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Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Pitching Deals As Your Authentic Self

Have you ever met the full-figured diva who has taken the business world by storm and won BIG? Well now you have! Precious L. Williams, also affectionately known as the #KillerPitchMaster, can help you #slayallcompetition. She does so with her “killer” elevator pitches, media pitches, and investor pitches. I’m really excited to share our conversation, especially as it pertains to pitching deals as your authentic self.

Who is Precious Williams?

As a child, Precious wanted to be a talk show host. Even then she knew that her future was going to include using her voice and commanding the attention of an audience. She could not have been more right!

Today, Precious is a world class master communicator. She works with successful entrepreneurs and speakers around the world. Her main role is to help them take their professional pitching and speaking skills to the next level. Williams has over 25 years of experience in creating unique speaking and public speaking techniques. In addition, she is known for her innovative training programs and services to her clients. This includes sales teams at Fortune 100 companies, including Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, eBay, and more.

Prior to her rise, she shares that her first real deal was getting her job back. She had been fired from a grocery store, and she went back and laid out the reasons she should be rehired. (Once she got it back, she realized she didn’t want it anymore and resigned!)

Pitching Deals For Sport

As a 13-time national business elevator pitch champion, Williams has been on top television shows and publications. She’s widely known for her pitching, branding, and professional speaking skills. Here in the US she has been featured on Season 8 of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” Forbes Magazine, CNN, ABC, MSNBC, Wall Street Journal, and the movie “LEAP,”. She’s also been featured in other outlets around the world. Precious is also the author of a #1 bestselling business book and has been featured on top podcasts and stages globally.

The philosophy of her “killer” pitch is evident in the strategic and personalized creative communications and presentations solutions Williams puts forth. She is a quintessential serial entrepreneur, international professional speaker, and corporate trainer. As such, Williams is equipped to bring life, authenticity, strategy, and boldness to all your oral and written communication needs. Her ability to pitch herself, and to help others pitch themselves, has been a key element of her success!

The Shark Tank Experience

By the time Precious made it to Shark Tank, she had already coached multiple clients on their own presentations. She felt like the best kept secret. Getting her own chance to pitch a business she cared deeply about was an exhilarating experience.

She listened to her music, then said GAME ON. Walking down that hall, seeing the doors open, and facing the Sharks was like nothing else. Precious shares that she felt spellbound during her experience. At the end Mark Cuban said “You are a master at your craft.” Every question they asked, she had an answer for. During our interview, she shared multiple times that she felt she had been born for that moment.

Regardless of all the prior feedback Precious had received about how her gender, race, and background were going to prevent her from success, she rose to the occasion. Not only that, but she blew it out of the water. Most impressively, she wasn’t even there for a deal! She was there to prove that it could be done. If you’ve seen her episode, you know she achieved her goal.

Benefits of Pitching (Thinking Beyond the Deal)

Precious shares that her first ever pitch was getting onto the Your Business with JJ Ramberg show. At the time, she didn’t even consciously know she was pitching. Her second ever pitch was on the elevator segment of the show. It resulted in a $500,000 win! She had been told it could never happen for her, but it did.

Too many people think about the money first and foremost when they pitch. Precious shares that you need to think beyond that. Consider who else is in the room. Possible partners, mentors, collaborators, or future investors are all around you. You’re constantly making connections and contacts. Pay attention to who else is in the room!

Because of these secondary opportunities, you can think of pitching itself as a gift. Regardless of the immediate outcome, just the chance itself to pitch as the ability to create traction and transformation in your business.

As a business person, you never know who you’ll be sitting next to on a plane, in a restaurant, or anywhere else. You should be able to share what your business is, what pain points it addresses, and how people can get involved in a succinct and compelling way. Too many people can’t do that! Your elevator pitch shouldn’t be dry and boring. You should be sharing about your business with passion and intensity.

What is going to let your listeners know that YOU are the right person for them to work with and invest in? Share that!

