Pitch Anything Review & Summary

One of the best books written on deal making in the 21st century. 

It’s simple, filled with relevant examples, and honestly entertaining. I’ve remembered more from this book (and his follow up Flip The Script) than any previous book I’ve read related to sales. Maybe except for Jordan Belfort and his Straight Line Persuasion Course. 

This post is going to be a review and summary of Owen Klaff’s book “Pitch Anything”. I’m going to give you a couple big ideas I found reading the book, and a high level summary. Obviously, I would recommend getting the book yourself and taking the time to read it (and take notes!!). 

Summary Of Pitch Anything

“There is a fundamental disconnect between the way we pitch anything and the way it is received by our audience. As a result, at the crucial moment, when it’s most important to be convincing, nine out of ten times we are not. Our most important messages have a surprisingly low chance of getting through. You need to understand why this disconnect occurs in order to overcome it, succeed, and profit. This book tells you how.”

That is a very high level summary of what Owen talks about within the book. He breaks down how to convince a person to believe you, when the stakes are the highest, and why the typical sales approach you’re using isn’t enough to get the job done. 

Crocodile Brain

Our brain has developed in 3 separate stages as we’ve evolved: 

  1. Croc Brain
  2. Midbrain
  3. Neocortex

First came the old brain, or the “croc brain”. It is responsible for filtering of all incoming stimuli and handles fight-or-flight responses, and produces strong emotional feelings. It’s not very good at thinking, and is primarily devoted to keeping the system running. 

Second, the midbrain. This is where social situations and social reasoning is handled. Think of it as the ability to be empathetic with your peers, along with knowing how to play games with them. 

Third, the neocortex. This is where problem solving happens. You use this part of the brain to solve complex issues and produce answers using reason and logic. 

This is where the disconnect happens…

Sales people and deal makers assume people think from their neocortex. That’s simply not the case. 

You’re probably thinking: “Yea, sure, people buy off of emotion. That’s easy enough, every sales leader teaches that.” 

I thought the same thing and you’re only partially right. 

Whenever someone is listening to your pitch, they’re not really “listening”. What they’re doing is assessing you with this thought: “Since this is not an emergency, how can I ignore this or spend the least amount of time possible on it?” This filtering mechanism is what causes people to ignore your complex deal. 

And, this is the point of Pitch Anything. You’re now going to learn how to navigate the complex set of rules each person goes through in complex deals. 

STRONG Framework

This will be the framework you’ll use when pitching any deal. Keep it in mind throughout your sales career. 

Set the frame

Tell the story

Reveal the intrigue

Offer the prize

Nail the hook point

Get the deal

The rest of the book details how to actually position yourself in any detail using the STRONG framework. Each part of the acronym has a section in the book with examples and further detail. That’s why I recommend you read, and re-read, this book. 

Major Ideas From Pitch Anything

  1. Your Frame Is The Most Important Part Of The Deal

When you own the frame you win the game. 

What is a frame?

It’s an instrument you use to package your power, authority, strength, information, and status. Basically a frame is how you view the world. 

When 2 people come into contact with each other, particularly in a business setting, they will have their frames collide. Eventually 1 frame will dominate the other, and in that interaction there will be an alpha and beta (and not in a triblistic meaning, but more there will be the person who owns the frame and the person who takes on that other individual’s frame). 

In the end, stronger frames will absorb weaker frames. 

Here’s a good example of how I used frame control to win a deal. 

I had a prospect who I had been in a deal cycle with. As a quick background, the product I was selling was on the higher end of the price spectrum, in fact 3x higher than my competitor. 

Now, the prospect on a closing call flat out told me: “Look, I like everything about your product and team, but here’s the deal, your competitor is offering it for well over 50% cheaper. You’ll have to meet me there if we’re going to do business.” 

If you’ve ever been in that situation it sucks. Before I read Pitch Anything my first reaction was to justify my price and then discount as much as I could to get close to my competitor. 

Instead, here’s what I said: “I hear you. I’ll never be the cheapest option. If you honestly believe my competitor can provide the same results and value for that price point, please choose them. It’s a good deal.” 

My heart was racing. I couldn’t believe I did that, and she was silent for nearly 5 full seconds. 

Her first words were: “I’m concerned about support. The last company I used left me in the dark and I had no support when I needed them. I need to know you can handle it.”

BOOM – deal done and delivered. 

The frame thing really works, and by maintaining my frame I stood my ground which got her attention and respect. 

That was a major lesson I took from this book and it’s now in my psyche forever. 

  1. Control The Attention

If you want to convince the “croc brain” to do a deal, you’ve got to have the attention.

Remember – the brain is a cognitive miser — it wants to exert as little energy as possible figuring out you and your idea. 

So what grabs attention? 

Novelty and tension will grab it more than anything else. 

If your stuff looks boring, has no visual stimulus, and just cold hard facts, you’re going to get ZERO attention. 

Here are a couple quick examples of how to grab attention via in sales:

  • A short product demo
  • A new idea
  • Good metaphors for complex subjects
  • Bright and moving objects
  • Tell the prospect your not a good fit (push/pull technique)

That’s the long and short of Pitch Anything. My summary hopefully convinced you why it would be a good idea to read it. 

If you have any questions, feel free to let me know!

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