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on November 29, 2012
I took these notes while reading Pitch Anything. It's a great book and there's more to it than I share here. A recommended buy.

Basics:
-Good pitching depends on method. It can be learned.
-Pitches are sent from the modern - and smart - part of the brain, the neocortex. But they are received by the old "croc brain."
-This is not numbered based selling or being pushy. Both sides should leave happy and not feel like they were used or tricked.
-Keep it fun. Once the power shifts take control and direct conversations where you want. Give and take power. Let the game be fun for both sides. It should be mutually exciting not dominating.
-Selling makes you supplicate, make rational appeals to the neocortex and ask invasive questions.
-When explaining your track record of success people remember the average of your achievements not the sum. A few good strong stories are better than many weaker ones.
-Hot cognitions are unavoidable - you can control the expression of emotions but not having them.
-Don't create like or analysis, create want.

You must set the frame. Create novelty and intrigue. The STRONG method:
Setting the frame
Telling the story
Revealing the intrigue
Offering the prize
Nailing the hookpoint
Getting a decision

Framing:
-Your point of view is your frame (perspective). The stronger frame absorbs the weaker frame, when frames collide the winner has frame control and his/her ideas are accepted.
-When you are responding ineffectively to things that the other person is saying and doing, that person owns the frame, and you are being frame-controlled.
-If you have to explain your authority, pwer, position, leverage and advantage, you do not have frame control.
-Strong frames activate basic desires.

Frame collision - instigate a mildly shocking but not unfriendly act. Use defiance or a small denial and light humor. This captures attention and elevates your status by giving you "local star power

Types of Frames:
Power Frame - Comes from ego and status. Shows arrogance and lack of interest.
-avoid falling into this frame by reacting to it. Don't strengthen it. Basic power rituals in business settings (small talk, letting ourself be told what to do) enforce the other party's power frame. Abiding by rituals of power instead of establishing your own reinforce it.

Prize Frame - when yo own the frame others react to you. Reframe everything your audience does/say as if they are trying to win you over. Even when you're selling, the question is "why do I want to do business with you?"

101: Make your buyer qualify. Withdraw if buyer tries to change time, location, attendees, etc..
201: trial closes are crude and ineffective. Don't ask questions and seek validation. Make target perform a task to earn the deal. Remember, money can't do anything without you, the money needs you.

Example open: `'I'm glad I could find the time to meet with you today. And I have another meeting right after this so let's get started."

Time Frame - When the room is cooling down don't wait for them to set the end time, that leaves you reacting. Running long or beyond the point of attention shows weakness, neediness, and desperation. Talking faster and forcing more information leads to less retention.

Intrigue Frame - focus on relationships, you know the numbers will work out. Most intelligent people take great pleasure in being confronted with something new, novel and intriguing. Once audience memebers solve the puzzle they check out. When analyst frames are taking power, break through with a story, but only tell part of the story:
Intrigue Story:
1. Be brief. The subject should be relevant to the pitch.
2. You are at the center of the story.
3. Time pressure - the clock is ticking and there are consequences if it runs out.
4. Have risk, danger and uncertainty.
5. Have tension - you're trying to do something but are being blocked by some force.
6. Failure will be bad!

Frame Stacking:
Creates hot cognition, they like the idea/you before they fully understand the facts.
-Intrigue-> prize-> time-> moral authority-> hookpoint

Intrigue - stories about interexting and eccentric people. Witnesseing is brtoing, forced into action and overcoming something is better. Create a short and strong narrative that introduces characters who overcome real-world obstacle.
-Put a man in the hungle, have the beasts attack him, get him to the edge of the jungle, will he get to safety?

Prize - I have one of the better deals on the market; I am choosy about who I work with; it seems like I could work with you, but really, I need to know morel please start giving me some materials on yourself; I still need to figure out if we would work well together and be good partners; what did your last business partner say about you; when things go sidewatys in a deal how do you deal with it; my existing partners are choosy.

Time - scarcity bias. Don't be avert or aggressive with pressure, there is a real time constrain, bring it up and recognize it.

