The idea of this article appeared to me when I got to attend a workshop organized by a marketing and investment group at the Dutch Game Association’s day. Among the targeted attendees were some big game studios in the Netherlands and small start-ups undertaking the first steps and experiencing very first failures and successes.
A moderator introduced himself as an investor and mentioned that he is looking for a project to invest in: It may well be a game or studio’s initiative. He is open to consider various opportunities. This is when the silence has descended upon the room.
The audience got still and frozen. The moderator proceeded with a suggestion to introduce each other keeping in mind that everyone is talking to a potential business partner. Reluctantly and carefully the attendees began to mumble “I am a managing director of a game development studio”, “I am writing about games”. He cheered the people and proceeded with questioning the audience: “So what do you think, whom shall I call the other day?”
Personally, I would call the managing director. Why? Because he is the one who makes decisions. Though, the answer was quite unexpected: he would not call anyone. He is seeking for something outstanding, something that he would like to know more about, something innovative, something to invest in.
Let us explore how to make someone call you when you need him.
One should definitely start with a pitch. Having asked Google, I got the following definition: The pitch is a concise verbal presentation of an idea. Not to get lost in endless pitches and ideas, let us concentrate on a very first contact with a potential business partner, when you pitch yourself, basically. The settings may be a conference or a networking event. Imagine a crowd of people searching for ideas and even bigger crowd searching for opportunities.
The underlying objective of any pitch is to evoke the interest. “What is in it for me that I would like to proceed the conversation?” – this is something to keep in mind while presenting yourself or “pitching”.
A personal pitch, a presentation, should contain two general elements:
- Functional: what you do; and
- Emotional: interest/attention trigger.
Is what you are telling me sounds interesting enough that I would like to talk to you further and collect more information?
As an investor, I am looking for the competitive advantage. Sound enthusiastic and evoke the interest. What is more important, do not let the person “escape”. You are asking: “Do you know the person who is interested/could be of help, etc.?” Be absolutely clear. Is it what you are trying to achieve? Your question is direct: “Could you help me?/Could you introduce me?” Do not hesitate, ask directly, be specific.
Usually the first sentence of a pitch is supposed to be either an attention grabbing statement or a positive statement introducing the appealing information about yourself, your project, your ideas or your services. Keep in mind the psychological factor, any person is able to keep in mind only two key pieces of the information that can be deducted from your message. Furthermore, there is an attention span - an amount of time that a person can concentrate on a task without becoming distracted. Make sure you convey the two main thoughts or ideas and grab the attention span of your opponent.
If you are still talking to a person who is still in front of you. He has not run away with a vague excuse: “Oh, thank you for our conversation! I have just seen a person I need to catch up with. See you next time!” It indicates so far you have been successful.
How to proceed, this is a question. You have triggered the interest, which basically is what you are aiming at. Remember, you are may not be able to close a deal on the same day. This is just a very first contact, though. You will need to prepare a proper closing of your pitch, which will follow with another contact. Close your pitch with a definite next step.
How would you make it? Pretty easy: throw the ball to your opponent, ask a question.
Ask direct: Do you want to discuss it further? Do not give the person any “escape” as it has already been mentioned above, ask direct and mean what you say.
Here is my pitch, how I would make it: “I am a professional match-maker. I match possibilities with opportunities. How can I help you?
Make the pitch. Do not forget the recepies outlined in this article! Throw the ball to your partner and agree on the next steps. Engage, participate, inspire and win!
Having that said, I would like you to submit your pitches to me at [email protected]. The submission deadline is February 28. The person with the most outstanding pitch will win the Pitch & Match meeting with a company of interest at the Festival of Games 2010. Have a look at Pitch & Match 2010 attendees list. Send your ideas to me and the best wins a chance to make his pitch!