Pitch Anything
Pitch Anything

Pitch Anything

He was really making it difficult. You can imagine how hard it was to use all the right techniques: setting the frame, telling the story, revealing the intrigue, offering the prize, nailing the hookpoint, and getting the decision. (Location 83)

Note: pitching techniques

a great pitch is not about procedure. It’s about getting and keeping attention. And that means you have to own the room with frame control, drive emotions with intrigue pings, and get to a hookpoint fairly quickly. (Location 91)

Tags: pitching

Note: great pitches must keep attention

Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience show that our brain developed in three separate stages. First come the old brain, or “crocodile brain”—we’ll call it the “croc brain” for short. It’s responsible for the initial filtering of all incoming messages, it generates most survival fight-or-flight responses, and it produces strong, basic emotions, too. But when it comes to decision making, the croc brain’s reasoning power is . . . well, primitive. It simply doesn’t have a lot of capacity, and most of what it does have is devoted primarily to the things it takes to keep us alive. When I am referring to the croc brain, I am referring to this level. The midbrain, which come next, determines the meaning of things and social situations. And finally, the neocortex evolved with a problem-solving ability and is able to think about complex issues and produce answers using reason. (Location 137)

Tags: brain

Note: the evolution of the brain.

I learned from molecular biologist Craig Smucker that when we pitch something—an idea, product, deal, or whatever—the highest level of our brain, the neocortex, is doing the work. It’s the neocortex that is forming ideas, putting them into language, and presenting them. This is fairly intuitive. (Location 146)

Our thought process exactly matches our evolution: First, survival. Then, social relationships. Finally, problem solving. (Location 155)

But no pitch or message is going to get to the logic center of the other person’s brain without passing through the survival filters of the crocodile brain system first. And because of the way we evolved, those filters make pitching anything extremely difficult. (Location 164)

Pitches are sent from the modern—and smart—part of the brain: the neocortex. But they are received by a part of the brain that is 5 million years older (and not as bright.) This is a serious problem if you are trying to pitch anything. (Location 208)

Tags: pitch

Note: you send a pitch from the neo-cortex but it is receiive by the isteners croc brain

every single pitch starts by going through the crocodile brain—end up being coded. • Boring: Ignore it. • Dangerous: Fight/run. • Complicated: Radically summarize (invariably causing a lot to be lost in the process) and pass it in severely truncated form. (Location 215)

Note: the croc brain filters and removes info which is boring,not dangerous or is too complicated

I finally got the fundamental problem you and I have when we pitch something: We have our highly evolved neocortex, which is full of details and abstract concepts, trying to persuade the crocodile brain, which is afraid of almost everything and needs very simple, clear, direct, and nonthreatening ideas to decide in our favor. (Location 245)

Note: corc brain filters

As you will see, it begins by setting the frame for your pitch, putting your big idea into an easily understood context. And then, once the frame is established, you must seize high social status so that you have a solid platform from which to pitch. Then you must create messages that are full of intrigue and novelty. To make this process easier to remember, I use the acronym STRONG: Setting the frame Telling the story Revealing the intrigue Offering the prize Nailing the hookpoint Getting a decision (Location 258)

When you are responding ineffectively to things the other person is saying and doing, that person owns the frame, and you are being frame-controlled. (Location 361)

If you have to explain your authority, power, position, leverage, and advantage, you do not hold the stronger frame. (Location 370)

used just four frames that would cover every business situation. For example, if I know the person I’m meeting is a hard-charging, type A personality, I will go in with a power-busting frame. If that person is an analytical, dollars-and-cents type, I will choose an intrigue frame. If I’m outnumbered and outgunned and the deck is stacked against me, time frames and prize frames are essential. (Location 391)

Going into most business situations, there are three major types of opposing frames that you will encounter: 1. Power frame 2. Time frame 3. Analyst frame You have three major response frame types that you can use to meet these oncoming frames, win the initial collision, and control the agenda: 1. Power-busting frame 2. Time constraining frame 3. Intrigue frame There is a fourth frame you can deploy. It’s useful against all three of the opposing frames and many others you will encounter: 4. Prize frame (Location 395)

To instigate a power frame collision, use a mildly shocking but not unfriendly act to cause it. Use defiance and light humor. This captures attention and elevates your status by creating something called “local star power.” (Location 455)