Change Your Language and Change the Game

When Precious pitched her lingerie company, she didn’t get up and say “Here’s lingerie for plus sized women.” Why? No one cares. That’s not interesting or compelling. Instead, she changed the language to make it compelling. You have the power to consider each and every word you use to present your product or company. Choose powerful options!

For Curvy Girls Lingerie, she pitched the company as being “The ultimate shopping experience for full figured divas and plus sized fashionistas!” People wanted to know more about these women, this market, the product. It didn’t feel boring, it felt exciting. It also helped her tap into a market of over 30 million women who are size 14 or larger who want to wear beautiful undergarments.

In addition to your language, you need to think about your mindset. Do YOU believe in this product? Can you prove that you are behind your product 100%? Can you show up and bring your pitch with passion and intensity time and time again? If not, why would anyone else be interested? You owe it to yourself and your dream to pitch with passion every time.

Pitching With Passion

Precious believes that part of her purpose here on earth is to use the power of language to pitch your brilliance and passion. For anyone who has been told that they can’t because of some perceived stereotype or barrier, she is here to say that you can.

There is a brilliance inside of you that deserves to be seen. Precious loves to come alongside these people and kick through doors together. How? It’s all done with the power of the pitch!

Wan to learn more about the power of pitching? Interested in an example of how to break-through implicit bias within the deal making industry? Listen in to the full episode here!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Deal-Driven Growth

Stand Out, Get Noticed, and Make Better Deals

Jesse Cole is the owner of Savannah Bananas, founder of Fans First Entertainment, author of Find Your Yellow Tux, and a keynote speaker. He’s a huge believer in helping businesses stand out, as he uses the power of being different as a way to gain leverage and make deals!

Using Experience to Stand Out (and Sell Out Stadiums)

In lower level baseball, it’s not unusual to see empty seats in the stands…unless you’re at a home game for the Savannah Bananas. As a college summer team, they have reason to NOT sell out. However, Jesse is known for having a team that sells out constantly. They do deals, create promotions, and find ways to stand out, get seen, and sell tickets all the time!

In fact, they’ve sold out every single game for the last two seasons, and have thousands of fans on their waiting list.

He shares that they built a brand that has transcended past Savannah, having received global attention. People are tuning into their games, and eagerly watching what they do. Jesse sees it as a crazy brand story connected to building something with a very clear purpose. His vision was to change the game of baseball, and to do it by putting fans first and entertaining always.

Goal: To give fans the most fun they have ever had at a baseball game.

This includes a professional high fiver, a role that Jesse held auditions for (hear more about that on the full episode)! It also points to how necessary it is to invest in experience. It’s not “just” a baseball game; it’s a full blown experience, from beginning to end.

A GM with $268 in the Bank

Jesse’s first General Manager position in baseball had a salary of $27,000, and placed him as the GM of the worst team in the league. He got the offer with no experience, because no one else wanted the position. Since he was an unpaid intern at the time, what did he have to lose? So, he went for it.

His first week in, he realized there were three full time employees…and $268 in the team’s bank account. For the first three months on the job, he wasn’t able to pay himself.

But he saw potential, and he made a deal:

If he could hit a ridiculously high revenue and fan goal, he wanted a $2,500 bonus. He got a joking “yes”, and proceeded to double revenue and triple the fan base. How? Well, he shares that they started being dramatically different. They focused on the fun, and the entertainment aspects of the game. They had dancing players, and grandma beauty pageants.

The next year, the owner came to his office to say that He’d never seen anything like it. Jesse attributed it to being empowered to making changes and doing whatever he thought needed to be done. He believed in the power of standing out and getting noticed, and he leveraged that power to transform his team.

The Power of Ownership

Jesse believes that being empowered to make decisions, make deals, and even name his own salary is what equipped him to be successful. Today, he feels that giving people ownership is the most powerful way to increase success.

Big questions he asks himself in terms of creating sustainable growth:

How do I empower others to make their own deals?

How do I give opportunity to all my employees?

