I had the good fortune of attending the Women 2.0 PITCH conference on Valentine’s Day. Seeing 1,000 female entrepreneurs gathered under one roof is inspiring beyond words.
Of all the takeaways from the event, the most sage advice came from ZipCar‘s founder, Robin Chase. She talked about the importance of question-proofing your pitch. That means making sure you answer all the questions a potential investor or customer will have — even if you don’t think it’s key enough to be included in your precious 30 seconds.
The example Chase gave was from her original description of the ZipCar model. Folks would patiently wait until the end of her spiel to inquire: “But who pays for the gas?”
This “irrelevant little detail” was killing the momentum of Chase’s story. As she’s talking, an open loop is circulating through countless people’s heads — Who pays for the gas? Who pays for the gas? — drowning out the game-changing business model she’s describing.
Her advice? Don’t become frustrated with the questions people ask about your product or service. Thank them for alerting you to the potential speed bumps in your otherwise compelling pitch. Your job is not to tell the details the way your marketing department scripted you to; your job is to quickly head-off any confusion or nagging details so you can then have people’s full attention for the big a-ha.
What’s questions are killing your pitch?
Take another look at your company’s elevator pitch. Does it quickly address the pesky little misconceptions or curiosities of the average customer? If you’re unsure, take a look at the emails and calls coming in to your customer service department. What don’t people understand? What do they wonder about?