If you deal in creative work and you brought visuals, let the target sneak a peek and then, when you see him curiously looking, turn it over, take it away, and deliver a soft reprimand that says, not until I say you’re ready. This is a quick tease followed by a strong denial, and it is massively disruptive to the target’s croc brain. What you are doing is not offensive, and it’s not mean. It’s playful, and it tells the target subconsciously, “I’m the one in charge here, not you, my friend.” (Location 463)

Another way to control the frame is to respond to a comment with a small but forceful act of defiance. TARGET: “Thanks for coming over. I only have 15 minutes this afternoon.” YOU: “That’s okay, I only have 12.” You smile. But you are serious, too. (Location 468)

Defiance and light humor are the keys to seizing power and frame control. (Location 476)

Prizing 101 To solidify the prize frame, you make the buyer qualify himself to you. “Can you tell me more about yourself? I’m picky about who I work with.” At a primal, croc brain level, you have just issued a challenge: Why do I want to do business with you? This is a powerful and unspoken expression of your high status and your frame dominance. It forces your audience to qualify themselves by telling you exactly how interested they really are. (Location 532)

Note: ask your audience to quuallfy thmselvees to you

When you are reacting to the other person, that person owns the frame. When the other person is reacting to what you do and say, you own the frame. (Location 653)

Instead, when you see attention begin to bottom out and expire, that’s it. You’re done. Stay in control of time, and start wrapping up. Running long or beyond the point of attention shows weakness, neediness, and desperation. (Location 661)

The moment your audience does a “deep drill-down” into the minute details, you are losing control. The cognitive temperature of the audience, which was hot when things got started, naturally will cool as audience members listen to your pitch. But once you give their neocortex(es) something to calculate, they will go cold. Problem solving, numerical calculations, statistics, and any sort of geometry are called cold cognitions. Nothing will freeze your pitch faster than allowing your audience to grind numbers or study details during the pitch. (Location 685)

Oh, for sure, audience members will ask for details. They believe that they need them. So what should you do if someone demands details? You respond with summary data that you have prepared for this specific purpose. (Location 694)

In financial deals, I respond with something like this: “The revenue is $80 million, expenses are $62 million, the net is $18 million. These and other facts you can verify later, but right now, what we need to focus on is this: Are we a good fit? Should we be doing business together? This is what I come here to work on.” (Location 697)

Most intelligent people take great pleasure in being confronted with something new, novel, and intriguing. (Location 712)

At the start of the meeting, you have the audience’s attention. It’s a rare moment, but not for the reason you may think. Audience members are, with full concentration and at the most basic and primal level, trying to figure out the answer to this question: “How similar is your idea to something I already know about or to a problem I have already solved?” (Location 719)

We generalize by saying, “Oh, they lost interest.” But what really happened is that they learned enough about our idea to feel secure that they understand it—and there is nothing more to be gained by continuing to pay attention. They determined that there was no more value to be had by engaging with us on any level. (Location 727)

Let’s consider three of the most fundamental behaviors of human beings: 1. We chase that which moves away from us. 2. We want what we cannot have. 3. We only place value on things that are difficult to obtain. (Location 852)

Note: We value scarcity

Money is never a prize; it’s a commodity, a means for getting things done. Money simply transfers economic value from place to place so that people are able to work together. (Location 862)

As you move into your pitch, find moments to reinforce the other frames you hold. For example, make appropriate comments about the value of your time to strengthen both your time frame and your prize frame. (Location 896)

Think about this for a moment: Your social value is fluid and changes with the environment you are in—or the environment you create. If you wish to elevate your social value in any given situation, you can do so by redirecting people into a domain where you are in charge. This is easier to do than you might think. (Location 1132)

Tags: social value

Note: increase your social value by directing to a domain where you are in charge

The person makes a hasty judgment using three measurable criteria: your wealth, your power, and your popularity. (Location 1141)

Bill was old school and enjoyed using classic power rituals like seating people below him to confirm his position as Lord William. (Location 1164)

Note: use seating arrangement to influence social power

Have fun. Be popular. Enjoy your work. There is nothing as attractive as someone who is enjoying what he or she does. It attracts the group to you and allows you to build stronger frames and hold them longer. (Location 1223)

