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Pitch Perfectly 101 – “How”

Saturday,Jun 28,2014

Right now, my fingers are tapping the keys at a lousy coffee shop a few blocks east of TImes Square. Why, you ask, am I sitting in a lousy coffee shop rather than a great one? This is Manhattan! Great coffee shops are everywhere! I am sitting here because I am not a New Yorker. If I were, I might have known to jump into the one down the street rather than this one. However, in my quest to land a great latte’, I walked through the door of this particular shop because their pitch was exactly what my heart needed to hear: “Best Coffee on 5th Ave.” “Best”…whatever! My latte tastes like someone stirred about a thimbleful of used Folger’s Crystals into a gallon of luke-warm milk, then added a pound of sugar. It’s aweful! BUT, they said they were the “Best coffee on 5th Ave,” and in a city like New York, on a street like 5’th Ave, that statement wrangled me right through their door along with a number of other map-holders. All the real New Yorkers are probably at the non-descript java closet down the street where a guy who only speaks French grinds the beans with his bare hands.
If I were to meet a guy at a Manhattan cocktail party and ask the timeless question: “So, what do you do,” and he were to respond “I provide the best coffee on 5th avenue,” I would immediately want to know more. His statement has wow-factor, impact, boldness and is very clear. If I enjoy coffee, I would want to know exactly where this guys shop is and put him to the test! When you are scripting your pitch, that first statement is everything. It is the headline to the news article about you and your job. It needs to be in 48-font and make your listener want to grab that paper off the stand and scour everything under that headline.
Some people are just lucky in their careers or in the products they sell. DJs, pilots, astronauts, Google employees, race car drivers…purveyors of European sports cars, Tiffany diamonds or Apple products…you get the idea. These people don’t need to think about this first statement for very long. All they have to do is state what they do. Everyone wants to know more. However, if you sell cleaning supplies, you are going to have to dig deeper. Most of us are not rodeo cowboys or FBI agents. We do not sell gourmet Belgian chocolates or rare art. Our jobs and products are caught up in the mainstream noise of everyday life that people are bombarded with constantly. You need to discover your own personal way of standing out. To do that, you must analyze what is exceptional about you and your pursuits. Tap into your real passion and wear it on your sleeve. In this culture of glazed eyes where people blot out most marketing attempts just to snuff the din within their own brains, true passion is rare. If you want to wake someone up, you must be uncommon. You have to show them your real feelings. You need wow-factor and it must be the first thing people hear once they ask the question “So, what do you do?” or when you tell people about what product you sell. That first statement should start a landslide of questions and interest flowing.
You do not “sell commercial cookware.” You provide cookware to gourmet kitchens that is designed to make the best food on Earth! (Instantly, people want to know how and why!)
You do not sell vacuums for Hoover. You sell the latest floorcare technology for the #1 vacuum company on the continent! (Really? Wow! Who is it that’s #1?)
You do not “sell insurance.” You specialize in helping people avoid the pitfalls of all the wrong decisions when buying insurance. (I want to know lots more! What pitfalls? Am I being taken advantage of with my current insurance?)
You do not “have a coffee shop.” You make the best coffee on 5th avenue in Manhattan! Apparently, even me, a man who has made his living creating million-dollar pitches, will walk right through your door!

Stay tuned for the next edition of this series, “The Problem.”

by Cory Bergeron
more at


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