctor’s name and information. Now, thanks to your app, they can save time and feel less stress.
3. FEATURES ARE NOT BENEFITS
So you’ve created the world’s best health records app. It’s tidy, it’s streamlined, it’s intuitive, and it’s user-friendly. Now what?
Your audience doesn’t want to hear that your app has state-of-the-art UX. What does that mean to them? Your app’s intuitive UX is a feature. It’s not a benefit.
A feature is the “what” of your product. A benefit is the “how.”
What (feature): The ability to include up to 6 family members’ medical profiles.
How (benefit): No more remembering who takes which meds or which kid broke their arm six years ago, because it’s right there in the app.
What (feature): Store all health professionals’ information, insurance info, medications, and prior medical history all in one app.
How (benefit): Save time with a single tap.
No one wants to hear a dry list of features. Need more examples? Watch a few car commercials. Notice how they sell a lifestyle, not car features.
4. WHY YOU?
There are a number of health record apps out there. Why should a potential investor give you money to create another one? Why should that customer download your app instead of someone else’s?
This is where you need to go back to your personal connection and consider your audience. A parent’s app needs will be somewhat different than the needs of a health professional. For example, a parent might prefer an app that allows users to include the addresses and phone numbers of all the family’s doctors. This way, when filling out forms for schools or camps, or when speaking with a child’s pediatrician, the parent doesn’t have to scramble to find contact info. A health professional, on the other hand, may want an app that allows unlimited profiles so they can keep track of all their patients.
How will your app help this person? Young entrepreneurs know how to get specific and aren’t afraid to brag about the unique benefits (not features) of their products.
Once you’ve got the basics down, practice pitching. Start by reciting your pitch alone. Get rid of the “ums” and “uhs.” Are you fidgeting too much? Tripping over words? Are you using big AP English words when a simpler word will do?
Time yourself. The absolute longest your pitch should run is about 10 minutes. That amount of time is good for competitions, shows, or speaking to a crowd. But be prepared to cut your pitch down to 5 minutes. And then be prepared to cut it down to a single minute for those networking events when you need to grab attention and get to the point as quickly as possible.
Practice in front of friends and family who will be honest with you. Did you lose them at some point? How can you fix that? Do they feel excited by the end of your pitch? Do they understand what it is you’re selling?
While creating a winning pitch may become repetitive for you, remember that young entrepreneurs are driven by energy and excitement. The best comics make their sets seem natural. Your pitch should feel warm and energized, too. Remember that this might be the “in” you need!
Young entrepreneurs in Florida may be eligible for a Kantner Foundation college scholarship. Click here to learn about what we have to offer and how to apply.