Rajiv ‘RajNATION’ Nathan, Founder of The Startup Hypeman | Storytelling, Pitching & Sales
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Raj is the founder of Startup Hypeman, a B2B marketing company that helps startups stand out to customers and investors and stand apart from competitors. They help scale B2B SaaS companies and make their story the only one that matters. He is here to share how he uses the art of storytelling to help businesses with branding and marketing strategies. He’s a regular contributor to Sales Hacker, has grown his own organization and works with F100/500 clients, and advises various entrepreneurs at startup incubators around the country.
Rajiv describes his style of marketing & sales as problem-based sales and marketing rather than product-based sales and marketing because they hone in on the problems that the buyer is experiencing. A good story changes how the buyer sees you- they differentiate you from the competitor and want to pay you what you’re worth.
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00:00 — Rajiv ‘RajNATION’ Nathan, The Startup Hypeman
06:42 — Turning failures into lessons.
11:24 — Pivoting from career to entrepreneur.
13:42 — Why can’t organizations set up their own storytelling strategy?
18:39 — Why you need to think like an entertainer, not a sales rep.
23:04 — Tailoring your story.
28:49 — Perfecting your elevator pitch.
37:40 — Every startup’s a pro wrestler.
39:29 — Hamilton & sales.
49:58 — Lessons in sales & life from the Startup Hypeman.
SUCCESS STORY PODCAST
Stories worth telling.
On the Success Story podcast, Scott has candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.
He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.
Read The Transcript (Machine Generated)
Scott: all right. Thanks again for joining me today. I am sitting down with the heavyweight champion of story, Rajiv, Raj, Nation, Nathan. Now he is known as the startup hype man. He, he owns a company startup hype, man, what do they do? Well, they help companies grow. By not sucking at telling their stories. And this is from his mouth.
He helps companies grow by helping them not suck at telling their stories and standing out to their audience, standing apart from their competitors and breaking through in their category. He has been named the agent of change by Huffington post. He’s given a Ted talk he’s been featured in Inc Forbes and many other publications on top of helping companies.
Absolutely kill it and bringing their product to market selling and scaling. He’s also a hip hop artist. A yoga instructor and he hosts his own podcast called startup hype man, the podcast. And obviously that’s a plug, so go check out his podcast as well. So thanks for joining me. I’m excited to unpack this this Rubik’s cube.
Of of personality and passions and side hustles. And tell me how you got to, I love
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: that the Rubik’s cube, the Rubik’s cube of personality and side hustles and passions. Yeah. So maybe, maybe I can like start by decoding that a little bit for you and thanks for, thanks for pouring through my all the background information on me.
So while a lot of that stuff may seem like it’s, you know, potentially like, wait, he has this and that and the other to me, the. The uniting force behind all of it is like, there’s just this deep rooted belief I have in the power of expression. And this idea that I just think everyone deserves a voice.
And I really believe like if we take the Simon Sinek, start with why model my, why? I really think like the fundamental reason I was put on this earth was to bring out more expression in the, in the world, put more expression into the world and help people find their voice. And so. Over the years, both consciously and subconsciously the ways that I have worked on that, you know, even before I knew I was doing it, I was doing it is through different forms of storytelling.
And so all these things that I do professionally or all my different commitments to storytelling in the name of expression, in the name of giving a voice. So making music, right. Rap that’s, that’s telling story through some. With yoga, that’s really you know what, when I think about constructing a class, I think about it in the context or the construct, excuse me, the construct of a story through physical postures and through whatever theme I choose to center the class around.
And then w you know, the majority of my time is spent with startup hype man, which is literally like helping companies find their voice and how they’re going to communicate that. To their customers, to investors and to any stakeholders that matter.
Scott: So that makes, so the storytelling makes sense. It’s sort of like your passion, your, your raise on debt, but let’s, let’s unpack.
So yes, you are very artistic. You love the ability to tell stories. You see the power in telling stories. Not everybody who wraps or does yoga translates that into a career in helping companies scale or even in SAS. Right? So. Walk me through your career. What led you to, to what you’re doing now?
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Yeah, well, so I got here kind of take you to the, the reverse direction.
So immediately prior to startup hype, man, I was running my first business, which was called IDLM and I had a co-founder for that, and we couldn’t really get that off the ground. And what idea lemon was, was really helping individuals develop their personal brands. And the thing we focused on the most, and the thing I’d say we were the best at was helping them figure out how to make, communicate themselves at a personal level, through their elevator pitch.
Right? Like your personal elevator pitch, what should that sound like when someone asks, what do you do? So that immediately proceeded startup hype man. And, and we had a lot of good strategies, but we just couldn’t figure out a business model that was, you know, that was going to make more money than it was burning.
And so when that tanked. I, I got an opportunity to work with an incubator here in Chicago, cause they wanted me to come in and help their entrepreneurs with their like demo day pitches. And so that was really like the start of startup hype man. But I think the seeds for it were laid unknowingly.
The seeds for it were laid with ideal of, and prior to that, an idea, lemon started as a side project initially, while I was working as a sales rep as an account executive. At a digital product agency and what I did at that company, or what we sold rather was digital promotions for brands. So you know, I got experience selling to like Sears and Walgreens and some pretty big names promotional content that they would put online to gather essentially like customer data for the most part.
So think of like, Usually, if you’re online and you see, or on your phone and you see like a scratch and win game, that’s branded by, you know, that has a brand behind it. Or like a sweepstakes or like a, Hey, submit your photo into this contest. There’s a good chance. The company I was at was, was the, was the technical arm and the creative arm behind bringing that to life.
And so that’s what we, that’s what we produced. And, and that company, which was called prize rebranded to be called hello world. That was my first job out of college where, and in college I studied marketing.
Scott: What, and how did you understand the power of storytelling and sales? And the reason why I asked that is because I know a lot of people who sell, who don’t get storytelling, probably most of your clients before they meet you.
