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Lacking a class system America appears to have re-invented one based on status and Oren Klaff treats it at length in his book on pitching. The author pitches investments to the Great and The Good (and the self-Important) of the American financial system, attempting to out-master the Masters of the Universe in the interests of getting the deal. This kind of selling has its own special features but contains enough of a general nature to be of value to someone in other selling environments.

As is often the case with the American business advice book, Oren is mesmerised by the wonderfulness of the rich and successful (he likes status even though it gives him a problem) and has saved himself from financial disaster and raised himself up to vast wealth by the strength of his own method. He is, in short, a bit of a bore. However, he has some valuable lessons for us if we keep awake during the self-adulation.

His key point (in terms of what seems to take the most time) is his concern that we pitch from a higher status point than the audience for the pitch. He describes very well indeed the methods by which buyers aim to put the pitcher in a lower social position (keeping them waiting, hiding them on small chairs behind massive desks). His analysis of the Walmart Pitch Hell is very very good. Oren tries to suggest methods whereby you can grasp back control of the meeting by the imposition of "frames". Many readers will find these methods highly challenging though they are second nature to we rude boys. You really do have to believe they are lucky to see you, you have to be prepared to walk away from badly structured meeting aimed to crash your pitch. But beware, if you engage in an alpha male pitch battle you must be prepared for fireworks and you will lose lots of pitches. You will find the ones you win are of better quality. Your boss (for those of you unfortunate enough to have one) may take a different view.

Having battered your opponents into seeing you as someone to prize not to abuse Oren has lots of useful advice on the rest of your pitch based on a rather "interesting" analysis of evolutionary neuroscience. I will leave this to one side but key points like gripping the listener early and not holding him too long are certainly true whatever the reason. I learned these from the great presentation expert Lee Bowman of Kingstree. Your pitch must be less than 20 minutes, it must avoid the long technical description in favour of the fast explanation of the benefits, and you must be prepared for the audience to try to reframe the discussion (the little tinkers!).

There is a lot of value here even if you think you cannot quite bring yourself in engage in status combat.
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I read this book in one day. Couldn't put it down. It is engaging, fun to read and practical. I found it viscerally satisfying and fulfilling.

If you've been involved in copywriting, advertising, or selling, you're already familiar with the adage "first aim for the heart, then go for the mind" or "people buy for emotional reasons and then justify their purchase rationally". The interesting information bits that Oren shares from neuroscience about how the brain processes incoming information fit like beautiful pieces of a puzzle.

Oren begins by pointing out how when we prepare pitches we are creating them in neocortex, whereas the listener is first processing the message through his reptilian or, as the Oren calls it, croc brain. While neocortex processes complex information and is involved in problem solving, the croc brain deals with the basics of survival. It just wants to know whether what we are facing is good for us, or a threat to us - should we eat it or mate with it.

Oren then delves into frames. A frame is a perspective from which you look at the situation. As you change the way you look at something, different solutions become possible and when you communicate with others, different frames enable you to engage people in different ways, from different positions. Oren explores power frames, time frames, analysis frames, intrigue frames, and morality frames. You learn how to play with frames - how to create or bust them, how to deframe and reframe them, and how to collide and stack them. The more skilled you become with flipping frames, the better you are able to create conditions that are conducive to obtaining your desired outcomes. Near the end of the book, Oren gives suggestions for practicing frame games so that you can become a frame master.

After you've set the stage with frames, Oren shares ideas on controlling different elements of the pitch - how to create and maintain the attention of your listeners, how to elicit just the right balance between desire and tension to hold one's attention; how to change your situational status, and how to construct your pitch - from the point of introducing yourself and the big idea, explaining the budget and the secret sauce, offering the deal, and then stacking frames for hot cognition. He points out what to do to make it all easier on yourself and to get faster results.

Throughout the book, Oren illustrates the points he is making with many instructive and entertaining stories.

Oren uses the acronym STRONG to sum up his formula: setting the frame; telling the story; revealing the intrigue, offering the prize, getting a decision. As he guides you through each stages, he points out the most likely places where you may stumble or trip yourself, and tells you what to do to recover, so that you can create the perfect pitch.
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on 7 June 2014
The core ideas in this book are gold dust. There is some filler, but it's still worth it.

Like so many business books, it tries to "brand" the methods - for example "neurofinance" and "framing". If anything the use of this terminology detracts from the book a little.

But it's still a 5-star business read. One of the core strategies was put to use successfully within 2 days of reading it. Worth reading a few times probably - highly recommended for business people who want to do deals.
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on 15 December 2014
Don't make the mistake to believe that this book is only helpful if you need to pitch to some investors: life's a pitch, therefore this book tells you the recipe (without sounding guru's style-obnoxious) on how to maximise your chances to get your message across (close deals) and why most people fail. It is also useful in every social interactions, whether you need to create interest in something or defend yourself from egomaniacs.

Oren says in the book that he's spent over 10000 hrs in learning and moulding a system and, as you will read, it makes so much sense.

Should you direct your pitch to your listeners' emotive brain or to their analytical's?

How to catch their attention? The push-pull technique is art!

How should you close a pitch? (the chapter on Eradicating Neediness tells you exactly what to do).

220 pages of useful "directions" that will stick to your mind!
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on 31 March 2015
If you're like me and do telesales for a living, then this book is for you. My work involves bringing in new clients and my sales had begun to slow down a little. The book made me aware of the fact that I might be coming across as a little too desperate for sales. So I decided to use the principles outlined in the book. I asked one of my potential clients why we should be doing business with him. After a long pause (during which my heart was beating very fast because I thought I'd blown the deal!!!) he finally answered by saying he had the customers for our products. And this is how he became the chaser, and my product became the prize! It seemed that just by asking that simple question (with a humorous smile!), our roles were switched. This fact was validated further when I called him back a few days later and he seemed unhappy NOT to have received one of my emails. This is a big deal for me because most potential clients IGNORE my emails!

And just in case you're wondering...I got the sale! Does this book work? Yes it does!
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on 2 January 2015
Just when I thought things were going to get good, the book ended, "withdrawal" presumably to get me to go and purchase more.... book give the stages of a pitch, a case history and ends. Made good points but couldn't help thinking I'd been 'had" by the master. Borrow rather than buy!
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on 20 December 2012
Have you ever made a pitch or presentation that offered all the facts perfectly and countered every objection, but still fell flat after all your efforts? Investment banker Oren Klaff suggests that how you pitch is more important than how many pitches you throw. You can win your audience by knowing how the human brain reacts to new information and by learning how to control each interaction by using "frames." With Klaff's pitching method, you engage each listener's emotional "croc brain" and keep your audience members in a state of "hot cognition" until you win their business. getAbstract recommends Klaff's perceptive methods and illustrative stories to everyone who pitches and presents. You might have logical reasons to read this, but your emotional response is what will keep you interested.
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on 10 May 2014
Very informative on how to pitch ideas to stakeholders and all those who matter. Highly Recommended.If you are thinking of becoming an expert in getting just about anything you want, then read or better still study this book.
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on 10 April 2015
Interesting book....and some good tools to take away. Not sure how a British audience would take to some of Oren's methods but a very worthwhile read and useful for any individual or team pitching for business.
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on 12 October 2011
I bought this book following a recommendation by Ed Dale, a Australian Internet marketer . I really enjoyed it and there are a lot of great ideas to help shape your thinking Some of the recommended actions I felt needed to be taken with a pinch of salt but overall I'd say this is a valuable contribution to those looking to improve their business development skills.
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