I may say something like, “Remind me again why in the world I want to do business with you?” This usually elicits a few guffaws—and a serious response amid the laughter: “Because we’re the largest bank in California, Oren.” To which I say, “Yeah, that’s good, I’ll keep that in mind.” (Location 1250)

time-constraint pattern. This is what you say, exactly, to let the target know he isn’t trapped in the typical hour-long-meeting: “Guys, let’s get started. I’ve only got about 20 minutes to give you the big idea, which will leave us some time to talk it over before I have to get out of here.” (Location 1273)

Note: state how long the pitch will be

When a friend, Joe, was getting funding from Boeing, here’s how he did it: 1. “My degree is from Berkeley. I did my MBA at UCLA. 2. After that I was at McKinsey for four years, but really, my only homerun there was the sales program I did for Lexus. Saved them about $15 million, and they still use it today. 3. I left consulting six months ago to work on the ‘big idea.’” (Location 1291)

Research has shown that your impression of someone is generally based on the average of the available information about them, not the sum. So telling people one great thing about yourself will leave them with a better impression of you than telling than one great thing and one pretty good one. And it gets worse if you tell them one great thing, one pretty good thing, and two mediocre things. Stop with one great thing. (Location 1301)

Tags: favorite

Note: limit your background info to your great successes

The “Why Now?” Frame You’re almost ready to pitch the “big idea.” But first, a reminder of the obvious: Nobody wants to invest time or money into an old deal that has been sitting around. This is why you need to introduce a “Why now?” frame. It’s vitally important that the target knows that your idea is new, emerging from current market opportunities and that it’s not some relic left over from bygone days. The target needs to know that you are pitching a new idea that come to life from a pattern of forces that you recognized, seized, and are now taking advantage of. And the target needs to know that you have more knowledge about these things than anyone else. (Location 1308)

Tags: selling

Note: the target needs to think now is the perfect time for the idea

Three-Market-Forces Pattern: Trendcasting When you describe your idea, project, or product, first give it context by framing it against these three market forces or trending patterns that you believe are important. 1. Economic forces. Briefly describe what has changed financially in the market for your big idea. For example, are customers wealthier, is credit more available, is financial optimism higher? Increases or decreases in interest rates, inflation, and the value of the dollar are considered as prime examples of forces that have significant impact on business opportunities. 2. Social forces. Highlight what emerging changes in people’s behavior patterns exist for your big idea. An obvious example in the market for automobiles, concern over the environment—a social force—is driving demand for electric vehicles. 3. Technology forces. Technological change can flatten existing business models and even entire industries because demand shifts from one product to another. In electronics, for example, change is rapid and constant, but in furniture manufacturing, change is more gradual. (Location 1319)

As you craft your backstory, think in terms of how it come to be where it is today and how you found it. Describe the steps in its evolution, and show how it evolved—how it moved—to finally become the opportunity you have now identified and captured. The three basic steps are: 1. Explain the most important changes in our business. Forecast the trends. Identify important developments—both in your market and beyond. 2. Talk about the impact of these developments on costs and customer demand. 3. Explain how these trends have briefly opened a market window. (Location 1330)

Here is an example that ties the three market forces together into a tight pattern that supports the “Why now?” frame for a product called UpRight, a device you wear on your wrist that wakes you up slowly, at exactly the right time, so that you feel well rested. Economic force. The cost of making this product has just gone below the $10 mark. This means that the retail price can be $69. We’ve been waiting two years to hit this price point. Social force. One of the changes in our society is that people don’t get enough sleep or even the right kind of sleep. While this problem is growing only 1.8 percent a year, awareness of it is skyrocketing. People know that they need better sleep; it is a hot topic at all levels of society. Against this backdrop, your idea begins to occupy the foreground. To continue with the example: Technological force. This device requires a controlling chip and solenoid that now can be manufactured small enough and at a controllable price, allowing us mass-market capabilities. (Location 1336)

The Idea Introduction Pattern This idea introduction pattern goes like this: “For [target customers] Who are dissatisfied with [the current offerings in the market]. My idea/product is a [new idea or product category] That provides [key problem/solution features]. Unlike [the competing product]. My idea/product is [describe key features].” (Location 1387)

