When making a business presentation, you can’t always expect everything to go as planned. Even if you have thought of every detail, things might still not go in the planned direction. For instance, if you open the floor for questions, you might receive one that you weren’t expecting. Even if you thought about all possible questions, any investors in the room might have other questions in mind.
These is a course of action you should follow if you received a question you weren’t expecting.
You need to be honest about how you feel when you receive these questions. You can’t pretend that you know the answer and try to ‘wing’ it. Potential investors are smart people; they would soon see through any less than honest or knowledgeable answers. If you don’t have any idea about what the answer is, you have to tell them that you have no response as of the moment. You can even make jokes about it to show that you’re comfortable that you didn’t know what to say.
Stay calm and smile
You might feel nervous since you don’t know what to do next. However, you can show that you’re nervous. Don’t forget that potential investors aren’t only judging your business plans. They’re also looking at how confident you are as a leader. If they see you as someone who can easily get shaken as a result of being asked difficult questions, it would not look good for you. Even if they like what you have to say, they may reject your proposal due to your indecisive or jumbled reactions.
These investors may be only checking if you know what you’re saying. They will probably ask questions that they already have the answer to. The best way to deal with it is to go back to your slides. Having slides on hand will back up your reasoning or answers. You can use slides as references as you respond to questions. It also helps if you have a projector ceiling mount that you can easily set up your slides so you can use them anytime. When you have references, they will help support and strengthen your answers and show potential investors you committed to time consuming research.
Defer the question for later
Just because you don’t have the answer now doesn’t mean you won’t ever know the answer. You can tell the investor that you will look into it and give them a response later. It’s also possible that these questions are too difficult to answer with one or two sentences. You can give them a more detailed explanation once you have the correct information. Better to wait until you have the precise answer than coming up with promises or ideas that you can’t back up with facts or evidence based research.
There’s no reason for you to panic if you’re if such a difficult situation arises. Investors are only testing how confident you are. They also wish to know how well you understand your business ideas and how they would be put in to action. They won’t want to invest in you if they believe that you’re unable to handle the pressure.
The business presentation is only the first part of the process. You still have to go through a lot later on. They need to know that you won’t fold because things got tough.