“YOU CAN HAVE BRILLIANT IDEAS, BUT IF YOU CAN’T GET THEM ACROSS, YOUR IDEAS WON’T GET YOU ANYWHERE.LEE IACOCCA
Today one of the biggest challenges that startups face is pitching to investors. The idea of the founder is nothing until an investor or customer believes in it and wills to pay for it.
Raising money from venture capitals, angel investors, etc. is not an easy job. Whether or not investors believe in the idea usually depends on a 5-10 minute elevator pitch.
Along with a viable and scalable idea, other factors determine the success of the pitch. These include the story, communication style, the structure of the meeting, etc.
Sometimes a founder can’t get them all right. This is the reason that the services of pitch coaches are sought after.
A pitch coach helps in analyzing each aspect of the client’s pitch deck. Such coaches have years of experience. Thus, they know what savvy investors look for. They use their knowledge and experience to help the clients create a pitch deck that can at once connect with the investors.
Also, pitch coaches help the clients to deliver with full confidence, authority, and warmth. Such coaches prepare clients with solid responses to questions that investors ask. They use various coaching tools and techniques to make the client’s pitch as strong as possible.
Do you want to help young entrepreneurs to impress their investors?
Yes? Then why not become a pitch coach and translate your passion into profession.
Pitch coaching is a budding coaching niche. You can easily mark your authority if you start today.
In this article, I have covered all pitch coaching essentials. These will help you to skyrocket your growth and build a phenomenal coaching business.
Let us start by understanding more about a pitch coach.
Who is a pitch coach and what do they do?
A pitch coach helps clients to prepare successful pitches. Such coaches focus on every aspect of investment pitches. These include:
- Building a robust investment story
- Reviewing the pitch deck to ensure that no element lacks
- Structuring the meeting
- Coaching the techniques to build engagement with the investors/clients
- Building confidence, focus, and energy in the client
- Preparing the client for questions that investors may ask etc.
At the heart of any well-told story, there is a great script. Pitch coaches help clients to craft the right script. This way the clients can better convey their vision and business ideas to the investors and take them in confidence.
Pitch coaches not only create the scripts but also coach the client to present them in the most impressive ways. They help the clients to build presence, minimize nerves and give a convincing presentation.
Typically pitch coaches have three types of clients.
Those who have never pitched
These are the clients who have their business prototypes ready. Now they need funding to scale. Pitch coaches help such clients to develop a pitch for investors. They coach the client on how to build the deck and nail in the first time.
Those who have pitched but weren’t successful
Some clients may have had meetings. They might have been through incubators or participated in competitions but with no success. Pitch coaches help such clients to identify what’s lacking. This can be anything- unorganized pitch deck, communication style, etc.
They take the clients’ existing pitch and tweak it to suit their target audience. They help the clients to clearly articulate their story and purpose. Repeated rejections can reduce the confidence of anyone. Pitch coaches revive the spark and motivate the clients to give their best.
Some clients may have pitched already for seed or series A. Now they may be determined to win an investor for their next level. Do you think that the previous pitch would be worthy enough? Most of the time, it isn’t.
With time the business grows and so the clients. Pitch coaches help the clients to define the next chapters for their business and present them to the next level of investors.
Pitch coaches analyze the clients’ growth and achievement. They help the clients to discover the important and impactful points in their journey. The coaches mix all the ingredients to make a delicious recipe that is bound to impress the investor!
What skills must you have to become a pitch coach?
Analytical and problem-solving skills
As a pitch coach, you must be able to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your client’s idea. At the same time, you must be able to analyze the same for your client as well.
Only analyzing the situation of the client thoroughly will help you identify the purpose and goals of your client. Your client may be facing problems and hurdles. You must be able to provide solutions to your client.
For instance, your client may not able to figure out the USPs of his/her project. If you as a coach lack analytical and problem-solving skills, you will not be able to coach your clients.
to develop these skills, read/understand more about the challenges that young entrepreneurs face.
Questioning, listening and responding skills
Only when you are convinced by your client’s idea, he/she can convince the investor. to understand the client and his/her idea, you must ask great coaching questions.
At the same time, you must have the patience to listen to your client. Never superimpose thoughts or judgments. Respond in a way that makes the client feel heard and understood. Your body language and choice of words can have a great impact.