Let’s review the actions to take in phase 1 of the pitch: • First, you put the target at ease by telling him in advance that the pitch is going to be short, just about 20 minutes, and that you’re not going to be hanging around too long afterward. This keeps the target’s croc brain focused on the here and now and feeling safe. • Then, you give your background in terms of a track record of successes, not a long list of places and institutions where you simply “punched the clock.” There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the more you talk about your background, the more average it becomes because the target is hardwired to average information about you, not add it up. • Next, you show that your idea is not a static flash of genius. Rather, there are market forces driving the idea, and you are taking advantage of a brief market window that has opened. (And you’ve admitted that there will be competition, showing that you’re not naive about business realities.) • Because the brain pays attention to things that are in motion, you paint a picture of the idea moving out of an old market into a new one. Doing it this way, you don’t trigger change blindness, which would make your deal easy to neglect. • Last, you bring the big idea into play using the idea introduction pattern. Now the target knows exactly what it is, who it’s for, who you compete with, and what your idea does better than the competition’s. This simple pattern makes sure that your idea is easy to grasp and focuses on what is real. This strategy works so well because it avoids triggering a threat response. (Location 1435)

The opportunities to scare the croc brain seriously multiply when you start to explain how stuff works. (Location 1454)

Attention will be given when information novelty is high and will drift away when information novelty is low. (Location 1488)

when a person is feeling both desire and tension, that person is paying serious attention to what’s in front of him or her. (Location 1501)

But each has a different triggering mechanism. To give a dopamine kick and create desire, offer a reward. To give a norepinephrine kick and create tension, take something away. You’re going to learn the patterns for triggering the desire and tension right now. (Location 1507)

Dopamine release in the brain is connected to pleasure activities, such things as food, sex, and drugs. But now brain scans show that dopamine isn’t exactly the chemical of experiencing pleasure. Instead, it’s the chemical of anticipating a reward. In his book, Satisfaction, Dr. Greg Berns explains this: “How do you get more dopamine flowing in your brain? NOVELTY. A raft of brain imaging experiments has demonstrated that novel events … are highly effective at releasing dopamine. Your brain is stimulated by surprise because our world is fundamentally unpredictable.” He adds, “You may not always like novelty, but your brain does.” You create novelty by violating the target’s expectations in a pleasing way. (Location 1515)

Note: dopamine is released by novelty

Let’s review. When you introduce something novel to the target’s brain, a release of dopamine occurs. This triggers desire. For example: A short product demo provides novelty. A new idea provides novelty. Good metaphors for otherwise complex subjects provide novelty. Bright objects, moving objects, and unique shapes, sizes, and configurations all provide novelty. (Location 1520)

The two parts of the attention cocktail are novelty and tension, which in a pitch work together in a feedback loop for about 20 minutes until—no matter what you do or how hard you try—they get out of balance and then stop working altogether. (Location 1561)

Actually delivering the core of the pitch is very straightforward stuff. The main requirement is that you understand that what’s happening in your mind is not what’s happening in the target’s mind. Package the information for the croc brain, as I described in Chapter 1. Big picture. High contrast. Visual. Novel. With verified evidence. (Location 1640)

Note: packge the pitch for th croc brain

Here are the two major elements of competition: 1. How easy it is for new competitors to jump in the game? 2. How easy it is for customers to switch out your product with another? (Location 1665)

Secret Sauce To avoid the impression that you are a come-and-go idea that will shine brightly in the market one day and be forgotten soon after, you’ll need to show what your competitive advantage is based on. This one thing will give you staying power against competition. In almost every pitch situation, you need something special. Briefly describe it as your “secret sauce”—the unfair advantage you have over others. (Location 1668)

