February 6th, 2009 10:14 EST
Would You Try to Sell a Blue Car to Someone Who Wants a Yellow Boat?
I was having lunch with a group of filmmakers this week -- I make it a habit to meet with several filmmakers a month, partly to see what deals they`re working on and partly to provide education and mentorship to these individuals who work hard to make their Hollywood dreams come true.
These weren`t "wannabe" filmmakers. These were sophisticated people -- people who had advanced degrees. One was a CPA who prepared the private placement memorandum for his production company so that they could produce their latest film. Another was a 20 year veteran of the studios who now wanted to work independently. But what everybody had in common was the extreme frustration that comes with raising capital.
There was whining, moaning, and complaining at lunch about how they just couldn`t get the capital they needed. I heard story after story about how they were bumping into one person after the next, all of whom promised that they had the money, but for one reason or another the film makers just weren`t able to get the money from the investors.
One of the filmmakers got very brash and he said to me, "do you have any money?" He continued, "Are you able to put anything into my film?" I didn`t take offense to it, I just looked him straight in the eye and I answered the questions. His real under-lying question was whether or not I had a fund behind me that was in a position to write a check.
I always tell people that just because somebody has money in their bank account, it has nothing to do with them giving it to you. You have to match what you`re doing to what they want to be doing with their money. Until you make that connection, no action is going to occur.
For some reason, almost nobody gets this lesson. It doesn`t matter if you are raising money for a film or an entrepreneurial venture. It doesn`t matter if you are trying to make any kind of sale. If you don`t match what you`re doing to what the needs and wants are of the person on the other side of the table, there will be no sale at all.
So the guy presses further and he asks if I have a fund that would provide him with some capital. My answer was simple. At present, I am putting together a fund. But even if the fund was ready to go right now, I wouldn`t give any of that money to him. That may sound offensive, and he was taken off guard, but I said that`s because the kind of films that he is making would not be the kind of projects that I`m interested in getting involved in.
My fund has a specific charter and that charter is very clear about the kind of projects that we want to do. That hit the guy like a ton of bricks.
If somebody wants a blue car, don`t try to sell him a yellow boat. It`s very simple. People are looking for certain kinds of vehicles and unless you can find out what they want, you`re not going to be successful in moving your project along while keeping them in the picture.
If you want to find out if people are interested in your project or not, take the following steps:
1. Inquire about the kinds of investments that they`ve made in the past.
2. Inquire about the kinds of projects that they`re interested in getting involved in at some time in the future.
3. Do your best not to blurt out everything about your project first until you learn a little bit about the person on the other side of the table.
4. Once you understand what they want, try and tout your project in a way that will help them to meet their needs.
If you can pitch somebody on a blue car when they tell you they want a blue car, there`s a good chance that you`re going to make a connection.
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About Joel G. Block, President of Growth-Logic, Inc. Often dubbed a "Growth Architect" by his clients, Joel Block advises companies on explosive growth strategies by driving revenue and sales. Well known in the capital markets, Joel is a successful entrepreneur, speaker, advisor and faculty member of the iLearningGlobal community. To bring Joel into your company, please visit http://www.joelblock.com or http://www.growth-logic.com. Also, be sure to check out our newest project: a blog to organize the blogs that cover entrepreneurship -- http://www.entrepreneur-hub.com. And finally, for film makers: http://www.filmfundingblog.com -- our newest project.