Right. So now a lot of companies train, train on as well. I know when I got into sales very early on in my career, I didn’t really understand the power of storytelling and how that can really influence a customer to come to a conclusion, as opposed to just listing off the features, advantages, benefits, or of the product.
Right. That’s what, that’s what you sort of default to, unfortunately, in a lot of sales organizations. So how did you come to this conclusion?
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: So, honestly, I think it came from like, Doing it poorly. Okay. So a couple of ways I can, I can, a couple of anecdotes I can share with that when I was at that company that did the digital I would spend a lot of my spare time just kind of like re mocking up, like what was our collateral
Even to the extent of like, you know, like the one pager that explained a product, I was like, Hmm, maybe I can take some assets we have and reorganize it. So it actually shows like a customer’s journey using this product instead of just like buy this thing, because here’s the, here’s the features and the benefits of it.
Yeah. And I think the biggest kind of like, Oh man, like this needs to change moments was while I was there. Yeah. I was the lead on an RFP that we got for what would have been if we won the deal, it would have been the biggest deal in company history. Literally. Okay. I think it would have been like 10 or $11 million in year one and with an annual renewal of roughly $10 million.
So, you know,
Scott: I don’t know how big this agency wants, but it’s
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: not a bad thing, right? Yeah. It was, it was very sizable. And I will tell you, it was such a big deal that I remember my boss telling me, like, if we win this, we’re going to have to sit down and like restructure your comp plan because. We might go out of business, just paying you off or, or you’d be, or you’d make so much money that you would literally never have to come in to work for the rest of the year.
So, so that was how big it was. And it was with one of, it was a, it was a major entertainment brand as well, like a worldwide entertainment brand. And we made it into the final three in the RFP where, so they flew us out there to their headquarters and we were at like their like production studio. And we pitched their executive team, which included the executive producer of one of the most popular television programs of all time.
And we had, I think it was an hour and a half meeting and we spent an hour pitching, like we went through our presentation with our, with our proposed solution and it was like, I thought we’d be like popping bottles by the end of it. And instead like, We got to the end of the pitch and that executive producer, you know, and Billy Madison where he’s like, well, you know, like he gives that long answer and he’s like, we are all dumber for having, right.
I can’t remember the full speech. And he was like, nothing that you said within that had any sort of relevance or value, we’re all dumber for having listened to it. That’s kind of what, like he gave back to us. He gave us like five, 10 minutes, just like chewing us out, being like, you got this wrong, you had this wrong.
You did not, you know, so. Wow. And, and that really hurt because I was our team lead on that. And I didn’t like think too in the moment, say like, Hey, we should restructure this presentation, but that was also my moment of being like, I need to figure this out. Yeah. And it’s not like it was like a straight and narrow path from there of like, Oh my, my life’s work is figuring out presentations, but I started to take storytelling more seriously from there and through all the work that I was doing.
And then that’s kind of what led me to. Figuring out, like how should we tell stories in a business setting and why does it matter? And really just, how does your inner, how do your interactions change when you take it seriously? And you tell, tell a good story. That’s,
Scott: That is that’s a defining career moment that you had early on that sort of pushed you in this direction.
And it makes sense to me, why losing a $10 million deal that could quite literally change the structure of the company, train, change, change your comp plan. When you lose that, it hurts, especially when somebody chews you up, which doesn’t happen often. That’s not normal for us. Obviously it’s a very opinionated individual when you pitched to.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Right. And I think that kind of shows the amount of influence and power that this person had. Right. To know they could do that with like zero ramifications too.
Scott: That’s not good, but it’s true. It’s true. Okay, so that makes sense for me. So this is a, this is like you said, it’s not a straight line, but I can see the framework was laid.
You went into personal branding. But it didn’t work out so well, not the great business model didn’t pan out. So now your, you are, you know, startup hype, man, what are you, what are you doing for companies you’re doing, you’re basically building out models for helping them. And in situations like you dealt with as a younger sales rep.
So walk me through, you know, the business model and what you do with startup hype, man.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Yeah. So it’s, it’s, you know what you said in the beginning? I think it was a good encapsulation of it, but it is really like I’m helping companies not suck at how they communicate their themselves so that they can close more deals really like breakthrough in their category.
And then when you think of some of the longterm ramifications, your valuation increases maybe raise money along the way as well. Right? So in, in the sales and marketing setting, By approach, there is this story stack process. So I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase tech stack before, right. Every company has their tech stack.
Well, very few companies have a story stack and the story stack is the different layers of messaging that weave in and out of your sales process and that your marketing team uses as well. And in the story stack, what we focus on is your elevator pitch. We craft your company’s manifesto. We look at your demo and we audit the demo to see how does this need to be reframed or redelivered to have more impact.
We create your pitch deck. And we look at where do we, where do we leverage that in the sales process? And we have, and we really let the pitch deck be like the defining representation of your story. And then there’s some other, there’s some other elements as well that are added in there, like talking about customer success, things of that nature.
But, but the idea is that the story stack then is the thing that your team gets trained up on, but then they go back and reference whenever they need to say, okay, what do I do in this situation? Or how do I think in this situation, it’s what the marketing team is able to go and leverage to say, okay, what’s our content strategy going to be?
Well, let’s, let’s start with the story stack and see what’s the base message we’re trying to get across in the first place. Hey, if we’re going to put an ad out on social media, let’s go back to the story stack and just look at what is that lead message that we know where we’re going for here. Can I ask,
Scott: can I ask you something?
Why would. Can I ask you something?
I lost my train of thought. Why would, why would a CEO or CMO VP marketing, VP sales not be doing this in house? Why
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: would they bring you? Yeah, it’s a really good question. And sometimes the hesitation I’ll face is, Oh, we have a product marketer who’s working on this stuff. Here’s the challenge with doing it.
