FOUNDER INSTITUTE SACRAMENTO - WINTER 2019 CLASS
IMP Special Assignment - Test & Refine Your Pitch with Strangers
Tagg Neal - Founder & Inventor
2335 American River Drive, Suite 305
Sacramento, CA 95825 USA
An IMP Special Assignment opportunity was offered to me on Saturday to refine my pitch with strangers. Having been scheduled to speak with marketing students at Northern Arizona University’s W.A. Franke College of Business, I decided to incorporate the assignment with the four classes I was scheduled to speak to over two days. Professor Len Hostetter, Harvard MBA, agreed this would be a great opportunity for all.
- Pitch to newbs
- Get Feedback
- Do TWO new recordings
The specifications of the project are very specific and shown through the report in their respectful steps. With the professor and student pitch’s, students who were “Subject Participants” wait outside the classroom so no prior information was known before hearing my pitch. Additionally the professor gave me basic introduction of being a former NAU Alum, business owner and entrepreneur who is the client of his other class, Marketing Research. This ensured the subjects hearing the pitch were hearing everything about medical carts and TAGCarts for the very first time.
Due to the large video production involved with this assignment I requested the services of Dependent Media. By Sunday evening they knew the short timelines they would have from receiving the uploaded videos through Google Drive on Tuesday early afternoon to finished product by 4:30pm that same day. Dependent Media accepted the opportunity to produce the media for TAGCarts. Final video and report being made via Google Drive cloud services.
Develop Pitch Cadence
By giving the pitch over and over to “Newbs” I will develop a cadence that I can either speed or slow as needed in a more natural easy going way.
By giving and receiving the pitch, and various iterations, I will have insight to refine the pitch itself, language used, and order of delivery making a superior pitch for my potential investors.
- Pitch to newbs
Record a video of your starting pitch using a service such as Knovio. Find 3+ people who do not work with you and have not heard your pitch before. Get permission from each of them to present your pitch and gather feedback.
1a. Pitch was given to “Stranger” sitting next to me on my Southwest flight sunday evening from SMF - PHX, Will.
Will was very cooperative but requested to not be videoed on his interpretation back to me. The biggest insight from Will’s feedback was he stated, “I know TAGCarts will solve big problems for nurses, and I may have missed it, but I’m not sure ‘How’? Can you tell me how the patent-pending design solves these problems?...
I considered this a positive pitch because he is intrigued enough to ask me “How?”
Will was on the window and I the isle. Shortly after sitting down I asked him if I could ask a favor. Told him I was launching a new company, in an accelerator program, and part of that was to pitch my company to a stranger and video. I didn’t want to tell him anything about the company or what I do before my pitch.
I did tell him that “TAM” is total addressable market - and if he wasn’t an investor he may not know that industry jargon. Beyond that he said, sure - but he did not wish to have me record his response.
I gave him the pitch, and he videoed me giving it to him. After looking back my pitch length was 1:06 and I did stumble twice.
After I didn’t say anything, and asked him to basically repeat it back to me. Here is what he said:
WILL, “the TAG cart will resolve this battery plug thing nurses experience but I’m not sure how, but they will have sustainable materials. Specifics beyond that are a bit fuzzy - but yeah, solve the nurses problem and made with sustainable materials.”
He quickly said, “I’m not sure if I missed it but I’m not sure how the tag cart solves the battery and plug problem.’ I responded I did not reveal that in the one minute pitch - so I guess it works well in that he was asking HOW does it solve that problem.
We later spent the whole flight looking at cart pictures on my iPad and he asking questions about the problems carts are causing healthcare today.
Will is a Information Technology professional, lucked out here, so he was even more acutely interested in what I was doing...
By the time he finished his complimentary beverage I provided him he was convinced TAGCarts will definitely improve overall healthcare and they would be success.
1b. Pitch was given to two more “Strangers” who are senior Marketing majors of the W.A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University, Rachel and James.
RACHEL - In Rachel’s redress of the pitch she cited that they are patent pending and easier to use than other brands on the market. Of note is that she said TAGCarts were getting considerable attention in China. Perhaps citing my knowing the cart king of China is confusing?
JAMES - In James’s redress of the pitch, he started off with my credibility citing that the inventor of the definition of TAGCarts has brought a new solution to the market. I thought that was very high level and spoke to my credibility. He cited my cart resolves old inefficiencies replacing undesirable market offerings. James spoke in very high level and broad language speaking mostly to my ethos paragraph, as well as citing they have positive environmental impact.
Group the meetings to allow you three iterations of three pitches each, followed by revisions to your pitch.
You should have four copies of your pitch: the starting version, and one after each round of revisions. You can pitch them individually or in a group.
