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Matthew Pollard has five multi-million-dollar business success stories under his name and is the founder of the Rapid Growth Coach. Matthew grew up with a disability and felt like he would never, ever fit in. Despite being extremely introverted at the time, he took a door-to-door sales opportunity and excelled in it by teaching himself the ropes through YouTube videos. Matthew’s story is nothing short of amazing and this is definitely an episode you won’t want to miss.
How To Pitch So Investors Say Yes – Interview with Matthew Pollard
Hi. Welcome to The Successful Pitch Podcast. I’m thrilled to say that today’s guest is Matthew Pollard, who is known as the Rapid Growth Guy. With five multi-million dollar business success stories to his name and the prestigious Young Achiever Award, Matthew’s been characterized as a true differentiation niche marketing and sales system powerhouse. He was honored with the induction into the International Sales Blogger Hall of Fame as well as named in Evan Carmichael’s report as the 43rd most retweeted business coach on Twitter.
Recently, he was a top ten finalist in the Top Sales World Magazine for the number one sales and marketing video. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s been nominated for Austin’s Change Maker Award. He’s a recurring guest on Fox 7’s Good Day Austin. He is also a sought after judge at many of America’s most startup events, including Google Startup Weekend, AngelHack and Microsoft’s 60 Seconds to Startup. He’s a pitch coach that has a ton of expertise to share with us. Without any further ado, welcome to the show, Matthew.
Mate, I’m impressed you got through all of that. I apologize. I should have cut some things down for you.
I stumbled a little bit, but I’m not trying to be perfect. I think that’s actually a big lesson for people, is just be yourself. Be authentic. You don’t have to be perfect. If you say a word wrong or stumble over something, don’t freak out. Just keep going.
100% right. What I find is people that go to all the effort of being absolutely perfect, don’t come across as authentic and come across as obviously, they’re trying too hard, which means if you spend six months preparing to be absolutely perfect for a pitch, what’s going to happen when you need to do things on the instant?
Before we dive into all your awards and all your multi-million business successes, can you take us back to where did you grow up and how did you decide you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
I didn’t actually decide it, it decided me. I guess the best way I can tell the story is that I grew up in a not a hugely poor area, but not a wealthy area at all. It was a little area just outside of a place called Meadows, which definitely not poor by a lot of standards, but where I grew up, it was considered poor. For me, I really struggled in everything. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I had a reading speed of a sixth grader in late high school. I just felt that the world wasn’t going to learn to love what I did and how I did anything because everything in school, I just struggled with.
Give us some context. You’re in Australia, going to school?
Correct. I was in Melbourne, Australia. I was just really struggling and there was some support there. Anyone that’s had a disability, and I had what’s called Irlen Syndrome, which is often misdiagnosed as dyslexia, which basically means you put a pair of glasses on and all of a sudden things start to work again, I just couldn’t read. Except for the fact that you have to start again. I got diagnosed when I was about sixteen and a half and from that point, I then started to learn to read but I had to start from scratch.
For anyone that comes from that far behind, and school was really hard for me, but it took me everything I had … I got into the top 20% of my state for educational school. But it took every piece of energy I had to do that. I just didn’t have it in me to go to University. My parents knew that I didn’t. I needed a break, and in my father’s words, I needed to work out what I wanted to be doing and what my passion was before I could go back to school and do that. Luckily enough, I did find that passion. I won the Young Achiever of the Year Award in 2007 and I then get invited back to do an MBA when I hadn’t done an undergraduate. I got to study and do my MBA without doing the undergraduate degree.
What I then did is I went to a real estate agency and the goal there was to really hide away for twelve months and relax and try and figure out what I wanted to do, but really, the goal was to hide away. Luckily, unluckily, depending on how you look at it, that real estate agency went bankrupt within just a few weeks of me working there and about a couple of weeks just before Christmas. America and Australia are slightly different when it comes to Christmas holiday, because it’s our summer as well. We tend to close down on the 20th of December and reopen somewhere between the 15th and the 20th of January.
