Dragons' Den Pitch Tips

It’s been a while since I watched the initially awesome Dragons’ Den. It soon felt dumbed down, contrived and ego riden last I engaged. Then I saw the US version, Shark Tank, and wondered how on earth that was a better business experience. How to Win in the Den Pitching and Presentation was though a 2010 summary show I was keen to watch.

dragonsden-makeanimpression

They cite a half-dozen central tips, and give examples on each;

  1. Make a good impression
  2. Practice makes perfect
  3. Keep your nerve
  4. Don’t offend your audience
  5. Be passionate
  6. Be honest and credible

But perhaps the most revealing part of the whole thing, is realising what the makers consider to be The Masterclass. The intro is 3’15” in, with the pitch starting at around 3’45:

This 24-yr old mother and part-time barmaid from Preston, Kirsty Henshaw, wanted to trade a £65,000 investment for a 15% share in her food business (since re-branded, Kirsty’s):

[we] produce healthy and innovative alternatives to ice-cream

We currently have two brands on the market and five different products

All our products are low fat, low in calories and free from dairy, sugar, gluten, artificial additives, soya, cholesterol and nuts

My first product is Coconuka

Coconuka cointains active manuka honey from New Zealand and Echinacea

It’s ideal for sore throats, coughs and colds

My second range is Coconice

These are in three flavours; chocolate, strawberry and vanilla

The inspiration behind my range stems from my 4-yr old child who has a serious nut allergy and is dairy intolerant

I began [selling] them four months ago nationally via a healthfood distribution company in the UK

I spoke to a lot of larger retailers and have gained a considerable amount of interest

… I’d like to use your investment to raise brand awareness with marketing and PR and also buy stock

Roughly 150 words in 75 seconds. It earned her a deal and gained much praise all round.

And of course, there’s plenty of winning elements to her funding pitch.

The problem she sets out to resolve is there from the very first line. And it’s represented throughout, with further references to nasties that she doesn’t use, an example of why you’d use it, and the reality-tv staple backstory of her nipper.

The two ‘brands’ are explained with pleasing succinct brevity. Then she moves on.

The only thing perhaps left out upfront is a hard data line, to trumpet initial development or success.

In any case, imagine you’re pitching to a new potential client.

You can change the last three lines to match the close you’re after of course, but what about the rest? Can you adapt her 150 words to make the same kind of impact with wily cynics as she musters?

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