Making the Pitch

Excerpt from Chapter 7 of “Pond Business: How to Succeed Across the Atlantic” by Mark Sutherland, available from Dunrobin Publishing on Amazon and Amazon UK and in bookstores in the UK and the US.

Let’s be direct (a very un-British thing for me to do).

If an American comes to Britain to pitch their new startup and ask for funding and partnership in the way that is normal in the US, that person will be viewed as arrogant and a braggard and will not be believed. If a Brit pitches in the US like they do in the UK, they will be perceived as lacking confidence and not believing in their product. This is a cultural issue that can kill your dreams upon landing.

Some things to remember when pitching are simple directness and clarity. I think the Yanks need to work on clarity, and the Brits need to work on directness. But both principles apply to both countries.

Oh, and practice. You need to practice your pitch. And then practice it some more. And then, when you think it’s perfect, practice it a few more times. Make sure it is direct and concise. And short. For crying out loud, keep it short. Pick someone to give the pitch who is a good speaker, who can deliver good information, and who can do it efficiently, relatably, and professionally. Leave the technical experts for the follow up questions after the pitch, or later in the process.

A friend of mine who works for the Scottish Government puts it this way. “US pitching is more direct, concise, and focused, whereas UK pitching tends to offer more information and take a bit longer,” he says. “American companies may want to provide more information than they’re used to when delivering sales pitches, but maintain their focus on their unique selling proposition, while UK companies would do well to shorten their presentations and really focus on delivering a clear sales message when in the US.” “First impressions are very important,” according to John Loudon, President of the Gonzalez Family Office in Palm Beach, Florida…

You can read more about my cross-Pond experiences and insights on how to succeed in your cross-Pond business ventures from corporate, governmental and organizational leaders in both countries in “Pond Business: How to Succeed Across the Atlantic.”