Getting a job just before Christmas is virtually impossible to do. Here I was where I committed to my family that I was going to support myself and obviously they could have supported me but they would have struggled and that would have been completely my fault forever. I had to go and find a job quickly and the only job I could find was commission only sales. I was really introverted. The reading speed issue created a huge amount of lack of confidence within myself. I really took a long time to warm up to anyone. I struggled to talk to my own friends. Commission only sales, door-to-door, was the only job I could get. Outside of disappointing my family, that was what I had to do.
I went out door-to-door selling with no sales training, they gave us five days of product training, dropped us off and said, “Hey, good luck with that.” I went, “Okay.” The first day, I went to 93 doors. You have to see an image to know what this feels like, to walk down a street of stores that all look like places you’d never want to shop. But, that was the strip that I went down and I had to try make a sale. My 93rd door, I made my first sale, I remember walking out ecstatic, I’d made about $70. It just dawned on me that I had to do this every single day. That was horrible. I got told to get a real job, to get out, I got sworn at for 93 doors before somebody finally said yes to me.
What I then did is I decided to go home and work out a better way. What I did, I was dyslexic and I couldn’t exactly pick up a Zig Ziglar or a Brian Tracy book and read how to do it. I turned on YouTube and I watched YouTube videos and I trained myself how to sell. I first learned the steps of the sale and then I focused on one new step every single day for about a week and a half. Every day, I got slightly better, I got to the next stage, I got to speak to more people, then I got more people interested, then I learned how to close.
Over the space of about a week, I started to get comfortable. Within six weeks, I actually went from a person that had no business being there, definitely not a natural, which what most people say you have to be to be in sales, to the number one sales performer in the Southern Hemisphere. To cut a long story short, about twelve months later, I’ve been promoted seven times and I’ve been promoted to state manager, foreign state and then the head office state for the largest sales and marketing company in the Southern Hemisphere, which wasn’t bad.
Then I transitioned into my own business, which was a tiny little thing above a Subway restaurant that within twelve months I grew to a million dollar concern. Within three years, it turned over $4.2 million and was the largest independent broker firm B2B, business to business, cellphones in the country. Then, going to now, I’ve been responsible for five multi-million dollar success stories from telecommunications all the way through to high level education. I work with people and teach people all over the world and actually, next week, flying to Bangkok, to speak for Electrolux, at their conference, to help them understand rapid growth, and that’s all I do for a living now.
What a story. I love stories. I’m a big fan of being a storyteller to communicate your points. It’s one thing if you just said, “I’m persistent.” But, you didn’t say that. You painted a picture for us of what persistence looks like 93 doors later and with very little payoff and figuring out a better way. That you weren’t that kind of person that could just crack a book the night before a test and wing it and do well. You had to work harder than everybody else. That, in my mind, created the grit that’s necessary to become a successful entrepreneur if you’re willing to work harder than everybody else because you have to, not because you want to. That’s the secret to your success, in a way, I think.
Firstly, you’re 100% right about the stories. If we’re going to be talking about pitching anything, stories is your number one resource. A lot of people say they don’t have stories. They have stories everywhere. Think about yourself at a dinner party when you go out. Tell me you have never once told a story. It just doesn’t happen. Everybody tells stories. They just think when it comes to business, that’s not what they should be doing.
Secondly, the working hard thing, yeah, I did work really, really hard and a lot harder than anybody else would have. A lot of the naturals, their skillsets were based on their personality. They just have a fight with their girlfriend or boyfriend or husband or wife or mama or dad or friend, all of a sudden, they’re not selling today. My skillset was regardless of whether it was rain, hail, or storm, I did the exact same thing and it was fine.
When I had to learn to be a manager or a business owner, all of a sudden I needed new skills, so all of a sudden I went back to my old competency of search and discover the things that I need to know to make it possible. As soon as you do that, then you’re now fantastic at that and then you can go about doing it, and it’s much easier than everyone else. If you ask me, which one would I prefer, would I prefer to work hard for six weeks instead of the rest of my life, or twelve months instead the rest of my life, I choose the former. Most people don’t. Most people choose to work hard every single day, but still clock off at 6 o’clock.
What a fascinating perception. Is that how you came up with your tagline that you’re the Rapid Growth Guy, because you figure out how to do it faster so you don’t have to keep doing the same thing?