Beta Traps:
Watch out for situations that will put you in the beta role, they're everywhere. To break out you need to do something that is mildly shocking but not unfriendly, this causes frame collision. Then quickly grab status, shrink the focus of the information being discussed to something that you specialize in, then pull away. Set a hookpoint then pull away again. Momentum is key during this process.

Seizing Situational Status:
Politely ignore power rituals. Avoid beta traos.
Be unaffected by cutstomer's global status.
Look for opportunitis to perpetrate small denials and defienaces that trengthen your frame and elevate your status.
As soon as you gain power switch discussion into an area where you are the domain expert.
Apply prize frame for decisions.
Confirm alpha status by making customers qualify your status (light hearted/interesting).
How the Brain Works:
Croc Brain Filtering:
1. If it's not dangerous, ignore it.
2. If it's not new and exciting, ignore it.
3. If it's new, summarize it as quickly as possible and forget the details
4. Do not send anything to the neocortex for problem solving unless you have a situation that is really unexpected and out of the ordinary.

Movement:
The brain detects movement. Don't show before and after, try to show the progress but do so without threatening the croc brain.
-The brain reacts to social and physical threats the same way.
-Put them at easy, tell them it's going to be a short and easy 20 minute pitch.
-Tell them your track record of success.
-Explain the market window.
-Paint a picture of the idea moving out of the old market and into a new one.

Tension and Desire Lead to Attention:
-Desire comes when you offer a reward, tensions arises when you take something away.
Desire: anticipation of a reward. Violate target's expectations in a pleasant way.
- People are curious about things they can not explain but that seem explainable.
- At the point of satiation the pitch is over.
- You need to have tension as well for the person to remain alert.
Tension introduces real consequences to the social encounter
- Don't manipulate the person, just keep them alert.
- Push and pull, but not too much of either.

Prizing:
We chase that which moves away from us.
We want what we can't have.
We only place value on things that are hard to obtain.
Hot and Cold Cognition:
Problem solving and calculations are cold cognitions. You can't have and cold cognitions at the same time. Hot cognitions lead to want, desire and excitement.

Showing neediness is bad for frame control, erodes status, freezes hot cognition, and topples frame stacks. It's a weakness and a threat to the other person.
-Want nothing, focus only on things you do well, announce your intentions to leave the encounter.

Theory of Mind:
Simplicity can actually be scary. You want to tune your message to the mind of the recipient. A strong "theory of mind:" means you are able to understand how thoughts, desires and interest of others cause them to act.
-All important information must fit into the person's attention span - usually about 20 minutes.
-It doesn't matter how much information you give, but instead your theory of mind. Tune your info to the other person's way of thinking.
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on November 14, 2011
Oren gives some good pointers for making 'sales' pitches, even though he couches most of his pitches in terms of raising capital for new ventures. It's good exercise to try to imagine his techniques being applied in your line of business.

He gives a good perspective on the 'reptile brain' which you may find as a breakthrough in your own thought process. His emphasis on story and time is equally valuable, as is his insistence to keep 'analyst details for later' until we know we want to do business. I realized I used many of these ideas myself, but had not formalized them with the amount of research he has done. It's nice to put things in a framework always. Speaking of 'frames', his 'death match' concept of social interaction may not appeal to you, but it's a fresh perspective none the less.

For me the weak part were the stories, they got a little over the top, especially the climactic 'pull it all together' story where he spends weeks moping about in obscure resorts while a desperate friend lands in private jet on a small strip trying to get back to win a $1 billion deal, which he does elegantly.

He claims to know Hollywood scriptwriters as friends, and their effect or help shows as he narrates stories where he storms into a Ponzi scheme office and claims to be able to call the FBI in unless he gets the money back for his friend, or where he cuts off half an apple from one of the leading billionaire investors' plate 'to grab his attention'. He even manages to make a gripping narrative out of a 'french waiter' situation.

Read this book if you're frustrated with your current sales method, if you're tired of making 100s of calls for making 2 deals, if you feel angry with the way you're treated in client office lobbies or if you just want to try something different.