“Oren, once we get through this deal, and we know you can close deals, I’m going to introduce you to our senior trader, John Kincaid,” the seller told me. “He’s a wildman, just like you. It’s going to be a total love connection, and he’ll get you into the big deals that don’t come to my desk.” This was hot cognition 1—intrigue. I wanted to meet the senior trader and get introduced to these bigger deals. The bank trader continued: “You know the market is on fire right now, and I have the French, English, and South Africans begging me for this package, but if you work hard and don’t play any funny retrade games, you can earn your way in.” It was true, the market was hot, and those were all players. This was hot cognition 2—prizing. Although I was the buyer, he was asking me to prove myself. I wanted to impress him so that I could earn my way into the deal. He continued: “I’d love to give you until next week, but this market is not letting me, and you have to make up your mind by Friday.” He said, “I’m totally okay with a ‘No’; there’s no pressure. But Friday is D-day.” This was hot cognition 3—time frame. He gave me just enough time that I felt I had free will. This wasn’t time pressure, just a reasonable time constraint. In the end, the decision was mine to make. (Location 1775)

Here are the four frames we’re going to stack in quick succession. (Doing this correctly will move you quickly into the last part of the pitch—the hookpoint.) Hot cognition 1: the intrigue frame. Hot cognition 2: the prize frame. Hot cognition 3: the time frame. Hot cognition 4: the moral authority frame. (Location 1807)

becomes boring. Here’s a pattern that will give any of your stories a dramatic arc that ends with intrigue: • Put a man in the jungle. • Have beasts attack him. • Will he get to safety? Clearly, being stuck in the jungle is a metaphor for being in a difficult situation. The attacking beasts are the conflict and tension. These are the problems being faced by the man and the motivation for him to start moving toward safety. Once he is out of the jungle, the tension is resolved and the narrative arc is complete, so hold the man just short of safety as long as you want to use the intrigue frame. (Location 1860)

The emotional power in a narrative comes from a character that engages difficult obstacles and finds ways to overcome them. (Location 1872)

Note: encountering ann overcoming diffiukt obstaccles gives emotion to a narrative

The effect of time on decision making has been researched for 100 years, and nothing has changed about human nature in that time: In nearly all instances, the addition of time pressure to a decision-making event reduces decision quality. It is true, for instance, that you can get someone to buy a car more easily if you tell him that the sale ends at the end of the day. Why does this strategy work so well? There’s a scarcity bias in the brain, and potential loss of a deal triggers fear. (Location 1949)

Note: a time constraint can be used to expedite the deal

A rich man is less likely to enter the kingdom of heaven than a camel is to pass through the eye of a needle. (Location 2006)

No pitch or message is going to get to the logic center of the other person’s brain without passing through the survival filters of the crocodile brain system first. And because of the way we evolved, those filters make pitching anything extremely difficult. (Location 2056)

Note: you must pitch to the croc brain as all information passes through this before reaching the neocortex

You can trigger a hot cognition instantly, but cold cognition can take hours or days. Most presentations are set up to take the target down the path of a cold cognition. They try to justify the big idea with facts and information. (Location 2066)

Plain and simple, neediness equals weakness. Broadcasting weakness by seeking validation is often a death sentence. This may sound harsh, but it is true. Neediness—displaying so-called validation-seeking behaviors—will affect all social interactions dramatically. (Location 2162)

One dramatic way to eradicate neediness involves going into every social interaction with a strong time frame that you are prepared to use at any moment. This frame communicates, loudly and clearly, that you are needed somewhere else. But this is just a part of a broader, more comprehensive solution to eradicating neediness. Here’s the basic formula: 1. Want nothing. 2. Focus only on things you do well. 3. Announce your intention to leave the social encounter. (Location 2192)

Note: setting a time frame helps to remove neediness

Dex believed that the three Steves attracted admirers not because they had cool cars or bionic legs, but rather because they understood the three main rules of the Tao: Eliminate your desires. It’s not necessary to want things. Sometimes you have to let them come to you. Be excellent in the presence of others. Show people one thing that you are very good at. Withdraw. At a crucial moment, when people are expecting you to come after them, pull away. (Location 2217)

He knew I could deliver a real face melter of a pitch, a compelling and dramatic story that explained everything. Why now, why us, critical path, upside, downside, and competitive advantage. All stuff that I’d done hundreds of times. (Location 2307)

Tags: pitching

Note: Why now, why me, critical path, upside, downside,

Every pitch should tell a story. (Location 2430)

