This week, Pete talks to Oren Klaff, author of Pitch Anything, a book we highly recommend to any business owner. They discuss pitching vs selling, and how pitching relates to all kinds of business, big or small, with lots of tips on making a good pitch.
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Interview with Oren Klaff
Dom Goucher: Hi, Dom here. Welcome to this week’s edition of PreneurCast. And this week, Pete has managed to get an interview with Oren Klaff, author of Pitch Anything. Now, that’s a book that we talk about quite a lot on PreneurCast and we recommend. In the interview, Pete and Oren talk about pitching versus selling and how pitching is relevant to any business, big or small. Also, look out at the end of the interview for a little bit of an announcement of the next time Pete and Oren are going to have a chat and how you can join in.
[Pete’s interview with Oren starts]
Pete Williams: Oren, buddy, how are you?
Oren Klaff: Well, I am doing well—good to talk to you again! This is happening frequently enough to make me happy. I like these conversations.
Pete: Absolutely, mate. So, off the back of what we’ve termed internally as the “leaked conversation” that we put up on the blog the other week after one of our convos, it’s good to have you back on an official capacity on the PreneurCast podcast.
Oren: Yes, and like Foghorn Leghorn in the cartoon, we log in, chase each other around for eight hours, and then log out and, go have a beer.
Pete: That’s it.
Oren: That seems to be working.
Pete: What I’d love to talk about in a bit more of a structured way, as structured as you and I can get anyway, is about the book Pitch Anything, which I absolutely love, and have been preaching for quite a while now; but more importantly, how that relates back to the small-business owner, the online entrepreneur, and the difference between selling and pitching.
Kind of start with that and I’m sure we’ll go into some great content. From your experience talking about Pitch Anything and dealing with people, what is the core difference between selling in the traditional sense and handling objections, and all that sort of stuff compared to ‘pitching’ a deal, and not necessarily pitching a deal to get $500 million worth of venture capital, but even just pitching a deal to get something happening?
Oren: Yeah, yeah. This is really interesting. If we pause on this for a minute, I hear all the time these words used completely interchangeably, right? I’m going to ‘pitch,’ I’m going to ‘sell,’ I’m going to ‘sell,’ I’m going to ‘pitch,’ I’m going to ‘present,’ I’m going to ‘sell myself,’ I’m going to ‘go pitch a deal.’ But if we look at that for a few minutes, those are two totally different things.
And I know, in many ways, because Pitch Anything, my book, is on many days the No. 3 book in Sales & Selling on Amazon, which is interesting because I know nothing about sales and selling. I know there’s a difference. What I know is a pitch. So, I’ll tell you the distinction in the way I see it.
Oren: We’re all salespeople throughout our careers and in any given day. Sometimes we have to sell and sometimes we have to pitch; but let’s not blend these two concepts. When you ‘sell,’ it’s very relationship-driven. You usually have multiple approaches on the target, on the prospect, on the buyer. You build a relationship over time.
Let’s just use the example of paper. Do you guys need paper again this month? “No, we’re pretty good,” right? “We’re happy with our supplier. Why don’t you come back next month and let us know if you have any interesting new products?” That invitation to return lets you know you’re in a sales process. You can build a relationship when you send an e-mail after getting to know it isn’t rejected.
They may further consider you—you’re in a sales process, you’ve got a conversion funnel of your own going on, you’ve got a process. And by and large, the prospect is willing to listen to you over time, multiple approaches, consider your various products and lines. And if you’re persistent and consistent, eh, a lot of time you get a deal down. You sell something.
Pete: You can wear them down, you can keep handling the objections over and over again; and over the course of time, you’re going to end up being the last man standing on a lot of occasions.
Oren: “Last man standing.” And this is why you hear, “Hey, I wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and I got the deal.” But that’s a phrase that only belongs on the selling side where you build the relationship—trust over time, show your wares, whether it’s paper or rocket engines or whatever it is, build relevance. Usually those people will be buying that stuff not on a one-time basis, but either a commodity or ongoing purchasing, and it’s the sales process. ‘Pitching,’ something totally different.