In-house it’s not impossible, but it’s a really. It’s a really high uphill climb for most companies because they don’t have a process for creating this stuff. They may hack it together over time, incidentally, but they don’t have a concrete step-by-step process to work through it. Oftentimes the internal resources are tied up with other things.
So like, if you think about a sales leader, are they going to commit the time to like figuring out the company’s story when they have to. Get on and help close deals and manage reps, pipeline, pipeline, things like that. The product marketer which I would often say is like my, probably my biggest like competitor quote unquote, is the internal product marketer or them thinking the internal product marketer can do it.
And I got a lot of love for the product marketers and I love to work in collaboration with them. I think the challenge with them doing it on their own. Is their work is also pulled away from like figuring out like demand gen with webinars. Right. And just like creating collateral. And overall, I would say most times people at the company, if it’s the CEO if it’s the product market, it’s the head of sales.
If it’s the rep, they’re so close to their own thing, that they have forgotten what it’s like to be the person who’s coming to this fresh and their customers. Or the people who are coming to it fresh, maybe they’re a little bit educated because they’ve done some research online, but they are like, you know, it’s really tough when you’re so in the weeds.
Yeah. You know, and, and I call it the messaging treadmill, actually, I probably should have led with that, but the idea is like, all these companies know it’s important, but when, anytime they make an effort for it, they take two steps back, like they’re on a treadmill or I just running in place and yeah, in my conversations with probably I’d say at this point over the years, like four or 500 entrepreneurs.
The three most prevailing reasons for why it’s difficult. Is there either, as I said too, in the weeds to really get a clear look at this thing perhaps they’re too technical minded, especially like, you know, if the CEO created the company and created the product, they know product, but they don’t necessarily know communication or they’re just too distracted by the other day to day responsibilities.
Scott: It’s interesting because storytelling messaging. Is probably one of the most important. My background is in sales and marketing, but heavily in sales. So one of the most important tools that you can use to sell a product, to demo product, if you are like, you know, you know, this is your, this is your bread and butter, but if you’re not telling the story, it’s very hard to properly demo and pitch and eventually negotiate and close.
But it seems that it’s useful for sales, but sales thinks it should be coming from marketing. And nobody’s really picking up that mantle and like running with it. But it’s probably one of the most important things you could do as a business. And then like, I like your point too. It’s like it’s in the CEO’s head, but the CEO doesn’t, you know, step out, you know, can’t see the forest of the trees and, and understand that it’s not what’s in his or her head is not apparent.
To the people that are hitting that landing page, jumping on a call with a rep, like it doesn’t translate because you’ll never tell the story as well as the CEO, unless you codify it and put it into a playbook and, and, and sort of write it down. Right. So that’s, it’s a very good point. Now
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: if I can just jump in for a second with that I’m most frequently prospect of the CEO.
Like him or her that’s who I’m prospecting is the CEO, as opposed to like, you know, head of marketing or head of sales and the message I give to that person. The CEO is like, look, you’ve got, you have a vision in your head for what this brand is supposed to represent, but what’s happening is that vision is not being articulated in your team’s day to day boots on the ground interactions with, with the messaging and the demos and the marketing.
And so where I can come in is developing a scalable narrative that maps your vision to what’s being said in that boots on the ground effort.
Scott: So there’s a couple of things that I want to touch on. So the premise makes sense why companies aren’t doing it makes sense. I want to touch on like best practices for building out this story. So what, you know, what’s your process at a high level. And then. I also want to touch on like how to get people to adopt it and really buy into it.
But you gave me some good points to run with that I want to bring up. So one of your points was don’t think like an entrepreneur or executive think like an entertainer, explain what that means for people that, that don’t understand the value of storytelling or, or even just, just break that down.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Yeah, of course.
That’s and that’s really like the startup hype man, like guiding Mundra is think like an entertainer. The idea behind that is. The entertainer is solely concerned with their audience, right? They, they have one goal in mind elicit an emotional reaction from the crowd, get them to feel something, get them to leave the arena buzzing about something.
And that’s actually why, when you know it was so Scott who’s like your favorite music artist,
Scott: favorite music artists. Ooh. Well, that’s a good one, which which genre, Oh, I’ll go with, I’ll go with, I’ll go with somebody. Who, who can’t be controversial anymore? I like a Vici. Vichy is a great artist.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Sure.
Scott: in peace. Rest in peace. Exactly. Yeah. I’m not gonna name any people that are still around. Cause I might, I might I might start some feelings, whatever, but it’d be everybody like the beachy.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Okay. So levels of each of you, right? So When a Vici hits the stage or when he did hit the stage,
here’s what would happen. Right. He could come out and be like, how’s everyone doing tonight? And everyone’s like, yeah, we’re doing great. And it’s like, all right, let’s do this. Okay. What did not happen with a Vici or any artists for that matter? They do not hit the stage and go how’s everyone doing tonight?
Yeah, we’re great. Okay, great. So check it out. Here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to play every song in my catalog that I’ve ever come out with. It’s like nine albums deep, but I’m not just going to play those songs. You’ve heard. I’m also going to go through the B sides and the draft versions and some things that I’ve just been working on in the garage recently because I don’t really care that you, you don’t care about all those, but I, they really mean a lot to me and it’s important to me.
And it’s gonna take about like 12 hours to get through it all. Who’s with me. Even like the biggest of ICI fan is going to be like, alright, we got to get home at some point. Right? They, they, they think about like, what’s their set list and they say, we’re going to compose this set list based on a take home feeling that we want them to have.
We want them buzzing with something. And that set list is constructed very carefully now. It doesn’t mean you don’t get the guitar solo or the rapper doesn’t go into like that, you know, that off-script freestyle. But the, the idea is that they’re working within a construct within a set list, which allows them the ability to go off script momentarily, but then come back to something.
