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Tag Archive Market share

First Determine If There is an Unmet Need

First Determine If There is an Unmet Need

Last evening, I attended a networking dinner with a friend of mine.  We were engaged in a light conversation with a gentleman when out of the blue my friend launched into a pitch about a joint project we were working on.  Very quickly, it became evident that this guy was not a prospect for our services.  My friend threw the ball to me hoping I might try another approach.  I opted to wrap things up instead.  I acknowledged this might not be the solution for the prospect, but asked if he should know of anyone that might find our services helpful to please keep us in mind.

First Determine If There is an Unmet Need

By closing down the pitch, it allowed the third-party a graceful exit.  He didn’t have to say no.  And it gave him an opportunity to be helpful if he should so choose.  I have found that most people genuinely like to be helpful.  They may know someone who might be more suitable for offering and make an introduction.  “You should meet Bob, his company is growing and you might be able to help him…”

In hindsight, what went wrong?  My friend never established if there was an unmet need.  Instead, he pitched a solution.  Did anyone need this solution?  Obviously, not the guy we were chatting up.  This all could have been avoided with a few questions to the prospect.  Before you offer a solution, you must determine what need is not being met, or if there is a gap in satisfaction in the product, good, or service that is being offered in the marketplace.

Ideally, you want to lead the conversation from small talk to what are the prospect’s unmet needs.  Start with a few light probing questions to see where the prospect is at.  How is business?  What are you working on? Based on his willingness to share or not, will determine whether you probe deeper for an unmet need.

If the prospect shares more or self-identifies an unmet need, then you have an opportunity. Does your product or service do something for him that no else can do? Can you do it better than the competition? If you cannot answer these basic questions, then you need to stop what you’re doing and listen until you can.

Once an unmet need has been identified – and you can say yes to above questions, then you make a pitch.

First Determine If There is an Unmet Need

Pitching to Investors

Over the years, I have worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and sat through more pitch sessions than I care to mention. As an investor, I want to know if I can make money from this investment – Is there a differentiated product solving an unmet need in sizable, growing market? Is there a defensible position? Does the business model make sense? Can this team execute?

Sitting through pitches, there often comes an ugh moment. A moment when the entrepreneur says something in the pitch that just makes everyone in the room groan. This is the time when we start checking our emails on phones.

Pitching to Investors – 5 Things You Should Never Say To An Angel

Here are a few things you should never say during a pitch –

We have no competition.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this one. And I can’t speak for all investors, but when I hear this I think there are 3 possible scenarios – You are so f@#king brilliant that no one has ever thought of this idea, there’s a reason there’s no competition, or you just don’t understand the competitive landscape.

We give it away to gain market share.

A customer is not a customer unless they pay for it. . Sometimes, this is conveyed as “User experience is more important than monetization, right now.” Ultimately, user experience isn’t going to pay the bills, paying customers are!

The numbers will take care of themselves.

If you don’t understand the numbers, you don’t understand business. The numbers speak to break even, capital needs, pricing, margins and ultimately profitability

We just need to capture 2% of the market

This suggests you haven’t clearly defined an unmet need in a market place. If you understand what your customer needs, then it’s not about percentage of some perceived market.

Everyone needs our product.

No, they don’t. there are likely many viable options in the market depending on each individual needs. Some clients will forgo quality for savings, some are early adopters, some don’t have the capital, etc. I want to know about your target demographic and why this product uniquely solves a problem they have.

In conclusion –

Ultimately your job is to convince us how we are all going to make money with this business.  To do so, you need to explain who is your customer, what they want, why your product solves this need when others can’t, why your team can deliver on this promise and what this means as a market opportunity.  Then, you’ve caught our attention.

Pitching to Investors


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