Pete: Absolutely. Let’s break that down. I’ve read the book and we’ve had many conversations about this. For the listeners, what is the difference?
Oren: Think about it like you’re going to get a loan from a bank for a commercial mortgage to buy a building. This is a good example. You walk in and you say, “Hey, I’d like to build this building with the credit I have and we’re going to put a Kinko’s copy shop in there. Next to it, we’re going to put a coffee shop; and next to that, we’re going to put a retail store that sells whatever, paper.
And so, this is our concept. This is our business plan. These are our financials, here’s our credit, here’s our mortgage application. The credit committee then looks at that, you give the pitch; what your plan is, what your background is, what the economic upside is.
They’re going to want to know what the debt service coverage is; not to get too technical, but how are you going to pay the payments, even if your plan doesn’t work out? Where’s the money going to come from? And so you make the case. Then they go to evaluate the case, your pitch, and they come back and they say, “No, we don’t like the numbers. WE don’t like you.
We don’t like the plan. We don’t like your credit, and we don’t think this area needs another Kinko’s.” Your pitch is over. If you come back to them tomorrow, next week, the end of the month of six months from now and say, “Hey, I want to talk to you a little bit more about my proposal to get this mortgage on this commercial building.”
They are, by and large, going to say, “What part of ‘no’ confused you?” Because you understand those two letters. They go, ‘N-O,’ it even sounds like, “No-oh, No. go away. You pitched, we said no. Unless there’s some fundamental change in your credit o r the market, or something, we didn’t know about the first time, we don’t want to do this deal.”
So a pitch is one bite at the apple. It’s one pull at the trigger. It’s one chance. And so, sales is a relationship and now we’re getting into it. In a pitch, I don’t think it’s relationship-driven at all. How much relationship can you build in a one-hour meeting? How much rapport? Do you think you can build enough of a relationship so people go, “Hey Pete, we really don’t like this deal, but we have such a good relationship with you after an hour we’re going to do it anyway.”
Pete: Yeah, exactly, this doesn’t happen.
Oren: Doesn’t happen. Doesn’t happen. Okay, so keep in mind that a pitch is not about leveraging a relationship as much as it is doing a great job to establish your credibility, your status, and the upside economics of your deal. And it’s very, very focused on doing those things. Lastly, it’s unforgiving to mistakes. In motorcycle racing, you have a couple kinds of bikes.
You have bikes that are highly, highly tweaked and you’re out on the racetrack and they’re fast and they’re very competent and capable. And some of them, if they’re forgiving of mistakes, they’re going to be slower. In these unforgiving environments, you have a chance to either win or lose.
So the pitch happens in high-stakes, high-consequences, certain outcomes, unforgiving environments where really a decision is going to be made and maybe not even in over an hour. But maybe that decision is made in the first 10 or 20 minutes of you being there.
Pete: I think, too, for a lot of small-business owners I know; there’s a cleaning company that I’ve done some consulting with. From their perspective, they treat going in there and tendering for a job more like a pitch. They’ve got that right mindset in that they’re going in there, they’re going to get this job. They’ve got to go and sort of sell their services and their cleaning services.
It’s not a long-term purchasing relationship because someone is selling or an 18-month contract. It very much is a pitch, and I’m sure there’s plenty of other people out there in similar industries with similar dynamics of making sales, for want of a better term. And they treat that process as a selling process even though they don’t have that opportunity to go through the traditional objection-handling kind of scenario.
They go in there, they pitch their tender, they walk away. And this is so important because builders are the same, anywhere, where there’s a long-term contract being signed. It very much is more likely a pitch type of approach you need to take, as opposed to going in there with a sales mindset, because it just doesn’t seem to—it’s the circle in the square hole. It doesn’t quite fit.
Oren: Yeah, and Pete, just hearing you talk, a metaphor formed in my mind that I haven’t used before but I think it’s very powerful, alright? A ‘pitch,’ in the way we do it, is a performance. I’m not at the metaphor yet, right? But when you see us pitch, we just don’t wander up there and go, “We know a bunch of stuff about our deal and we’re going to tell you a bunch of stuff.”