I think the Rapid Growth terminology came from a couple of places. Firstly, I’m a big believer on using technology so you can automate things and then move on. If you’ve got lots of automated functionality, then you can be much faster than most other people. If you’re intelligent about how you do that, then you can be much faster and much more effective than most people doing it manually. First, what is rapid growth? Rapid growth can be building up your business to a point where it needs to hire more sales staff, more development people, more everything, because now you’re becoming a bigger business, or it can just be increasing your rates. I’ve worked with, a lot of consultants, ghostwriters, all sorts of different businesses that don’t want to hire staff, they just want to work for themselves but they’re struggling to make ends meet.
I had a ghostwriter that I worked with back in 2014. He earns I think it was $12,000 by the time he called me and $27,000 the year before. Within two weeks of working with him, he’d made $40,000. Within seven weeks, he’d made $80,000. By the end of the year, he’d made $120,000. By the end of 2015, I think he was just shy of $250,000. That’s the difference. But, again, just him, he just increased his rates by using strategies to get busy and then strategies to put your prices up.
Rapid growth doesn’t come from being a great salesperson. That helps, but I’m a big believer of saying that if you start with sales, you’ve already lost. What you need to do is pull all of that back and say, “What is my unified message?” What is the thing that differentiates me from everybody else? Not like a branding person or an SEO person does, because what’s most important, especially for a person that’s just starting out is that that message is congruent with them. Because if it’s congruent with who they are, they will tell it to everybody, where if they find themselves being disingenuous, they won’t.
It’s about really crafting that unified message that draws their specific customer that rallies to what they talk about to them. The second step is really working out which niches of customers are they the most lucrative, they make the most money out of, and that sing their praises out to the world because they deliver so highly on them, and that they enjoy and love working with. Once you have all of that down, you then work out what technology you need, what networking events you need to go to, what podcasts you need to be on.
All the different things, the artifacts of the things that you need to create so that when you start to sell, your customer comes to you pre sold. Or when you go and sell to them, you really don’t have to try very hard and you don’t have to be that hard salesperson. That was never me. I just built a big enough value proposition and told enough stories that by the time we got to the point of talking about working together, I just assumed we were. I’d say, “Do you want a day course or a night course, or would you prefer to start in January or February?” I would use what’s called a double bind close and they generally respond well. If they didn’t respond well, you’d say, “No, I was just asking because there’s more information I need to give you based on whether or not you’re starting in the day or the night or whether you’re starting in January or February.”
Therefore, it’s really, really relaxed. You can’t not be a hardcore salesperson if you haven’t done your homework. Most people don’t know what their goals are, and if you don’t know what your goals are, how do you know where you’re heading. If you don’t know what your goals are, how do you know what’s congruent with you. I’ve got a podcast where I talk about … This is the Better Business Coach Podcast. One of the episodes is dedicated to talking about your goals and working out what they are. Once you have those, you can then work out what your unified message is. You were a member of one of the calls that I was on recently where I outlined a full five step process for really how to work out what that message is. Once you have that, then you can start building the stories around that that help you do an investment pitch or a new client pitch, or a publicity pitch.
I love what you said here. “If you start with sales, you’ve already lost.” We’re going to tweet that out from the show. That’s a great line. It’s memorable and it makes people think and go, “What?” Just to recap what you said, craft a message that’s congruent with who you are, figure out who your ideal customer is that’s going to sing your praises, and then figure out ways to market yourself using podcast and technology that spreads the word for you. Would that be a fair summary?
It definitely is, but I will make one point. Up until a few years ago, 100% of my business was outbound, and I was doing it wrong. I could have saved a lot of time and a lot of resources, and yeah, my businesses were successful. They just could have been much more successful if I focused on inbound traffic too. Now I also focus on inbound traffic, and I’ve been reported for turning my business 100% inbound within seven months. But that doesn’t mean I hide behind my laptop either.
I think a lot of people in today’s modern world, they want to live behind blogs, email addresses, and that’s their world. I still go to networking events. I still go out and publicly speak. I still do a lot of things out in the world. I think that’s why I’ve been nominated for that Change Maker Award, because I’m out in the world. No one would have given me that award if I didn’t go out and speak to people. The whole process is that you craft this message and then you outwardly focus. You use technology, you go to meet up groups.