They, they, you know, they didn’t just like go in blind and be like, well, it’s a, you know, it’s a, it’s a three hour long freestyle. I don’t know what I’m doing today. Yeah. Right. So they have that set list. And again, you know, the actor will go off script if the scene demands it, but it’s because the scene demands it.
Not because the actor demands it.
Scott: That’s a great, that’s a really great analogy. That’s a really, really good analogy. It really, it really frames up what’s wrong with demos, but when you put it like that, it’s almost ridiculous. Why would you just. Like vomit, verbally vomit on somebody, everything, you know, if they don’t need it or they don’t care about it.
Right. How, how, like, first of all, there’s different, you know, of course the ideal is to walk away from a demo, with a positive impression of the person who’s pitching. But you know, maybe, maybe you’re looking at other vendors, you have a neutral impression because they, you know, hit all the nails on the head and you just want to shop around, but.
If you’re going to start pitching things, then I’ve seen this before they open up, like the feature brochure now virtually feature brochure. And it’s like, duh, like, like just like go like that, that, that, that, that, that, that like threw everything. And the person’s like, man, I need like, like a 10th of what you just showed me.
Like chill out. Like let’s, let’s, let’s like we shelve that for later. But if you do that, like, and you’re taking up somebody’s hour, hour and a half. That’s a negative. They walk away with a negative impression. So not only could you not sell, but you could like jeopardize like your reputation as a sales rep, as a company, and really, really her chances of even selling in the future to that person or that organization.
So that’s, that’s very important. So entertain, tailor the pitch, tailor the stuff that you’re giving over and, and like hyper personalized so that it’s like specific for them. And that’s it. But you know,
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: well, and even within that, I think what’s important there. The operative word you use there is tailor it.
Right? I think there are like, there’s almost the other extreme that people fall into where they’re like, well, every person is different, so I’m going to have nothing baseline to work off of. And, and I’m just going to, you know, go with the flow, but that’s not like tailoring means you had a suit. That you adjusted for the situation, like for the event you’re going to your cause you gained a couple pounds, you know, you brought up the sides a little bit or vice versa.
It doesn’t mean you don’t even have a suit or a dress to begin with. It means you had some base base clothing that you adjusted to the situation. And that’s, I think the other extreme that people fall into is they don’t even know what the starter clothing is. The starter material is. And then they’re just doing everything on the fly.
Scott: Yeah. Very smart. Okay. So let’s talk about elevator pitching. What is, yeah. What is, is how you pronounce it. The key Pasa is that it, can you pass that?
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: You clearly don’t know any Spanish?
Scott: I don’t know any Spanish. I don’t know any Spanish and that’s that’s that’s anyways, that’s embarrassing, but gave us the elevator pitch framework.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Yeah. So let me let me just give some context to that. So. In my process, we always start with what’s your elevator pitch.
And the reason for that is everyone at the company. I mean, not even just sales and marketing, everyone at the company should know what to say to the ant, to the answer, to the question, what does your company do? Right. Most companies, everyone says something different. That should be a pretty unified front.
They’re like that top line message about your company should be pretty unified. Yes. You know? One rep may have a slight personality tweak to it versus another, but generally the message should be the same. And it’s not just that the elevator pitch represents what are you answer for? What do you do? But it’s actually like the foundation for all of your brand communication, right?
Like that is the movie trailer, whereas, and the movie is the deeper interaction with your company, with your product, with your brand. So while it may just be, well, it is the answer to what does your company do? It’s also the elevator pitch is also what you deliver when you’re on your demo call. And you need to give that introduction to your company.
Your elevator pitch is also what you build your pitch deck around, right? Like it is the core and the deck is an extension on the value delivered in the elevator pitch. The elevator pitch is also what you What your marketing team leverages for the materials they create. And that’s why I’m very intentionally that formula created the K Pasa pitch method.
It’s like all of these things funnel back to K pasta and I’ll get into what that means in a second. And, and the idea is that you, you, you become a better storyteller by consistently speed. Not only like having that hard line message in that formula, but then also knowing throughout a sales process throughout a demo call.
Speaking in like sub versions of Cape Pasa specific to the, you know, the nuanced situation. So what K Pasa means in Spanish, which I think we’ve just identified. I need to give me some lessons Unbabel or something. Yeah. Yeah. So K Pasa in Spanish just me, it’s like a colloquial way of saying like what’s up or what’s happening, so, okay.
Get Pasa, amigo. It’s what you’d say. If someone like comes to hang out with you, right? Oh, what’s up, man? And, and this is something that I came up with several years ago when I was looking at like, where is there a gap in how people are talking about their companies and how they’re pitching and presenting what they do.
And so what Kay Pasa represents is an acronym. The second half of it, P a S a Pasa, which stands for problem approach solution action. Problem approach solution action. Okay. That mode of communicating is inherently buyer focused. It is inherently audience driven because what you’re doing when you lead with the problem, first you’re creating context and frame of reference for why you should be, why you should exist.
Why you’re talking about this in the first place. But most importantly, you generate and you lead with empathy and because you’re leading with empathy, then it makes sense why you have a solution for this thing. What I see most companies do. And honestly, it’s, it’s oftentimes driven by the CEO accidentally.
They will talk, they’ll jump immediately to solution. We have a, you know, we have a SAS AI platform that. Gives you the, you know, the, the ROI on, on all of your digital spend, right? They lead with solution first. We have a dashboard that does X, Y, and Z, and that cuts empathy out of the equation altogether, but with K Pasa.
Yeah. Problem approach solution action. You start with empathy. So you S you, you make it about them out of the
Scott: gate. Again, customer focus, customer centric, and actually the framework for everything that you’re teaching over. So I love,
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: yeah. And well, again, while it’s your heart elevator pitch. That idea of communicating K Pasa, right.
It’s also how you can demo every aspect of your product when you do get to that component, or what do you do when you get to that part of your process? Right. So what you’ll see on a lot of demos, which are just like horrible is the person will say, well, we’ll just be like, okay, here’s this feature.