We know what we’re going to do minute by minute for an hour. We have a clock. If you’ve ever been on a radio show, they run it on a clock. They know exactly when they’re going to do the news, the weather, break to commercial, when you’re going to talk about what—there’s a clock. We run our pitch on a clock. Now imagine going to a play—here’s the metaphor that I think works.
Imagine going to a play and the actors have all kind of agreed on a general theme. And they run out on stage and say shit to each other, and it just kind of unfolds. Well, they have that, it’s called ‘improv,’ and it’s funny. But sometimes it’s not funny, and sometimes it’s not good, and sometimes it is good. But by and large, it’s fairly random. And it’s funny, but it’s not serious and it’s not good.’
Pete: No, exactly.
Oren: We think about the pitch that we would no more present a play, Masterpiece Theater, with a bunch of us just running on stage and generally, within a thematic, saying dramatic things. We wouldn’t do that and expect you to pay $200 for a ticket. And in the same token, we wouldn’t go to a pitch and just say, “Alright, well let us tell you about what we have.”
It is a performance; and we know what we’re going to do the first five minutes, what we’re going to do the second five minutes, what we’re going to do with the 20-minute block after that and at the 30-minute mark. We know, specifically, what we have to do. In some ways—and this is a metaphor that I have used before—it is like landing an airplane, a large airplane.
You don’t just fucking go land it, right? There’s waypoints you have to hit. And so if the pilot, in a complex landing like San Diego where there’s buildings, it’s just a very complex approach. There’s waypoints you have to hit. And if you miss a waypoint, then you’ve got to pull off and try again, because you know the rest of the landing is not going to go well if you miss a waypoint.
I think pitches are produced where you are along the way. You have waypoints to get through, and this requires a bunch of effort to put on a performance like this. But the reason you make this effort is that, as you said, it’s one chance or one of very few chances to make this presentation to this customer and win the contract.
So it’s worth investing time and energy and money to figure out what you’re going to do in those moments that you have in front of the buyer. And I think that sales, preparing for sales, is a lot about preparing for objections. It’s just a lot about being honest and integral, and knowing your product and shifting on your feet, and thinking fast and responding to the customer’s needs.
Pete: Something that kind of popped into my mind, to build on the analogy you just used there and we’ll touch on it shortly; because the main thing I want to jump into in a moment is the structure of a pitch. I really think you’ve nailed that from a performance perspective of what is the curtain call and what is the first act and the second act.
We’ll just wring this analogy dry; but the whole play scenario is the reason people enjoy plays is that it’s a motive. It’s engaging. And I think, to try and build this bridge in a very, very poor way, I’m going to do here, is that the ‘croc brain’ stuff that you talk about, and we’ll touch on this really quickly in that the croc brain (and I’ll get you to explain). But where I see that is, most selling is traditionally feature-based, advantage-based and even sort of benefit-based.
People are probably familiar with the FAB approach to selling features. You talk about your feature, then you talk about its benefits and the advantages and stuff like that. It’s very rational, it’s very dry in a lot of ways. Whereas, with a pitch that you talk about, because of the croc brain (which I’ll get you to explain), you need to have more emotion and more engagement. And that’s what makes plays interesting as well.
Pete: Have I just ruined that analogy? Or have I made any sense at all?
Oren: Yeah, you made sense in that you’ve interested seven subjects simultaneously, which are all very important. Let’s try and put a fine point in the selling versus pitch, and then move into the biology of these situations.
Pete: Yeah, cool.
Oren: Which, I think, is where you’re going. I think you should view, unless that buyer, investor, customer, bank, whatever it is that you’re going to meet will let you call them up frequently, come in as needed, then you may consider yourself to be in a pitch situation where you want to think less about, “How am I going to overcome objections, think on my feet and scale what I’m selling to what they need?” and more about, “I sell something, they need it.
What is the best way to provide a commanding, controlling performance about the thing I have, and make it as desirable and myself feel as competent as possible within the 20-odd minutes I have to really impress them?” If you have a limited access to the customer, you really want to think about, “How do I build this great pitch?” and less about, “How do I go in there and build a relationship and sell this?”
