Had a discussion with an entrepreneur (’Tom’) last week who shared with me his recent experience of 12 failed pitches. He said he just couldn’t understand what was going wrong.  He had a great team, product in the marketplace and was almost break even. And to top that off he had a sizeable addressable market with some attractive (albeit wildly optimistic) revenue projections.

I asked Tom to tell to me about his most recent pitching experience. He explained that it was a ‘good’ pitch. He explained that he and his team always made sure they delivered a ‘good’ pitch.

And therein lies the problem.  ‘Good’ just isn’t good enough. In today’s highly competitive environment, where investors are bombarded with pitches and more than 90% fail, unless you’re delivering an excellent or outstanding pitch, then you’ll go home without any medals.

We know that ‘good’ is less impressive than ‘excellent‘outstanding’ ‘awesome’ or ‘killer’.  If we tell ourselves and our team that we are only aiming to deliver a ‘good’ pitch, then that’s the best we will deliver. Chances are we’ll deliver a mediocre pitch.

That’s how our brains work. Set them the goal of achieving good and they will do their best to make sure that’s what you achieve. This inevitably impacts on how you prepare and how you perform. What’s necessary to deliver a good pitch is completely different for what is necessary to deliver a pitch that gets results. In Chapters 13 and 14 of ‘Here’s the Pitch’ I outline what is necessary in terms of preparation to deliver a winning pitch.

Before pointing out to Tom that he was unconsciously limiting his pitch performance I asked him how he rated his startup. He instantly replied that it was ‘awesome’ and would soon ‘dominate the market’. Interesting…….

Martin is the Founder of the Investor Pitch Clinic and author of ‘Here’s the Pitch‘ .