Pitch Anything (2011) introduces a unique, new method for pitching ideas. Through psychology, neuroscience and personal anecdotes, Klaff explains the tactics and techniques needed to successfully pitch anything to anyone.
The one critical thing you need throughout your pitch is the attention of your target. To successfully attain this, research has shown that you must evoke two sensations in your pitch: desire and tension. Desire arises when you offer your target a reward, and tension arises when you show them they might lose something, like an opportunity, as a result of this social encounter. On a neurological level, this effectively floods your target’s brain with two neurotransmitters: dopamine and norepinephrine.
Dopamine is a chemical associated with anticipating rewards — desire. One such reward would be the pleasure of understanding something new, such as solving a puzzle. Thus, to increase the level of dopamine in your target’s brain, you must introduce novelty through a pleasant surprise, like an unexpected yet entertaining product demo.
Norepinephrine, on the other hand, is the chemical responsible for alertness and it creates tension in the target. If your pitch convinces them that there is a lot at stake here, their brains will be flooded with norepinephrine.
To create tension, you must create a bit of low level conflict with a push-pull strategy. This means first saying something to push the target away, like, “Maybe we aren’t a good match for each other.” You then counter this by pulling the target back toward you with something like, “But if we are, that would be terrific.”
This push-pull dynamic creates alertness in the target, as they sense that they might lose this opportunity. Depending on the situation, you may use very powerful push-pull statements, especially if you sense your target’s attention beginning to wane.
To secure your target’s attention, you must create desire and tension.