Friday, May 07, 2010

The Hook -Part II

I must say, flying is a great time for reading and blogging. I've never been able to get a lot of work done on a plane. I find that there really isn't enough room for me to spread out with my reports, and Excel sheets, and notepad and the like. However, I've discovered that typing on an iPhone is really quite reasonable given the space available (and this time I've gotten smart-I'm writing this on the Notepad and then I will paste it into Blogger later). 

So, I'd like to finish off with the second of the two important items of any pitch - the hook. Last time I talked about being prepared for the questions that people will ask to quickly discount or discredit you. This is time-saving behavior on their part because if you are worthy of being discredited it is better to find out quickly. 

The hook, however, takes this the next step. Once it is established that you are no longer an obvious negative, you now need to quickly establish a positive. As I mentioned last time, although the temptation is great to dump everything you have ever done in front of someone to prove how great you are, the show-biz adage has never been more true: "Always leave them wanting more.". The purpose of the hook is to drive your audience's interest in your pitch and to make *them* want to find out more about you, and ideally make *them* want to drive the process (sale, funding, whatever you are pitching) to a successful close. While GGGR may say that ABC is "Always Be Closing", you'll be miles ahead if the other party is the one pushing for a close. 

To give an example of how this works, there was an early stage company called Velkess at the ESA conference. They had a really cool video that demonstrated their flexible flywheel. Part-way through the video, just as the flywheel was about to spinup, the video crashed. He couldn't get it started, and there was an actual groan from the audience, who wanted to see how it worked. So, he quickly described it, "well, what happens next is that I shake it and it remains perfectly stable". This just served to pique everyone's interest and he was mobbed for the rest of the evening as he sat at the reception showing the video again and again on his laptop to people. IronIcally, nothing creates demand like limited supply. 

Although what happened wasn't the hook, per se, it is like that. It is important to communicate a simple, easily memorable set of facts that people can quickly use to justify their further interest in your business. Communicate the excitement around this simple idea, be able to defend against quick discrediting attacks, and you will find yourself pushed to further meetings and due diligence to close the deal. 

Which is exactly what you want. 

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