Don’t Overtell — Wow Them and Move on

Avoid "Feature Fatigue" in Your Pitch

Donna Griffit
Mar 15, 2016 · 3 min read

Ever sat through a pitch or presentation and heard an endless list of features? For me, after about 3, I find my mind wandering and my attention span waning.

Sometimes we are sooooo in love with our product that we just can’t stop talking about it. It’s kind of like pictures of kids — when someone asked me about my daughter when she was a newborn I would excitedly pull out my phone and start flipping through picture after picture. After awhile I realized that people might be smiling politely but they were over it. I started showing 1–3 amazing pictures, getting the “Oh she’s amazing!” and moved on to talk about them.

Here’s the harsh truth — Investors don’t care about your baby. Really they don’t. Sorry but it’s true. What they do care about is is your baby cool and will they make lots of money investing in you? Rajil Kapoor, who’s been on both sides of the table says: “ You can talk about some of the cool new features but the first meeting isn’t about going through your product requirements. If it’s part of an executive summary or deck, this is harder but at least a few screenshots of the key experience flow are helpful.”

So instead of rattling off a list of features try this:

  1. Choose 3–4 “Wow Features” — Pick the features or overall benefits that will knock their socks off. I know, they are all amazing, but leave them wanting to see more.
  2. Show and Tell — As you walk them through the features, show a demo — either screenshots, wireframes, a demo film, or even a live demo, which can be problematic… (I’ll discuss how live demos die in another post.) Paul Graham stresses: “ When you demo, don’t run through a catalog of features. Instead start with the problem you’re solving, and then show how your product solves it. Show features in an order driven by some kind of purpose, rather than the order in which they happen to appear on the screen.” This leads to my next point —
  3. Tell a Story — Especially if your product is super technical, use a User Story to walk them through the Demo. Make up a user or better — choose an actual customer — and show how they approach your product and use it — hitting on the Wow Features as you go along.
  4. Summarize the Wow — At the end you can have a list of the top features with icons that illustrate them just to sum them up.

And please, if you see them losing attention, hemming and hawwing or immersed in their Smartphone, end it and move on — you might be showing off the baby a little too much ;)

Have more questions? Need more guidance? Talk to me!

Donna Griffit — Corporate Storyteller

Donna Griffit is a Storyteller for Startups who, over 15 years, has helped hundreds of startups and VC’s around the world raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Need a pitch deck? Click Here.

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