Pitch Anything By Oren Klaff

Pitch Anything

By: Oren Klaff

ISBN: 978-0-07175285-5
READ: December 2016
RATING: 8.5/10

Summary: Though his braggadocious style may be off-putting to some, this book was a great read for me. Klaff explains his method of pitching very clearly and methodically. Though some of his methods don't translate to my context the principles were easy to uncover and apply to my work. Some highlights were his thoughts on eliminating affirmation seeking behaviors, the impact of the croc mind, and controlling the frame. I've found this book very helpful on many levels.

Chapters: 1. The Method 2. Frame Control 3. Status 4. Pitching Your Big Idea 5. Frame Stacking and Hot Cognitions 6. Eradicating Neediness 7. Case Study: The Airport Deal 8. Get in the Game

Pitching is a skill. –pg. 2

To deliver great pitches, be STRONG:

S – Set the Frame

T – Tell the Story

R – Reveal the Intrigue

O – Offer the Prize

N – Nail the Hook point

G – Get the Deal

We must pitch to the Croc Brain (and ALL croc brains are the same)

            -If the info isn’t a threat (boring), it can be ignored.

            -If it’s not an immediate threat to survival, it can be ignored.

                        -If it is dangerous: fight/flight

            -If it’s too complex, it will be summarized quickly and moved on.

The Croc Brain needs high contrast and well differentiated options. It wants something intriguing and new.

There is a disconnect between the message and the receiver. We cannot pitch to the neo-cortex.

            -Neo cortex deals with language, higher reasoning, etc.

Rules of Engagement

1.     Did I get through?

2.     Was my message well received?

Set the Frame

*Frames collide and seek dominance. The stronger absorbs the weaker. Pg. 22

1. Everyone uses a frame. They may/may not know it.

2. Every social interaction brings them together.

3. Frames don’t coexist together for long. They crash and one gains control.

4. Only ONE frame survives. The stronger one absorbs the weaker one.

5. The winning frame gains control of the social interaction. Pg. 24

Pg. 27 – If you have to explain your authority, power, position, leverage, advantage, etc. You do not hold the stronger frame.

Pg. 49 – When you are reacting to the other person, that person owns the frame. When the other person is reacting to what you do and say, you own the frame.

Pg. 28 Strong frames activate basic desires.

Pg. 45 Plowing – Term used when you’re staying composed and sticking to your frame. Move forward, don’t stop, don’t doubt.

Frames You’ll Encounter:

1.     Power Frame

2.     Time Frame

3.     Analyst Frame

Four Frames to Use:

1.     Power Frame

2.     Time Frame

3.     Intrigue Frame

4.     Prize Frame

The Power Frame: Pg. 30-36

Profile of a person who uses it: Big ego, self-important, inconsiderate, lack self-awareness.

How to identify: Rudeness, arrogance, lack of interest, etc.

How to Disrupt: Don’t react! Don’t defer or be subservient.

                        DO use small denials/defiance and light humor. (keep it fun while denying)

Why it works: Engages his basic desires. He’s pleasantly challenged and knows he’s in the presence of a pro.

            -Proper handling communicates, this is my meeting, my agenda, my timeline.

The Prize Frame: Pg. 37-48, 62-66

Situation: Go to meeting, Mr. Big doesn’t show / will be 30 minutes late. He says start without him.

            Two Options: 1. Start without him. You’ve lost the frame and are being given very low status.

                                  2. Stop everything! Reframe using power, time, or prize frame. Regain status and frame.

-Stop everything because no one can give your pitch like you can. Mr. Big must hear it from you!

How to Disrupt? Say something like, “Ok. I can give you 15 minutes to get organized, but if we can’t start by then, then let’s just call it a day.”

Be ready for someone to implore you start and they can brief Mr. Big. Your reply, “I can wait for him for 15 minutes, then I’ll have to leave.”

            -If he doesn’t show, DO NOT leave brochures, handouts, etc, and DO NOT apologize!

Your time has been wasted. If they want to reschedule, make sure it’s on your turf (place of your choosing). They must come to you!


Who is chasing whom is one of the underlying social dynamics that influences most meetings. When prizing well the client chases you.

3 Croc Brain Realities

1.     People chase that which moves away from them.

2.     We want what we can’t have.

3.     We only place value on things that are difficult to obtain.

You are the prize. Your behavior communicates that you can find plenty of other prospects, but there’s only one you. You are not needy.

Prizing 101

1.     Make the buyer qualify himself back to you. “Since I raise my own support, I can be selective about who I work with. Tell me what do people generally like about working with you?”