But, please, if you’re a PR agent, don’t go to a PR agent meet up group. If you’re a business coach, don’t go to a business coach meet up and call that marketing. That’s you hanging out with your friends. You’re not going to find a person that needs PR from a PR agency meet up group. Go out and speak to different groups where your customers hang out. That’s really the real key focus is. Look, it’s up to you, but if we have time, I can go through a very simple process how you would start to really understand what your unified message is, because that’s vitally important when you’re going to start to craft a pitch, that people understand how to do that.
I would love to have you do that because I think it’s really valuable for our listeners, since you’re judging pitches, you can share what you look for that makes a unified message and then makes you say, “That’s a good pitch that I would fund or not.”
A unified message is really something that’s going to get people to hook. After this, what we can do is we can go through what I’m looking for in a pitch. Because, what I find is a lot of people want to get up in front of me and tell me all about the features of the product and why the product is so cool in the technology. I don’t care. We’ll talk about what I do want to hear because I want to hear stories, but there are specific types of stories in specific orders that I want to hear. But, let’s go through the five steps of creating that unified message. This is simple to do, no one ever does it.
I did this at the National Freelance Conference the other day. This is going back in November now. I had a room of 150 people. We did this as a workshop with me from the stage. More than 70, 80% of the room said that they’d never spent as much time on the marketing as they had with me in that room. The workshop was 45 minutes. These people, a lot of them have been in business for five years. How is that possible?
What I’ve learned is most people want to hide behind their functional skill, which is the skillset that they love to do and have had years of experience doing. It’s fine to do your functional skill. Go and work for somebody. If you want to earn a living running a business doing your functional skill, you have to spend time on other things too. Just like the bookkeeper and the accounting that you have to do, otherwise the tax man comes after you. With the marketing, the business cemetery comes after you. You just shut your business down. You have to market and sell, but make it easier for yourself. Have that unified message.
Here’s what we do. There’s a link that I crafted for you, which was MatthewPollard.com/Pitch, and if you go to that, it will give you a much better outline of what this is and as well as a bunch of other information about how to really craft that unified message, find your niche market, and find your sales system. That’s a specific link that I designed just for your listeners.
The basic process is write down a list, and all I want you to do is write down the names of the people that you get your absolute best results from. If you can’t think of who those people are, think about the people that give you referrals, think about the people that write you testimonials. Think about the people that keep increasing how many hours they spend with you or how much money they spend with you or how much they order from you. Those are the customers that sing your praises.
Now that you’ve got those names down, write down the names of all the people you make ridiculous money out of. People you make fantastic money out of and that every time they place an order, you know that it’s a profitable one. It’s not just cutting costs because you negotiated the price too much at the beginning. Write down the names of all those people.
Now, you’ve got two lists of names. You’re going to see similarities between certain names. What we want you to do is write them into groups. What we’re starting to design here is what we call customer segments. Basically what you’ve got is you had two lists of names, now you should have several groups. Now, what I want you to do now is I want you to pick up two colored pens. I always say red and blue, but it really doesn’t matter as long as they’re two different colored pens. Let’s pick up the blue pen now and I want you to circle all of the customer groups that sing you praises, give you massive numbers of referrals that you know just love to work with you.
Then pull out your red pen and circle all the ones you make fantastic money out of. What you’ll notice is some of these circles don’t overlap, but there’ll be a few or at least one where you’ve circled it with a blue and a red circle. This is what’s called your ideal customer segment. This is where you want to focus your time. Now, if you’ve got a couple, what I want you to do is look inside yourself and say, which one of these is more congruent with me? Which are the ones that make me jump out of bed and make me want to work? Because that’s the group. Don’t pick all three or five or ten or two. Pick the one that you love the most.
Now, a lot of people, at this point, will say, “Yeah, but there’s only two customers in there or one name. I only worked with one client.” I had a client in California who owned a language institute and she taught people how to speak Mandarin. When she did this, what we discovered was that there was two clients, only two that were in this customer group. These were people she taught Mandarin but she helped them with other things as well. She helped them understand the concept of galaxy, which is the Chinese form of rapport.