So then, I think we move into what a pitch does, as you were saying, Pete, is it creates wanting. Selling, by contrast, creates credibility for yourself and really accurately convey the features and the benefits of the product. But the great pitch creates wanting, a moment of wanting. And in order to create this wanting, there’s a very specific pathway. The information you have needs to take through the biology of the human mind.
The human mind doesn’t take information in through the eyes or the ears or the senses. There’s many different ways to accumulate information, but all of that goes in through the primitive part of the human brain. And by the way, make sure to give everyone the link to the video we have on this, where we go through with visuals.
Pete: Yeah, we’ll put a few links into the show notes at PreneurMedia.tv where all the show notes and transcriptions are and they’ll all be there so people can head over there and get the show notes out to get some other material for sure.
Oren: This is the way I explain it: when you walk up to your buyer, to your prospect, or you get them on the phone and you begin talking, they do not hear the concepts and the ideas and the detail and the emotion and the things you are saying in detail. What they initially have to decide is very primitive, and it boils down to this: this person that is in front of me, what do I do to survive this situation?
Do I try [to fight with it] because it’s dangerous, do I try and eat it because I’m hungry, or do I try and mate with it because I’m horny? The three human emotions: angry, hungry and horny are the first filter through every human mind. Your ideas and your product, and yourself, have to initially get through that filter—angry, hungry, horny, has to get through that filter safely and be accepted that you’re not dangerous, that you’re not something to be mated with, or you’re not something to eat.
And that’s harder than you think. If you don’t organize your information to pass that initial screen, everything you say is massively filtered and detuned. And this is really why pitches tend to go bad. We scare the biology of the other mind listening to us. We scare it or we put it into some primal instinct and it doesn’t listen to, as you said, the cleaning services.
The features and benefits, it doesn’t get to that part of the mind, and some very specific things that you go through that you have to do in order to get past the primal filters of the initial, as you said, the crocodile brain, we have some great visuals on this which make it very simple to understand.
But the successful pitches do this. There’s six or seven checkboxes you have to hit. So clearly, if it’s a pitch on cleaning services, I’ll just give you a quick overview, well, the initial discussion of it better be visual. It better be some clean visuals. It has to be concrete, what you’re offering, or at least clear that you can describe these services in a concrete way.
It better be novel. So novelty, like why can’t you tickle yourself? Try to tickle yourself. Because you know what’s happening. Your mind knows what your hand is doing and it can anticipate that action. You can’t tickle yourself. So, the mind looks for novelty, and that’s what generates attention.
So if it’s not concrete, your pitch isn’t novel, it’s not visual, and it’s not fast, then you’re going to offend or scare the crocodile brain and you don’t get to pitch the part of the mind that will actually listen to you. Again, we may be making all the mistakes I just described because we don’t have—while you and I are talking—visuals. But if people jump over the link, we have visuals that will explain this very, very clearly.
Pete: Absolutely. So, once you’ve got that awareness, and obviously, yeah, as I said, make sure you head over to PreneurMedia.tv and there will be links through to the Pitch Anything videos, PDFs and stuff that you’re talking about then, Oren.
But one thing I’d love to talk about is the structure of a pitch (really quickly, I know we’ve got a little bit of time left for the podcast). But your philosophy or the tried-and-tested methods of pitching have kind of come down to about a 20-minute ‘schedule,’ for want of a better term. Is that about right?
Oren: Yeah, so here’s the issue. Lots of people—because I represent some groups that invest—come and pitch us. I might see a couple pitches a week, sometimes a couple a day. And the issue is they ramble on for an hour or more in this kind of, “Hey, let’s all get on stage and just pick a role and randomly perform to some thematic. Ramble on.”
The issue is that the span of human attention is not an hour. Human beings cannot pay attention to something, especially when they’re not passionate and excited and interested about it, for an hour. Any group of scientists will say the maximum span of human attention, for classrooms, for business meetings, for perhaps a podcast like this, is about 20 minutes.
