Photo by Quino Al

Selling Dreams

It was never about your product.

Raising capital is no easy task. Maybe you have the perfect pitch; maybe you don’t.

There are many factors that come into play when someone decides to invest in your idea and no pitch is ever the same. Yet, effectively communicating your purpose is key.

I repeat: effectively communicating your purpose is key.

Your purpose. Not your product. Not what your product does. Your purpose.

I visited the Twitter Canada headquarters earlier this year and I met Allen Lau, the CEO of Wattpad. He was the keynote speaker for the night.

Lau spoke about his experience pitching to investors. His message was simple: “remember that you are not selling a product — you are selling a dream.”

To some, that might sound like some random inspirational bullshit. But, let me walk you through why those words are extremely valuable:

1. You are not the only one.

What you are selling, or trying to sell, probably already exists . You might not be the only one that has thought of that idea. But, what will get people interested in what your company does is the “why” — the reason you are doing all this. For example, imagine that you are trying to sell phones:

Are you selling phones because you want people to connect anytime and anywhere?

Or because you want to empower people to nurture the relationships they care about?

Do you see where I’m going?

2. It works across all stages of a company

This is where things get interesting. Say you’ve raised the capital you needed and that your company is growing. What are you supposed to do after that?

You keep selling dreams.

Lau ended his speech with the following:

Even 10 years down the line, you are still selling a dream. The dream simply gets bigger, bigger, and bigger.

In other words, no matter how deep into the business you are, the concept remains the same. The only difference is its magnitude.

What is your dream?