See, in China, they want to go out to dinner with you several times before they talk business. They probably want to see you drunk over karaoke to see what kind of person you are. They want to find all out about your family. Now, you think, from a sales perspective, imagine having several meetings before you even got to speak about your product. For an American, it’s ridiculously frustrating. We want to have one meeting and sign the deal. If not, maybe next week we’ll go back and sign it. We definitely don’t want to go back seven times.
As an American though, we go to China and we try and do this and we fail miserably, and we never get welcomed back. What happens is that this all derived from the fact that we don’t understand their concept of rapport. The reason why we don’t understand it is that in America, we’re signing 12 to 24 month contracts, where in China, they’re signing 50 to 100 year deals. That’s longer than some people’s lifetimes.
Whole different perspective.
They want to know who they’re getting into bed with. That’s the first thing. She also helped them understand the difference between eCommerce in the US and the eCommerce in China. The next thing she helped them understand was the absolute necessity for accent reduction training. See, Americans think they just need to learn Mandarin. They don’t think they need to learn how to reduce their accent. People in China don’t expect you to know and speak exactly like them. They do expect you to try, because in China, it’s all about respect. If you’re seen as disrespectful, you can’t do business with a person.
That’s why they’ll hand you a business card and you have to hold it, look at it, appreciate it, almost bow sometimes, put it in your card case, that’s right, a card case, and show that you’ve incredibly valued it. What do Americans and Australians do? We throw it in our pocket and keep on talking. She helped them understand these three things. She was worried that there was only two people. What I said to her is where there’s one, there’ll be many. You just need to get out there and find them.
Let’s go into the next step. What we then got Wendy to do is write down all of the things she did above and beyond for this customer or these two customers that were outside the scope of her functional skill. Because what she did was she taught people language. The next step was she wrote down all of these above and beyond things, that she helped people with galaxy, that she helped people with eCommerce, that she helped people with accent reduction and understanding the psychology of why that’s important.
Then, what the last step is is we then ask, “What is the higher level benefit of this?” See, for Wendy, the fact that she was teaching people language was only part of the puzzle, and for that, she was struggling to get $50 to $80 an hour. There’s so many people moving into California from other states or from China that were willing to cut their prices to the bone just to deliver the same service, and they were delivering it for $30 to $40 an hour. She was losing market share. For these people though, she didn’t just teach them language. She helped them become successful in China. She couldn’t see this, but by doing this exercise, all of a sudden when I said it to her, she’s like, “That’s right. That is what I do.” From that point, we then transferred her name into the China Success Coach, and she had the China Success Institute.
Oh, how great.
Then we networked to a bunch of, and this is going into niching, we went and spoke to a bunch of immigration agents. Immigration agents are those people you go to to get a visa to go and work in a foreign country. They’d make a couple of thousand dollars at the absolute most to go and do a visa, and then they’d have their time and their costs on top of that. She sold a program that was a $30,000, five week program, that worked with the executive, the spouse, and any children to be as successful as they possibly could when they get relocated to China. Why the spouse and the children? One, you can charge more when there’s more people.
But, secondly, if the spouse and the children are unhappy being relocated, they’re going to act out. The executives are going to be called home. The immigration agent got paid a $3,000 commission for any successful introduction. That was more money than they made off the immigration deal itself and there was no work requirement. Wendy is now ridiculously busy. She doesn’t do any of her own sales. Remember how I said if you start with sales, you’ve already lost? All she had to do was sell a few immigration agents on the idea, and now she’s fully inundated with clients, and not only is the immigration agent ecstatic, so are her clients, and she created the industry. Going back, it’s, what are all the higher level benefits that you deliver to the people that are within that blue and red circle? Then, last, what is the higher level benefit of that?
For Wendy, she delivered success in China. She became the China Success Coach. For me, I’m a business coach, I’m a marketing specialist, I’m a branding expert, I’m a sales strategist, I’m a sales systemization specialist, I’m an NLP coach. It’s so ridiculously confusing and everyone tries to tell everybody what they do. What’s the higher level benefit of that? I help people obtain rapid growth. It’s simple. There’s a lot of other things I do. Like NLP isn’t really about rapid growth, and business coaching is all about setting the foundations for rapid growth. But, if I try and explain all of that to a customer straightaway, then actually I’m going to lose the customer because there’s just too much. It’s taken me a lifetime to learn it. I can’t expect them to learn it in 30 minutes.
