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Saturday, June 21, 2008

How Are Your Pitching Skills?

For some reason creative people hate the word "SALES." We will do everything we can to avoid picking up the phone and calling a stranger but we do like the word, "PITCH."

Pitching and selling are the same thing but creative people don't think so. The big differences between pitching and selling in the mind of the creative person is the misunderstanding that if you are going to pitch an idea your agent has already set up the meeting and the people you are meeting with want to hear your pitch and that if you are going to sell something you have to talk to strangers who don't like salesmen.

Well, it's all a mind set and the more you practice and the more you play the game the better off you will get at sales... I mean "PITCHING."

Keep in mind that people have problems. They may have a problem of having a product they need to get the word out about or they may have a problem of needing content for their new online video portal. What ever the case you as an online video creator have the opportunity to help them solve their problem with your creative idea and to do so there are a few things you need to do.

1. Find the people who have the problems and need your help.
Making contact is the first step in getting to pitch. You need to go to events and meet people with problems. It's the same as dating. You go to a bar or party to meet other people who are in need of finding someone else to help them with their problem. You might want to try industry events like the The New Media Expo in Las Vegas (I'll be speaking there.) or a more general event like L.A.'s Largest Mixer which is "the largest and most heralded business mixer/expo of the year. Over 2800 business people attended last year." The event is part expo and part business social event so there are bound to be lots of people with problems there.

When anLA Mixerd Where?
Thursday, July 24, 2008
5:00 to 9 p.m.,
Shrine Auditorium Expo Center
700 W. 32nd St.
Los Angeles CA

"A $20 admission fee gives attendees the opportunity to view more than 250 exhibitors and network with thousands of local "influentials" on the cutting edge of Los Angeles' business elite."

2. Make Them Want You
Just like the blonde who walks into the bar with the tight red dress on you need to do something that fits your style and let's them know exactly what you have to offer them so that it will make them want you. If you don't yet know what it is that makes you special I suggest you take a moment and write an elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch is a short summery of what it is you have to offer other people. It's what you would say to people if you only had their attention for a ride in an elevator. For French Maid TV I have printed my elevator pitch on my business cards:

French Maid TV is a series of funny, yet informative "PG-13" viral videos where sponsored products and services, appealing to 21-34 year old males are explained in step-by-step "How To's" hosted by sexy French Maids. Epsiodes vary from "How To Register a Domain" to "How To Share Music." Other "Non-Sponsored" videos are available for licensing and the French Maids can be booked to explain your product of service at live events. To sponsor an episode, book an event or audition contact: tim [at] French Maid TV dot com.

3. Make Them Want You More Than Anyone Else.
Sure there are other hot blondes with red dresses but you have to find people with problems that you can solve better than anyone else. It's always good to ask questions about what they are looking for and if you are not a good fit recommend someone else who might solve their problems better than you. Who knows, they might do the same for you someday.

4. Ask for the Pitch and Give It
If you have identified that they need a project like the one you want to pitch ask if they would like to hear about it. You've already established they have a problem that they need someone to solve and they are still talking to you about so why not get permission to pitch them and do it.

5 Close the Deal
There are many different techniques to closing a deal but the one that I've found that works the best is "Closing on a Minor Point."

You know that the person you've pitched is interested and if they've told you they liked your pitch you are just down to price and the details of the deal. You control the price so if the price is too low you can walk away. That just leaves the details of the deal or the "minor points" One minor point might be when the project is due and that's the best minor point to close on. Ask the person you're dealing with when the project is due. This is a minor point of the deal but it creates a sense of urgency and reminds them that they need to solve their problem at some point in time and if that time is sooner rather than later they are speaking wit someone who can do it now.

6. Keep the deal Closed
Under promising and over delivering is a great way of keeping the deal closed and keeping em coming back for more. You want to make sure that what you create hits the ball out of the park and makes your sponsor, advertiser or production partner happy enough to ask you for another pitch. Just like dating when it comes to pitching you would much rather be the one in the position to say NO than the one asking for a YES.

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