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CIBC Innovation Banking Podcast

On our #CIBCInnovationEconomy podcast series, hear from leaders, entrepreneurs, experts and venture capitalists about the changing dynamics of the North American innovation economy

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First Impressions: The Art of the Pitch with CIBC Executive Vice President and Chief Security Officer Keith Gordon

Photo-Keith Gordon
Keith Gordon

Episode Summary

As Executive Vice President and Chief Security Officer at CIBC, Keith Gordon has been on the receiving end of an untold number of pitches from  startups. In this episode, we discuss how to get a foot in the door, the elements that go into a great pitch, and what to do once you’ve secured a meeting with a prospective client. We explore the reasons why an effective pitch can turn a client into an evangelist for your product or service, while a bad pitch could damage your reputation with future prospects. Keith also shares his perspective on the importance of building authentic relationships and advice for startups looking to make a positive impression.

Episode Notes

Know your audience
The importance of putting your best foot forward during a pitch meeting and remembering to tailor your presentation to your audience is critical, according to Keith. He recommends being professional, and really thinking through who you’re going to be talking to and what their perspective might be on your idea. Rehearse detailed responses for questions that will likely come up during the meeting in advance, and come prepared to explain the problem you’re solving with your product or service.

Say goodbye to cold calls
Cold calling (and cold emailing, for that matter) is not an effective way to get a foot in the door these days. In fact, Keith mentioned he automatically filters sales emails into a separate folder by flagging any messages that contain the word “unsubscribe.” Instead, Keith recommends forming genuine relationships with people who believe in your product at a peer-to-peer level first before moving up the food chain to the decision makers. Trust is the magic ingredient in terms of forging these kinds of relationships, which is why being honest and upfront about any challenges you may be facing is key.

CIBC Innovation Banking is a trusted financial partner to entrepreneurs and investors. Get in touch with our team at cibc.com/innovationbanking to learn more.

Show Contributors: 

Keith Gordon

Michael Hainsworth


CIBC Innovation Banking