Caution: this is strong sauce indeed, so try it with friends and colleagues before trying in formal situations.
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VINE VOICEon February 26, 2011
The book of the week was Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff. Wow. I haven't been this excited about a book in quite some time. I have found myself talking about this book a lot this week. I have even suggested it to several of my friends that sell for a living and I did so without getting to the end yet. Klaff is a dynamic writer and the whole book is fascinating. I have read a ton of books and what I look for in books anymore is uniqueness... A lot of books overlap ideas when you get into the realm of business and leadership. The books that do well nowadays are the ones that have a few individual revelations. The ones that do great are the ones that completely revolutionize their subject matter. Pitch Anything is one of those books.

There are a lot of "Oh wow" ideas in this book. Klaff uses neuroscience in selling. He has analyzed the way the human mind reacts to communication and teaches best practices for selling. There are two things I want to lay on you that I learned from this book. The first about attention and the second is about neediness.

Obviously it's important to get attention when you are selling to someone. This is obvious, but most people don't know how to get that attention. A lot of salesmen may think they do, but a lot are wrong. Attention is the combination of two things: desire and tension. Not only do you need to have someone interested but you also need them thinking that it's going to be on your terms whether they get it or not and they would be lucky to have it. Desire is the easy thing. You have a great product or service and you pitch how wonderful it is to your customer or financier. You are most likely passionate about what you are selling, so it should be easy to find ways to incorporate the other party into that desire. Klaff talks more in depth about the ways to really drive in this desire as well. The desire releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, this is half of the cognitive cocktail you're after. Tension on the other hand is not as easy to create. You have to push and pull while you are pitching. "I'm not sure if we are the right fit" *Pause* "But then again if things do work out, this could really be something great." This is a low-key example. The first statement pushes them and mentally they are thinking, "Wait, what, why can't I have this" and then you pull them in with your second statement. Be convincing while you are doing you pushes and pulls or they won't work. And if you pull it off you will release the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. This is the second half of the cognitive cocktail. It makes them pumped to want what you are selling. Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that chases rewards and norepinephrine is the chemical that helps your brain stay focused. If you are able to learn to communicate in a way the releases both of these in the person you are talking to, you need to learn it!

The second thing I really liked was Klaff talking about not being needy. If you appear needy it gives the other party all the power. You want to have the power in your pitch. It is incredibly common for salesman to do everything but beg (maybe some beg too) to get the sale. And you probably do "need" it... or at least you think you do, but do not wear that on your sleeve. I read an article a couple years ago about the best sales people in the nation. There was a Car Salesman that sold more cars than anyone else and the way he did it was act like it was no sweat off his back if they didn't buy the vehicle. It was his propensity to avoid neediness that really sold his cars. Needy doesn't work. Keep the control and maintain utter confidence.