Here’s what it does. She, you know, this widget down here does this thing. Yeah. And, and it, it creates this like overwhelming amount of information in a snooze Fest versus if within the product level itself, if you’re like, okay, so let’s start here. Usually when you’re working, you encounter this type of a challenge, right?
Okay. Yeah. That’s what we hear often. Great. Well, our way of addressing that is this, and here’s what this widget does for you to address that. What are your thoughts there? Could that work for you? Right? So, so it becomes, you’re just kind of like weaving this tapestry by talking and continuing to communicate in that way.
Scott: Now, what I, what I like about this is it forces you by using the, so it is customer centric, customer focused, and it’s still forcing you to be concise and succinct by building from an elevator pitch versus. Just cause you can be customer focused and, and not have a true direction or be succinct or be concise.
And I think that that can confuse people when you’re trying to create this like replicable message across sales and marketing. So you’re still using like an elevator pitch format and you’re building out from that, but you still always know what your, like your core. Customer focused problem solving solution.
Is, does that, does that make sense? Does that help when you, when you sort of make sure that it fits in like a couple sentences framework?
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Yeah. And, and if you want, I can give you an example.
Scott: Yeah. For sure. Let’s do it right. Cause that would be very helpful because I think that, yeah. People don’t focus so much on having an elevator pitch as much because the concept of the premise of the elevator pitch, when it’s explained to somebody it’s very outdated, right?
It’s like the whole premise of all. If you’re in an elevator and you have, you know, the 15 seconds to talk to a CEO, how are you going to pitch your product? Well, a sales rep is like, well, you know, I have an hour all the time. Why would I ever have to worry about a 15 second elevator pitch? That’s not the point.
Right? It’s it’s to be succinct and to be able to deliver something and then expand on it.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Yeah. Well, and that’s why I believe like, Hey, if you can’t get this right in 60 seconds, good luck getting it right in 60 minutes, 60 minutes will probably just be an hour of just confusion. Yeah. So one example of a company that I’ve worked with and we use this to help them raise their series a round and it’s they’ve since scaled the team.
And then they, they leverage this formula for their customer stuff as well. But just modifying to be appropriate audience. It’s a company called fan food. And when I first started working with them, I asked the CEO Carson. I was like, okay, pitch me. And I, and I have this on video. It’s pretty funny when I do workshops, I’ll play it.
And people will be like, Oh man, that was the ad. So I’m like, okay, go. And he’s like, Alrighty. So, and food is a live event. Mobile ordering app. For your concession food. The value add to the fan is less wait times and the value add to the arena and the stadium is increased per cap revenue. Is that it, it sounds, and he ended by being like, is that it am I done?
Scott: Like he should know, but it sounds, it sounds very true. Right. You focus on like every, every stakeholder in the, in the transaction, like what are they getting out of it really? Yeah. So I, when he reframed it or when you worked with them, I’m assuming it was sort of answering problems that somebody would have, but yeah, I mean, what it was
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: referred from like the consumer side, what we came up with was.
Yeah, we, we use the K Pasa model and the pitch became as a diehard sports fan. There’s nothing more frustrating than going to your favorite team’s game and missing the big play because you are stuck waiting in line for a hot dog and beer. How relatable fan food keeps you in the moment? Use our mobile or, you know, our, our mobile concession app, you can get your food and your drinks delivered directly to your seat.
So you never miss the big play again. Download fan of food in the app store today.
Scott: I love that. And that’s, it’s super, it’s so relatable. It’s what everybody who isn’t sitting in, the one hundreds is sitting in the 200 or the 300 section has to deal with. They don’t have a little concierge bringing you to a 100 level box.
Like it’s perfect. I like it a lot.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Very good. And you know, like the, the reason I love that example so much is because anyone who is a sports fan can visualize when that has happened to them. Yeah. You know, and it’s happened to Carson. I’ve been around him where he’s, he’s delivered that pitch to an audience and people have stopped him.
Mid-sentence I remember one time someone stopped him mid sentence to tell him what he was. He like the guy raised and he’s like, Oh, wait, that was me. That was me. Ah, the Odell Beckham catch. He’s like the greatest catch in NFL history. I paid like $3,000 from my end zone seat and I missed it and I had to watch it on the TV, above the concession stand because I was waiting for like 45 minutes just to get my beer.
And that like when someone is able to so vividly tell you their story, their experience with that thing, that’s how, you know, you’ve just like aced that that communication, that messaging, that brand.
Scott: Awesome. Awesome example. I like that a lot. Okay. And the last point that I want to touch on is so we have, okay.
Think like an entertainer. Kay, Pasa elevator pitch framework. And
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: then not, not key Pasa.
Scott: Awesome. Okay. Listen, I speak French, not Spanish. Okay.
It was years of French, no Spanish whatsoever. So that was still my bad,
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: but whatever what’s what is WhatsApp in French? I’m curious.
Scott: What’s up in France. How’s it going? How’s it going? Okay.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Yeah,
Scott: come on. Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on. How? Yeah. Yeah, come on. Okay. Yeah, it’s a,
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: I think there’s some, the acronym doesn’t work as clear, but maybe I could maybe really
Scott: work as well.
Like yeah. It’s like, it wouldn’t work in France at all. You’d have to think of another one. This one. It’s really good. So just stick with Spanish. I think, I think I think it works really well and it’s, it’s, it’s easy to remember and that’s also important too. Okay. Last point is Hamilton Hamilton.
I know when we first spoke, you said you had you said you had individuals from Hamilton on your podcast, which is interesting because I was like, I don’t, I never really, I didn’t mention anything when I’m like, I don’t quite understand how he runs a startup podcasts and has. I guess actors, actresses, people who were in Hamilton, but then I saw some of the points you sent over and you said the Hamilton storytelling method.