So in terms of structure, you’ve got to boil the meat of your pitch into a 20-minute section where you provide the big idea, the problem, the solution, the features, the benefits, the upside economics, the track record—yourself as being credible, and the story of this product or service that you sell has got to be packaged in 20 minutes.
Now, at the end of 20 minutes, it doesn’t mean that you just walk out the door. There’s other things to do. But introducing the service, explaining how it works, the fundamental economics, how it’s delivered, what the deal is, who you are and why someone should work with you has all got to be packaged tightly within 20 minutes or less. So when you start to talk about structure, I think those are the things that, Pete, you’re talking about.
Pete: What are the two biggest things out of all of that? We could, obviously, spend hours ourselves just talking through that pitch process and the actual arc that you need to make during that 20 minutes. What are the two key things that you think are the most important they need to hit on in that 20-minute pitch?
Oren: What I see done poorly, most often, is capturing two things: the big idea—what’s interesting and novel, and the benefit of what we’re selling. I don’t know cleaning services that well, but since we talked about it, let’s try to come up, here on the spot, with a big idea for cleaning services. If you’re in the market for cleaning services for your buildings, one of the issues is who you are giving the keys to your building to after-hours.
Pete: Yep. Security.
Oren: If any problem comes to a company, it tends to be from giving the keys away to people they don’t know. “At Acme Cleaning, anybody can clean as well as we can.” But because you put the fucking squeegee in the water…
Pete: It’s not that hard…
Oren: And you run it down the window, and then you look at it and you go, “Is the window clean?” And then you wipe a little spot that you missed and the window is clean. Then you move onto the floor. Anybody can do this. A blind man who just landed from Mars can take five minutes of training and clean your building as well as some guy who’s been doing it for 20 years.
“The fundamental importance at Acme Cleaning is the 45 hours of security training and bonding that we put every employee through. So if you care about security, then you’ll be interested in the rest of this presentation.”
Pete: Would you say, part of it, because that is one example that just came off the top of your head there, and you made that not about cleaning. You made the big idea about something bigger that differentiates you from most likely your competition.
Because they’re talking about the type of lotion or formula they use in their bucket with their squeegee. Do you think that’s important to a certain degree as well? Actually making sure that what your big idea is different? Obviously, that’s what’s unique and is what’s novel. Is that a fair statement?
Oren: Yeah, that is. I think in this case, and tying it back to the biology, you’re going to scare the human mind of the person you’re pitching if you try and convince them, very early on in the pitch, that you’re better at cleaning than the next guy. Why? Because that is a low-contrast, very low. It’s hard to believe that one guy is better at doing a window than the next guy. Now, it may be true that you have the patent on a cleaning formula that takes half the time, and that is huge value proposition.
But you don’t have access to the part of the human mind that will hear that level of detail yet. You can do that later. So where the, “We’re better than the next guy at cleaning” fails is that it is not high-contrast. The crocodile brain cannot look at that and go, “This is different and novel from other things. I need to pay attention to it.”
Pete: I completely agree with that. In the telecommunications company that I own here in Australia, we sell in-store physical phone systems; the piece of plastic that we install and bolt onto a client’s wall and the physical pieces of plastic we put on their desks are exactly the same plastic as the next guy.
There is no differentiation because we buy the leading manufacturers of Avaya, Alcatel and those manufacturers. The actual hardware, the raw, physical things the client gets is exactly the same as the next person’s; so we have to differentiate ourselves away from the product because the product is so much of a commodity it’s not funny. It’s even more of a commodity than cleaning.
Oren: Now, later in the pitch, once you have access (and we’re probably going too deep here) to the neocortex, the smart part of the brain, now you can go into the minor differentiation, the minor differentiation between you and another service. And maybe those things count.
But initially, you’ve got to latch onto these big ideas. That’s why I said it’s not about cleaning better, it’s about security. That may or may not be the issue, but that’s why I went after it; because it’s differentiated. It’s big, high-contrast, novel, visual. You can get access to the attention of the mind that you’re pitching when you create this kind of novelty.
