91 : Pitching Yourself Effectively (w/ Precious Williams)
Zach sits down with Precious Williams of Perfect Pitches by Precious to talk about how to pitch for yourself effectively. They break down the basics of a pitch and discuss what most people get wrong when pitching for themselves.
Zach: What's up, y'all? It's Zach, and you're listening to Living Corporate. Now, look, y'all. Y'all know we have people come through the spot from time to time. We have real conversations about real things, okay? And this episode is no different, okay? We've got Precious Williams with us on the show. Precious Williams is a world-class master communicator who works with successful women entrepreneurs and helps them take their professional speaking skills to the next level. With over 23--count 'em, 2-3, Michael Jordan, LeBron James--years of experience conceptualizing unique branding and marketing techniques, Williams seeks to train individuals and companies on how to remain authentic while marketing concepts and visions to distinctive audiences. Sound Man, you've got to give me a round of applause for that. [he obliges] With that being said--
Precious: Oh, let me snap. Snap, snap, snap.
Zach: Come on. Come on, snaps. With that being said, Precious, welcome to the show. How are you doing?
Precious: I'm good. I'm really good today. I'm living well. I'm living my life like it's golden. "Living my life like it's golden."
Zach: Drinking some water?
Precious: You know [what?] We do. We drink water all day.
Zach: You sound really hydrated right now.
Precious: I am hydrated. I'm really hydrated. Come on now.
Zach: I can feel it--I can feel it through the ancestral plane.
Zach: I know I gave a little bit of an intro, but for those of us who don't know you, would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?
Precious: Yes. My name is Precious Williams, proud founder and CEO of Perfect Pitches by Precious. And again, thank you for saying I'm a world-class master communicator, and it is very true. I've been a professional speaker since I was 16 years old, and this year I turned 40. I've appeared on Shark Tank, CNN, Wall Street Journal, FOX Business News, appeared in movies, I've been in television commercials, and I'm a 13-time National Elevator Pitch champion. So that is how a lot of shows got interested in me in the first place, but before we did all of that, we were--I was an unwanted child living in the inner city of St. Louis, Missouri, and my mother didn't like me and beat me up constantly. My father was a drug addict. And so when I look back at my life, I'm always astounded to this day - "How did I make it? How did I not become a statistic? How do I live in the great state of New York?" And I've been here 11 years. Never been raped, robbed, or beaten. Living my dream of being a professional speaker where I work with wonderful, successful women entrepreneurs who struggle with bringing their next big ideas, concepts, brands, products and services, to different markets. So if you need a pitch for an investor, I got you. Need a pitch for media? I got you. You need a pitch at networking events? I got you. That is what I do. And I've also iterated to teaching new and emerging speakers how to successfully build a speaker platform so that they're attractive to conference organizers and event planners. And for professional speakers or seasoned speakers, I teach them how to get paid speaking engagements. So when I tell you we are the art and science of the most killer pitches, we also do not play. I'm not new to this. I'm true to this. I am Precious Williams, the #KillerPitchMaster, and I will help you - what? - #slay all competition.
Zach: My God. Sound Man, give me some air horns. [he complies] That's crazy. That's incredible. And honestly, I really want to add one of those '90s "Ow"s. That was incredible. That's incredible.
Precious: Thank you.
Zach: My goodness gracious. Okay, then. Well, shoot. You did that with that little ol' question, so you're gonna kill the rest of this. Let's start with the basics. What is a pitch?
Precious: A pitch is a short, brief introduction to you, your company, your career, your life, that will make you attractive and interesting to an interested party, someone that you don't know but you want to get in front of. So think about getting on an elevator and taking it to, I don't know, the 20th floor. In that time, you should be able to have a pitch good enough to spark attention and make them want to meet with you or take your phone call. So as an elevator pitch master, I have won competitions in 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes. When I won Black Enterprise, I won it in 1 minute--I became a finalist in 60 seconds, and I killed it in 30 seconds, and that's how I won in 2013, Black Enterprise.
Zach: Wow. Wow, wow, wow. So, you know, we've talked about a little bit about--we've talked a bit. Not a little bit. We've talked a good bit actually about strategic self-advocacy on Living Corporate, right? What would you say most folk get wrong when it comes to pitching themselves?
