We recently got hooked on a podcast that’s been around for a while called StartUp. It chronicles the peaks and valleys of launching Gimlet Media, an award-winning podcasting platform in Brooklyn, founded in 2014. The StartUp podcast is built on the early recorded conversations of founder Alex Blumberg. He records his meetings, his pitches, the conversations with his wife. All of this is collected through the lens of an entrepreneur starting from zero – and he shares every detail in this podcast.
In one of the early episodes, Alex records a pitch to tech investor Chris Sacca, where he’s asking him to consider supporting Gimlet. You may be familiar with Chris as a shark on Shark Tank. Listening to their recorded conversation, Alex’s pitch is disjointed and confusing. He rambles and stumbles, stops and starts.
Eventually, in frustration, Chris stops Alex and asks this simple question, “If I were calling an Uber right now, and it was going to be here in two minutes, and that was all the time you had, what are you doing?”
As in… As quickly and clearly as you can, explain your business to me.
Chris’s question and the way he challenged Alex to get clear on his pitch is worth paying attention to. Alex’s pitch, if you listened to it in the podcast, was clumsy. And, as you listened to Chris’ responses, he became more and more disengaged. Alex’s pitch created confusion, disconnection, and frustration.
Alex got lucky. Even though his delivery left much to be desired, Chris Sacca liked the Gimlet Media concept. He tells Alex to clarify the pitch and come back when he’s more clear and prepared. Alex refines his message, eventually comes back to repitch, and Chris becomes an early investor in Gimlet.
If there’s one area that we would encourage each of you in your businesses and organizations, this is it. Whether you’re pitching to an investor, working to attract new customers, or selling your mission to potential donors, you need a clear message.
We’ve challenged you with these questions before…
Who are you, what do you do, and why should your audience care?
What differentiates you from your competitors?
How are you making your customers’ lives better?
Think about that Uber coming… you’ve got two minutes…
Two minutes to deliver the perfect elevator pitch. Two minutes to connect with someone on your website. Two minutes to engage someone in print. Two minutes for your email marketing to resonate.
Like Alex, we’re all “pitching” something. We’re working to create connections with a new prospect, we’re describing new ideas and products, or sharing our story with people who can help drive our missions. If these messages are off, we’re losing opportunities or even pushing away the people we’re trying to attract.
You may read this and think this is completely focused on sales and marketing. It goes deeper than that. Even if your job title doesn’t include “sales” or “marketing,” we’re all ambassadors for the places where we work. And, inside our organizations, we’re communicating with our teams and co-workers every day. Knowing our mission, values, and what makes us unique is key to working well together and aligning our energy.
Communication is one of the most important tools we have.
Chris Sacca nailed it. You’ve got two minutes to tell your story. Are you prepared? Will your response connect or confuse? Looking ahead, when your next opportunity comes to share who you are, what you do, and why your audience should care, make sure you’re ready.
If you or your team could use a little help, we’re here. Brand Bounce Bootcamp may be the one tool you need to tighten up your message and help you tell your story. If that sounds interesting, reach out.
Or, if you’ve already worked through Bootcamp but it’s been a while, now might be the perfect time to make sure that your business or organization’s messages have evolved with you. You might find that everything still resonates, maybe you need to make some tweaks, or possibly things have changed radically and you should run through the exercises one more time. Again, we’re here to help wherever we can.
Our goal is simple. Together, let’s end 2019 strong and prepare to make 2020 your best year ever!