Over the last year, I’ve witnessed a number of companies pitching private equity, investment banking and related deals that have all been disappointing. The time frame for closing the deal is extended enormously; the number of interested investors is a fraction of what was expected, and the multiple offered is far less than expected. In several cases, the deals just fell through.
In each case, recognized bankers/investment firms were involved. While the senior people gather the date they use junior people to produce the presentation products, using a forumalic presentation template. When the clients express disappointment in the process, I point out the obvious:
- The people who draft the actual presentation products are detached from the true meaning of the deal (eg., really understanding the competitive advantage, the actual parties involved (buyers and sellers.)
- They are judged by their ability to fit boat-loads of information into a standard presentation template which has two negative consequences:
- The delivery doesn’t complement the material (e.g., a suit should highlight the best of a man’s build; off-the-shelf suits don’t)
- High quality content gets lost in a long-winded, presentation that makes sense to the designer but not necessarily the buyer. (E.g., an investor relations person was once asked to communicate the Competitive Advantange of the deal and then spent minutes looking for the key part, and not being able to find it commented, “I know it’s here somewhere.”)
- The presenter is encouraged to follow the banker’s format – rather than one that encourages the presenter to focus on the unique needs of the buyer (e.g.,present an Audience-Driven, Authentic Presentation).
One example is a pitch-book devleoped for an apparel company . It addressed the traditional issues, quality of the products, distribution, and the company’s rate of return, and how it’s handling changes in the retail market due to Amazon. However, the company’s product is unique and no real mention of that fact was made. Unlike most apparel (e.g., jeans, suits, coats, etc.) which generally can be used over and over again, this product is likely to be used only once or twice, and only at setting where it’s beauty-value is treasured.
Not unexpectedly, interested buyers saw it only as a commodity, and the selling process did not produce a satisfactory result.
The solution is to use Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Allow the presenter (in this case company leader) to deliver an Audience-Driven, Authentic Presentation which use the emotional information of both presenter and audience in an effective and meaningful way. Unleash the presenter rather than fit their message into a (bad) template); meet the emotional needs of a buyer for something really special. Make sure the people designing have the EQ skills (which comes from experience) to understand both parties to the actual transaction.
What’s your experience on this issue? Share it with us.