I exchanged some blog comments with Tereza yesterday. She’s starting a web company and is raising angel money. She said she did some phone pitches against her better judgment and they didn’t work out. I advised her not to do them anymore.
Here’s my thing about phone pitches. They aren’t very effective. I hate taking them and almost never do. I don’t think they allow the entrepreneur to show themselves very well which is the most important thing of all.
And it is so easy to say no over the phone. There’s no real human connection. It’s easy to pay half attention or less on the phone. It’s easy to fake that you are listening when you are not.
I admit that I am really bad on the phone. I always have been. It’s not a medium that I like very much. So I am probably worse than the average investor. But even so, I think doing phone pitches is a mistake and you should avoid doing them.
I do think a short phone call introducing the opportunity at a very high level and making the case for an in person pitch is an important thing to do. You can accomplish that in a few minutes or less. It’s basically an elevator pitch. But don’t agree to do the whole pitch on the phone. Ask the investor make time for you in person to do that. That will determine if they have sufficient interest for you to invest your time with them.
And what about a video chat on Skype or another similar service? I do think a video chat is sufficiently better than a phone call to make it a semi-viable alternative. If a plane ride is required to see an investor, then a skype/video chat is a decent first step. But again, you should do it with the objective of getting an in person meeting.
But if you can visit the investor in person without getting on a plane, I think you should always opt for that over a conversation over the phone or skype. There really is nothing like the in person, face to face meeting when it comes to fundraising or any kind of high level sales effort.
Fundraising is such a hard thing to do, particularly for first time entrepreneurs without a track record and an investor following. Don’t make it harder by putting a wire between you and the investor.
Fred Wilson is a partner at Union Square Ventures. He writes the influential
, where this post was originally published.
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