Pitching is like tennis

How to pitch investors – it’s like tennis, not wrestling

December 15, 2019

How do you pitch investors?

When tennis champion Roger Federer walks on to Centre Court, he doesn’t know the speed, angle or direction his opponent will serve, volley or return.

He can research who he’s playing and watch footage of that person in previous matches. But he cannot predict what they will do.

This is the opposite of a professional wrestling match, where every move and outcome is pre-determined.

The two sports require dramatically different preparation processes.

Professional wrestlers plan, rehearse and fine-tune each move. Tennis players, however, need to prepare for the unpredictable.

Pitching to investors is like tennis.

How to pitch investors? Prepare for the unpredictable

Investors will slam tough questions over the net that you need to return with a poised volley. It can be intimidating. Many of our clients have told us that investor Q&A is the part they dread most. It is, however, essential to the process.

After all, any pitch suffers from information asymmetry – one party knows a lot more about the deal than the other.

It’s therefore the investor’s job to ask tough questions.

They have a duty to peel back the curtain and look behind-the-scenes before reaching a decision, like financial detectives conducting a forensic exam.

That’s because the stakes are high. If investors receive a defensive or aggressive response to a particular line of enquiry, investors get wary. They worry that you’re hiding something, and that the deal could backfire.

So how do you prepare for questions you can’t predict? Like Roger Federer, you practice, preferably with an expert coach.

How to pitch investors – How do you prepare?

At BBA, your coach will pose a tough question and you respond. Your coach asks a second question and you respond, and then your coach gives feedback on your first few answers.

You discuss potential stumbling blocks and your coach shares practical advice and insight that helps you shape a clear and coherent path through your thoughts.

Your coach puts the first question to you again in a slightly different form, and you give a slightly more concise, confident and persuasive response.

Some of the questions from the session will throw you

You take time to think them through, try out some answers and practise delivering them out loud on your own. You identify  gaps in your knowledge and pick up a few additional facts and figures to use in your answers next time round.

You meet with your coach again, and he or she starts pounding the balls over the net. But this time, you’re ready to return them more swiftly and gracefully.

Instead of wincing when you hear a particularly aggressive question, you relax and smile, responding honestly but positively.

Within a few sessions, you’ll feel ready for whatever happens on Centre Court.

If you fail to prepare…..

After all, Roger Federer doesn’t start a tennis match hoping for a series of easy and predictable shots.

Likewise, invest in preparation and you’ll be able to embrace the tough questions as a challenging – but perhaps even enjoyable – part of the pitching process.


Find out how we can help you today


About Benjamin Ball Associates

Benjamin Ball Associates Team

Benjamin Ball Associates helps clients to communicate better.

Over 10+ years the award-winning BBA team has coached hundreds of funds and firms globally to present powerfully. We have developed a robust toolbox of techniques that we use to help our clients become clear, confident communicators.

We’ll help you create a powerful first impression that hooks and engages your audience immediately and we’ll coach you to deliver clearly, confidently and with impact.

Speak to Louise on +44 20 7018 0922 or email louise@nullbenjaminball.com to find out more and discuss your upcoming investor pitch.


Contact us to improve your investor presentations

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