So now I’m connecting the dots and I’m like, there’s a reason why he had those people besides being a fan of the show or the, the, the place use me, I guess also he he sees something in, in Hamilton storytelling and I don’t know it well enough to, to know what that means. So. What is to
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: address the point of the podcast?
I will say just out if we’re just being real with each other, the lead reason was me fanboying out hard.
Scott: Anyone wants to be your friend. You talk about Hamilton, WWE, and I see you have a belt behind you, which is hilarious. I’ve never seen that as like. It was like a, I don’t know anybody who’s passionate about wrestling.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: like the, Oh, Hey, we are a weird, we’re a weird subculture, but there’s a lot of us that exist.
Scott: Or Seinfeld, I guess a lot of people love Seinfeld. It’s, it’s pretty hard to get, you know, Jerry on your show. So
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Hamilton and I have had a pro wrestler as a guest on my show before, which was also a really cool experience.
Scott: There’s no correlation between pro wrestling. It’s Oh, actually there is. Either.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: That’s a whole nother episode. My man.
Scott: Okay. Yeah. Actually, we’ll go into that. And that’s a funny, funny topic because you actually brought that up. You said every startup is like what did you say? You said something like every startup,
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: every startup’s a pro wrestler.
Why? Because a pro wrestler is a brand. Each wrestler is a brand and their job as a brand, just because they’re entertainers. Right. Similar to, I said earlier, they have to like, they have one job. Either get the audience to Boomi. If I’m a bad guy or cheer me, if I’m a good guy and the wrestlers who don’t make it are the ones where the audience reaction is flat.
And I would say in a, in a business setting, it’s the same thing. If your reaction is flat, you’re doing something wrong. If they’re booing you, if they don’t like you, you at least know you’ve got, you’ve created opinion that they don’t agree with. That’s very often the cheer you, but if they, if they don’t like you, you’ve at least created a stance in a position.
And I think. In wrestling, everyone’s vying for the championship belt. Right. And just in business world and startup land, what’s the championship it’s getting acquired. It’s going IPO and it’s exiting. Right. Everyone’s everyone’s vying for that championship.
Scott: Yeah, that’s it’s a, it’s the strangest analogy I’ve ever heard, but it’s not wrong.
So Hamilton storytelling method for winning sales decks. What does that mean? What does the Hamilton storytelling method? I haven’t seen it yet. People that hear this, that have seen it are probably like, what’s wrong with you, Scott. And I’ve heard that from a lot of my friends and others. It’s
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: on Disney plus.
Now it’s pretty easy to watch.
Scott: I have, I have Netflix. I have prime. I have what else? I have Hulu I have some animate subscription that I don’t even use. It’s my girlfriend’s. Like I have too many subscription TV channels. I haven’t gone to the Disney plus just because I feel like Apple TV is, I don’t need six subscription TV channels.
I haven’t watched the Mandalorian yet, which I I’m actually very sad about that. So when I get there, then I’ll get Hamilton as well. Anyway. Yeah.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: I think if you subscribe to Hulu or you get a discount on Disney plus, just so you know, that’s true. I didn’t know that. Yeah. Cause when you get Disney, plus you automatically get Hulu and like ESPN plus with it.
That’s true. That’s true. So, anyways so if you haven’t seen it yet sure. You’ve at least heard about it, right. And you maybe you’ve heard a song or two in there, but here’s the short version of it. And I, and I will honestly say like this methodology, is it also a podcast episode of its own? And I’ve done, I’ve done webinars on it as well.
The, if you look at the stories telling of Hamilton, I saw that and I was immediately taken by it. And then I studied it and said, Hey, this works. Really well, and I think it’s the best framework for putting together a presentation in, in your sales process. And the idea with Hamilton is essentially it’s broken out into like four or five parts.
You have, the first thing they do is they give away the ending right out of the gate. Hm. So you’ll, I mean, you’ll listen to it. It’s not the biggest thing if I tell you this, but you know, the show opens. Yeah. The show opens with Aaron Burr. Who’s Hamilton’s character foil, and everything is in song, but his opening line as the curtains open is he says, how does a bastard orphan son of a whore and a Scotsman.
Dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean, by Providence impoverished in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar. So like that’s their thesis statement upfront. They’re like, Hey, how does this guy who came from nothing go on to become an American legend. So that’s what you know, you’re in for right away.
Like that’s what we’re going to answer over the next three hours, essentially what they’re saying. And then the final line in that first song is Aaron. Burr’s saying I’m the damn fool that shot him. Right. So they give away the ending right out of the gate, but even in, so doing people, aren’t like, well, I understand it.
Now I’m going to leave the theater instead. They’re like, okay, I got to see how this comes together. I got to see how we’re getting to that end point. And then as the play progresses, there are three duels that take place like pistol duels. The first dual that takes place is between two relatively inconsequential characters.
And the, and the purpose of that dual is to explain to you what dueling culture was like in 17 hundreds, America. And they, they literally talked about like honor culture and like, Hey, like this thing was like, it was kind of outlawed, but it was also legal in some places and it had rules about it. And it was all about defending your honor.
So they give you, they lay out like the, Hey here’s what the world was. And so you buy into the idea, okay, that’s the world. That’s what 17 hundreds, America was like next. They have a second duel where someone you’re emotionally attached to dies and you see that there’s real impact from a duel. You, so you understand the rules of the game.
First, you understand what the world is. You agree to that world. Then you say, Hey, there’s impact. When things go down, which takes you to the final duel, you’re anticipating by this point because of the buildup, right? Because of the tension along the way. And because Aaron Burr’s said at the beginning, I’m the damn fool that shot him.
Guess what happens at the end? Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton get into a pistol duel and Aaron, Burr’s the damn fool who shoots him. But rather than leaving the theater being like, Oh my God, I can’t believe he would die. Or being like, I can’t believe the vice president would shoot someone. Instead you are leaving, reflecting about and talking with your friends where you came with about.
