Last week I participated in a “sales pitch off” for a chance to win $10,000. And the man himself, Grant Cardone, was amongst the panel of judges. Winning that money would have been transformational for my business and was an opportunity I could not pass up on multiple fronts:
- A controlled environment to learn from my self recognized salesman naiveté.
- To make a painful $10,000 mistake, to create a sense of urgency around learning to deliver an effective pitch.
- Guaranteed chance to receive first hand feedback sales marksman.
My dad told me that everything in the world comes down to business: sales and marketing. This was an opportunity to take my game to the next level win lose or draw. And I lost. And it was painful. The winner was graded at a C+. So it was entirely winnable. And if there’s anything worse than losing, its losing. Not the other person winning, but you losing. Having complete control and losing. But I digress…
With that painful loss, I began reflecting on everything I had learned. Perhaps yall are not as hard headed as I was. But in all the sales books I read, they did describe what was necessary to improve your skills as a salesman.
However, they did a terrible job of driving home the feeling and importance of certain aspects of the pitch, I thought emotion was a few fractions of an effective pitch. I left the loss with the impression that it was about 75% of an effective pitch.
And now, through my failures, you gon’ learn today.
Before the 3-day virtural boot camp, competitors were to submit a 3-minute pitch as our application. Coincidentally I had been struggling to directly communicate my service to potential customers. So this was a massive opportunity, as simple as a practice as it was. The instructions of an effective pitch breakdown were:
- 30 seconds: explain your name and what your service does
- 60 seconds: explaining where I plan to be over the next 12 months.
- 60 seconds: explaining my sales plan, marketing plan, and scaling plan.
- 30 seconds: making it emotional/peronsal
My first attempt was 7-minutes long.
About an hour later I was able to bring it down to 2:59 seconds. In the overall structure, I had all the important details communicated in the first 2-minutes. Leaving 60 seconds to make it personal. Today I know that having that much time to make it personal was crucial to getting into the finals.
What was learned
The “elevator pitch”.
Everyone needs to have one. It’s blatantly obvious how practicing infront of a camera would make you learn to describe what you bring to the table. At the time, recording myself wasn’t anywhere on my idea radar. But the massive improvement that occurred over that hour was a game changer that everyone can benefit from.
We are constantly selling: lets go to this place over that place, this bar over that bar, my house vesus their house, me for the promotion over that person— being able to clearly and concisely convey why someone should choose to invest their time in one option over the other is a must have skill.
Simply turn your phone on selfie mode and get to practice.
60 Second Pitch
I was selected as 1 of 8 finalists out of over 1,000 applicants to pitch live to a panel of Grant and his partners. Once the competition started, Grant threw a curveball at us: 60 seconds to deliver the pitch. Everyone was shook. The first girl gave her pitch—bombed (she ended up winning with a C+). And I raised my hand to go second.
In the heat of the moment, I had two choices: 1) pitch the dollars, or 2)pitch the emotions. I knew that either way they would have followup questions about the service. So I would have time to explain whatever I didn’t clock in the 60 seconds.
Them being businessmen, I chose to focus on the money. The logical side of the pitch. And a $10,000 mistake was made.
Selling is Emotional.
I can painfully confirm the need to make sales emotional. But what the hell does “emotional” mean?
Making it emotional is your ability to connect your solution to their desires and life experiences. Then, with confidence, convince them that you are the person that can either make their lives easier so they themselves can help others. Or that you are the person they can invest in that will help others.
These next four points are where the stereotype of salesmen being “con men”, aka confidence men, comes from. The difference between being an elite salesman and a con man is your integrity.
They are Buying You
- Do your research: Know what they care about. Not the topical stuff, but how they became who they are. Their family, mission statement; what they went through to achieve their life. You need to know what they care about. At his core Grant cares about two things: Working hard so that he could take care of his mom, and equipping people, especially his daughters, for success.
- Connect Emotionally: Those two parts of his life would have allowed me to deliver a game winning pitch. One key thing about his mom that he mentions in his youtube videos, is not being able to share his current success stories with his now deceased mother. Imagine if he could go back in time and put everything he knows, into his younger self. He would have had more time to share his successes with his mom. I want to give him the chance to make that possible for children through swimming.
- Be confident: This is a tricky one that I talked about before. Confidence isn’t tricking someone into being confident in you. Its projecting your confidence in your service, and your ability to deliver a result. If you believe in your service on the marketplace of solutions, and you believe in yourself to deliver results, you need to convey that.
This is where salesmen get their “negative” stereotype. A lot of salesmen wouldn’t use their own product. And people pick up on that subtle non-verbal communication. But if you truly believe in your service, people will pick up on your confidence and resonate with your honesty.
- Make a Big Claim: At the end of the day these are business men. And most of them are in it for the financial compensation. A billionaire may not be interested in 5% of $200,000 of potential revenue. But a bank might. Be honest and upfront about your ambitions to make money. And when you do, people listening should feel that you will back it up or die trying.
- Heart: Connect with their hearts
- Connect with them where they are at right now and where they want to be.
- Head: 3-5 Critical Steps with a story
- Show them your process for getting results
- Hands: Call to Action
- Clear on what I want them to do
- Heart: Memory Story
- Connect back, and convince why this matters
The most important piece of the sell is connecting emotionally. And selling is not an exchange of dollars. It’s the persuasion of an idea as the best solution for the problems. Closing is the logic that backs up your persuasion. But to get your foot in the door, its all about your ability to connect emotionally.
Like I said in the beginning, the winner graded out at a C+. Her service was something to do with protection from date rape drugs on college campuses through a phone app. In her review, all of the panel members had daughters that they want to protect. She won because wanting to keep their daughters safe resonated with them.
She made it personal.
But all was not lost, Grant did acknowledge me. A minor victory in the flames of defeat.
“You ooze confidence it radiates off of you. I thought you were going to blow us away.” Gotta put that on a t-shirt.
Below is my remixed pitch. That puts the pieces together.
Try to say no to that.