This book is very interesting. I could spill tidbits I learned all night long, but I don't have the time. Instead, I encourage you to pick this book up. It is incredibly interesting. And if you are sitting there saying that you don't sell... you're wrong. Everyone sells. It may not be your main career, but whether you are asking for a raise at your job or even interviewing for a job, you are trying to sell yourself. As always, if you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.
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on May 4, 2013
I bought this book because it was highly rated on Amazon. From the beginning (pages 2-3), I smelled BS: On page 2, the author presents Jonathan (the recipient of his pitch) as an investment banker, and on page 3 he says "if you want to be taken seriously in venture capital, you need to have done a deal with this guy". What's wrong with this statement? Well, the thing is that venture capitalists invest in startups (seed stage, early stage, late stage, etc). Investment bankers typically do not invest in startups, they come into the game when these startups are either acquired or go public (they facilitate these transactions). It is possible for an investment banker to get involved before the exit (acquisition or IPO), for example when their client wants to make a private investment in a company before it is taken public, but these situations are relatively rare, and in any case VC's get involved before IB's, so it is hard to see how an investment banker can become a bellwether for venture capitalists. So the statement sounded strange. Well, maybe that was a unique investment banker I thought... Reading further... On page 6, the author states that he works for Geyser Holdings, "the most profitable venture firm you've never heard of". Well, I heard about most of "the most profitable venture firms", and this one was not among them, so I decided to google it. Guess what? It is a real estate investment firm acquiring distressed properties. There is nothing wrong with real estate investments, but it has NOTHING to do with venture capital. But I guess after the housing bubble the author did not think that real estate sounded sexy enough.
Returning this book tomorrow. Oren Klaff, I want my $3.99 back for shipping this thing back to Amazon! Amazon, check if your rating system is being manipulated.
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on May 7, 2014
As the author says, a pitch can be different from a one on one sale. If one doesn't keep this in mind more hurt than help can be done. Although the advise to gain favorable attention and maintain it is good, and some of the technique to not be on the defensive can be useful, much of what is in this book could loose more sales than make them.It appears that the author is more interested in finishing his presentations unmolested than closing the sale.His theory to first appeal to the primative brain is also interesting.
He has a fixation with dominating the process and letting the other side know this. He makes it quite clear that he is doing a favor for the prospect. This may be wonderful for the ego and effective in some situations but disaster for many. This may work well for finacial presentions, "slice it, rice it, dice it product pitch men" and Amway, but not very man.y sales situations. Much of the the time letting the other side feel like they are in control is more effective. In one on one business to business situations a "work together atmosphere can be much more effective."
Read this book thinking how it would apply to your sales situations.
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on April 25, 2015
The big issue: Oren Klaff views sales as pure confrontation.

If you want to learn how to pitch clients who will play games with you and manipulate you - and attempt to beat them at their own game - this will give you some insights. If that's the kind of client you want to work with (especially if they are big-time investors/VCs) then this book will be useful.

Otherwise, beware. It's a very old style where your goals are objection-smashing, psychological power-plays and dominance. It's clear that he borrows a lot of his terminology and insights from the pickup artist community - including the idea of "status"games, being the "alpha", avoiding "beta moves," etc. Never addresses basics like how to add value, how to take their frame (MUCH EASIER than trying to brute force someone to accept yours!), figure out what they care about.

Instead, Klaff recommends you force your way to "winning" the confrontation - albeit, using new, neuroscience-driven brute force techniques, not old-school, always-be-closing techniques.

Then there's the problem of the book being structured as a sales pitch. Klaff's goal is more to sell you on the usefulness and efficacy of the ideas than to provide a systematic resource that will help you create a personal sales approach for yourself. Not everyone is a great teacher, which is fine, but this means the impetus is on you to dig to figure out how to apply the concepts to your business.

Good insights on framing the conversation (which is basically just storytelling - you frame a situation in a compelling and interesting way, speak emotionally, appeal to their curiosity instead of statistics) and projecting confidence. The idea of not being needy as a seller is gold (in brief, during a sales pitch you should be evaluating them as much as they are evaluating you, and be willing to walk). Fun storytelling, if hyperbolic.

Recommended as an interesting supplemental material to a more grounded, customer-centric sales approach that's in line with most of the sales and selling that happens today. See these resources below if you'd like to get a more rounded, less-confrontational sales approach:

SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham (start here!)
Linchpin - Seth Godin (for perspective)
The Trusted Advisor - David H. Maister
Book Yourself Solid - Michael Port (must read if you're a freelancer/consultant/provide services)
Getting everything you can from all you've got - Jay Abraham (dense but great)
Advanced Selling Strategies - Brian Tracy (tactical)
Soft Selling in a Hard World - Jerry Vass (step-by-step, simple)
SocialTriggers.com and IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com have great free material re: online sales

Then come back in a few months and you'll be ready to read this without slowing your growth.
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on May 20, 2013
THis is a novel !! A bit of originality, some basic on cognitive sciences et voilà.
Weired that so many people found this a great book uh ?
Have a look at Oren Klaff on LinkedIn et go to the bottom of the page. Look at sup. infos. Is it serious material ?
Not yet convinced ? Look for Intersection Capital on the web. Does it sound real ? Very bad material in my opinion.
The question is now, can we still trust the customers reviews in Amazon ?
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on September 27, 2014
I have just finished reading this book. Going straight to the point, the book has some very interesting concepts and points -- that are nothing more than the consolidation of common sense advices. Or you never heard that "run after the girl and she will run away from you?". The RED ALERT comes from the following questions and facts:

