Every pitch needs an enemy.

When I write about workplace pandering, I have someone in mind.  When I write about lame presenters, I have someone in mind.  When I write about general mediocrity, I have someone in mind.

Do I hate these people?  Of course not.  But at least for the duration of 500 to 800 words, I have to convince myself that I do.  Or else I won’t be able to create an emotional tie-in to my message.

Good ideas don’t get money because the enemy is not evil enough.

A high-flying broker from Dundee Wealth told me straight out, “We don’t touch private equity.  Something like 90% of private investment opportunities die before anybody sees any return.”  His sentiment is generally the same across the wealth management community.  So why do entrepreneurs still lay everything on the line and bust their ass even though the odds are largely against them raising any money?  Why do they live the ‘do-or-die’ life every day when they could just find a job?

Because they’re awesome.  Because they try knowing they might fail.  Because they try knowing others might laugh at themBut mainly because they try.

A guy who's failed here has learned more in 1 hour than a guy who's just finished a 4 year degree

For the folks out there pitching to get that next round of financing, or if you’re gearing up for your first, here is 1 immediate adjustment in your mindset that will absolutely make your pitch stand out against the guy who doesn’t adopt it.  (also works for job interviews and selling other stuff)

Develop a frothing hate for status quo.   Don’t pitch a damn thing unless you want to change the world.  Your enemy is the world without your idea.  I’ve heard far too many pitches to remember.  But almost all tell me how great their idea is.  So what?  There are lots of great ideas out there.  I need to know and be convinced that the world is an absolutely awful place without your idea.  If you remember nothing else, remember that Selling is Creating Contrast.  The contrast between a universe with your idea and a universe without it.  The greater the contrast, the easier the sell.  Without this contrast (need), you won’t have a market (demand).

Remember when you thought DVDs offered the best picture and sound? And suddenly BluRay came along and informed you that you’ve been living a farce; that you’ve been watching absolute junk quality all these years?  These were the same people who told you that DVDs were awesome just a few years ago.  The monster they had to slay was the satisfaction people had with their old products.  That’s every electronics manufacturer.

Remember when it was perfectly OK to be a normal sized teenager.  Then suddenly TV came along and informed you that you’ve been disgusting all these years and you need to fit into their sponsors’ zero-sized clothing to find a mate?  Any Abercrombie and Fitch ad is obviously representative of the average emotionally insecure teen.

“Everything in motion tends to stay in motion.  Everything at rest, tends to stay at rest.” – Sir Isaac Newton (Law of Inertia paraphrased)

The enemy is your buyer’s current state.  The state of being happy without your idea.  Your pitch needs to smash that delusion.  Advertisers have been doing this forever.  Your pitch is nothing more than an 8 minute infomercial.  It’s not enough to just have a strong business plan.  They need to be convinced that without your idea, the world is a crappier place.  The bigger the void, the more valuable the solution.  People resist being sold but they love to buy.  If crafted properly, the reason to buy should be instantly obviously.  Think of every powerful charity out there.

Write this down when you’re being the planning your next pitch (or even job interview):

“If she doesn’t buy this, she will lose _________”   People don’t necessarily believe what they will gain.  But they can plainly see what they would lose.

Telling people your idea is great is telling them to take a leap of faith.  Showing people that the world is terrible is telling them to look around and see the flaws.

Fortunuately for the world, your idea fixes those flaws.



P.S. For a totally ridiculous example, watch the video below.  I had no idea my blanket was so limiting.  I’ve been living a lie.  And apparently the 20 million who purchased one at $14.95 feel the same.