I’m in the middle of reading the book Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff. It’s a great book!
Klaff has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in venture cap money during his career. Not surprisingly, he has honed his presentation skills into a science and in this book, he shares that science with his readers.
As someone who has read a TON of sales and selling skills books, this one is unlike anything I have read. Most selling skills books will cover the basics like AIDA, handling objections, asking for the sale, and so on. Yet Klaff handles the topic quite differently. I don’t want to give away a lot of his info (you should just buy his book and read it) but he covers a lot of helpful ideas that go quite beyond the scope of what you might normally read in a sales book.
I can’t help but read the book through the lens of a copywriter. (I do some copywriting work at CashMachineCOPYWRITER and at Real Estate Investing Copywriter. So copywriting as at the top of my mind and so much of Klaff’s book has valuable applications to copywriting.
One of my favorite chapters with the most obvious copywriting application is chapter 5. Again, I’m not going to give away much of Klaff’s secret sauce, except to say that he closes his pitches with a formula that can also work for copywriters. I’m summarizing a bit here and taking out words that might not make sense out of context (if you haven’t read chapters 1 through 4) but here is the formula Klaff suggests:
- Intrigue: Tantalize your audience with the beginning of a story, particularly about a person. You should place a person in a difficult situation and then raise the question about how they will extricate themselves from it… which will be revealed later in the pitch or the copy. In effective copywriting, this can be done throughout the copy and will help to rivet the reader’s attention.
- Prize: Instead of coming across needy and begging your audience to buy, take the opposite approach and become the prize. Be the pursued, not the pursuer. This is such a refreshing change of pace from a lot of copywriting that tries to go for a hard sell but ends up coming across as too needy.
- Time: This element of copywriting is already familiar (although not always well used) and Klaff says to set a time limit and stick to it. Unfortunately, many copywriters create false timeframes (“this page can be taken down at any time!”) and most buyers can see right through it.
- Moral authority: This is Klaff’s way of describing how the pitcher (or copywriter, in my case) needs to be positioned as the person with the highest amount of authority in the room. He uses the example of the President — someone with a lot of moral authority — becoming instantly subordinate to his doctor — someone whose moral authority supersedes even the President’s.
If you sell — whether face to face or on the phone or through copywriting (or in some other way), go get Oren Klaff’s book and read it for yourself. You can also read more from Klaff at his site (PitchAnything.com) or on Twitter (@PitchAnything).