In this book summary of Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, you’ll find my notes, valuable lessons, and important action steps.
Pitch Anything Summary
People pitch from the smart part of the brain, but their ideas are received through the crocodile part of the brain that doesn’t care about complex ideas. The crocodile brain cares only about things that are dangerous, new, and interesting.
Your most important job when pitching is to get their attention and make sure your simple, concise message gets through to them. If that doesn’t happen, it’s game over no matter what you say.
Make the prospect chase you because of your skills, experience, or lack of time. Humans are naturally intrigued to things that don’t submit to them, so don’t submit, don’t be polite, and act like you don’t need the deal from them because there are plenty of other options.
Elevate your social and situational status to be the alpha of the conversation and convince the beta to follow your wishes. The way you do that is through controlling the frame.
The audience’s brain doesn’t have a long attention span. You need to be concise and quick. The way you pitch the big idea is:
- Introduce yourself and the big idea: 5 minutes.
- Explain the budget and secret sauce: 10 minutes.
- Offer the deal: 2 minutes.
- Stack frames for hot cognition: 3 minutes.
“Deciding you like something before you fully understand it—that’s a hot cognition.” The hot cognitions are intrigue (something the client wants but can’t have right now), prizing (positioning yourself as the most important part of the deal), time frame (adding a deadline reduces decision quality), and moral authority (clients prefer to get the evaluation they want since it’s happening regardless).
Use hot cognitions to persuade the clients that your deal is what they want by stacking these frames. If you master hot cognitions then you’ll be unstoppable.
A key to successful pitching: Never be needy! That’s the worst frame you can have in any deal.
Ways to not show you’re needy (weak) include: want nothing, focus only on things you do well, and announce your intention to leave the social encounter. Since people want what they can’t have, all three of these work like magic.
“Humor, fun, and lightheartedness are crucial components of every pitch.” Because this shows you’re so confident during the pitch you can joke around a little.
The best way to master frame control is through experience. Start small and then work your way up. Reading can’t give you as many lessons as trial and error.
Your pitch has to speak to your audience’s croc brain, which only cares about things that are new, interesting, or threatening. Keep it concise and simple to make sure you have their attention and your pitch is heard. Don’t talk complex ideas and numbers.
The most convincing thing you can do to win business is to act like you’re the prize and that you’re not at all needy to win the business. Most sales people do the opposite and chase the prospect. Instead make the prospect desire to work with you because of your expertise and uniqueness.
When you control the conversation frame and get your audience to only see your perspective, you can persuade them to make decisions in your favor. The way you do this is by using multiple frames to enforce your will over them—often without them knowing it happened.
Three Favorite Quotes
“As you share your story, there has to be some suspense to it because you are going to create intrigue in the telling of the story by telling only part of the story. That’s right, you break the analyst frame by capturing audience attention with a provocative story of something that happened to you, and then you keep their attention by not telling them how it ends until you are ready.”
“Every social interaction is a collision of frames, and the stronger frame always wins. Frame collisions are primal. They freeze out the neocortex and bring the crocodile brain in to make decisions and determine actions.”
“It doesn’t matter how well you argue, the way your points are crafted, or how elegant your flow and logic. If you do not have high status, you will not command the attention necessary to make your pitch heard. You will not persuade, and you will not easily get a deal done.”
Action Steps For You
While this is definitely a sales book, and sales reps should put this on their must-read list, this book applies to people in all walks of life.
Because everyone is in some type of sales whether they recognize it or not. That’s just a fact—unless you live by yourself in a cave then you’re not in sales, congrats.
For example, a student presenting a class project can use it to get an A.
A single woman struggling to find a husband can use it to get a ring by spring.
A lawyer can use it in his closing statement to persuade the jurors that his client is innocent and doesn’t deserve an unjust murder charge.
A politician can use it to win a debate and then an election.
And a business owner can use these principles to land a million dollar deal.
This book and its teachings on the brain is priceless knowledge that, if mastered, will get people behind you to go where you desire. That’s insanely powerful if you think about all of the applications.
I’m certainly glad I read it.
Order Pitch Anything
Or check out other book recommendations to become more successful.