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Keys to finding financing

BY Alaric DeArment

Suppose an emerging vendor has a product and retail buyers have expressed interest. The only problem is, it doesn’t have the funding it needs
to expand.

That’s where Intersection Capital comes in. The Los Angeles-based firm, headed by Oren Klaff, helps companies obtain growth financing. “When companies start to create sales, all sorts of interesting things happen,” Klaff said Saturday at a workshop-style presentation.

Klaff emphasized that investors don’t care about the details of a company’s product. That may sound counterintuitive, but to investors, what matters is whether there’s a market and whether the product will thrive in that market.

“Your job is not to explain the product; it is to provide certainty that the future revenues you described are going to happen,” Klaff said. To accomplish this, Klaff suggested companies have a “pitch deck,” consisting of a brief description of the company’s current situation called a “window sticker,” the “big idea” behind the product, the financial opportunity, highlights about the company, forward-looking financials, what the company will do with the money and whom to call.

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Science of a good pitch

BY Antoinette Alexander

If you are using the long-standing “always be closing” selling technique, you may just need to rethink your entire approach in order to achieve true success. That was a key message that Oren Klaff, founder of Intersection Capital, had for attendees Saturday morning.

“Put your pitch in a masterful presentation that wows people, that is short and compelling, and gets attention. And at no point can they guess what is going to happen in the rest of your presentation,” Klaff said during his presentation titled “Meet the Market — Strategies for Success: Pitch Anything.” “Test it with your peers and customers. If at some point people think they know the rest of what you are going to say it needs to be revised,” he said.

Challenging many long-standing beliefs and selling techniques, Klaff believes that presenting a great pitch isn’t an art — it essentially boils down to simple science. Applying some of the latest findings in the field of neuroeconomics, while sharing stories of his method in action, Klaff explained how the brain makes decisions and responds to pitches.

Klaff suggested that there are six common pitching flaws: too much detail and too soon, too fast; too vague/fuzzy; no frame to provide context; too similar to other pitches seen before; you seem too needy; and going too slow.
Klaff described his method as S.T.R.O.N.G., which stands for:

  • Set the frame;
  • Tell the story;
  • Reveal the intrigue;
  • Offer the prize;
  • Nail the hookpoint; and
  • Get the deal.

“Money flows to deals, it doesn’t flow to rapport,” Klaff said.

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Suppliers meet with Ulta over breakfast

BY Antoinette Alexander

Suppliers gathered Saturday morning to attend an intimate breakfast with Ulta Beauty’s Barbara Zamudio to learn how to succeed in doing business with Ulta and what the beauty retailer looks for from suppliers.

The breakfast, hosted by the Drug Store News Group, was held at Dal Torro Ristorante at the Palazzo.

Zamudio, who serves as VP mass merchandising and pricing for Ulta, kicked off the morning with an overview of the company and its growth strategy and then shared insights into how suppliers can succeed in partnering with Ulta. “Having a way to launch a brand and give it some presence and elevation is really unique, and we can generally do that in a better way than a lot of our competitors can because that is what we focus on,” Zamudio said.

So how can suppliers get Ulta’s attention? Think exclusivity, first to market, innovation, masstige, value, beautiful packaging and not “me too” products.

“We are truly different and our customer is different, and she wants different things,” Zamudio said.

For a slideshow of photos from the Ulta breakfast, click here.

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