2.     Protect your status. Control the frame, don’t follow.

Prizing 201: Avoid This Prizing Mistake:

1.     Don’t use trial closes. Examples include, “Are we in the ballpark?” “What do you think so far?” Etc.

a.     Instead, withdraw. “So you can see why my schedule is so full already.” “So you can see why I have no trouble finding churches to work with.”

b.     Make the potential perform a task to further qualify themselves.

c.     Change your attitude. You are the prize, not the money or the work. Nothing happens without you.

-Shows them that they must also be worthy of your services. This changes everything!

Analyst Frame: pg. 44, 52-54

How to identify: Relies on facts, figures, and logic. Prospect is trying to dig down deep into minute details. Problem solving, calculations, statistics, etc. (cold cognition centered in the neo-cortext). You are not in the croc brain!

Seeks to filter your deal like this:

1.     Focuses only on hard facts

2.     Says that aesthetic or creative features have no value.

3.     Requires everything be supported by a number or statistic

4.     Hold that ideas and relationships have no real value.

            -There’s a time for this, but it’s not during your pitch.

            -Humans can’t have both hot (feelings, desire, instinct) and cold (analysis & problem solving) cognition simultaneously.

How to Handle: Separate the technical & detailed information in your pitch. Then respond with summary data you’ve prepared for this purpose. Answer fast and directly, then go back to relationship question (would this be a good fit for us to work together). Example: Tell them facts…”These and other facts you can verify later, but right now, what we need to focus on is this: Are we a good fit? Should we be doing business together? This is what I came here to work on.”

How to Disrupt: Intrigue Frame, Moral Authority Frame

            Intrigue Frame: pg. 55-61 Most powerful frame at your disposal because it hijacks higher cognitive function and arouses the croc brain. Cognitive and narrative information doesn’t co-exist in the human brain.

            Use by telling them a brief, but relevant story that involves you. You should be the active subject in the story. Your personal sharing will cause people to focus their attention.

            Your story must have some suspense because to create intrigue you’re only going to tell part of the story…until you’re ready to reveal the end.

Intrigue Story should contain:

1.     Must be brief and subject matter related to your pitch.

2.     You need to be at the center of the story

3.     There should be risk, danger, and uncertainty

4.     Should be time pressure- a clock ticking somewhere with consequences if action isn’t taken quickly.

5.     Should be tension. You’re trying to do something, but are blocked by force.

6.     Should be serious consequences –Failure won’t be pretty.

Why it works: Nudges them out of analytical thinking. Delving down into details helps people “solve the puzzle”. When the puzzle is solved, then the croc brain disengages. People want new, novel, and intriguing.

How to use it: Begin with “This reminds me of when…” Story without riveting conclusion. Back to pitch with, “Anyway…” (at the end of pitch complete the narrative arc).

The Time Frame: pg. 49-51

How to identify: Attention begins to wane. Or they set the time terms of your meeting.

            Example: I only have about 10 minutes to meet with you today, but come on in.

            Respond: No, I don’t work like that. If you are able to do 30 minutes then I could do it now or come back next Wednesday (set specific day).

How to Disrupt: Use the prize frame.

Easy to defeat by simply ending your pitch. Don’t wait for someone to say it’s time to wrap up/time is up. In other situation, just don’t agree to a small timeframe.

Why it works: They continue to react to you. Running long or beyond point of attention shows weakness, neediness, and desperation.

            In other situation, when you disagree you establish that your time is valuable and you are the prize!

Status: Pg. 69-94

-Every interaction is affected by a pecking order. Low status makes it more difficult to control the frame.


-Your social status is the platform from which you must pitch.

-Status can be created based on the situation with helpful techniques. This is known as situational status.

            -An example is when a surgeon takes a golf lesson. The golf pro holds the higher status in the lesson, but a lower status in society.

-If you wish to elevate your status you can do it by getting people into your domain.

When meeting on another’s turf:

1.     Arrive on time. Being late you give away power.

2.     Create high status immediately by choosing a frame and forcing a collision at an opportune moment.

3.     Avoid social rituals that reinforce the status of others. Idle banter diminishes your status.

4.     Have fun. Be popular. Enjoy your work.

Pitching Your Big Idea: pg. 95-128

The set-up:

1.     Target must feel at ease.

a.     So, tell them how long they’ll be stuck listening to you! “I’ve got 20 minutes for my big idea, then we’ll have time to talk it over before I need to leave.”