Precious: I find that most people are very boring. Most people have no idea how to introduce themselves in a way that makes them star-quality material. I find that people don't give a lot of thought to it, thinking that you should just wing it, and if [you learn anything] from me, it's preparation is key, practice perfectly, perform perfectly is key. Also, give them some of that funk, that flavor of who you are. So for example, when I went on Shark Tank, I knew they weren't ready for me, 'cause I don't come like anybody else. As a champion, you can't come like anybody else. If you want the basics, you don't have Precious. I'm not a basic chick at all. So I went in with a low-cut canary yellow form-fitting [inaudible] dress--and I was 275 pounds, and my company was Curvy Girls Lingerie, and I was pitching Curvy Girls Lingerie--and so, you know, when you're walking down the hall that music doesn't play. Just so we're clear, that music does not play. When they open up those doors and it's just you and the Sharks, I walked in like "Wait until they get a load of me. They ain't never seen nothing like me." So when I hit that X, I was going IN. Listen, I was in the paint. I was going HARD in the paint, and then I said, "Okay, ladies. Now let's get in formation." The door opened again, and my plus-sized models came through, and I tell you, they had never--I said, "Because I know what I'm doing." If you want to be average, [random?], or ordinary, do what regular people do. If you want to stand out and really make an impact, you have to be different. So I wrote an article a long time ago called "Does Shark Tank Teach You Everything You Need to Know About Pitching?" And there's no way it can, and don't be lulled into thinking that the people who get the investments are actually better than the people who don't. And sometimes your vision is beyond what most people can see. That's why you're called a visionary, and I'm a visionary and a trailblazer. You're speaking to investors. If you're speaking to a network--speaking at a networking event or you're speaking to the media, what is going to make you stand out like no other? And when we talk about self-promotion or self-actualization, all of that, you really need to hone in on what makes you different from everyone else and can you demonstrate that difference even if your products and services weren't in the room.
Zach: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I love that. I love that. This is what we're gonna do. This is a first for the Living Corporate podcast, but I feel like you can handle it. So I'm gonna give you some scenarios, right, where you would pitch yourself. I want you to give me, like, how you would do it. So I got three of 'em, okay? So are you ready?
Precious: I'm ready.
Zach: Okay, here we go. "You're a mid-level employee who's done the work but keeps getting passed over for a promotion that you've wanted for a while. How do you handle that?" How do you pitch yourself to get the promotion you're looking for?
Precious: First of all, I would start making noise and buzz about what it is that I have done. So if you're a mid-level employee, what are your results? What's your value added? What content have you created? What things have set you apart from the others? A lot of the times when you're a mid-level employee you think that just doing the work is enough, but you have to promote what you do. You have to quantify what you do. You have to qualify what you do. You have to show how you being you has increased sales, has decreased problem areas, how you've been invaluable to the company. You have shown loyalty, fidelity, and you want the opportunity to shine on a bigger state in that promotion, but before you can do that, you have to show where you came from and where you took the company from where it was to where it is now, and that means you need to document what it is that you've done, what you've brought to the table, great ideas that have been implemented on, and you definitely want to walk in dressed like the promotion, not what you are right now. Give them something to look at. Give them a visual that they're not ready for.
Zach: Yeah. I love it. I'm so excited. Okay, okay, okay. So that's great. This is the second scenario. "You're a new employee, and you're looking for a mentor."
Precious: This is where we get into passion, energy, and intensity. So when you're looking for a mentor, one of the greatest tools alive, especially if you're a new employee at a new company, is to go about seeing who are the power players in the organization or in the company. What you want to do is see if you can spend a little bit of time with a few of them and get to know them. You'll ask them [if] they can take on any projects where you get to work closely with them. Let them know that you're always available--within reason, let me put it like that--that you're always available within reason to work on different projects because you want to stay a step above the people that you started with, and you have to show initiative. You have to show focus, grace, ease, and just mercy. You have to show all of that. And so when they see you working hard, they see that you came in that first day and you were strategic about what it is that you're doing. That stands out. When you allow them into your strategic vision and how you see yourself elevating the company or being a very valuable resource to the company, don't be afraid to toot your horn about what you've done in the past and what you plan to do there. And if you're young, man, you can do a lot for a company, as long as you keep showing that dedication and that focus. You can take instruction, but you can also give the ideas that young people always have that are so vibrant and so necessary to an organization in moving forward. That's what I would do.
