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Posted: November 04, 2013

The perfect pitch

No, this isn’t about baseball or Anna Kendrick movies

David Sneed

By a certain quirk of the English language, ideas are most often ‘pitched.’  (I tried to bowl an idea once and slipped off the podium; sprained my wrist pretty bad.)

Life is all about having ideas—and getting others to buy into them. Sales and marketing are things we do daily whether it’s getting little Charlene to eat her spinach, asking the boss for a raise, or convincing a Greek general that a large wooden horse will be just the thing to bring down Troy. All three issues raise the same question: How do you get someone to see the benefit in your way of thinking?

Do you know how to pitch an idea?

A friend of mine works for a company that makes a certain part for medical machines, and he had the bright idea to start making the housing as well as the part itself. Prior to this, the medical device company always made the housing, and my friend’s company just screwed their doohickey into it. So to make his idea clear to the corporate board in Tokyo, he came up with a brilliant idea.

First, he set out on the conference table the headlight bulb from a ’72 Camaro and said “This is what we make now.”

Then he brought out the headlight for a 2012 Camry (you know, the one where you have to buy the plastic lens assembly – not just the bulb) and he said: “This is what we should be making.”

That was the pitch.

In 13 words, and with two props, he opened the eyes of everyone in the room whether or not they spoke English. They instantly understood the concept, and they started asking him about the numbers. He sold the idea in 15 seconds.

That’s the most perfect pitch I’ve ever heard of.

So you’re probably asking yourself: How do I learn to pitch ideas?

I’ll tell you what I did. I stumbled on a book for screenwriters who want to convince the studio moguls to read their screenplay. It’s eye-opening, easy and a great tutorial for both personal and business applications. It’s called The Perfect Pitch by Ken Rotcop, and you can find it here for $1.

There may be a few spots in it where you have to gloss over Hollywood gossip, but overall, it’s an interesting perspective on getting others to listen to you. It’s a book that helps you make the routine interesting and get to the point quickly.

I’m not hawking this guy’s book, but I will say that if you’re in sales (and you are) you could do worse than learning different and faster ways to pitch your ideas.

Enjoy.

David Sneed is the owner of Alpine Fence Company,and the author of" Everyone Has A Boss– The Two Hour Guide to Being the Most Valuable Employee at Any Company." As a Marine, father, employee and boss, David has learned how to help others succeed. He teaches the benefits of a strong work ethic to entry and mid-level employees. Contact him at  David@EveryoneHasABoss.com

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