You are not Brad Pitt.

Why would celebrities make crappy corporate sales people?

Brad Pitt:  “Buy this awesome sauce!”

You:  “Can you sign my forehead?”


Pictured: Terrible sauce salesman

Ok.  I admit.  You’d probably buy a jar of sauce if Brad Pitt sold it.  But what if the jar of sauce required an investment of 10% of your monthly income?  This is often the case or larger for corporate purchases.

When the presenter is bigger than the message, you have a problem.  This is why people rarely remember talks given by celebrities.  They’re too busy basking in the celebrity’s celebrity.   It’s when the message is bigger than the presenter that it makes sense to use someone famous.  i.e. Al Gore and Climate Change or George Clooney and Tibet.   The celebrity draws the eyeballs and the message carries itself.

In sales, the afterglow of being around a celebrity wears off quickly, especially when the CFO sees the quote.

If you’re reading my blog, you’re probably not George Clooney.  So what makes you think you’re a star when you’re presenting at work, at church or during a fund raise?  You’re just the vehicle to deliver the message.

Before you utter the first word in a presentation, remind yourself who you are talking for.


“Good afternoon.  My name is Marco.   Thanks for being here.  Let me tell you about this sauce!  It’s awesome!”


“You’re here to see how this sauce is going to make you awesome.  Let’s start!”

Immediately the attention is off you and directly on the product, service or investment you’re pitching.  This is also the NUMBER 1 reason people are terrified of public speaking and generally suck at it.  It’s because they think it’s about them, and how they will be judged.  It’s not about you – at least not until you rock as hard as Billy Mays.


Ideal Response from Audience:

“Damn!  I had no idea sauce can make my life that awesome!

Unless you make a living as a public speaker, you DO NOT need to be remembered.  Your message must live on after the mike is cut.  If you’re pitching to a corporate client, your pitch needs to travel forward in time because the first guy to hear it is unlikely going to be the guy signing the cheque.  Your pitch needs to survive the transmission from gatekeeper to CFO/CEO, regardless of how many people it has to go through.  Simplicity absolutely rules.

So if all they remember is how eloquent you were, how well you were dressed or that great joke at the beginning, you’re finished.  You’ve outshone your message.  The only thing the audience needs to feel about you is:  I like her.  I can’t put my finger on it.  I just believe her.

How’s this achieved?

Audience research and practice.  And knowing how to ask the right questions.

This is where it all falls apart for most weak  presenters.  Asking if people have any questions is the most imbecile question of all.   Let’s chat about this in a later entry.

If you have a pitch today, do this: visualize your product on a platter. You’re the platter.



P.S.  In a few entries, we’ll discuss how you can win any job interview. There’s no magic, tactics or the need to read 1001 ways to answer HR questions.  It’s just another pitch…