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Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal Hardcover – February 16, 2011
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Using the S.T.R.O.N.G. Method, you will discover that PITCH ANYTHING gives you a common vocabulary in identifying hurdles that might keep you from getting your next deal. You will learn how to read subtle (but obvious) shifts in power during meetings; how to own the room by creating local star-power and capture the alpha position; you will learn when to press forward and when to pause. Once you realize you have control over the agenda and the flow, you’ll always stay composed, get the high-status position, own the frame, and get to the hook point. Then, closing is easy.
PITCH ANYTHING is a fast-paced narrative packed with crystal clear examples illustrating the unique S.T.R.O.N.G. Method, which takes advantage of how the brain really works by Setting the Frame; Telling the Story; Revealing the Intrigue; Offering the Prize; Nailing the Hookpoint; and Getting a Decision. These are methods to get frame control, a way of making your perspective the dominant one in social encounters. Each of these tactics can get you closer to closing a deal. Used together, they give you complete control over the pitch process.
IF YOU’RE THE FRONT MAN, THE PERSON WHO HAS TO PITCH THE DEAL OR SELL SOMETHING, THEN TODAY YOU HAVE TO RISE TO A NEW LEVEL. Your marketplace is more crowded than ever. Socially,with people’s attention splintered over half dozen devices, and the speed of life increasing, the attention of your target is growing more and more scarce. If you can’t get and keep your target’s attention, then it doesn’t matter how well you present the information about your product or deal. And getting attention isn’t a technical or business skill; it’s become social skill.
From the Back Cover
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE PITCH ANYTHING FORMULA:
"Fast, fun and immensely practical."
--JOE SULLIVAN, Founder, Flextronics
"Move over Neil Strauss and game theory. Pitch Anything reveals the next big thing in social dynamics: game for business."
--JOSH WHITFORD, Founder, Echelon Media
"What do supermodels and venture capitalists have in common? They hear hundreds of pitches a year. Pitch Anything makes sure you get the nod (or wink) you deserve."
--RALPH CRAM, Investor
"Pitch Anything offers a new method that will differentiate you from the rest of the pack."
--JASON JONES, Senior Vice President, Jones Lang LaSalle
"If you want to pitch a product, raise money, or close a deal, read Pitch Anything and put its principles to work."
--STEVEN WALDMAN, Principal and Founder, Spectrum Capital
"Pitch Anything opened my eyes to what I had been missing in my presentations and business interactions."
--LOUIE UCCIFERRI, President, Regent Capital Group
"I use Oren's unique strategies to sell deals, raise money, and handle tough situations."
--TAYLOR GARRETT, Vice President, White Cap
"A counter-intuitive method that works."
--JAY GOYAL, CEO, SumOpti
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Pitching is essential to leadership in all aspects of life – motivating others to act, gaining traction for an idea, raising capital, landing the job or promotion you seek, raising children, and reaching consensus on key issues with your spouse.
Pitching for me is integral to my work which is creating new companies in health care. Primary tasks include developing a core value proposition, creating a team – executive team, board of directors, advisors – and raising capital. I know the value of effective pitching firsthand and have had many great teachers – Charan, Gallo, Duarte, Weissman – who have helped me shape my pitching style. I can now add Oren Klaff and his “Pitch Anything” to the list. Klaff who is the Director of Capital Markets at Intersection Capital has written a gem of a book on pitching.
“Pitch Anything” from my point of view is a must-have for novices and those seeking to improve their “pitching method.” Its’ subtitle, “An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal,” describes perfectly what you will gain from this book.
I have learned in my work with start-ups that many entrepreneurs and inventors build their pitch around what they want their audience to know, rather than what the audience needs to make a decision. There is a big disconnect between the way the pitch is given and the way it is received by the “target”. Entrepreneurs and inventors have incredible knowledge about their subject and make the most important points clearly, but despite being well organized and passionate, their pitch is not convincing and they lose an opportunity. First impressions are lasting.
The book begins with an overview of Klaff’s preferred and proven six-step method for pitching, STRONG.
1. Set the frame
2. Tell the story
3. Reveal the intrigue
4. Offer the prize
5. Nail the hook point
6. Get the deal
He has used this six step method to raise tens of millions of dollars for his clients.
He continues with two excellent chapters on the importance of frame control (who owns the frame/power) and of status. Understanding and managing these contextual issues will influence the receptivity of your audience.
' Frame control - Everyone brings a frame to his or her social encounters. Only one frame will dominate and it will crowd out the weaker frame. This happens below the surface in every business meeting, every sales call and in every person-to person business communication. If your frame wins, you will enjoy frame control.