One way he practices empowerment is by profit sharing with his employees. It’s a way of giving everyone ownership within the organization, which uplevels their personal investment and agency.

He also believes in his dreams and goals, and he demonstrates what it is to be ALL IN.

In fact, when the Savannah Bananas were getting started, they ran out of money early on. Jesse and his wife made the choice to fund the team by selling their own house; they believed so firmly in their ability to succeed that they literally put in everything they had.

They also brokered deals on many fronts. From their stadium lease, to an expensive expansion deal, they looked for ways to build their audience, engage with their community, and create a foundation for success.

One important aspect of these deals was to consider their community impact. Short term dollars could not override long term community concerns and needs. Using the concept of Fans First, Entertainment Always, Jesse ensured that every deal made had a positive impact on their fans. It’s a core part of what they do, and he stands by it 100%.

The promise you make to your people and your fans with your brand is vital.

Jesse understands that fans don’t want ads – so their stadium doesn’t have them. They gave up hundreds of thousands of dollars and potential income in order to stand behind their mission – Fans First. Their tickets are all inclusive, because fans aren’t served by being nickel and dimed every time they come to a game.

It’s a philosophy of caring for customers that goes far beyond lip service, and it impacts every deal that Jesse makes with his entertainment company and ball team.

Lessons on Pivoting

Jesse shares that when they tried to do what everyone else was doing, they got the results everyone else got. Now, he believes in doing the exact opposite.

At their start, the team didn’t have many resources. There was no massive budget for marketing. So instead of having a marketing plan and throwing dollars into ad spend, they looked for ways to garner attention.

To this day, Jesse encourages people to stop creating “marketing” plans, and start creating “attention” plans. Think about what a reporter would find compelling. Think about your fans most desire. Create experiences. Experiment to see what works, what draws your audience, and what gets people attention.

To tie in baseball metaphor: the player with the most hits in MLB history is also the player who had the most at bats.

If you’re a business that is constantly “planning” and never actually swings…you don’t have enough at bats to achieve extraordinary success.

Identify your core vision, then find ways to take action. Have a brainstorming session with your team, but then go out and DO something about. How many experiments can you do this week? This month? This year?

How can you release the need for everything to be perfected and polished, and instead choose to fail forward fast?

Jesse brings so much energy to this interview, and he dives deep on culture and growth as well! Listen to the full episode to learn more!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

Categories
Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Create the Synergy for Optimal Deals

I am so excited to have Marc Gordon’s interview going live this week. He’s a Customer Experience Expert out of Toronto, Canada, and is an internationally recognized thought leader in the field of customer experience. In our interview, we had a chance to discuss what it takes for two companies to create synergy. This is essential for there to be a positive outcome for buyouts or partnership opportunities. We also dig into the importance of integrating the culture of a business post-merger and post-deal. After all, you can have the greatest deal structure, legal agreements, and finances, but if the rest of it doesn’t come together? You’re in trouble.

Marc has been regularly featured on TV and radio. He’s even been referred to as Canada’s Marketing Superstar by the Oprah Winfrey Network. As an award winning keynote speaker, Marc has spoken for some of the world’s most respected companies, including Bausch and Lomb and Hilton Hotels.

Corporate Staging to Enhance Deal-Making

One thing Marc has done a lot of work with lately is what he calls “corporate staging”. A lot of companies have a great product or service, and they reach a point where they are looking for either partners or buyers. But even if their books are good, they can’t get into a conversation. Their online presence is sabotaging them. Potential buyers and partners go straight to Google, and when there are huge issues with a company’s online presence, they can’t even make it to the table to discuss deals.

Whether the issue is their branding, their website, or their social media; they have massive barriers. These problems are based on the way they’ve curated their online presence. And who can blame other organizations from saying, “If this is such a great company or opportunity, why do they look this bad?”