Pete: Something I heard you talk about before. It kind of ties in with not talking about the cleaning and it’s something that I want to make sure we spoke about today in the podcast; that comment that you made on Chase Jarvis’ show who had a number of great guests on—we’ve had on the show before, Ryan Holiday, and obviously yourself now, and a few other people.
If you haven’t seen Chase’s show, ChaseJarvis.com/live—great show, interviews some fantastic people on camera. You’re a recent guest of his; and one of the cool things you said, which I talk about a lot and a good friend of ours, Ed Dale, talks about a lot. Ed and I have our book coming out called It’s Not About the Product.
It kind of talks to a statement that you made on that show which I think resonated really, really well and I’m sure you know exactly what I’m about to say; and the statement was, “Believing in your work is not an effing tactic.” I think that was a really cool statement. I want to talk about it.
It does relate to what you’re saying there; that it’s not about the cleaning necessarily, it’s about everything else. Do you want to explain that and give that a bit more context? I really want to make sure we cover that because that’s something that I truly believe in and was so glad, and really love when other people say it, too. It just supports the argument that I continually try to make.
Oren: I think a lot of people I see coming in pitching are confused about the value equation in the room. By that I mean they come in, and they want our money. They want us to issue it, whether we’re buying a copier or investing in their business; they want us to give them money. So, they prance and dance around and do all kinds of supplicating behaviors to try and ‘win’ our money.
By and large, if I say, “Hey, we’re really interested in the copier. Why don’t you do a feasibility report for us?” And they go, “If we do a feasibility report, would you be interested in buying a copier?” I’ll say, “Yeah,” and they’ll run off and do that stuff. They’ll go ‘fetch’ me a feasibility report. If I say, “Hey, why don’t you give me a discount? I’d be more interested,” and they’ll give me a discount.
If I say, “Why don’t you give me two months free?” And they say, “Hey, if you buy it, we’ll give you two months free.” If I say, “Stand on your head and light your feet on fire, and run around the room on your hands and then do 15 pushups,” they’ll do that, too. These are all supplicating behaviors to try and ‘win’ accounts.
And so, what I try and formulate is a way that we can understand is the account, the guy who’s going to give us the contract, the person you’re selling to, is they only have money. That’s all they have. But we are the prize. They have to understand that we are honest, ethical, credible, we have a great product, that we’re busy—and the only thing they are is a customer, and that’s the commodity.
Pete: You can always get another customer, you can always get someone else to give you the cash. That you’ve only got so much time in your business, in your team, in your time to actually deliver that solution. So, you’re the prize, you’re the unique prize of this.
Oren: We are the unique part of this. So I try, when I’m selling or pitching, or both, or either, I try and rephrase everything they say as them wanting me. If they say, “Hey Oren, can you get us a feasibility report?” Then I will reframe that and I will say, “No, I will not give you a feasibility report because this is a very simple decision. You guys know your business better than anyone else.
If you really need a feasibility report, maybe this isn’t right for you; that you don’t understand this product well enough. Are you sure you understand your need for a copier well enough to be taking up my time?” You see, that’s a reframe. It frames me as the prize, it frames me as the important party in the room. So I reframe everything they say as them needing it, and me as having it and not needing their business.
What came about with the comment you said is, we saw on Twitter, people said, “Hey, do these tactics work overseas?” or, “Do these tactics work with such and such kind?” These tactics, believing that you are the prize, that you are the most important part of the transaction; let’s go back to cleaning services.
You have the best cleaning service, you have the best formulation, you have a patent on your formulation, you bond and train your employees. Your trucks are clean, and you make them wear uniforms, and you have managers to make sure everything’s done right. That is valuable. All they have is a cleaning account.
What you have is something extremely hard to build and provide this service. So if they don’t behave well, then you’re not even going to work with them. Who wants a bad customer? You’re the prize. They have to win your attention and your service. And so believing that you are the prize and that you are the most valuable part of the transaction is not a tactic. That is something you better have.
If you don’t have it, let’s work together with me and Pete and the videos and anything we have to get there. When you walk in a room, you better believe, “What I have is more valuable than these guys’ money. And if they don’t behave well, if they don’t look like a good customer, and if they don’t pay respect to me, then I’m going to leave and take what I have and take it somewhere else. People understand the value that I bring.”