The life and the legacy of Hamilton, which if we go back to that opening lyric, what did they ask? How does someone who came from nothing build this legacy, this great legacy. What do we leave the theater with? We talk about his legacy. And so that format of storytelling is the same thing we can follow in principle when we create presentations, because what do we like?
What do most presentations look like? Slide one is like, here’s a photo of our headquarters and we have offices in six locations around the world. Slide two is here’s our NASCAR slide. Here’s all the logos of clients we’ve worked with. And that’s why you should trust us. And then slide three is here’s our product.
And then slide four is like, here’s our executive leadership who has a combined 400 years of experience somehow. And that’s why we’re amazing. And then we’re going to talk you more about our product, right? And that’s why most presentations are terrible. And why they fall flat. But if we follow the Hamilton storytelling method, start by giving away the ending, what is the destination you’re trying to take them to, right.
That’s your opening, then go through your version of your three duels. So duel one define the world, like set the terms of it. What is the world relative to like operating in with that customer and with your product and. Talk about like, what are the, like, what are the rules of that world to get them to agree to?
Yeah. That’s the way things are today. Then you introduce change into that world. And that’s where that second duel comes in. It’s like, Hey, there’s real impact. If you don’t do something about this and there’s trade offs, if you know, or there’s trade-offs, if you don’t do something about it, but there’s real gain.
If you do something about it, which brings you to the inevitable ending, your third duel. Where you deliver your solution, your product, and you talk about why it works and why it makes sense, but because of the structure to that point, right, just like in Hamilton, where you anticipate the ending and you want it, you want to get there in the same way, your buyers, they anticipate that’s your ending.
And they want to get there versus being like annoyed that they get there. And if you follow this framework, the interesting thing is that 50 to set the first 50 to 70% of your presentation. You’re not ever talking about your product, you’re just setting the tr like the ground rules. And you’re talking about the idea of doing something and the idea of not doing something.
And then you get to that third duel, 70 ish percent in where you’re like, here’s our product. Here’s how we solve for that. And that mode of delivering presentations is, I mean, the companies I’ve worked with, like we’ve had a company in Australia, Take that, you know, build a presentation around that go to the largest provider in their industry with a presentation like that, and walk out with the CEO of that, of the largest provider in the industry saying, you guys really understand our business and let’s get a letter of intent together, or they walk out of that meeting with a letter of intent.
And the other thing that I think just to quickly point out is, you know, when I, when I realized that method, I also saw it reflected in other places where stories are told well, so two other places you can look at that follow it very closely, the way Steve jobs delivered the first iPhone keynote, like that original one very closely follows this the way Martin Luther King Jr.
Delivered his famous. I have a dream speech. Almost to a T follows this framework and he moved, you know, hundreds of millions of people. You’re worried about moving one person on a zoom call. Right. And I think what’s interesting is with MLK, we all know it as the, I have a dream speech, right? It’s a 16 minutes speech.
He doesn’t, he doesn’t say I have a dream until 11 and a half minutes in, and we know it as the, I have a dream speech. So, if you think about your product, how do you get people being like, you know, Scott’s product. I know it is the Scott’s product. You delay talking about Scott’s product. Yeah.
Scott: Yeah. Very, very smart.
Very smart. Thank you. That’s those are really, really strong takeaways. I’m glad, you know, I think that, like you mentioned. Each one of those you can go on for like an hour in all seriousness, really, really
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: go granular. I tried to condense it as much as possible, so hopefully it didn’t, and that was really, really good.
Scott: I’m really happy with this one. I want to, you know, we’ve been on for, let’s say 45, 50 minutes, so we do have to wrap this up because most people don’t tell don’t listen past an hour. That’s that’s a long block, but I do like the TVs up with a couple of just quick questions about, you know, your experience as an entrepreneur.
If you can do them a little bit rapid fire, if you’d like. Before I pivot. And I will get to all your, like your socials and your website and by the end of the podcast. But before we pivot, is there any other things that you want to talk about with, you know, startup, hype man, or any of the work you’re doing or storytelling or anything that you didn’t have a chance to bring up?
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Yeah, I think, you know, I would just ask people, you know, connect with me on LinkedIn. I love talking about this stuff. I love, you know, just giving out advice on this stuff. So linkedin.com/in/rajiv, Nathan, and I’m sure you can throw that link in the notes as well. Yeah. And then the other thing too, I want to just let people know I know it’s tough to gather all this stuff like while you’re listening and if you’re like me, then you listen while multitasking and like grocery shopping or working out or something.
And you probably didn’t like pause to like write down notes at the, at that moment. So if that’s the case and you want to like recap some of this stuff we talked about the K Pasa method today. So for everyone who’s listening, I’ve put together a guide. That walks through the Cape Pasa formula and explains it in detail and also gives some prompts for how to create your own.
It’s just a quick one-page document that you can, you know, you can scan over yourself. And that is email@example.com slash Scott. So super easy URL startup hype
Scott: Well, obviously I’ll link that in the, in the show notes too. So that’s awesome. Thank you for that. I didn’t even realize to put together a custom URL, so I appreciate that, please.
That’s good. I gotcha. No, I don’t ask it. Some people are lazy and they don’t feel like doing it, but like that’s useful. That’s very useful.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: I started doing it cause I was like, well, this, you know, what’s an easy to think to remember. Well, maybe the person’s name is a really easy URL.
Scott: Good start. You know? Okay.
So a couple rapid fire, just as an entrepreneur career advice for somebody who wants to pursue a career, similar to yours consulting or acting as an agency, I guess.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Career advice for somebody who wants to, who wants to pursue something like consulting or starting an agency really the size and prioritize learning be willing to go outside of conventional methods to learn like, look at unconventional resources like I have, and be willing to challenge your own knowledge.
So. One of the things that I think annoys me about like the, whatever you want to call it, the subject matter expert world is people come up with something, but then they become known for that. And so they can never challenge that thing. And so I would just say like, you know, like my stuff, like these are frameworks I’ve come up with, but I also am constantly like pressure testing it to see like, does this still work?
