One of the common mistakes I see entrepreneurs make when pitching investors is regarding the ask. See, the ask is one of the critical components of the meeting, only entrepreneurs take it too far. Too many work on getting to an investment decision in the first or second meeting, “Will you invest in us?”
Instead, entrepreneurs need to sell hard on getting to the next step, not the final sale.
Investors usually have a process. First meeting, send me more information based on questions and let me do research, meet my partners or someone I respect to hear the pitch, call a few customers for references, meet again, and so on — it takes time, especially these days (life was different 24 months ago!).
The best question to ask: what’s the decision making process?
The next best question: what do we need to do to get to the next step?
While the answer received might not be always be what’s desired, the experience and expectations will be much better. A one call close isn’t possible, so play for the best next action: making it to the next step.
Of course, this is applicable to most things in startupland (and life). Whether it’s selling a piece of software, earning a mentor, or signing that strategic partner, it’s a process, not a single event. Figure out the process, understand what’s needed for the next step, and work towards it.
Entrepreneurs would do well to sell hard on the next step, not the final sale.