A Master Salesman Tells Us How to Master Pitching

James Altucher, acknowledged by admirers and detractors alike to be one hell of a salesman, puts us on the road to successful pitching. For reals:

pitchman.tvwriter.netby Mihir Patkar

Delivering an elevator pitch or even telling your boss about an idea can be nerve-wracking. Entrepreneur James Altucher has crafted “the six U’s of persuasion” to make sure your idea gets heard.

In case you don’t know Altucher, he’s also an investor, a hedge fund manager, an author, and has participated in our How I Work series. In a post on persuading anyone about anything, he expands on the traditional “four U’s” formula to add two more:1

Urgency

Why the problem you solve is URGENT to your demographic. For example: “I can never get a cab when it rains!”

Unique

Why is your solution unique: “We aggregate 100s of car services into one simple app. Nobody else does this.”

Useful

Why is your solution useful to the lives of the people you plan on selling to or deliver your message to: “We get you there on time.”

Ultra-Specific

Read it all

Pitching Your Ideas: A Primer

sellingmottoby Scott Berkun

Coming up with good ideas is hard enough, but convincing others to do something with them is even harder. In many fields the task of bringing an idea to someone with the power to do something with it is called a pitch: software feature ideas, implementation strategies, movie screenplays, organizational changes, and business plans, are all pitched from one person to another. And although the fields or industries may differ, the basic skill of pitching ideas is largely the same. This essay provides a primer on idea pitches, and although most of my experience is in the tech-sector, I pitch to you that the advice here will be relevant to pitching business plans, yourself (e.g. job interviews), screenplays, or anything else.

THE NATURE OF IDEAS

Ideas demand change. By definition, the application of an idea means that something different will take place in the universe. Even if your idea is undeniably and wonderfully brilliant, it will force someone, somewhere to change how they do something. And since many people do not like change, and fear change, the qualities of your idea that you find so appealing may be precisely what make your idea so difficult for people to accept. Some individuals fear change so much that they structure their lives around avoiding it. (Know anyone exhibiting the curious behavior of being obviously miserable in their job, their city, their relationship, but still refusing to make changes?). So when your great idea comes into contact with a person who does not want change, you and your idea are at a disadvantage. Before you can begin the pitch, you have to make sure you’re talking to someone that’s interested in change, or has a clear need that your idea can satisfy.

Healthy and progressive organizations make change easier than stinky evil organizations do. Smart organizations (or managers) often depend on change. Leaders in these havens for smart people not only encourage positive change to happen, but expect people at all levels of their organization to push for it. It requires more work and maturity for these managers to make this kind of environment successful, but when they pull it off, smart people are systematically encouraged to be smart. Idea pitching happens all the time: in hallways, in the cafeteria, in meetings.

But since most of us don’t work in these kinds of places, the burden of pitching ideas falls heavily on our shoulders.

Read it all

20 Successful Habits I Learned Working For Two Billionaires

A little real-life experience does wonders to further a person’s education. Especially when it’s obtained from two of the planet’s richest people. Universal lessons! Secret keys to success! TVWriter™ lurves ‘em!

Oprah-Enver-1024x512by Paul C. Brunson

I have spent decades “being educated” –  in college, graduate school, numerous professional certifications, and now a PhD program. All of that schooling and training helped shape the person I am today, but at no point in my life  has there been a more profound education than my time working for Enver Yucel and Oprah Winfrey.

Enver and Oprah are two extraordinary people. And on top of that, they’re both billionaires. On the surface, they appear to be totally different people. They are in different industries, have different family structures, practice different religions, and speak different languages. However, once you get past their written biographies and dig deeper, you will notice they possess many of the same successful habits.

I had the opportunity to work with both Oprah and Enver for 6 years collectively and those were, hands down, the best professional experiences of my life. I worked my ass off for them and in doing so absorbed everything I could.

It’s my honor to share with you what I learned from them. Here is Part 1 of the 20 successful habits I learned working for two billionaires:

1) Invest in Yourself

This is a very simple concept, but something you would think someone who has “made it” would stop doing. Not at all for these two. I saw them both spend a significant amount of time dedicating their resources to self-development  (whether it be a new language, exercise, social media classes, etc). The moment you stop investing in yourself is the moment you have written off future dividends in life. 

2) Be Curious…About Everything

What the average person sees as mundane or overly complicated is not viewed the same way with a billionaire mindset. I once had a 30 minute conversation with Enver about the height of the curbs in Washington DC versus Istanbul, Turkey.  Billionaires are incredibly curious; what the rest of the world thinks is a problem and complains about — that’s what these people go and work on.

3) Surround Yourself With “Better” People

Read it all

BALANCING WRITING AND LIFE

Good advice for writers and creatives of all kinds, courtesy of Rita Karnopp’s and Ginger Simpson’s fine blog:

by Rita Karnopp

When we hear the word ‘balance’ then add writing and life, an author could almost laugh.  It’s a bit of a facetious statement.now later

When I started writing my children were very young, five and three.  So I scheduled my writing time after they went to bed around nine and wrote until two or three in the morning.  But, that’s not to say I never wrote during the day – because I did.  My office space was in our front living room (because we never used it, we always used the huge family room to the back of the house facing the mountains) and my desk faced the hallway toward the bedrooms.  The kids, and their friends, came in and out of that front door – past me –  how many times a day?

I set rules and explained they could wave at me, but if they didn’t have anything really important to ask or say, they could just walk on by and not interrupt.  It’s called respect when someone is busy working on something that is important to them.  It took some time, but they actually got it.  I think my husband became the biggest offender of interrupting for ‘non-important’ things.

I’ve said in other articles, my kids now laugh about falling asleep to the clicking of my keyboard . . . and of course there are the hilarious stories of them listening to my printer’s endless buzzing and snapping back and forth . . . and how they waited for it to stop so they could go back to sleep.

Writing time should be designated, planned, and a habit.  When we steal more time to write we have to fit it into the whirlwind around us.  I find I can now write just about anywhere, with just about anything happening around me.  I’ve come a long way from the days when I used to say, “Unless it’s completely quiet – I can’t concentrate to write.”

Read it all