Zach: Amen. I love this, I love this. Okay, here's #3. Here we go. Last one. "You're venturing out to start your own side hustle, and you've found someone you think would be a great fit to join the team."
Precious: Mm-hmm. Thinking that they're a great fit before I just jump on the bandwagon, I would vet them, because there are things in peoples' backgrounds that you may not know that might prevent them from being the great asset that you think they're going to be. So I would look them up online. I would--you know, 'cause you can meet a lot of people, and listen, I've been in this situation. I've had a partner that we did not work out. On paper we both looked good together. In person, in reality, we could be at each other's throats. One could be focused on money so much, the other one focused on customer service so much, that you constantly bump heads because you're not in a true partnership. What does that person bring to the table that you already don't have? You vet them, and you also go through a due diligence process. You interview them. You let them know about this great opportunity, but you vet them as they're vetting you. Don't make a decision immediately. You're not thirsty. You're not thirsty.
Precious: And since you're not thirsty, you can give it a week. You can give it a little bit of time and do more due diligence. You want to make sure that--even if you're the top person in your company or in your program, what you definitely want to make sure is that you sound off to someone that you trust to make sure that you're not rushing into a decision. That's what I would do as a killer pitch master.
Zach: I love that, I love that. Now, look, you know we could keep going. You know this.
Precious: I know.
Zach: But before I let you go, do you have any parting words or shout-outs?
Precious: Yes. I want to say that fortune favors the bold. If you are bold enough, you can make miracles happen with God's grace and mercy. When you step out on that faith, and you've been given a vision, it's time you move towards it. We don't live in the day and age of our grandparents or even our parents. You can really eat what you kill. You can really make a difference and impact walking in your authentic light and in your authentic, God-given purpose. Secondly, if you're someone who is looking for pitching help, I am here, and I am available. I am here to work with you on how to monetize your message, how to turn your mess into your message, and how to really--
Zach: Come on, now. "Mess into your message?"
Precious: Your mess into your message. Listen, I've been homeless. I've had an addiction. I've had all sorts of things happen to me. I've battled cancer and all of that kind of stuff. It doesn't matter. And I've been living my best life because I was able to face it and move on. Deal with the trauma. So what I want to say to everyone, when you look at someone that you think has it going on, you don't know their backstory, and it's important--and that's why I used to watch Behind the Musics when I was younger, Intimate Portrait, Biography, because I really wanted to know the true story. I didn't want the glitz and glamour story. I wanted to know "What did they overcome?" Because that would give me strength to know that I could overcome too. So get really comfortable with wanting to hear peoples' stories, because that will give you the catalyst to get off of your behind and make moves. Like Future and Drake said, "What a time to be alive." What a time. We can have a Zoom call, a Skype call. You don't have to leave and go to the office. You can just do things as you already are, and you can make a great impact. I've been in Corporate America. I've done that, and now I am a serial entrepreneur, international professional speaker, and just an all-around gal about town, right? All-around gal about town, and I am a full-figured diva on a mission, and that's to take over the world one curvy girl at a time.
Zach: Come on. Yo, this has been a great interview. Thank you so much for being here, Precious.
Precious: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.
Zach: No, I appreciate you. So look, that does it for us, y'all. Thank y'all for joining us on the Living Corporate podcast. Make sure you follow us on Instagram @LivingCorporate, Twitter @LivingCorp_Pod, and subscribe to our newsletter through living-corporate.com or livingcorporate.co or livingcorporate.org, livingcorporate.net. We've got all the Living Corporates except for livingcorporate.com because Australia has livingcorporate.com, you know what I'm saying? They're not really trying to talk to us yet. I might need to talk to you, Precious, on how we can pitch to them so they can give us that domain, but look--
Precious: That's right.
Zach: I'm saying, but we got--but if you Google Living Corporate, ayo, we out here. So if you have a question you'd like for us to answer and read on the show, make sure you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you could just DM us on any social media 'cause the DMs are wide open. This has been Zach, and you've been listening to Precious Williams, CEO of Perfect Pitches by Precious. Boy, my sound man is gonna have to really work on those Ps, but I love it. This has been Zach, y'all. Chat with y'all soon. Peace.
Precious: We out!