As a small business owner who has been on both sides of a pitch, I can easily tell when someone has missed some essentials. It’s understandable — someone might be nervous, or have a lot at stake, or just isn’t having a good day.
Whether you measure success by acquiring or partnering with another business or by selling to the highest bidder, there are some basics to remember that cost almost nothing except some time and effort, which you should be willing to invest:
Personalize your messages when corresponding by mail or e-mail. You will seem disingenuous if you refer to the recipient as anything other than their formal name.
Dear Mr. Brinen is always acceptable.
Dear Joshua is also fine, but I always address my intendeds as Mr./Ms.
If this is your initial outreach, then think of it as your smile and firm handshake. If they see a “sir” or — gasp — “ma’am” in your opening, I assure you they will toss or delete your letter. Show you care enough to include their name.
Know Your Audience
Let’s assume you’ve made contact and a meeting is scheduled. Ask who will be attending.
Whether it’s one person or a room of executives, you should do your research on the company and its head honchos. I’m not suggesting you stalk your soon-to-be guests on LinkedIn, but maybe see if they’ve authored articles on their site or blog. It shows initiative and charm if you can reference it during the meet-and-greet or your presentation.
Invest in the Presentation and Get to the Point
Your pitch should have some visual appeal. If you have a dynamite A/V person on staff or can hire one at a reasonable rate, spend the dough and make it look good but it should not distract from the main event within the main event — the financials. That’s why everyone showed up! They want to hear what you’re selling or why you want to buy. There are different methods as to where/when you unveil your numbers and projections, but make sure that gets accomplished before the coffee gets cold.
Afterward, since you will have met in-person, revealed your intentions, impressed with your presentation and might be on a first-name basis, you can refer to these nice folks as such, because you will…
Normally I’d say within 24 hours but if you can send your follow-up message by the end of the same day or by the next morning, that’d be ideal. Your guests went on with their day after you/they left the meeting and you want to stay on their radar. Proper etiquette suggests this is the best time to mention some ideas floated during the meeting and it shows you were paying attention and not just going through the motions.
Even if the partnership/acquisition/sale/agreement doesn’t materialize, these folks may have liked what you had to offer and may refer you elsewhere or remember you down the line.
Feel free to share your successful pitching methods in our comments section, or contact Brinen & Associates to discuss your next sale or acquisition meeting.