Do I need to make changes to this. Right. So, so just be willing to challenge your own knowledge.
Scott: And I would, I would add on something to that. I think that’s an incredibly smart thing to, to advise someone, if you are learning from somebody who doesn’t challenge their own knowledge, don’t learn from them, find somebody else, because if they’re not, if they’re not able to look inside and to, and to have a little bit of self-awareness that there’s other options out there, you know, maybe it’s outdated or maybe they’re offered.
Maybe they just, maybe it’s not as good as it could be. And they’re just preaching that. They’re the only way, especially in the subject matter expert thought leader space I would steer clear of them because nobody who I’ve ever had as a mentor has ever said, who’s, who’s, who’s actually helped me, has ever said.
My way is the only way to do it. In fact, a good mentor tries to teach you how to learn for yourself. I think that’s probably the most useful thing you take away from a mentor. Okay. One myth about demos or sales that you, that you’d like to debunk a prevalent myth that you see happen a lot. It could be a really bad habit.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Yeah. That the purpose of a demo is to show them your product. Good one. I would challenge everyone. Go as long as possible in your call without showing your product and show is a little of it as possible. See where it see where that gets you.
Scott: Good one a lesson that you would tell your younger self
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: remove your ego,
Scott: but very good. One very good one. And a resource or resources that you would suggest people go check out that, you know, that have helped you.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Well, like watch Hamilton
Scott: I feel like I feel a little victimized here.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Take Spanish fan. That would be, that was my next advice. You know, I, I, one of my favorite books and it only came out a couple of years ago and I’ve gotten to know the author since then.
And he’s, he’s awesome. His name is Todd caponi, but he wrote a book called the transparency sale. And he talked about, he did a whole lot of research and it’s a whole book on how the more transparent you can be throughout your sales process, the better results you will have to the extent where like he advises, like if you actually lead with your flaws or your disadvantages you’ll have more success because you’re able to be real with people.
So that that’s one resource. And then another, just from like a, kinda like a growth or development standpoint is the book shoe dog by Phil Knight, founder of Nike. And it’s like his memoir about his journey of starting Nike. It’s I read that book at a time when I really needed it in my life. It was a major pick me up and it, it impacted me so much.
I actually wrote Phil Knight, a letter afterwards, just thanking him. And I got, I got a letter back, which is so crazy. I have it framed. You can’t see it in the screen, but I have a framed at the bottom of his bookshelf. Yeah, but that, you know, that’s how much it moved me that for the first time in my life, I wrote the author of a book to just to say, Hey, this is, this really impacted me.
Scott: One thing, just a point on that book. If you ever think that you screwed up in life, Go read that book. Cause you realize
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: shit. And that’s what I’m saying, man. It hit me really when I needed it. Cause I was like, Oh my God. I think my problems I’m facing right now are bad. I don’t have Adidas sending the U S government against me.
Scott: I think he took out loans for payroll. Like he did a whole bunch of like he had had a rough time. So it just, yeah,
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: it’s crazy. It wasn’t, it, it was almost like. It wasn’t until like they finally went public. Did he ever feel like comfortable with like, he always felt like tomorrow could have been the day Nike dies?
Scott: Yeah. No, that’s a good book. He has a really, really interesting story. Okay. And last question. What does success mean for you?
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: Can I give a joke answer first? And it’s a Jay Z says it in the lyric of one of his songs. Can I swear? Yeah. Yeah. So JZ and one of his lyrics, he says, I used to give a fuck. Now I’ll give a fuck less. What do I think is success? It sucks too much stress
Scott: that’s actually, you know, that’s probably true or to, it’s probably true in most answers, but that’s Philomena of success.
You know, more money, more problems. Right,
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: right, right. Yeah. I think for me success, it really is being able to, and I, I won’t even say I am successful yet. I think I’m in the process, but I really think the idea of success is being able to be proud of the work you’re doing and be proud of the journey that you have been on to get there.
Cause I don’t think you can value success. Without having gone through a journey of some kind, right. If you were, if it’s just handed to you, you play zero emphasis or value on it. So it’s, it’s knowing you went through the process and the struggle and the path to get there. Go ahead.
Scott: And my question, well, it’s the name of the podcast, but I, I do like the question as well, because everybody’s answer is different.
Like is success means so many different things in it. And what I’m happy with is out of all the people that I’ve ever interviewed, the answer is never. Monetary ever, ever, ever it’s more free time. It’s, it’s being fulfilled. It’s enjoying the journey. There’s a lot of different answers, but it’s always like, it makes you think about, you know, I would consider, I would consider to most people who are starting in their career, you are quite successful and there’s levels of success beyond you and whatnot, but it doesn’t really matter because you see that at every level of success.
The, the, the thing that people value the most. Is actually not the money because I’m sure you know. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s just a by-product and the journey I liked that you brought up the journey just because the journey is so important because I don’t think you can, maybe you can have success without, without enjoying the journey.
But my God, you’re not going to have a good life that you won’t have a good life. You have to have ups and downs and you have to enjoy the journey. You have to enjoy the process because if you’re trying to rush it, it’s just going to be hell. In all seriousness, like nothing good comes from rushing success and not enjoying the journey.
Okay. Most important. You dropped a, a couple of links before, but your social, you, LinkedIn, you have a, you know, your website, but other, other places, people can go and connect with you, reach out to you. Yeah.
Rajiv ‘RajNATION’: If you’re on Instagram, which a lot of people are at startup hype, man we post a lot of our podcast content there and they’ll just some other like advice stuff.
And if you want to just, you know, keep in touch with me personally as well. At Raj nation, our AIG nation, I don’t really use Twitter at all. I haven’t really used Twitter in like three years, so I have an account, but like I would say, instead of following me on there, follow me on Instagram.