It reminds me of that phrase, “If you over teach, you overwhelm.”
Exactly right. There’s a sales term, “Keep it simple, stupid.” The reason why it’s so important is because once you get to work with them on something, you then can educate them while they’re paying you about all the things that you do above and beyond that. I work with clients for six hours. That’s all I do for my initial engagement. That is it. Because a lot of my clients, at that point, have all the tools they need to obtain rapid growth. If I identify that there’s a specific thing that I can help with outside the terms of rapid growth, then I suggest that we continue to work together.
Let me just quickly recap. I love what you said here, we’re going to tweet this out. “Don’t hide behind your functional skill,” and the third tweet’s going to be, “Where there’s one ideal customer, there will be many more.”
That’s exactly right because you think about it, I remember seeing in a sci-fi once that they discovered moss, which was like a form of life on a foreign planet. They said when there’s one form of life, there’ll be many more. The truth is that’s exactly the same. With the amount of people in this global economy, and remember now, we’re not trying to find customers just next door or within our specific city, or we don’t have to take horse and cart. We have the ability to be able to go and speak to everybody in the world now. I’m traveling all the way to Bangkok to speak for 90 minutes because they found me on an obscure website. All of these comes from the ability to be able to disseminate your information to the world. If there’s one customer per country, you’re still going to be a very busy person.
Let me just quickly recap for the listeners the five steps to a unified message. Number one, put a list of names together of the people that sing your praises. Number two, put a list together of people who you make the most money from, the profitability customer. Number 3, take two different colored pens, put them into different groups and to different customer segments, and figure out then which of those people make you the happiest to work with. Then the 4th step is figure out what higher level benefit you offer to those people, and take yourself out of just being a commodity. Then, there’s a 5th step that I’m missing, is that right?
In simple terms, it’s step one is write down a list of all the customers you get the most referrals and testimonials from, the people that love working with you, then write a list of all the people you make the most money out of. That’s step one. Step two is seeing the similarities within those and grouping them together into what we call customer segments.
Step three is grabbing out a red and blue pen and circling the ones in red that you make the most money out of, and in blue, the ones that you get the best referrals from and all the people that clearly love to work with you. Then, pick one of those that you congruently feel most comfortable working with. The one that you pick has to be the one that has a red and a blue circle around it.
That’s step 4.
That’s step three, still.
Step four is saying, “Now that I’ve picked that group, I need to write down all of the things outside my functional skill that I deliver above and beyond for these people.” Now, you’ve got a long list of things that you deliver above and beyond your functional skill. Step five is asking the question, “What is the higher level benefit of that?”
Terrific. Thanks for the clarification. Because there was so much great information there and my left brain wasn’t processing the numbers properly, but now I totally get it and you sent that great link. Let me just repeat that for the listeners, MatthewPollard.com/Pitch just for our listeners today. What great information.
One of the things I will make clear here, and because I think this is an important point. What I did was I talked about a five step framework, but did you notice how I used a story to explain the last three steps?
The reason for that is whenever you discuss a framework, people are either going to get it or they’re not. However, if you tell a story while explaining a framework, then even the ones that don’t get the framework know they want to know more. The story will engage both groups to say, “Okay, I understand the framework, the story, I want what Wendy has.
I want to be my version of the Chinese Success Coach.
Exactly right. Because of that, regardless of whether they’re going to come and work with me as a client or go to the MatthewPollard.com/Pitch link, either way, they’re going to know what that methodology is because they want, that because they want what Wendy got. That’s what the purpose is.
One of the things you said to Judy Robinett’s group, Crack the Funding Code, that I just love is that when you tell a story, nobody objects to the story because there’s nothing to object to. They also give you more time that you can also use stories to answer potential objections.