The next task was to reframe the competition: “We are honored to be competing against two other great firms today. I know each of them could serve you well because they have large teams, multiple offices, legions of young, energetic researchers, and the best-paid analysts in the world, and when working a deal, these firms spare no expense to tackle the job.” This was my way of saying that Goldhammer and the group from London were big, bloated corporations with too many people, many of them young and inexperienced. With this statement, I had reframed the competition as young, overstaffed, worried about their fees, and generally overweight. (Location 2531)

Tags: pitch, competition

Note: frame large competitors are bloated and full of young inexprienned people

This was my classic big idea introduction pattern. Why would this kind of introduction for the big idea work here? There are three basic truths about the brain and decision making that went into it. First, the most basic working principle of the brain is: Decisions of wanting something are not conscious. Second, the opportunity to gain a social reward, such as becoming a “hero,” is even more enticing than making money. Third, you can flood the target’s brain with dopamine by focusing on three ideas: (1) the idea of social rewards, (2) the idea of becoming a “hero,” and (3) the idea of making a lot of money. The purpose? Ignite desire. (Location 2569)

So now, here I was, pushing through the budget and the financing details in about five minutes. It was the coldest part of the pitch. Soon, I would deliver the four-frame hot cognition stack—which would heat things up. But first a quick push/pull: “Is this plan bold? Well, we can certainly debate if my numbers are 5 percent too high or 3 percent too low, but there is no doubt the big idea is bold. We think that boldness is important. And if you don’t like bold plans, then there’s a real possibility that we are not right for each other because my team would always be working quickly in an entrepreneurial way, and you always would be responding like a big corporation—slow and methodical. And how could that ever work? So I’m okay with the notion that our plan is too bold and that we aren’t right for each other.” (Location 2592)

Note: use push pull by qestioning if you are a fit with the client

For a closing statement, I would bring it all together. Time frame. Prize frame. Intrigue. Morality frame. Push. Pull. Desire. Tension. It was a fireworks finale of frame collisions: (Location 2666)

is true, for instance, when we get together for a presentation, meeting, or pitch, that we can’t just conduct a wholesale drop and transfer of information. You don’t send a cargo container full of information to your customers or potential investors and say, “Here, look through this stuff. See what you can make out of it.” They can’t absorb it, and if they could, they don’t have the time. This is a part of the presenter’s problem: Deciding what to pitch and how is not like a math or engineering problem that can be worked out by having more and more information. It’s about figuring out what parts of the information to use—which parts of your deal will trigger cold, analytical processing by the neocortex and which parts will engage the hot and vibrant processes of the crocodile brain. (Location 2763)

For instance, during the 1984 presidential campaign, there was considerable concern about Ronald Reagan’s age. Speaking during the presidential debate with Walter Mondale, Reagan said, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” (Location 2773)

Note: framing old age as positive - vs youth and inexperience

Humor, fun, and light-heartedness are crucial components of every pitch. (Location 2778)

Note: light heartedness is very important in a pitch

As I discussed in Chapter 1, in recent years I finally got the fundamental problem you and I have when we pitch something. We have our highly evolved neocortex, which is full of details and abstract concepts, trying to persuade the croc brain, which is afraid of almost everything and needs very simple, clear, direct, and non-threatening ideas, to decide in our favor. This realization guided me into the world of frames and status. (Location 2779)

Since the beginning of this book, I have offered you two principal insights into social dynamics. The first is structural—you have to package ideas for the croc brain in such a way that you are generating hot cognitions. In other words, you avoid the kind of cold analysis that is done by the neocortex. Instead, you use visual and emotional stimuli to push your target’s primal hot buttons—to create wanting. (Location 2782)

Importantly, the humor is not there to relieve tension. Instead, it’s there to signal that although the tension is real, you are so confident that you can play around a little. Perhaps it’s best to think about it this way: People who have lots of options are not uptight, and they don’t take themselves too seriously. (Location 2792)

Note: Humour can convey a confidence

Step 1: Learn to recognize beta traps and how to step around them. This is a low-risk way to train your mind to begin thinking in a frame-based way. As you go about the business of life, look for the beta traps. Identify anything that is designed to control your behavior, and think of how you would step around it. The key at this stage is to get good at seeing the traps (they are everywhere). While there is no immediate harm in doing nothing, when you are told to wait in the lobby until called, it’s a test. Remind yourself that if you step into this beta trap, the next one will be even larger and more difficult to overcome. (Location 2826)