The word Pitch has several meanings one of which is promotion by means of an argument and demonstration such as sales pitch or sales talk. Sales pitch is a message issued on behalf of some product or cause or idea or person or institution by packaging new ideas to grab and sustain the much needed attention.
Pitch, therefore, is an essential means of communication to sell something, your idea, your capability, your cause, your product or your service. Daniel H. Pink in his best selling book, To Sell Is Human describes about six pitches that can be used for gaining and sustaining attention to get your point across successfully.
1. The One-Word Pitch. In today’s times when attention spans are shrinking constantly the one-word pitch is your ultimate weapon to penetrate the prospect’s mind. Maurice Saatchi, the Cofounder of one of the world’s leading advertising agencies, Saatchi & Saatchi is credited with the creation of the one-word pitch. His logic was that the companies compete for global ownership of one word in the public mind. The one-word pitch, therefore, aims to define the one characteristic the company wants their brand to be associated with around the world, and then own it. That’s why they call it the one-word equity. When you hear the word search what comes to your mind? Google of course! One-word pitch may sound very simplistic. However, reducing your key selling points to that one single word demands discipline and forces clarity. Consider for example what President Barrack Obama did in his 2012 reelection campaign. He built his entire strategy around one word: Forward. That’s what a perfect one-word pitch can do for you.
2. The Question Pitch. Questions often pack a surprising punch. This is because when someone makes a statement you can receive it passively. When a question is asked you are rather compelled to respond, either aloud if the question is direct or silently if the question is rhetorical. Think, therefore, next time when you have a strong case to make to a new sales prospect or a prospective employer whether to make your pitch a question or a statement.
3. The Rhyming Pitch. Rhymes, says Daniel H. Pink in his book, boost what linguists and cognitive scientists call processing frequency, the ease with which our minds slice, dice, ad makes sense of stimuli. Rhymes can enhance reason. Moreover, pitches that rhyme are more sublime. Consider the murder trial of the former football star in the U.S. O.J. Simpson. The jury exonerated O.J. Simpson, who was accused of murdering his ex-wife and her friend and one of the reasons was the famous rhyming pitch made by his Lawyer, Johnnie L. Cochran: If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.
4. The Subject-Line Pitch. Subject-Lines are like headlines in an advertisement. In today’s internet era where emails have become more like a habitat than an application subject-lines have become very important in our lives which are inundated by endless emails fighting for our time and attention. However to grab and sustain attention subject-lines need to address three essential elements: utility, curiosity and specificity rather ultra-specificity.
5. The Twitter Pitch. The twitter-pitch is becoming rather omnipresent. It’s 140 character count puts a limit on loquaciousness. Consultants, universities, and recruiters are increasingly demanding a twitter pitch from the applicants besides their regular requirements. It’s increasing importance is understandable as it is quick, painless and to-the-point. It has become important in everyone’s persuasion kit.
6. The Pixar Pitch. Daniel Pink explains the origin of the Pixar pitch and how it can be created in his book To Sell is Human very succinctly. He says that Emma Coats, a former story artist at the Pixar studio, has cracked the Pixar code and created a template for a new kind of pitch. The code is based on the six Pixar films, which share the same narrative DNA, a deep structure of story telling that involves six sequential sentences: Once upon a time________, Everyday__________, Oneday___________, Because of that________________,Because____________, of____________that__________. Until_________________finally________________. Every story that you need to tell can be formatted into this template, which follows a logical sequence and a persuasive reasoning.
Daniel Pink’s advice on making a perfect pitch? There are three ways to learn and practice the six pitches: Practice, practice, practice. As you prepare and practice your pitch, choose the one most appropriate for the occasion and answer three questions: After someone hears your pitch,
1. What do you want them to know?
2. what do you want them to feel? and
3. what do you want them to do?
If you have got persuasive answers to these three questions, you’ve got an effective pitch.
Image credit: M.S.V.K. Prasad