2.     Pitch should be about 20 minutes or less.

The Phases: (96-97)

1.     Introduce self & Big idea -5 minutes

2.     Explain the “secret sauce” -10 minutes

3.     Make the offer -2 minutes

4.     Stack frames for hot cognition -3 minutes

Phase 1 –Introduction and big idea. (98-104)

1. Start with your track record of successes. Be brief, time and attention are scarce.

            -One GREAT thing is better than 2-3 pretty good things.

2. Next, show your idea is a true fit in view of what’s going on in the world/industry.

3. Paint picture of idea moving out of old market and into a new one.

4. Bring idea into play using idea introduction pattern.

Why Now Frame –Vitally important to let client know your idea is new, addresses the current reality, and that you have more know how on this than anyone else!

            Frame with 3 market forces:

A.    Economic Forces –What’s changed in the market?

B.    Social Forces –What’s changed in people’s behavior?

C.    Technological Forces –What’s changed in technology?

Three major forces are creating change!

The Big Idea (105-109)

Idea Introduction Pattern:

1.     For [Target Customers]

2.     Who are dissatisfied with [current offerings in the market]

3.     My idea/product is a [new idea or product category]

4.     That provides [key problem/solution features]

5.     Unlike [product you’re contrasting]

6.     My idea/product is [describe key features]

Phase 2 –Explain Budget & Secret Sauce (109-122)

-Tune message to mind of target, don’t over simplify.

-Stay out of the neocortex, provide detail in the context of human relationships.

-Get their attention. Attention is given when the information is new, and take away when it’s low.

-To hold your clients attention, there must be tension –a form of low-level conflict –guiding the interaction.

-To control attention use desire and tension.

            -Increase desire by offering a reward or bringing something new (or violating the target’s expectations in a pleasing way). This can drive curiosity that comes from an information gap, the difference between what you know and what you want to know.

            -Increase tension by taking something away. Consequences to the encounter, something can be gained or lost. Push the target away and pull him back.

                        -Low Intensity Push-Pull:

                                    Push: There’s a real possibility that this might not be a good fit. (pause)

                                    Pull: But then again, if it did work out, it could really be something great.

                        -Medium Intensity Push-Pull:

                                    Push: There’s so much more to this than just agreeing it could work….I’ve learned that ideas are a dime a dozen. What really counts is having someone in charge who has the passion and experience and integrity. So if you and I don’t have that view in common, it would never work between us. (PAUSE)

                                    Pull: But obviously you value people over ideas. I’ve met corporate robots before that only care about numbers—and you are definitely not one of those.

                        -High Intensity Push-Pull:

                                    Push: Based on a couple reactions I’m getting from you-it seems like this isn’t a good fit. I think that you should only do deals where there is trust and deals you really believe will work. So let’s just wrap this up for now and agree to get together on the next one. (PAUSE)

                                    Pull: Wait for response. Start packing up your stuff. Be willing to leave if the target doesn’t stop you.

The Heart of the Pitch (123-127)

  -Once you have the foundation of desire and tension, you’re ready to deliver the heart of your pitch.

            -Must remember that what’s going on in your heart isn’t what’s going on in your target’s heart. So package information for croc brain: high contrast, big picture, novel, visual, and with verified evidence.

What A pitch MUST have:

1.     Numbers and budgeting – Focus on demonstrating your skill at budgeting, which is difficult and highly regarded executive talent.

2.     Competition –Who else is in your field? How do you distinguish what you have with what they can find in other places?

3.     Secret Sauce –The unfair advantage you have over others…What will give you staying power over the others?

-This phase of the pitch should last NO LONGER than 10 minutes. You still need the last 5 minutes to offer the deal and stack the frames.

Offer the Deal (127-128)

-Describe for the client what they are going to receive when they decide to do business with you. Get through this swiftly so you can get into frame stacking.

            -Tell them exactly what you’ll be delivering, when it will be delivered, and how.

            -If they have a part to play, also talk about what will be expected of them.

            *Stay out of deep detail, but summarize the facts.

            **Remember the most important deliverable in the deal is YOU.

Frame Stacking & Hot Cognitions: (129-133)

Final 5 minutes of the pitch.

-Hot Cognition in Action –When the target decides he likes you and the deal BEFORE he really understands it.

            -Most people let their gut lead their minds in decision making. People like or dislike things well before we know much about them.

We want to spark and nurture hot cognition in our pitch. To avoid the cold analysis we create hot cognition by frame stacking.

How to Stack Frames: (133-156)

Sample Stack: intrigue frame, prize frame, time frame, and moral authority frame.

