1. "That was a good presentation!"
I have to say something positive, but you're not getting me to write a check. The fact is most funding pitches are terrible; they're more product pitches with an appeal for money tacked on at the end. Passion, yes, every entrepreneur has heard by now they must show great enthusiasm for their endeavor, but show me how I can get my money back someday, too. Who will acquire you? Are you going to raise venture capital which will keep me in the deal for 6, 7, 8, or 9 years? Or are you aware of the new trend towards early exits? Show me how I can get my money back in 3-5 years and even I'll be saying, "that was a good presentation!".
2. "Fix these few issues and come back in six months."
This is so much easier to say to the entrepreneur instead of "you blew it, you're too early". Worst of all, you mean it when you say it even though you know the chances of an entrepreneur re-entering the process is infinitely small, because next time I see you something will nag at me, "wasn't there something flawed with this deal?" You only have one chance to make a first impression. This should remind you of Life's Not Fair.
3. "We offer more than just money."
Like referrals to industry contacts, but (More...)