Storyboarding the presentation
Picturing your client’s story is an art. For this, you must first understand the ideal investor of your client. Also, you must have a comprehensive idea of your client’s target audience. You must have the skills to identify the most important points of your client’s story.
Next comes storyboarding the presentation to include all the elements in the pitch. This must be precise and crystal-clear. You must have the skills to decide the extent to which each element should be covered in the presentation.
The messaging and wording of the pitch matters a lot. A good pitch coach knows the correct choice of words. The coach knows which words can have a positive or negative impact. The coach coaches the client to choose the right words and correct way of messaging. This builds confidence in both the client and in the business.
The pitch coach should know how to translate a good story into a successful deck. The coach ensures that visuals and style compellingly support the story. This may also demand graphic designing and creative skills.
Presentation and communication skills
A pitch coach must develop great presentation and communication skills. Only then the coach can coach his/her clients for the same. A pitch coach must also have the skills of a public speaking coach.
Ability to build confidence in the clients
Cracking a deal with one’s ideal investor’s can be a big dream for a budding entrepreneur. Your client’s meeting with the investor is a big day for him/her. Nervousness and lack of confidence are obvious.
If your client is not confident then this can result in adverse outcomes. As the coach, you must motivate and encourage your client. To solidify his/her belief in his/her idea.
People will hardly tell you anything unless empathy is established. Until they feel that you know and understand them. You must have the skills that an emotional intelligence coach has. This will help you to understand behavioral dynamics better.
There are various ways to create empathy between your client and yourself. This includes:
- Using words like- ‘we’ and ‘our’
- Using their name
- Using their jargons and abbreviations
- Appreciating and giving compliments etc.
What must you know as a pitch coach?
I know you have the ability to coach clients for hitting funding opportunities. With passion and dedication, you must also have the right coaching process. to set it right, you must be aware of all the steps that you will have to coach your client with.
In this section of the article, we will cover A-Z steps that come under pitch coaching. Knowing and including them will make your coaching process robust and successful.
Understand what makes a compelling pitch
Before we dive into the depth, first let’s understand the basics.
The average attention span of the audience is 8 seconds. You must coach your clients to grab the attention within this period. If your coachee is not able to build the excitement in the beginning, he/she loses the battle. Certain secrets make a good pitch. Let’s reveal them.
What makes a good pitch?
- A good pitch balances business and emotional needs. While pitching to investors your coach must be able to hit them emotionally and on business grounds. Without this, any pitch will fall flat.
- A good pitch is succinct. There is very little time to grab someone’s attention. Hence, focus and momentum are the prime ingredients of any good pitch.
- A good pitch tells a story. This is the best way for a pitch’s flow. Whether a deck or verbal, the pitch must follow a narrative pattern.
- A good pitch focuses on benefits. The investor is eager to learn the value that your coachee’s idea will create for him/her. Rather than cost/features, what will attract the investor more would be the key value and benefits.
Know the investor and his/her needs and motivation
Each opportunity is unique. Your coachee must tailor the pitch according to specific investors. This doesn’t mean you need to create a new pitch for every new person. The pitch and idea will be the same. You just need to coach your coachee to tweak the language and style a bit.
Also, your clients must be able to influence the investor on emotional and business grounds.
Your client may be excited about presenting the features to impress his/her investor. As a pitching coach, you must make your client aware of the below reality:
Investors care less about features and more about the results.
You must identify what drives and motivate investors. Thereafter, coach your client to hit those areas via a convincing pitch.
Use tools and resources to make the pitch stand out
Making use of certain tools and resources can make the pitch even more compelling. Let’s have a look at some of them.
A beautiful and powerful presentation
65% of communication is non-verbal. A good presentation or a ‘pitch-deck’ does half of the work. Visuals and imagery attract the attention of the audience the most. When it comes to presentations, PowerPoint is not just the only choice. Ther are various other tools like Slidebean and Prezi. Have a look at these great presentation tools that can curtail the investment of your time and effort.
Mock-up of the product
If your coachee can give a ‘try before you buy’ opportunity to the investor, that can be great!
If your client is in the designing phase then he/she can build rich prototypes or wireframes using tools like InVision and Marvel. Such tools can depict the functionality vividly without coding. A beautiful 3D rendering for a not-yet created physical product can work well.