No matter how good the numbers might be, it’s hard to overcome perception issues. Marc’s had the opportunity to work with companies on corporate staging in order to turn their image around. Often, this is done quickly. 72 hour turnaround times are a regular request. Why so fast? Well, it seems that many businesses realize in the final days before a proposal goes out that they are going to be under a whole new level of scrutiny. Of course prospective partners and buyers are going to be heading to their website and social accounts! And in order create synergy for a great deal, details have to be considered.

Drive Deals With Marketing

When people think of deals, they don’t automatically see how something like customer experience or marketing might play into success. However, deals can absolutely be impacted!

The truth is, quite a few companies that are turning a profit look unprofessional. When they reach the stage where they may be looking for venture capital, a buyout, or a business partner, they just aren’t prepared.

Often this happens when a company has been super focused on creating a stellar product or service. They simply let marketing and branding fall by the wayside. Essentially, they realize too late that they’re walking into a formal affair wearing jeans and a t-shirt. That’s a problem, especially when they should be wearing a tuxedo!

When they call me, says Marc, they’re saying, “We need you to make us look like the company that we believe we should be.” And the truth is, they ARE that company. It’s just that no one else can tell. This creates huge issues when it comes to sitting down at the negotiating table.

Marketing Reveals Who Your Company Truly Is

By focusing on marketing, they have the ability to look established. They can come to the table and look as strong as they actually are. They want to look like they are leaders in their niche and market, and they can do that by stepping up their marketing and brand presence.

Hoping to gain a partner, start a joint venture, enter into a strategic alliance or sell your company? Marc recommends that you work with a branding and marketing expert sooner than later. Certainly make sure you have a strong online presence before you start putting out offers or bringing people to the table.

And speaking of the table… When you go to make a deal, you have to consider the perspectives of everyone involved. Yes, that includes the CEO. But it also includes the people in charge of sales, marketing, and branding. And everyone is looking for reasons it might not be a good idea, reasons it might not work. If you have a poor online presence, you can expect there to be conversations about that. At the very minimum, someone will have the due diligence to say, “We’re going to have to sink time and money into laying a groundwork that doesn’t exist yet.” I’ve personally seen that be an issue during negotiations. It can literally result in a less lucrative deal for the company.

Create Synergy and Position Yourself for a Strong Deal

Another great way to think about your marketing and online presence is as a key to your corporate culture. A website or social account is a great way to actively show what kind of culture you’ve built, and how dynamic your business is. That also means it’s a great place to create the synergy for a strong deal.

However you desire to position yourself or be perceived, a solid online presence can help make that a reality. When done right, you can artfully reveal exactly who your company is. You can profile how you relate to your target audience, and why you’re positioned to be an industry authority. Those are all excellent things to have established long before you sit down to make a deal!

Again, you have to remember that the first thing an interested party often does is Google your company. And no matter how much of a positive impression you or your product may have made, it’s really hard to overcome what Google turns up. Of course, we’re not talking about inflating your company. We certainly aren’t misrepresenting who you are. Ideally, your online presence is a robust extension of your culture, values, product, or means of service. It’s vibrant, it’s clear, and it’s directly connected to who you are.

It’s Worth the Investment

That’s why it makes a difference to work with a true branding or marketing professional. It’s a field where you get what you pay for. It’s worth investing here in order to put your best foot forward in a digital age. Essentially, you have to have your ducks in a row. To start with, you have to have the product, the service, the quality support, and a great team. Marc uses the analogy of icing a cake.

When you buy a cake, you don’t look at the cake inside. You look at the frosting. It’s your first impression; the thing that makes you go, “I want that one.” Now, if you take a bite and the cake’s stale, everything goes downhill from there. Marketing and branding can’t compensate for a mediocre business. But when you have the business foundations down, they can be a really fun way to top things off. You can use them to create synergy and set yourself apart as a top candidate to anyone in the market looking to make an acquisitions, merger, or other profitable deals in your industry.

Marc and I also had a great conversation about customer service. We discuss how creating great customer experiences can build the foundation for strong deals. To hear more about that, listen in over on the podcast!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!