1 - I work with (and for) Venture Capital and Private Equity global companies and I confess that I have never heard of this Oren Klaff guy (the author of the book).
2 - He makes references to companies and people that he worked for/with and/or competed against -- like Sammuel Greenberg, Tim Chance, Goldhammer (???) -- that I equally never heard before of and/or I couldn't find any references in the internet about (nor in Google, nor LinkedIn, nowhere at all). Note: He did not state anywhere in the book that the names of people and/or companies mentioned would be changed for the sake of discretion and privacy.
3 - He provides some examples on how to deal with clients that flirt with the absurd. Something like asking your client if he or she "is really a nice person and/or easy to work with and/or good at keeping schedules" after you have just declined a 10 minutes meeting with this client because this is a "beta trap trying to put you on a subordinate position". How lunatic is that?
4 - His wrap up example of a deal -- the Airport deal -- was deal in which he wins the right to raise funds for a Real Estate project (the Airport). What? You fought hard amongst other companies to be granted the right to -- attention to this one -- go find the money somewhere else for that project??? Let us stay a little while on this one: he won the right to go find the money. He did not win the right TO the money (the part of the business that really matters). In a REAL deal, the owners of the Airport would have 3 to 5 gunslingers going out there in the market to find the money for the project. They would not commit to just one single company to do the job. Plus, I also don't know about ANY company from overseas (London? as he mentions in the book) that would come all the the way to the USA just to earn the right to SELL somebody else's goods. Simply doesn't happen this way.
5 - Oren Klaff's (author of the book) LinkedIn profile has just 3 recommendations from other people. Since he is so recognised and successful why is that? (I myself have 9 recommendations on my LinkedIn profile, coming from real people with real LinkedIn profiles).
6 - Why someone so successful pitching multi-million to billion dollar businesses would be selling courses on how to pitch (sell) via the internet for 200 bucks? (check on http://pitchanythingedge.com/) Isn't that strange?
7 - Back to Oren Klaff's LinkedIn profile, there we can see that there is almost no information about his previous professional life. It only mentions that he used to work for a company called "Geyser Holdings" which has only a faceless profile attached to it as an employee and -- attention to this one as well -- the company page on the internet DOES NOT EXIST (http://www.geyserholdings.com/). What???
8 - The author, Oren Klaff, gave an interview for a guy called Chase Jarvis (it is on YouTube). During the interview the Chase Jarvis guy mentions that the book "Pitch Anything" was sent to the show's production for review. Why on earth someone accomplished as a multi-million or billion dollar deal-maker would ask for such a thing to another barely known guy? Note: The funny part is that, during the interview with Jarvis, Klaff totally behaves like the Beta-guy he so much advises us not to behave like in the book. Jarvis totally owns Klaff during the interview.

So, I would read this book with extreme caution.

Cheers.
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on July 18, 2015
He offers entertaining writing, some good ideas and some that are more than a little questionable. He speaks of the brain and research but never references the research so you will need to take his word on it that the research was conducted and it supports his claims.

He does advertise his book correctly. It is about pitching and not selling. This is the sort of condensed sale that a pharmaceutical rep uses when doling out free samples of their drugs to a doctor who they are attempting to sell. They have a short period of time to get their message across so they make their pitch. His pitch is a little longer in time, but his approach is not suited for salespeople who have to make a complex sale.

I suppose my expectations were raised by the title, "Pitch ANYTHING." Had I thought about it I would have realized that not everything can be pitched with success.
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on February 7, 2011
Though I often find these kinds of business books dry and much too basic,
this one was a great read from the very first page onwards. Written in a lively,
entertaining style, the content relates to any business -- indeed, to any life situation.
The book mixes solid advice and real life stories with interesting scientific research.
If your life involves coming up with ideas and convincing other
people to buy into them, or if you're raising money, it's
very worth your time.
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