Despite all the various communication tools we have at our disposal - email, Skype, phone, video conferencing, instant messaging - nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. And when it comes to pitching to a potential investor, a face-to-face interaction is coveted and more often than not crucial.
But face-to-face meetings aren't always possible, due to timing or logistics. So can you - should you - pitch over the phone?
Fred Wilson wrote a blog post on phone pitches last week, advising entrepreneurs not to make them. He contends that "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."
VC Sarah Tavel responded to Wilson with a post "In defense of phone call pitches." Although she agrees that face-to-face meetings are preferable, she argues that there may be times when a phone call is useful. Cautioning entrepreneurs against writing off phone calls altogether, she says they can be "a good first step."
Tavel stresses that phone calls with investors needn't be funding pitches. "For me, the call is not about a go/no go on an investment," says Tavel, "it's about a go/no go on investing more time." An introductory phone call can be thought of, then, as a pitch for a face-to-face meeting.
Both Tavel and Wilson agree that this sort of call should be kept short. Think elevator speech. The goal of the call is several-fold: To introduce yourself. To assess an investor's interest. To set up another meeting (preferably face-to-face).
Although location and logistics can make in-person visits tricky, "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," argues Wilson.
Phone calls shouldn't be avoided altogether, but save your pitch to make in person.