The Hook and the Hammer: 3 Steps to the Perfect Pitch Technique

October 25, 2014

2:00 pm

The late great Billy Mays changed the marketing world forever with one line: “But Wait, There’s more”.

If you are like me, that line conjures images of the bearded sales genius and one of hundreds of products he sold by the millions on TV. OxyClean anyone?

Honing a pitch technique for pitching Angels and VCs is more about entertainment than you think. What? Yes, Angels and VCs, like all humans, want to be entertained AND educated. It’s in our DNA, going back to cave men sitting around a fire, telling stories of mastodons and saber tooth tigers, and how they escaped certain death at the final moment. “But Wait…There's More!”BillyMays

On my podcast, The Pitch Deck, I interviewed Bert Golinski, an active Angel Investor in the Southeast. Bert backs over 20 companies per year. When I asked what about a pitch gets him fired up, he shared The Hook & Hammer technique.

The Hook & Hammer brings elements into your pitch that gets investors fired up about you and your company:

  1. The Hook: A hook is the BIG problem you are solving, the horrible pain it inflicts on your customers daily lives, and how these customers will pay just about anything to fix it. Think red wine stains on a white carpet, just disastrous! Paint the problem you are solving as causing the same emotional stress, no matter who the customer is or what your product does. You want to take investors into the customers world, help them feel the panic and pain of the problem, by the end of the 2 minutes you spend on this, everyone is feeling pretty anxious….then…
  2. The Hammer – BOOM! Before you say another word (don’t even mention your product’s name!), demonstrate how your product saves the day. Look at that stain disappear! Ahhh…sweet relief. But wait, there’s more!
  3. Hammer, Hammer, Hammer! Only after you solve the problem, do you reveal the product name, features, and (this is really important) why YOU and YOUR COMPANY are best suited to deliver it. Do you have a patent pending? Hammer! Proprietary delivery method? Hammer! Contracts for customers in hand? Hammer!

Start your pitch with the Hook & Hammer, spill the red wine all over the carpet, and save the day – just like Billy did time and time again! Details like Management Team Bios, Financials, and Plan of Action are important, but only after the Hook & Hammer in the pitch.

Follow these tips and have investors asking: “How do I order?”


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Gavin McCulley hosts “The Pitch Deck – Inside the Startup Funding Game” podcast available on ITunes and at Gavin is an active Angel Investor, Startup Mentor, and Entrepreneur living in Charleston, South Carolina. Gavin is the Managing Partner of the Charleston based Early Stage Investment Partnership, Twin Rivers Holdings, whose investments range from digital media, tech start-ups, health care, real estate development, film studios, restaurant chains, educational products, and both commercial and defense manufacturing. Gavin hosts “The Pitch Deck – Inside the Startup Funding Game” podcast. Prior to his current roles, Gavin served as a Logistics Officer and Commander in the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and served 2 tours of duty in Iraq and 1 tour in Afghanistan where he was decorated 3 times with the Bronze Star Medal.