I often tell audiences that you need to realize the common sets of skills needed for leadership, sales and strategic communications. I would argue that they all require you to tell a story, inspire people, and ultimately get them to do something different or start a new behavior.
When I sat down with sales expert, Jake Dunlap, I was excited for where the conversation might go because he is on the cutting edge of shaping “the future of modern sales.” And though I have no formal background in sales, I’ve been trying to master the “pitch” for the last 30 years. It started in college when I won an engineering design competition at MIT for my presentation about my Senior year capstone project.
After years of developing my public speaking skills in the Army, I put them to good use in “The Pitch” to investors and donors. During my days at RideScout, I raised over $2.8 million and during my run for Congress I raised over $3.1 million.
Jake is an expert on helping companies improve their digital presence. In fact, that is how I met him as I expanded my work on LinkedIn. (As I like to say, Facebook is for pictures of your kids and pets, Twitter is complaining about politics, and LinkedIn is where you go for business.) In addition, he is able to help companies achieve their sales goals by focusing on finding qualified leads inside their target market.
So naturally, Jake and I had a lot to talk about when it comes to the sales pitch. In our hour long discussion we hit several topics important to trying to improve their overall efforts in sales. They include:
- Mastering the Pitch
- Working your network to develop warm leads
- Understanding the important of weak ties to a lot of different people
- The importance of the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
- Using your script to develop your message
- Using the tools of technology as part of your modern sales strategy
- Making the most of LinkedIn
In addition, the four major take-aways from our conversation were:
1- The Pitch is best when its tailored to the audience and it genuine in its delivery. People have a BS meter that will sniff you out over time.
2- The script is important to know the mechanics of what to include, but it should not be delivered in a way that sounds overly rehearsed or like your simply reading it.
3- There are lots of tools like Contactually, techniques like Mail Merge, and other ways to know your audience…. But there is nothing that will replace preparation.
4- Engaging on Linkedin should be just like “real life.” Relationships matter. Delivery is still just as important. Don’t rush.
After you watch the video, let me know what questions you have about Mastering the Pitch. I’d like to help you more. You can book time with me to discuss how to improve your pitch.
Joseph co-founded a company, built it from scratch, then sold it to Mercedes. He stayed on with them to advise their senior leadership and assist in their evolution as a mobility company. From those experiences, he and Bret Boyd wrote the book, Catalyst, chronicling the opportunities and challenges in the 21st Century economy for business and policy makers. He’s an active investor and mentor to dozens of companies. After running for Congress, he’s now an Executive-in-Residence at the McCombs School of Business at UT-Austin. Today, Joseph is using those experiences as well as his own 20 years of service in the Army (including time as a Special Assistant to the CEO of the Army) to build the next generation of leaders in some of the most exciting companies and public entities in America.
In addition, Kopser is a public speaker, technology entrepreneur and expert in transportation, smart cities, urban mobility, energy, national security issues as well as an Army combat veteran. He joined the consulting company Grayline where we work with people and companies to bring together experts, data, and solutions to help companies and public institutions manage disruptive change. Currently, his primary focus is the future of work in the Post-COVID era.
He served in the U.S. Army for 20 years earning the Combat Action Badge, Army Ranger Tab and Bronze Star. He’s a graduate of West Point with a BS in Aerospace Engineering and also received a Masters from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2002. In 2013, Kopser was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for my efforts in Energy and Transportation. In 2014, our company, RideScout, won the U.S. Department of Transportation Data Innovation Award. In his free time, Kopser works with The Bunker, an organization dedicated to supporting veteran entrepreneurs. In 2019, he became the inaugural Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the CleanTX Foundation, an economic development and professional association for cleantech companies. He’s been married to Amy for over 25 years living in Austin and together they are extremely proud of their three adult daughters.