Pete: It’s very funny you say that. Literally, this morning before we got on this call, I was going through some e-mails. An e-mail from a person I work with quite a lot, Jay, we were talking about a client that was absolutely doing their head in. They were demanding, they were sending three e-mails a day demanding stuff that was outside the scope of works.
They did the right thing upfront; and this is something I teach a lot of people. When they get a deal and do a successful pitch, then set the context and expectations of how the relationship is going to play out. That’s what this person does at the start of every new client, they set the expectations; this is how we work, this is the process, this is what you’re going to get delivered, this is how it’s going to get delivered, very, very well.
This particular client is breaking all those rules, ridiculous expectations, not playing the game by the rules set out. Jay was basically saying, “What do I do here? Do I wait until the contract’s over and then cut them? Do I cut them now? What do I do?” My advice was literally a two-line e-mail, “You are the prize, you have the process, get rid of them.”
I used a bit more profanity in my e-mail; but basically, it was exactly the same thing. I couldn’t agree with you more. You’re the prize, you have the business, you have the outcome, you have the solution. They came to you, they want you, they need you. And the only time where you really need to be in love with your product—and this is the thing that I took away from your statement—believing in your work is not a tactic.
Because so many people, and you’re talking about it in the context of the photographers on Chase’s show and the context of cleaning, or an internet marketer who has an eBook or somebody trying to find a joint-venture partner to do a promotional with; so many people, they go into the conversation and they just talk about how brilliant the product is, and they get distracted by everything else.
Realistically, to build a successful business, be it pitch something or even just build the business, it’s not about the product. You have to have a fantastic product, you have to believe in the product, but the belief is not the end goal or not the tactic. The belief gives you the core strength and the belief and the internal understanding or foundation that then allows you to frame the meeting, frame the deal, frame the relationship as you are the prize and not the supplicant.
That was a really cool thing I took away from the book, but also from your conversation with Chase. That you have to believe in your product—there’s no question about that. You have to believe in it; but that’s not the tactic, that is just the foundation that gets you the tactics of prizing versus supplicating.
Oren: Well, yeah. And to summarize that, if you know that you’re the prize, the customer has to win you, then you’re willing to walk away. And unless you’re willing to walk away, you act needy. And neediness kills deals. If neediness is the number one thing that will kill off a sale or a contract or a customer, then how do you get rid of it? You get rid of it by being willing to walk away.
Pete: I’m going to interrupt you there for a second, mate, because this is something that I think a lot of people have trouble with. I know a mutual friend of ours, Neil Strauss, writes about this in The Game, and I know Pitch Anything has been referred to as ‘The Game for business,’ which I think is really, really cool. But how does someone get that belief and that feeling?
Because a lot of people go into a meeting and they need this meeting so they need to pay the bills next week, and they do go in really supplicating and wanting. And I know all the negotiation books and all the pick-up books, and it’s the person who has the least or feels like they have the least to lose who actually wins. How do you get that mindset right?
Oren: Here’s how I work on that mindset. I roll into one concept: the service that I provide, the track record that I’ve delivered for clients that I’ve done it before, the strength of my character, the internal confidence in my ability, the knowledge that my competitors are not as good as me, and the fact that working with me is a lot of fun; and I mash all of that into one ball of understanding that I am the best.
Do other people’s product cost more and clean better? Yeah, maybe. Just to keep using the cleaning metaphor—do other people do it faster? Maybe. But in combination, my ethics, my character, my experience, the depth of my commitment, the quality of my product, versus the price and the fun of working with me is the best that the client is ever going to get.
And so, knowing that, they have to come halfway or more than halfway. I’m not just going to sit there and pitch them. They have to look at me and say, “Oren, we like you, we love this product, and we want to work with you.” And if they cannot say that, then I’m not going to continue selling or pitching.
I’m not going to oversell myself. If they can’t find their way to the value that I have, then I’m going to leave. I’m going to take it away. And there are specific ways to do that; if you watch the videos, we give some examples. But in answer to your question, you have got to compress and mash up all these things about yourself and know it.