Will - Southwest Flight #435
Rachel - NAU Marketing 424
James - NAU Marketing 424
Brock - NAU Marketing 424
Abe - NAU Marketing 434
Adam - NAU Management / Marketing 434
Michael - NAU Marketing 434
Dane - NAU Management 429
Students of Marketing Captsone Class - All different majors with this marketing class required: Econ, Accounting, Finance, Management, etc.
Brock - With Brock I varied my cadence slightly faster, with pauses more accentuated. I feel the pauses give considerable importance, to words said prior. Brock’s feedback was very spot on - understanding concepts at high level as opposed to just buzz words and jargon. He inserted TAGCarts would cut cost, which I never said.
Abe - In Abe’s reiteration he cited patent pending, and that they were more environmentally friendly. Beyond that he recalled the number 3.2M but misassociated it.
Adam - His recollection of the pitch was extremely vague. Saying my carts were going to set the industry on fire. He very much understood my passion and confidence, but little if nothing else.
- We did 3 Iterations of 3 variations of my Pitch, and recorded one final one per person. - Videos.
- Get feedback
In each meeting, after the initial greetings, ask if you can do your pitch straight through and take questions at the end. At the end, before answering questions, ask the person to make your pitch verbally back to you without slides as if they were describing your business to a third person (‘I just met this person with a really cool business who does ____’). Take detailed notes on what they remembered from your pitch, and what they didn’t understand and didn’t remember. Then allow them to ask any questions they have, and afterwards solicit feedback. Take detailed notes of all of the feedback and questions. You may find it easier to record each meeting, so you can review afterwards and see which slides people understood and were impressed by, and which were not understood.
- As an entire class we went through feedback on each “Pitch”, iteration, and version thereof. All notes are detailed in this report.
- Do TWO new recordings
A) Record a video of your final pitch using the same service as at the start.
B) Record a video of yourself in a public place where people can hear you: near the doorway of a store, in a coffee shop, etc. There should be people around and you should be speaking loud enough to be audible in the recording despite background noise.
- A. I am recorded doing my new Pitch. After changing my pitch, I decided to replace, “Medical Carts Save Lives” with “Crash, Anesthesia, and mobile workstation are all types of medical carts”, as well as move my credibility “Ethos” statement to the beginning of the pitch, prior to the problem and solution paragraphs.
Michael - In his summary Michael cited they were environmentally friendly and nurses prefer it. As well as my cart was better than the rest.
Dane - The first thing Dane says in his summary was that he can’t repeat all the “Big Words” I used. After that, he was actually exceptional in his comprehension. He cited TAGCarts are different than what the usual medical cart field is used to, that existing carts are clunky and plastic and inefficient in the way they are used. He goes on to say I’ve redesigned the product, it’s patent-pending, and I have a record selling them, they’re doing great. So we aren’t selling them yet, but that was interesting to hear. Overall though I think Dane was the best Pitch redress of all. Understanding my pitch had be reiterated and revised several times before Dane heard it, and I gave probably my best pitch of the project, he definitely got it. This evidence would lead me to believe it’s better to give my “Ethos” paragraph at the beginning, as Director Mariah suggested to me originally.
Write a report on your work, which includes a link to the four iterations of your pitch deck,
Pitch Deck 4 Iteration Links: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vUBow7waSjL8jySBzoWaN0cY8poDW-siXvugnhCiTaw
and a link to the videos of the starting and ending pitches.
In the report, provide detailed analysis on the discoveries that you made through feedback for each of the 9+ people that you pitched.
Please see above for detailed analysis. In summary, by mastering my cadence, emphasizing my pauses, and moving my ethos paragraph to the beginning, I gave a better more understandable pitch. I think using the ethos / background paragraph first, also warms up the recipient to the medical cart vanacular, so they better understand when I get to the Problem and the Solution.
Rank order the objections as well as the constructive feedback that you received.
- Not clear how TAGCarts solves the problem but it does
- “TAM is $3.2B” was an objection nobody seemed to repeat
- The carts are currently being made and sold
For each of the 3 variations of your pitch and pitch deck, describe the areas that were misunderstood by your audience, how you improved your pitch to overcome their objections, and (where possible) how well those changes worked.
I moved my ethos paragraph back to the beginning, and utilized cadence and pauses, as well as hand gestures and eye contact, to deliver the meaning of my pitch. These changes worked wonderfully.
5. My Report includes two attachements:
- Video Production of TAGCarts Special Assignment (Video): https://www.tagcarts.com/class/
- This Report Doc via Google Docs: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1twwRswN8gM-ZtUHb4864FrsgGp9RLCSP81S6BiLxSiU