December 19, 2016
Joe Fairless

How to Form a Successful Pitch

There is a big problem in the real estate world and business world in general: a lot of people don’t know how to successfully pitch themselves to investors, clients, etc. John Livesay, who is an expert at helping people craft compelling messages to get customers and investors, realized the existence of this problem and started a podcast, co-founded a company, and wrote a book that was aimed at helping people overcome this deficiency. In our recent conversation, he explained the overall framework of a pitch and the main questions that it must answer in order to be successful.

Framework: The Pitch Ladder

John compares someone’s investment or business career to a ladder. Everyone starts out at the bottom of this ladder:

“At the bottom of the ladder, you’re invisible. It’s also like dating. You maybe see someone you’re attracted to and they don’t even know you exist. Same thing is true when you’re thinking about ‘oh, I would love to get that person to invest in my start-up or my building or whatever it is’ and they don’t even know you’re around.”

The next rung up is where you’re insignificant. “They see you and that’s maybe where you have something but you’re not prepared yet.”

Then, you move to the next rung – the interesting rung. Back to the dating analogy, “maybe you say something clever or witty and they go ‘hmm, I’m interested. I’m not going to go on a date with you yet, but I’m interested.’ So that’s really where you want to start think about in terms of business. What can [you] do to become at least interesting?’” Obviously, the goal is to transcend the first two rungs and become interesting as quickly as possible. (More on how to accomplish this later)

The next rung up is the intriguing rung. John has “literally sent pitches to people or had conversation with them and they say ‘I’m intrigued, tell me more,’ and that’s really what you want.”

At the top of the ladder, you’re irresistible. “This is where you have multiple people trying to give you money.”

Think of this ladder as the high level framework of how you will progress in your business. So, now the question is, what can I practically do in order to climb this ladder as quickly as possible, going from invisible to irresistible? Enter, the pitch.

How to Create the Best Ever Pitch

For someone who is on the lower rungs of the pitch ladder, when someone asks them, ‘what kind of business are you in?’ or ‘tell me about yourself?,’ they are unprepared. They just wing it. But, in order to be at least interesting, John says that you need to have a prepared pitch that answers at least these two questions:

  1. Who do I help
  2. What problem do I solve?

If someone where to ask John to tell them about himself, he would say, “I’m the pitch whisperer. I help people go from invisible to irresistible.” These two sentences provide just enough information to let others know who he is, who he helps, and what problem he solves, and if it is done right, they will be interested and ask for more. “You just tell them a little bit to get them intrigued.”

Another example response that John would say is “I help tech CEOs who are struggling with their investor pitch to become irresistible by getting them in the right room with the right pitch and they get their business funded, and when that happens everyone scores.”

Let’s break this down:

  • Who do you help? – “I help tech CEOs”
  • What’s their problem? – “Struggling with their investor pitch”
  • What’s the solution? – Helps them become “irresistible by getting them in the right room with the right sales pitch”
  • What’s the outcome? – “They get their business funded, and when that happens everyone scores”

This pitch not only addresses the two-main questions (who do I help? and what problem do I solve?), but it takes it to the next level by addressing the solution provided and the outcome of that solution. And John pulled it all together into a “short and concise way that’s memorable.”

Advice in Action: Using John’s pitch advice, create your own 90-second pitch and leave it in the comment section below! Make sure that, at the very least, it answers the two main questions (who do I help? and what problem do I solve?). And if you want to go from “interesting” to “intriguing” or “irresistible,” address the additional two questions as well.

Tomorrow, learn John’s top tips and techniques on the how to become a better storyteller and why storytelling is the best way to pull people into your business as opposed to pushing your message out with a standard sales pitch.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.
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