So that if somebody starts to question anything about your product, yourself, your integrity, your track record, your ability, your cost, to some small degree, you’ll work them through it. But if they’re not going to come over and say, “We appreciate you, we want to talk about some details to get the contract,” if they’re not really going to acknowledge you for everything you have, then you start to take it away.
You say, “I’m going to go somewhere where customers understand this value.” And so, again, we give specifics, but that is the nature of how you have to approach prizing for yourself. You have to truly, truly know that amongst all the options, you’re the best.
Pete: Yeah, and that’s where believing in your product is important, but it’s not that tactic that you spoke about. Now, mate, before we finish up, because I know we’ve both got lots of stuff to get on with in our schedules; I’ve got two really quick questions for you. Firstly, this is the question that I often ask people on the podcast: What question haven’t I asked that I should have?
Oren: Oh, yeah, okay. The question that you should’ve asked but you didn’t is, “Can you give me a great pitch right now?”
Pete: Actually, let’s do this: you can give something away today, but let’s organize another call where people can come on, maybe like a webinar or something. Have you got time for that at some stage in the next couple of weeks and we can actually do a pitch on there, we can dissect it, we can do a real deep dig on some things like that?
Oren: I think that’s smart, because people hear me talk about this subject. But I think the next natural question is, “Let’s see you do it if you’re so great.” So let’s do another webinar. Let’s give a live pitch on that one and you can see how I think it should be done in perfect form.
Pete: So let’s go, we’ll put some links in the show notes at PreneurMedia.tv to that. I will make sure my team puts up a page that will have either an opt-in to the webinar or a replay of the webinar for people who watched the show in the back catalogue. Because obviously, the shows are available—and not just this episode, but all our other episodes are available in an evergreen format.
Let’s say, Preneur.co/PitchAnything (hopefully that domain’s available, I’m sure that page is available). Go there; you’ll have an opt-in for a webinar that we’ll have the dates on. We’ll work out that stuff, and you can sign up for the webinar. Obviously, if you’re on the e-mail list, we’ll let everyone know about that via e-mail in the next couple of weeks.
So that’s the question I should’ve asked and perfectly, we’ll segue into another hour together in another couple of weeks’ time. The other question I’ve got for you, just a personal interest thing, is how did you pitch Chase? Obviously, you got on Chase’s show. Was it an introduction? Was it a pitch?
But even if it was an introduction, there still has to be a pitch somewhere on the line even, I’m sure, if I said to you, “Oren, I’ve got this great deal,” whether it’s referring someone else to you or visa versa; there still has to be a pitch at some point. No one does a deal purely off an introduction. So what was the process, this is, I guess, answering that last question. Show me how you pitched Chase. What was the process?
Oren: I think, by and large, they contacted us and we said, “We’re not available,” which communicated to them we’re not needy. Did we want to do it the next day? Of course. But we know if we say, “Hey guys, let’s do it tomorrow,” that they’re going to say, “Oh, these guys aren’t ballers.” They need us and so we said, “Hey, we just don’t know how to calendar this. Let’s talk about it and calendar it a few months out,” and they think that’s what brought them to the table.
Pete: So it’s prizing, not supplicating, and for want of a better term, manufacturing status—which is something that I love talking to you about, and we’ll try and weave that into the actual webinar or live call. Make sure people check out the show notes at Preneur.co/PitchAnything. I’ll make sure Florence puts a page up there where people can get all the details about when we’re going to get together again or at least be able to see the recordings of when we get together again.
Oren: Okay, yeah, great.
Pete: Awesome man! Well, thank you so much for your time. I know you’ve got as busy a schedule as I do, so thank you so much for making the time to come on and share everything about Pitch Anything. The book’s available on Amazon, obviously all over the web, and we’ll get together again soon for not only our usual chats, but to add some more value to the community through this webinar.
Oren: Great. Alright, buddy, always good—I’ve got to bounce and I will talk to you soon.
Pete: Sounds good. See you, mate!
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