You can look at the fact that if we had gone through this five step strategy, we would have done it in maybe a minute and a half. With the story, it took ten minutes. But, nobody minded because they loved hearing the story of Wendy and then they wanted what Wendy had. The other thing that happens is it goes through the logical barrier. See, if I’m giving you a framework, you can decide whether or not you think that framework will apply to you, whether or not you think the framework will work, or whether you think I read a good book last night and I’m now telling you about it today.
If I tell you a story of Wendy, just like when I’m telling you the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, you have to take, as reality, that bears have beds, that bears eat porridge, otherwise the story doesn’t make sense. That’s why stories are so powerful. Look, I want to make sure that we give people the framework of doing this pitch, and that’s a great lead-in for it.
A lot of people talk about when they first get up and talk about why they’re introducing technology or why they’ve created technology, why they’ve got a great idea even if it’s just a bricks and mortar business. They get up and they start talking statistics or functions of what they offer. That is a huge mistake because that doesn’t get people in.
Instead, what I do with all pitches is I like to take a bit of a backward seat to this and say, “How does a person want to hear it?” People love stories, so why not do it with a story. What do stories have? Stories have chapters. Let’s look at what chapter one would be. Chapter one would be a story of a problem. You can make the problem sound global, but that’s going to be a real issue, because if a problem sounds global, am I identifying with any one individual? Like, there is world starvation out there. Can you fix world starvation? Probably not. Can you identify with global starvation? Definitely, you can’t.
But, what if I talked to you about the guy, John, that’s down on the corner of the freeway holding the sign that doesn’t look quite as healthy as he did last week? All of a sudden, we want to help this guy, John. When you’re talking about implementing a CRM system, you can talk about moving to a new one or doing an upgrade on an old one. You can talk about the fact that this one specific customer, their life was ruined, or they had this massive ordeal over six months and that’s why they’re giving us negative reviews and it’s our fault.
These are stories that people can get behind. If you’re speaking to a boss or if you’re speaking to an investor, both of these groups, if they can see that this specific person has a problem, they’re going to want to help that person. They’ll believe that it’s worth solving because they want to help John or Sarah, because that person deserves being helped. There’s still a financial element there. They need to know that they can make money out of this too, because they can’t just throw money, otherwise there’d be no world hunger, there’d be no world problems at all. We’d all just be helping everybody all the time. They need to know that they can make a financial return.
Step two, or chapter two, if you like, is taking that story of Sarah or that story of John and then saying, “But there are so many Johns out there in the world or there are so many Sarahs that are experiencing these problems with us and with our competitors that if we change our system to support Sarah and John, they’d come flocking to us.” Or if we created this system, all of a sudden, we’d have first mover advantage in a market that doesn’t quite exist just yet. Do you see the power of that?
I do. You paint a picture because people remember your stories, not your numbers. Then, once they understand the story of one person, you explain how many other people are having the same problem.
What then happens is a person then says, “Wow. There’s A, a reason I can brag to my friends at the golf course that I’m saving something for the social good.” Because let’s be specific here for a second, these days, venture capitalists have so many opportunities to invest in things, they may as well invest in something that serves the social good because then they’d feel good and make money. If you can hit both of those, then you’re going to obviously do so much better. What we do is we tell a story about a specific person that has a problem, then we talk about the global epidemic of the problem or the company wide epidemic or industry wide epidemic, however you’re going to talk about it.
Then chapter three is you then say, “Imagine if.” Imagine if the problem was sorted. What would the technology look like or what would the service look like or what would the retail space have to look like? What you’re doing here is you’re asking them to use their imagination. Now, the reason why we do this is if you then suggest the technology, again, they can decide whether or not they like the idea or not. But, they haven’t got anything to base it off, so it’s about do I like it or do I not like it? By saying, “Imagine if,” we’re actually incorporating a double bind into our pitch because they’re going to evaluate our idea that we’re about to present them to the idea that they’ve just come up with.
Now, what we then do is we then present our solution. We talk about the technology that we’ve created and how it would help Sarah or John. Bring it back to that one person. Now, the reason why this works so well is the venture capitalist will either have had a better idea than you, in which case, what are they doing? They’re thinking about your idea on how that’s a great foundation and how they’d love to bolt on all the things that they had in their mind. What they’re not thinking about is that your idea sucks. If they had an idea that wasn’t as good as yours, then all of a sudden, they’re ridiculously excited about your idea. Either way, they’re now thinking about how they invest in your product or service or your new creation, not whether or not they want to.