Testimonials from current users/investors
Social proof for an idea can be a great tool.
Does your client has some existing clients?
Does your client had a previous round of funding?
If yes, then their testimonials can show that the market need for your client’s objective indeed exists.
Building a winning pitch deck
The intro should start with a bang. It must at once grab the attention of the audience. The first two slides must be the most engaging. These must have the company name, company logo, tagline and elevator pitch.
Images that directly connect to one’s product or services must be used. The goal is to bring the investors ‘into your world’. You must coach your clients to compel the investors to buy your story, not just the financial picture.
Clearly explain the business opportunity
The business opportunity section of the pitch deck must have three main components:
- Problem – This section speaks about the status quo and convinces the audience that there is a real problem. The problem should be presented in 3-4 bullet points. A pitch coach must coach the clients to be precise and get to the points quickly.
- Solution – After describing the problem, the deck should talk about the key benefits. What value proposition does the company’s product or service add? Again, the benefits should be listed briefly in 3-4 bullet points.
- Market – This part will demonstrate the market need for your client’s solution. This will clarify what percentage of the market does your client is aiming to dominate.
This section talks about ‘how’ your client is going to do the business. It is important to keep this section short. Rather than a big description, this can be represented visually. A pitch coach may also guide the client to connect to a company that is into a similar kind of business.
How can you beat the market?
This is the most important point. A pitch coach must prepare the client to answer this with confidence. There are three main points to address under this heading:
- Competition – Acknowledging the competition helps the investors to understand that your client is aware of them and have the strategies to beat the competitors.
- Technology – Your client must talk about the unique technologies and innovations which can give him/her the edge over others.
- Marketing plan – Your client must outline the strategies for long-term customer acquisition and retention.
Clarify your intentions
A pitch coach must teach the client to stand up and clearly ask for what he/she wants. It might be an investment or partnership etc. Whatever the case may be, coach your clients to be clear in the ask. Your client must clearly outline the details of the reason that he/she is in front of the investor. The way should be bold, without any fear.
Keep it precise
Most successful decks are those which are short and precise. Covering all the above points in 10-20 slides can be a difficult job. Yet, this must be done.
Your client must be able to convey the real value of his/her business without overloading the investor. At the same time, there must be room for questions to address any doubts or expectations.
Preparation for pitch delivery
Preparing answers for key questions
A pitch coach anticipates the questions by getting into the beginner’s mind. After this, the coach prepares the client to answer them.
Dealing with objections
As a pitch coach, you will coach clients to handle objections positively. Objections are not always negative. They prove that your client has made the audience think critically.
However, your client must be able to handle the objections with grace and ease. The below 5-step exercise can help your client to handle the objects well.
- Writing down the top 20 objections that your client is facing in the market
- Writing down the best answers to those objections
- Limiting the answers to a maximum of 4 sentences
- Getting the answers reviewed by 10 people along with their feedback
- Testing whether the client knows the questions by heart
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
Consistent rehearsal will build confidence in your client. The more the rehearsals, the easier it would become for your client to pitch. Ask your clients to pitch in front of their friends, family, partners, etc.
Coach your clients to record the practice session and play it back. Going through the recordings will make your client feel very natural about pitching.
Do you need any training or certifications to become a pitch coach?
There is no specific training or certification that you must have to become a pitch coach. If you want to have one, that completely depends on you. The best part is that you are yet not bound to have one.
Still, training may improve your knowledge and skills. Similarly earning certifications from ICF approved coaching training program helps you to exhibit your mastery in the industry.
You must choose one of the best institutes for coaching certifications if you are looking to earn one.
How much does a pitch coach charge?
This depends on the way the pitch coach is pricing and packaging the coaching services.
The charge varies from coach to coach. Typically, a pitch coach may charge the following way.
- $39–69 per slide for design
- $30–100 per slide on top for content help
- $50–200 per hour generally for ‘insightful help’
- $500 per hour for someone who is providing all the above + additional services. Additional services may include preparing the client for the demo day etc.
A pitch coach may also charge a fixed amount for the entire coaching service. This may vary from $500 – $6k.
Pitch coaching is relatively a new coaching niche. Unlike salary of life coaches, the salary range of pitch coaches is yet not clearly defined. Why not become one and set the trend. Let others follow you!