Oren Klaff’s Pitch Anything has become a cult hit amongst salespeople, entrepreneurs and marketers alike.
The book shares a simple framework to stick to your guns and seal the deal in face-to-face pitches. Over the course of his career, Klaff used this method to raise over $400 million (and that’s not including book sales!), so it’s easy to believe that his tips will help content marketers, small business owners—anyone really—to pitch better in the digital space, too.
So, what’s the pitch?
The book is based on the idea that selling is a science. I’m a firm believer that the right strategy, planning and frameworks can take you a long way in the digital space - so I wholeheartedly agree!
Here’s the basic premise:
When you pitch an idea, you’re selling it from the most developed part of your brain. You know the idea inside out; you might have years of research and experience behind you. You’ve thought a lot about what you’re saying.
Unfortunately, the brain receiving your message is doing what every brain throughout the history of human evolution has done when receiving new information: quickly slipping into fight or flight mode and categorising information without seeing the whole picture. As Klaff says, there are a few million years between the brain sending the message and the brain receiving the message.
He goes on to explain how his STRONG method of pitching can help bridge that gap.
Keen to know exactly what that means and how it applies to digital?
Even though you’re not selling your message to customers and clients face-to-face, the same principles can’t apply. Whether you’re connecting via a website, social media or an email, selling a product or service, these principles can work for you.
Setting the Frame
In face-to-face pitching, this is the power struggle that happens at the start of any interaction - and you want to gain control.
In the content marketing world I interpret this as, don’t fight for attention - grab it!
If you know your Customer Personas inside and out, then you know that you’re talking to them in the language they use, and in the digital spaces they hang out in. Reaching out to people where they are is a way of securing attention. Don’t rely on organic reach on platforms like Facebook and Instagram - get smart with your targeted advertising.
Then, it’s all about great copy. Be confident in putting your messages out into the world: you are worth listening to.
Telling the Story
When it comes to content, remember to feed the crocodile brain - you know, that prehistoric “fight or flight” part of the brain that gets scared and confused by too much information.
Hit people with the most important information and keep it at that level. Yes, provide the detail they need, but structure your information in such a way that they can really understand what you’re offering after just the first line or two, or even if they skimmed through the subheadings.
Read Leanne’s tips on giving good copy if you’re keen to learn more on this point.
Revealing the Intrigue
This might seem to fight with my point above - about hitting people with the key message quickly and simply - but the two points are more aligned than you would think.
I think of this point in terms of how you structure information.
What is the funnel you would like to move people through to convert them to a sale?
At what point in your interaction do they get what bits of information? A teaser they can’t ignore in a Facebook ad campaign (where they sign up for a newsletter), then a slow drip of information through an email campaign (where they decide to give you a call), then a face-to-face conversation where they get the detail to make the final decision.
Revealing the intrigue is all about timing.
Offering the Prize
This is an idea that Klaff describes as “you don’t earn the money, the money earns you”. That is, creating exclusivity.
Exclusivity can be created in a number of ways - through your brand, your tone of voice, creating a feeling of scarcity through your copy, or even your price point.
Offering the prize does not mean throwing around discounts! For example, sometimes a higher price creates such a feeling of quality or exclusivity that it increases sales.
That being said, make sure you know your product or service’s other differentiating factors and don’t get fixated on price. As Klaff says, “Money simply transfers economic value from place to place so that people are able to work together.”
What else does your potential client or customer get from the purchase? Make sure they know what that is, and that they can’t live without it.
Nailing the Hookpoint
Now we’re cooking with gas: What is the key differentiating factor of your product or service that makes it irresistible?
When I worked in the commercial events industry, we’d speak of the implications of not attending the event. At first thought, not attending a big conference might just mean you don’t hear the latest information, or might not meet the big keynote speaker. But what if they had the key to solving your biggest issues? And what if you worked in road safety or in a hospital?
Suddenly, missing out on a big event could mean that people die.
This is clearly a very extreme example, but every purchase happens to relieve pain, whatever it may be. Identify the emotion in the painpoint and you have your hookpoint.
Getting a Decision
Particularly in email campaigns, this comes across through creating a sense of urgency or scarcity. You’ve seen the trigger words before: earlybird ends today, limited places, special edition. You’re using scarcity and urgency to build up the prize.
You may consider a ‘decision’ to be any action, not just a conversion to a sale. Particularly if you’re selling a service or have a long sales process, think of how you can keep people taking action to move them along the funnel.
At what point do they go from someone seeing your brand, to someone thinking about your brand? One way is by entering their email address to access an exclusive resource. What happens once you have their email address to keep them engaged? What’s the next action they can be encouraged to take?
So, what’s on your bookshelf?
This was something a little different for The Pinnacle, but I really enjoyed it. Would you like to know more about what we’re learning in Big Blue Digital? Let me know in the comments!