Intrigue “guys before we spend our last few minutes on financial details, let’s first decide _________. Story about blank (must be from your experience) Revisit Intrigue Frame description for more detail.

            “The targets have given you their time because they want to visit a new world to learn about new things and interesting ideas and become involved in the lives of unique, interesting, and talented people.”

            -Show in the intrigue story that you have faced obstacles and overcome them. Show them how you conduct yourself.

Allow human narratives to do your explaining for you. A narrative that feels correct will convey a strong sense of truth and accuracy.

Narrative Pattern for Intrigue Story: Put a man in the jungle, have beasts attack him, will he get to safety?

            -Hold the man just short of safety for as long as you want to use the intrigue frame! Get the mane to the edge of the jungle, but don’t get him out of it.

            -It’s not what happens to you that makes the narrative interesting, but how you handle the situations that you’re in.

Frame #2 Prize Frame:

-Position yourself as the most important party in the deal. Successful prizing flips the frame and results in the target chasing you, trying to win your attention.

Basic Elements of the Prize Frame:

1.     I have one of the better deals on the market

2.     I am choosy about who I work with

3.     It seems like I could work with you, but really, I need to know more.

4.     Please start giving me some materials on yourself.

5.     I still need to figure out if we would work well together and be good partners

6.     What did your last business partners say about you?

7.     When things go sideways in a deal, how do you handle it?

8.     My existing partners are choosy.

-Prize frame is a hot cognition that triggers the croc brain and shows that you are strong, but not needy. You will not pander or supplicate to get a deal.

Frame #3 – Time Frame

 Place a time frame on the decision or the next step in the process.

            -Too much time pressure and it diminishes your trustworthiness, too little it moves them toward cold cognition and positions you as weak. It also positions your offering as plentiful. Time scarcity introduces the idea that they could miss out.

Frame #4 –Moral Authority Frame

 -Essentially, frame the critical need as the need that can’t be ignored. Create wanting in a way that can’t be explained away. Strip away the conventional ways of seeing things and replace it with something founded on a deeper/more noble basis of authority.

Chapter 6 –Eradicating Neediness

-Validation seeking behavior (neediness) is the number one deal killer.

            -Neediness triggers fear and uncertainty, causing the target’s croc brain to take over, but NOT in a good way.

                        -Neediness is a signal of threat and rooted in fear. It results in avoidance.

How do we fall into Neediness?

1.     When we want something that only the target can give us (money, job, validation of our self, etc.)

2.     When we need cooperation or attention from someone and they aren’t giving it to us.

3.     When we believe our target can make us happy/feel good by accepting the pitch.

4.     Triggered when client seems uninterested in our pitch or us and begins to withdraw.

How to Counteract?

Go in with astrong frame of mind.


1. Want nothing.

2. Focus only on things you do well

3. Announce your intention to leave the social encounter

            -The willingness to withdraw demonstrates self-confidence, strength, and confidence that most will admire.

Chapter 7 – Case Study, The Airport Deal

Another way to put it:

1.     Eliminate your desires. Let things come to you.

2.     Be excellent in the presence of others.

3.     Withdraw.                   

Pre-Pitch Thoughts:

1.     Get the tone right, frame myself as the alpha, seize status, and hit their hot buttons.

2.     Deploy a big idea that is human and captures the theme of “building a legacy”.

3.     Keep it captivating with visuals that resonate.

4.     Create hot cognitions. Make them want the idea before they even know the details.

Chapter 8 – Get in the Game

-Frame control is about controlling which angle your deal is seen from. Pg. 209

-Use humor. But it’s not used to relieve tension. It’s used to show your confidence. People who have lots of options aren’t uptight and they don’t take themselves too seriously. –pg. 211

To Learn Frames:

-Frame based social dynamics is strong medicine. You are simultaneously communicating with them on the surface and below the surface of their consciousness. –pg. 213

How to Learn:

1.     Learn to recognize beta traps. Beta traps are anything that’s designed to control your behavior. Once you see them think about how you’d step around them.

2.     Gradually start stepping around beta traps. It will feel uncomfortable at first, but have fun with it to succeed.

3.     Identify and label social frames. Develop your ability to see them, describe them, then discuss them with partner.

4.     Initiate frame collision with safe targets. Humor and soft touch are essential to do this successfully.

5.     Practice small acts of denial. Push/Pull. If you trigger a defensive response, pause.

6.     If you have trouble, lighten up. Enjoy the moment.

7.     Work with frame masters and learn from them.