THE PITCH A blog about the art of persuasion

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Problem-solution with a twist

ProblemSolutionThere are several ways to organize an investor pitch, but the most widely accepted opening piece is the classic problem and solution. There are a few reasons for this, but the main reason is it gets results.

The problem-solution needs to be a narrative that flows naturally. If investors can’t see themselves in the story, you are going to have a hard time selling to them. Starting with an acknowledgement and quantification of problems makes it feel real.

Here at we like to compare the problem-solution to a good murder mystery. Think that’s a stretch? Don’t be so sure.

Think about your favorite Stephen King novel. More so than any other literary genre, murder mysteries acknowledge the huge importance of a good first line that sucks the reader into the story. For example, the opening line to The Gunslinger, by Stephen King:

The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed.

That line alone creates a host of questions in the reader’s mind. Who is the Man in Black? Why is he fleeing? Who is this Gunslinger? Why is he following the Man in Black?

The problem piece of your investor pitch is no different. It acts like the introduction of the murder mystery.  As soon as you get your investors hooked with your opening lines, you need to quickly use details to bring the narrative to life. Your problem needs to feel real as you’re pitching it; it also needs to feel big and insurmountable.

The solution segment is like the epilogue of a novel after the murderer has been brought to justice, with your company in the leading role. As noted previously, this is not a ‘how you do it section’; that comes later. Instead this is where you showcase the most highly differentiating elements of your business, things that will stick out in the mind of the investor long after the pitch is over.

The solution also needs to have an element of why you’re the most qualified to solve this problem. Make your technique feel exclusive and non-replicable, a “secret sauce” that only your company can provide.

The problem-solution model has been described many different ways; this just happens to be our way. Have a different method? Let us know in the comments.

Posted by Sol Marketing at 5:10 PM | Comments Off on Problem-solution with a twist

Topics: Building a pitch deck, Telling the Story