I do these Toastmaster speeches at work. This one was on doing an effective corporate pitch – check it out! It involved some role playing.
My favorite way of blowing off the day is taking my 10 year old Son Davy to a Red’s Game. But I don’t go there to watch the game. I go there to watch Davy watch the game. He’s an ADHD auditory genius that chirps out the entire game (and everything else) in animated replay.
As he straddles over three chairs, you can hear him chirping out baseball…cold beer…anybody want cold beer, strike three you’re out, salty peanuts, anybody got change for a dollar. I never grow tired of watching him, he’s like a duracell battery that never runs out.
In a sense, Davy has already mastered the most important part of the corporate pitch. He has absorbed the passions of his key stake holders, understands his collaborators, and knows the lingo of his clientele.
So Madam Toaster Master, ladies and gentlemen, and distinguished get ready for the five finger corporate pitch (have a ball in hand and show the pitch).
Over the past 30 years, I’ve literally worked on 100’s of projects many requiring some type of pitch. My projects have ranged from educational DACUMs for Governor Jeb Bush, military contracts with Lockheed and McDonald Douglas, to ESRI maps for the Cherokee Indians in the foot hills of Tennessee. And during this time, I’ve learned five key principles that can make the difference between striking out and hitting a home run at your next corporate pitch.
Regardless of the size of your pitch, if you’re presenting with a team of 8 to a room full of high power executives or downtown at Joe’s Bar pitching an eCommerce site that sells more pretzels – these 5 principles will increase your odds of landing the deal. Learning them is easy. Well, as easy as your five fingers (hold up your hand).
Your thumb (the most important part of your hand) represents knowing your client, and the environment in which your project will unfold.
Your index finger… is socializing your idea. It always points outward never inward. Getting buy-in, and giving your client a story that they can sell to others.
Your middle finger stretches out the farthest and represent your passion and the passion of your key stake holders (reaching a consensus of passion is your goal). Emotion combined with a compelling argument creates an air of inevitability. It’s the grease that will punch your idea vi-rally into an organization.
Your ring finger represents the marriage of your idea to the company. It’s your prototype. What it’s going to look and feel like if implemented well… The return on investment (ROI).
Your little figure, though the smallest on your hand is the most important. Just like drinking a cup of tea, keep this digit out so everyone can see it. It’s closing the deal. Every good salesman knows that you must ask for your clients business. So ask! This keeps your presentation focused.
As opposed to going through a compendium of notes on what has and has not happened to me over the years when I did and did not apply these principles, let’s do a little impromptu role playing. Let me actually show you how I would do a presentation. So I need a volunteer.
Who is going to be my victim…Hmm…Vicki could you come up.
Role Playing (I will ask for Volunteers – you of course will be chosen):
Vicki is the president of a small company that sells specialty items that is bursting at the seams – she has 8 employees – and needs an eCommerce website, brand development, and is on the fence about using mobile.
My Cell Phone Buzzes
…I’m sorry I’ve got to take this. Hi Shelly …no I’m not busy. Yes, that’s great. I’ll pick him up at 4 today. See you then. Fantastic.
Sorry about that I typically don’t take calls during a presentation, but we are doing our first pet adoption today. And we are picking up the little puppy today.
You (feel free to ad-lib)
I do pet adoptions too, what kind of dog did you get.
A little Chihuahua…see here’s a picture of him on my cell phone.
He’s so cute but what’s wrong with his skin.
He’s got a rare skin condition, but I’ve created an automatic app that keeps track of when I should order his medicine. Oh look it’s time for my first order. Would you do the honors.
Sure…(then I give you the phone and I say just press right here)
Thanks Vicki you just saved my puppy’s skin.
That was easy.
That’s all there is too it and the medicine is on its way. No filling out messy forms.
I think it’s amazing that we both love pet adoptions. I’ve even designed our presentation (theme of) today around finding a specialty item a home.
If you like what we present today what I would like you to do is release the funds so I can get two of my designers working on this project over the next month.
I’ve heard enough…you’ve got the job.
Great we will get started on it right-away.
Though this example is a little contrived it illustrates all the points of the five finger corporate pitch.
Thumb and middle finger: In this case, I knew a little bit about Vicki, her love for animal adoption and since I was adopting as well I matched our passions in the theme of my presentation finding a specialty item a home.
If you’re hacker you call it social engineering. If you are professional ball player, or boxer you are watching past games or matches, looking for volubility or in road to your opponent (it worked for M.Ali it will work for you).
Pointing finger and ring finger: Vicki was on the fence about having a mobile website. This is a naysayer situation. The best solution is a prototype. I’m using what I call a planned epiphany. When I place the device in her hand the light comes on and she is now thinking wow – this is working for you and it’s was easy. It just might work for me. In addition, I’m socializing the idea. She can now take this story and sell it to her stock holders.
The pinky: Notice before I started my presentation I asked for her business. Most people don’t do this. They wait until the end. But if you are really bad at it, just get it out of the way, it keeps the meeting focused.
Finally, after Vicki accepted the deal, I stopped my presentation. Even if you have 19 slides to go. Just shut up! Wrapped it. If there are not other questions, you’ve got the green light. Go for it!
Thank you Vicki, everyone give her a round of applause.
Any pro base ball pitcher will tell you that a proper pitch starts with the grip. Your thumb ring finger and pinky (knowing the organization, prototyping, and closing the deal) keeps the ball in place. But if you want to grip the laces of the organization, socializing with passion (holding up index and middle finger) will evangelize your idea into the hearts of your clients.
On your next pitch don’t strike out, hit a home run by applying these five principles.
MD, LG, DG – the five finger corporate pitch.
MD, LG, DG – the five finger corporate pitch.