#44 Pimp Your Pitch – 10 Words to Turn Bo-ring into Cha-ching with Sam Horn- Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time

Posted on February 15, 2011 by


DO PEOPLE DROOL WHEN YOU TELL THEM ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS? (But, not in a good way. More like a catatonic way.)

Have you ever told someone about your business, and they give you the “doe in headlights” look?

They may even look at you like you’re saying this:

Solutions Start NOW

In this post, you will learn along with HotMommasProject.org as we undergo messaging bootcamp.  Gone will be the days of the unsavory reactions above!

Enter, Sam Horn

Below, legendary “Intrigue Expert” Sam Horn uses the Hot Mommas Project as a guinea pig and provides six tips that all of us can use to revise a pitch. This is AWESOME ACCESS people. Take notes. (Sam, sorry about duct-taping you to the chair for the below comments. I hope we can move past that.)

Sam’s Rules for The Perfect Pitch

  1. Can they repeat it? (dot dot dot…to someone else?)
  2. Can they see it? (When we’re just using technical terms, they can’t see it.)
  3. Can they remember it? (When it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.)
  4. Can they relate to it? (“How does this apply to me?”)
  5. Do they respect it? (Is it credible? What are the results delivered?)
  6. Do they want it? (Does it match a need they have?)

This may seem like a tall order, but, by the end of my session with Sam, my pitch met ALL the criteria above.

But Kathy, you talk for a living. Why did you do this? I, like many entrepreneurs, fall into the trap of tripping over my own boring words and losing all objectivity.

Step 1: Say what you do in 10 words

Award-winning program measurably increasing self-confidence in women & girls.

Step 2: Analysis = #FAIL

Sam’s analysis: This is a snoozer [but, said with her really awesome NPR voice which makes everything seem better]. If you want to get across “Award-winning program,” a great way to do that would be to say, “As the Washington Post says, ‘A revolutionary program for women entrepreneurs, future and current’.”  That’s a quick way to communicate credibility. There is evidence.

  • Self analysis: Right out of the gate I #fail with rule number 1 and 3. I am overly-focused on the credibility and it is boring.

Step 3: Pitch Revision

Got women and girls in your life? We make them more confident.

Step 4: Revision Analysis. One win, & #FAIL

Sam analysis: This is better but I have some suggestions. The good thing you did is this: First, you established two-way communication. By asking a question, you are engaging the audience. There is personal relevance. You are leading them to the thought pattern, “Oh yeah, women in my life? My wife, three daughters, ME!” Here’s what I’d change: “We make them more confident” should be something like, “We increase their confidence, courage, and clout.” “Increase” is a better credibility word than “more.” Also, the Hot Mommas Project is not just about confidence. You provide women so much more. Confidence is respecting yourself. Courage is the bravery to put yourself out there and go for it. Clout is the authority and ability to get things done. You are also making it more memorable and repeatable with the alliteration.

  • Self analysis: Sam is enhancing the memorability and repeatability through the use of alliteration (rules number 1 and 3). She is also changing the word “more” to “increase” to enhance the message of credibility (rule number 5). She complimented me on the use of a question – “Got women and girls?” – to draw people in and relate to it to them personally (rules number 2 and 4). Rule number 6 (“do people want it?”) is not discussed overtly, but this is because Sam has background and context on the HotMommasProject. She understands I know this market inside and out.

Step 4: Revision FINAL – #WIN! #FTW

Got women and girls in your life? We increase their confidence, courage, and clout.

Do I pass the test? Let’s see.


  • 1. Can they repeat it?  Yes. The “c” alliteration helps accomplish this. Confidence. Courage. Clout.
  • 2. Can they see it? Visualizing the women in your life through question, and hint at action (increase).
  • 3. Can they remember it? Again, the alliteration c helps with this.
  • 4. Can they relate to it? (“How does this apply to me?”) Yes. Steered toward thinking “my wife, my sister, my mom, my friend, ME!
  • 5. Do they respect it? Yes. Use word “increase” to show RESULTS.
  • 6. Do they want it? (Does it match a need they have?) Yes. Women and girls movement. We know our market.

Step 5: Examples. The Deal Sealer.

Sam analysis: After this pitch, whether it’s on your website or said in person, the next click or sentence needs to demonstrate EXAMPLES.

  • Self analysis. “Got women and girls in your life? We increase their confidence, courage, and clout….FOR EXAMPLE, an international student from Argentina took our seminar and increased her self confidence and feeling that she could create opportunities for herself by 200% from the beginning to the end of the semester. A solopreneur came to a three hour seminar, went through five exercises, and walked out feeling measurably more confident and connected.”


#1 Missing the mark with your words. I used to think I was good with my words. I was a confident and enthusiastic speaker. But, I was missing the mark with my pitch. When it came down to the 10 words, THE conversation through which people would remember my work…I was failing. I realized this at one of Sam’s seminars during an exercise I’ll never forget. First, we went around the table and gave a typical description of / pitch for our business. Then we went BACK around the table and everyone says what they remember about each others’ businesses. It’s FASCINATING because 9 out 10 times, people are NOT taking away what you would like about your business. I fell into this category.

#2 Caring about your business. I really care how my company and messages appear in the world. So, I did the hard work. Sam sees the following changes in her entrepreneur clients (aka people who are doing the hard work):

  • Cash: Land multi million dollar deals.
  • Coverage: Significant media coverage.
  • Conversation: Turn conversations from a dead end to an open-door.
  • Connection: Turn “take me to your leader” stares into meaningful  connection.

See how I did that? The Cs? Sam, are you proud of me?

Special from Sam for HotMommas readers

Sam does not take on all clients. That is part of what makes this post so special. But, she will do the following for readers of this post…Email info@SamHorn.com and she’ll send you an article “Pop your pitch: Win buy-in to your business in 60 seconds or less.” Sam taught the principles in this article to entrepreneurs at a recent conference resulting in major media coverage for two of the entrepreneurs within five days.

The Bottom Line

Our decision to focus on the words that come out of our mouths to describe our businesses is THE difference between a deal maker or deal breaker.

The Challenge

The entrepreneurs listed below have taken on the pitch challenge. See their first pitch drafts here.  We will be harassing them within an inch of their lives until they post their pitch redrafts on this blog.

@annbevans Joanna M. Pineda @JillFoster @deziner Carla Briceno @JSBagain @shashib @PutItAway @dorthyonthehill @minutrition @Sisarina @returntoworkmom @AhuvaBanta5522 @lizscherer

What is your pitch? Will you make changes based on Sam’s advice? Please post here so all may learn.


About the Hot Mommas Project (still working on the examples part, but getting there!) Got women and girls in your life? We increase their confidence, courage, and clout.  Examples:

  • “My perception of the opportunities I could create for myself increased 200% after the seminar.” ~ Full-semester cultural exchange student
  • “I learned the importance of self-efficacy in building my career. My self-efficacy increased 45% in three hours based on the skills I learned.” ~ Half-day seminar participant

The Hot Mommas Project has been featured in the Washington Post, on NPR, and conferences and universities around the world.  Our founder is the instructor of the award-winning Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership course at the George Washington University School of Business.

Learn more here www.HotMommasProject.org and  sign up for our alert list here

Get on the seminar mailing list  edu@HotMommasProject.org