One of my favorite chapters in To Sell is Human is Chapter 7 — titled “Pitch.” In those pages, I describe research from Kimberly Elsbach of the University of California-Davis and Roderick Kramer of Stanford University that reshaped my notion of what pitches are actually for. Then I harvest additional social science to describe 6 new pitches that can be more effective than the threadbare 20th century elevator pitch.

My friends at Radical Media have put together what amounts to a 4-minute video summary of this chapter. You can watch it below. Remember: If your mouse doesn’t click, the message won’t stick.

23 Responses to “6 new pitches for selling your product, your idea, or yourself”

  1. Alan Morris says:

    I devoured your “A Whole New Mind” when it first was published. What I appreciated is that it was a new take and not a rehash of old ideas.

    Looking forward to reading “To Sell is Human”

  2. The Pixar pitch is also known as the “Story Spine”

    I learned about it in an Improv class.

    Nice to see the way 2 of the chapters merge together.

    P.S. Loved the book

  3. Exactly – and since we are all salespeople, we can use that realization to enhance the clarity of our messages (sometimes we’re selling things that we don’t want to) and become more benevolent (there is a such thing as a true win-win).

    Dan, do you have any stats or ideas as to which pitches are the most effective? Is it entirely situational, or is there some sort of built in psychological preference to be “sold” in a certain fashion?

  4. I heard these at the ASAE conference in Dallas! Loved them then and now. Thanks for sharing in this format. Easy way for people to quickly get the point. Nonprofits really need to re-think their pitch! Drive was a great book I will need to get To Sell is Human ASAP.

  5. Heike Larson says:

    Great book – just finished reading it. I’d been looking for a fun, easy way to introduce the book, and especially the pitch chapter, to people at LePort Schools. This video is perfect – just shared it on our staff Facebook page. Oh, and here’s a rhyming pitch for our school’s mission: Knowledge for Life-So Children Thrive 🙂

  6. Really enjoyed the book and the different ways of looking at constructing a pitch. I’m still not able to wrap my brain around a rhyming pitch – feels a little gimmicky – but maybe I’ll get there some day. The information about subject lines in email is very useful. Thanks for posting!

  7. Dan,
    I would REALLY appreciate it if you had a separate list of the links you refer to in your book.

    While these might be eas(y|ier) to find on electronic media … it would be helpful to have them summarized.

    I was a bit disappointed to not find them called out in a easy referenceable form, or provided with a link to a post on your website here (maybe behind a password) — so that they would be easily accessible.

    Especially for physical book readers, who may not be near a computer when they are reading!

  8. I have heard that either Karl Marx or Friedrich Engels used the phrase “Forward” as their campaign slogan when the Communist Party was being established in Russia. I find it interesting that President Obama, for whatever reason selected the same slogan.

  9. John Wolfe says:

    I wrote my the six pitches a full-school approach to educating English Learners in the Minneapolis Public Schools. Here’s my Pixar Pitch — but I’m thinking it’s too long …

    ONCE UPON A TIME, public schooling in the US had clear and attainable goals: basic literacy, basic math, and enough self-discipline to succeed in a job.

    EVERY DAY, students would put in their time at school, grow into these key skills, and finally exchange diplomas for solid, middle class factory and management jobs.

    ONE DAY, though, the job world split in two: there were still low-skill jobs, but they no longer provided a living wage, while higher-paying jobs required a complex range of sophisticated learning and information skills.

    BECAUSE OF THIS, the goal of education had to change from teachers “supporting a set skill level” to “supporting students day-by-day, year-by-year in skills and dispositions to continue learning long after leaving school.”

    UNTIL FINALLY, teachers united as teams to address the new challenge of supporting every child in day-to-day, continuous growth right up through graduation.

  10. Fantastic, Dan. Thanks for shinning the light on some new ways of doing what we have been doing since the beginning of time. I like the email subject piece… utility or curiosity! I’m going to keep an eye on that.

  11. As partner in a small business, I need to perform many roles, some I’m more comfortable with than others. The sales role is the one I’m least comfortable with when I think I’m “Pitching”, I’m fine with explaining but if I think of it as a Pitch or a hard sell it doesn’t fit with how I see myself. This video does a great job of reframing the “pitch” for me as well as providing great strategies.


  12. Kathleen End says:

    I loved this book! I read it while on 4 hour airplane flight. I ended up leaving the plane with 20+ pages of notes and ideas on how to tell the story of my new nonprofit Outlet: Plugging People In better. As a former teacher, I know the value of selling without money as your primary goal. This book is good for everyone and anyone who wants to be successful at gaining allies, supporters, friends, money, sales, or just the victory of getting to watch your movie pick on a Friday night. Many of the concept are quite obvious and make so much sense, and yet are rarely done well. I plan on revisiting this book often to make sure I stay on track. Thanks for writing another book to add to my Daniel Pink favorites!

  13. Persuasive storytelling is of particular interest to me. The way that the “Pixar Pitch” is structured is brilliant. That alone makes the book worth reading. But there’s so much more. Great book, Dan.

  14. Mike Russel says:

    I’ve been pitching something since I sold greeting cards door to door as a little boy. I learned the most valuable lesson ever when the CEO of Hoover and I shared a cab in Philadelphia by accident. I asked him how he sold so many vacuum cleaners. His response was that he never sold a thing, all he did was make people want to buy it.

    That stuck with me all my life, that’s all I try to do, just about every day. Law of attraction in reverse? Not sure but it’s a perspective I’ve had for a long time.


  15. Randy Zeitman says:

    Yes! More examples of the structure of the pitch.

  16. I just had to blog about and do at Pixar Pitch myself


    ONCE UPON A TIME There was Social Superhero Ninja Master living on Planet Earth,
    EVERY DAY He would train his Network Ninja Skills,
    ONE DAY He realized that his skills could make an impact on the World,
    BECAUSE OF THIS he set forth to Architect the Transformation of Society,
    BECAUSE OF THIS The New Network Society is now on the right track towards a sustainable future,
    UNTIL FINALLY WE all learned how to live together sharing our resources and our knowledge in an epic quest to make Earth the best place in the Universe to live.

  17. Anand Tumurtogoo says:

    Has anyone thought about translating this book into their native language and “selling” it?

    Do you guys think its good Idea? can it be implemented in your own country (besides english speaking country)?

    your opinions