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to Sell Flowers the Car-Selling Way. [Or] How to Sell Real Estate the Car-Selling Way.’” Not so for Klaff, who says that staying on the


front line is critical. It’s what led him to write the book in the first place. “[I] have many current experiences that are relevant to today’s market,” he said. “Then I put that in the framework [of Pitch Anything]. People react to it because it is contem- porary and it is relevant. It is yesterday, not 10 years ago.”


How did you come to specialize in pitch mastery? In the summer of 2005, I got a call from a friend. He said, “Hey, my business is screaming. We have bought and sold companies. I want you to come in and run the fundraising side, the capital-raising side.” I agreed to do that. What I would do is, I would raise money during


O


ren Klaff takes care to clarify that he isn’t an author and speaker. He’s an investment banker who has just written a book called


Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Present- ing, Persuading, and Winning the Deal, and some- times he’s asked to speak about that at a meeting or conference — including PCMA 2013 Convening Leaders, where he’ll be delivering a Masters Series program. At the Los Angeles–based company that he founded, Intersection Capital, he works with companies with anywhere from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue — helping them “either raise additional money for growth,” Klaff told Convene, “or sell off some of their equity.” “I get new experiences every day that continue


to power the core of the content [of my presenta- tions],” he said. “You get these guys who say, ‘Hey, I used to be the sales trainer at IBM,’ or ‘I used to sell cars.’ Right? [They say,] ‘I wrote a book and now I speak full time on it. My next book [is] How


94 PCMA CONVENE SEPTEMBER 2012


the day, and then I would spend all night research- ing a range of topics like psychology, hypnosis, voice modulation, selling, marketing, pitching, cognitive psychology, biology of the human experience, attention, and attention disorders — anything that would give me one more atom of control over this process. When I got far enough into this, I started getting some inkling that there are biological connections to the way people respond in a pitch. One of the first insights that I had from talking to some cognitive guys at UCLA is that the human attention span is at maximum 20 minutes. In many cases, it is two minutes. That is a finite thing. Beyond that point, people not only do not learn more, if you continue to flood them with information they start forgetting the stuff you already told them. Then I hired a cognitive psychologist out of


+ON THE WEB To learn more


about Oren Klaff and Pitch Anything, visit pitchanything .com.


UCLA with a Harvard background. I did not say, “Hey, teach me what you know.” I said, “Let me describe to you the experiences I am having. Some days I win and some days I lose. It seems to be the same pitch I am giving, the same psychographic in the audience. What is the difference?” Over dozens and dozens of hours of reflecting, he came to the conclusion that I was unaware of just about everything. He said, “Look, I think what is happen- ing here is when you guys are pitching, you are not recognizing these limits of human attention.”


Is pitching something that is only relevant when it comes to a sales deal? Or is it something that that we all do, no matter what our job is? We all do it, no matter what our jobs are. I


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