' Status - How others view you is critical to your ability to establish the dominant frame, and then to hold onto power you gained after taking control. Status is not earned by being polite. It is not earned through small talk. Neither according to Klaff will serve you well as they only reduce your status. Klaff shows how to create situational status so you can positively alter the way people think about you.
Klaff then outlines a good pitch and uses a case study to underscore each of the keys to success. Several key takeaways include:
• Let the audience know how much time you will take to put the “target” at ease. Why? They do not know how long they are going to be stuck listening to a stranger. This will help in keeping their attention.
• Introduce your idea in one minute without details. The idea introduction pattern – “for _____(target customers who are dissatisfied with the current offerings in the market)…my _____is a _______(new idea or product category) that provides _______(key problem/solution features). Unlike _______(the competing product), my idea/product is ______(describe key features).” Then let them in on the “secret sauce” and the budget.
• Make sure they know that the most important deliverable is you.
• Use frame-stacking and hot cognitions (a whole chapter is dedicated to this) to lead them to a positive decision. Most major decisions are not made by cold cognitive processes such as evaluation analysis, but instead by hot cognition. Data is generally used to justify decisions only after the fact.
This is only a snapshot of what Klatch describes. You will find much more detail with ‘how to” guides that are extremely helpful in crafting and delivering a successful pitch.
Another key subject area that is covered in the book is ‘neediness’. Pitching or selling does not come without rejection no matter how skilled you are in the art form. The disturbing thing about rejection is that you really never get used to it. It’s natural and unavoidable to become disappointed when you get a “no”. You are human. If you let it, though, it will lead to validation-seeking behavior which is the number one deal killer.
Klaff provides several key sources of neediness that come from within. We fall into validation-seeking behaviors when:
1. We want something that only the target can give us
2. We need cooperation from the target and can’t get it
3. We firmly believe that the target can make us feel good by accepting our pitch
4. The target seems uninterested in our pitch, begins to withdraw, or shift his or her attention to something else.
The formula for thwarting this deal-killing behavior follows the rules of Tao:
1. I want nothing – eliminate your desires
2. Focus only on the things you do well – be excellent in the presence of others
3. Announce your intention to leave the social encounter – withdraw at crucial moment when they are expecting you to come after them.
Success here will make them come after you.
Those who pitch MUST consider that the brain has limited focus and capacity. For most, 90% of the message will be discarded. “Pitch Anything” provides a guide to pitching so you can get and keep the attention needed to own the room, drive emotions, and “hook ‘em” to the conclusion you seek.
We all think we can make presentations and people will receive them based our calm and analytical approach. This has been proven false! The audience's first reaction is pure instinct and there is nothing you can do about that. Once you are aware of this you will change your message accordingly.
He also delivers tips on how to handle so called beta-traps from your opponent: letting you wait in the lobby, saying they don’t have much time for you, interrupting during a presentation, etc. The situations he describes are very recognizable to most of us and I'd like to memorize this book for those situations.
His method is competitive in a crude, male, locker room sort of way. That said, I suspect most men would find his methods off-putting. You get to be "the prize" when your product or offering is genuinely valuable. His posturing sounds more like a con man's game.
I did a google search of principle facts mentioned in his last chapter -- the "case study" that illustrates his method. Davis Field in California evidently remains an abandoned and little known airfield. I can find nothing that puts together Simon Jeffries the CEO, Greenberg Capital and Oren Klaff. The basis of his pitch was "legacy" -- so I was curious how all that turned out. His company won the game, but it's been 6 years since the publication of the book -- did Joe Ramirez's kids get their football field? The case history at the book's conclusion seems to be pure fiction. Indeed, were we to understand that Klaff -- after making all this noise about the need for a concise presentation -- would bring a third party, this Everyman Joe Ramirez, to the actual pitch and let the guy read a prepared statement? Seriously? It sounds like the script for a movie. Maybe it is. But I can find no evidence on the internet that any of it was real. A deal that big would, you'd think, get at least a notice in a regional newspaper.
I read the whole book. In contrast to Klaff's posturing method, genuine success means that you have to work hard, produce a good product and then persuade people using real information that they can verify independently. I cringe to think how one would fare using his "frame crashing" techniques. It's not all bad. There are some common sense ideas in the book. However, once I realized that his whole book is a con, I'm kind of burned on even the common sense. I tossed my copy. I am going to reread Brian Tracy's excellent book "Maximum Achievement" to dispel the bad feeling I got from reading this book.
Oren Klaff's book is a crock meant to appeal to our "croc brains."