The technique shifts it to automatically getting them to be collaborating with you in their head.
Exactly right. What it does is it escapes the logical mind. We ask the imaginative brain to be engaged so the logical brain is switched off. Then we introduce our solution, the emotional brain looks at it, and the emotional brain says, “What I just came up with, this is almost that. Let’s make it happen.” All before the logical mind switches on.
Trust me when I say, there’s huge amounts of studies for this, that the logical mind and the emotional brain cannot work at the same time. That’s why when you go and speak to someone about their problem and they buy it, and then all of a sudden, tomorrow, they change their mind, it’s because their logical mind goes, “Hang on a sec, what the hell did you just do?” Now, that’s why there’s all these strategies about getting rid of post-sale dissonance. What we need to do, a good pitch captivates the emotional brain then gets the emotional brain going, “Let’s do this,” and then we need to introduce the logical reasons for why it’s still going to work.
Otherwise they’ll just say, “Oh, I want to think about it.” They’re scared to make a decisions just based on their gut.
What you’re going to find is at this stage, people will offer you money or talk about the fact that they are going to invest in you because they’re still emotionally engaged. But tomorrow, they’re going to call and say they changed their mind or they had a conversation with somebody and they decided. Because what happens is they tried to explain to a friend, a partner, or somebody else why and they didn’t do it the way you did it and there was no logical way of explaining it, and therefore, they’re going to call and say, “Sorry, but no.”
Now, chapter five is this time to really start to talk about the truth of everything else. You talk about the fact that you know exactly where the market is. If there are other people in the market already, you talk about that, but why you’ll place to take over that market. You talk about the risks involved, you talk about how you differentiate from the potential competition and what your advantages are. You come 100% clean, you talk about the entire logical business plan.
Engage them emotionally then back it up with logic so that they feel that you have covered all the bases and that they can go back to saying, “This still makes sense both emotionally and logically.”
Exactly. The emotional brain is engaged still at this point, but when they wake up tomorrow or they try and explain it to someone, they will have all the information to answer. You’ve basically just given them the objection handling list for anyone that says, “What are you doing?”
Exactly right. Chapter six is you then transition into the ask. You talk about what it’s going to cost or what you need. Then you transition straight into chapter seven, which is the opportunity, how much money can potentially be made, the team, and why your team is the most equipped to take this idea forward.
Nice. Wow, you’ve given us so much. You’ve given us these great five steps through a unified message, which can be found at MatthewPollard.com/Pitch. Now we have seven amazing chapters on how to make our pitch not just concise, but compelling and overcome any objections that people might have after they say yes, which is fantastic information. Thank you so much, Matthew. You’ve been an incredible value resource. I see why you’re getting booked all over the world to speak. How can people follow you in social media, hire you to be a speaker, anything else you want to share with us?
Definitely. Obviously, if you type my name, Matthew Pollard, into Google, you’ll find I take up most of the page anyway. You’ll be able to find me there. But, you can find me at, my Twitter handle is @MatthewPollard_. My LinkedIn is just MatthewPollardSpeaker, and you’ll find me at MatthewPollardSpeaker on Facebook as well. Check out my website. It’s MatthewPollard.com. One of the other great things you’ll see there if you go to the start here link is I list down underneath how to pitch to investors there, what the top three pitching mistakes are as well, and I talk about how to not write a deck.
Those things are really, really handy because a lot of times, people do everything right but then they put out a clanger. I’m not sure if that translates into American. They make a really big mistake and the whole pitch goes south. Getting in front of the right venture capitalist happens few and far between. When I suggest to people, really, really practice and have it honed like I did. Spend the six weeks so that then you don’t have to work so hard after that. You need to eradicate those pitching mistakes before you start.
Fantastic. It’s been a pleasure having you on the show. I can’t thank you enough, and we look forward to checking out all your links and all your great insights and listening to your podcast, the Better Business Coach.
Not a problem. It was an absolute pleasure to be here.
Terrific. Thanks for listening. Goodbye for now.
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