Pitch and sell your services as a creative – use the brain to your advantage – part 1. Tell me if this sounds familiar. You know your thing about the subject, idea or brilliant campaign that you are pitching to a prospecting or current client. You are well prepared and organized, everything is working and the pitch proceeds smoothly without any technical errors with the projector or interruptions. You deliver the most important points with ease and with passion – that show the love for your craft and the idea.
But in the end, you still get a no. You didn’t convince the audience that your idea was the way to go.
It’s not about going from A to B, it’s science!
That is because a pitch and a presentation is not a about a procedure where you go from slide 1 to 10 and deliver your information accordingly. A presentation, pitch, speech or other appearance is all about getting and keeping your audiences’ attention. This means you need to be the highlight of the room or just strait forward – owning it!
Because it’s basically neuroscience in the way how the brain receives and process new ideas.
Our brain, in a very simplified way, have three different parts, that handles different things:
- The croc-brain (survival)
- The mid-brain (social interactions and relationships)
- The neocortex (problem solving, logic, advanced tasks)
Oren Klaff, in his book Pitch anything, explains it like this:
You are walking down the street and suddenly, you hear someone shouting loud and you get taken off guard by it!
- Your first reaction is fear and this is your croc-brain taking over in survival mode.
- What happens next is that you try to make sense out of what just happened, was it someone shouting to a friend, at a parking attendant or something much worse? Your mid-brain is putting it into a social context.
- The information reaches your neocortex, that makes the problem solving– it was only someone yelling to a friend across the street.
The neocortex is the place where all advance type of thinking happens. Such as problem solving, visualization and more. It’s from here your presentation is coming from.
Neocortex to neocortex, over!
So, when you are standing on the stage, delivering you streamlined pitch, explaining the abstract graphic design of a new website, it’s the neocortex that is doing the work. You are projecting information that your brain has already processed and done the advanced thinking about (neocortex). So, all this advanced information about the design choices your neocortex is delivering, is probable being received in the neocortex by the people in front of you, right?
Realization! It’s not! Information is being processed in the same way as Oren explains in his book. First croc-brain and survival – is it dangerous? Then mid-brain and social relationships – what will other think of this? And last the neocortex – by doing these changes, we can, together with an improved SEO campaign, social ads and…. You get the message!
No message will reach the logic center (neocortex) of the brain without passing through the croc-brain! And, the croc-brain is useless at remembering details. The fact that you (we) are pushing an idea from the neocortex to the croc-brain, (the source of your clients first reaction) is a problem when you want to pitch and sell your services as a creative.
Formatting the message for a 5 million-year-old person
As the croc-brain, that is 5 million years older that the neocortex, pretty much has a build in spam-filter that dispatches everything that is not somehow dangerous or new and exciting. And if it is new and exciting it just summarize everything as fast as it can and ships a simple SUMMARY of the information forward.
So, if your pitch or you are boring, with lots of unnecessary information, it will get ignored. If you are perceived as dangerous, like you are very aggressive, it’s fight-or-flight mode. If your pitch is complicated, with several advanced steps, it gets passed on – but with considerable amount of information left out.
The croc-brain that you are talking to wants its messages in a very specific way – simple, clear, nonthreatening and foremost intriguing and new. This makes your first, icebreaking, pitch needs to have a simple, but clear message with high contrast options, be intriguing enough to keep the audiences croc-brain short attention span.
This ends the part 1of pitch and sell your services as a creative – use the brain to your advantage, of the use your brain to your advantage and how to pitch your services as a creative. if you think this is interesting and want to go more in deep about it I truly recommend you buy the book Pitch anything by Oren Klaff. It is a real eye-opener on how to think and format your message and pitch. His book was also part of my summer reads list that I decided to read.
Its also very important that this is no guarantee to win your pitch. Sometimes the idea wasn’t just right for that specific company, it didn’t fit the budget at the moment or something else that was out of your hands to control.