Diana Kander and Tucker Trotter’s new book Go Big or Go Home hacks your brain for selling any idea to any audience

“Take the time to care about everyone as human beings as opposed to human-shaped wallets.”
Tucker Trotter and Diana Kander release their book Go Big or Go Home

Tucker Trotter and Diana Kander release their book Go Big or Go Home. // Courtesy of Diana Kander

Go Big or Go Home is every salesperson’s new best friend. Co-authors Diana Kander and Tucker Trotter know that everyone is a salesperson, whether you’re trying to sell yourself in an interview or pitch a million-dollar stadium remodel to a Major League Baseball team. This book gives clear steps to create a memorable presentation, and backs them up with real-world examples.

“I feel like, in a lot of ways, that sales has always had a bad connotation and everyone has a vision of what a sales person is and it’s not necessarily favorable, but I think maybe this book helps humanize it a little bit and makes it more approachable and fun,” Trotter says.

Kander and Trotter have years of personal experience engaging pitching rooms and speaking to large audiences. Some of their experiences are even snuck into their book.

Kander is a successful entrepreneur, a sought-after consultant, and an inspiring keynote speaker. She has been a part of multiple business start-ups, launching and selling millions of dollars worth of services. This is also the third book she has written.

Trotter is the CEO of Dimensional Innovations (DI), an experience, design, fabrication, and tech firm located in Overland Park. Kansas Citians may recognize the name responsible for the giant library mural painted in downtown KC. He took his first internship at DI before his graduation from KU, and after years of implementing new tactics and philosophies, he became the head of the company.

Trotter originally thought of writing this book and knew Kander was an experienced author. He called her to ask her to write with him, and she immediately said “no.” So, Trotter began making his pitch.

“I said, well, just come over and let me show you [DI],” Trotter says. “Because when we get people in our doors, there’s just magic, and people just kind of fall in love.”

He explained his pitching philosophy, which is the basis for the book and proved his success by walking around the DI campus. Once Kander saw firsthand how this strategy would help, she was convinced to contribute. 

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Scan the QR code on this cover to watch a hologram introduction to the book.

Before I go further, do you want to hear more about Go Big or Go Home directly from the authors? Hover your phone camera over the QR code on the cover and you can meet them and take a look inside Dimensional Innovations.

They also include a real phone number in the forward for readers to text them comments, questions, or concerns while reading, and, yes, they will try to text back. Well, so far they have been responding to the few readers that they have given an advanced copy. 

Kander and Trotter admit that this could be a terrible and overwhelming idea, but they had so much fun gathering feedback from friends and family that they are excited to hear from everyone that picks up their book.

One other aspect of Go Big or Go Home that is rare in the business-genre is that it is a quick 113-page read. Their goal was to keep it at a length that could be started and finished on a plane.

“The [books] that I have read, none of them ever really resonated. They haven’t been digestible. They’re too tactical, and they don’t talk about the emotional side of selling,” Trotter says.

“We just wanted to make sure that the absolute best stuff went into the book and nothing else,” Kander adds. “So, it’s a pretty fast read, much shorter than most business books.”

Seeing a need for a digestible piece of literature that delved into this topic was the initial spark for Go Big or Go Home. However, Kander and Trotter knew that the book’s only selling point couldn’t be that it was short, it also had to be interesting and applicable.

Although intended for a business audience, the book is for everyone. We have all pitched an idea or tried to sell our qualifications to get a job, and Kander and Trotter knew this.

The book’s foundation is their step-by-step plan to create a winning presentation. They express this with the acronym: M.A.G.I.C. This acronym splits up the chapters and stands for, “make it surprising,” “analyze them on a deeper level,” “give the pitch in the right order,” “include 3D objects,” and “co-create together.”

Each chapter explains the most effective ways to accomplish the step and how this will benefit your overall presentation. The concepts are hammered in with case study examples from friends and professionals that have utilized these techniques successfully.

To collect case studies, the co-authors asked people to send in the most interesting business story they have ever heard or experienced. They chose from hundreds of stories to find the perfect ones to include in the book.

“This thing started to build some momentum on its own,” Trotter says. “We’d have people reach out and say, ‘Hey, I heard about the book, I’ve got a story for you.’ Many of them didn’t make the cut, but it was cool just to see how much energy people got from the subject.”

I never thought a story about someone trying to get a meeting with the CFO of Aflac or a team going over budget to land a design deal could have me completely enthralled. Trotter and Kander take out the business jargon and fluff to make each story compelling and relatable.

The case studies range from a small project that helped someone stand out when being interviewed to explaining how a company was able to create a memorable selling experience by flying potential customers in on a private jet.

Co-authors Trotter and Kander celebrate their book release. // Courtesy of Diana Kander

The chapters and case studies are also backed up by research that looks into what other people in the business world are saying about pitching and studies about the brain and how we react to emotional triggers.

This research helps them tell readers the “why” behind their claims. For example, why are businesses attracted to pitches that include 3D objects and why should you focus on creating a unique experience for every potential buyer?

Kander and Trotter wrote this book because they believe anyone can put together a great pitch, even if they don’t. 

According to the Division on the Study of American Fears at Chapman University, about 34% of people in the United States are afraid or very afraid of public speaking. However, we can all admit to feeling nervous before approaching a large crowd, no matter our experience level.

Even Kander and Trotter admit that they still feel nervous and have been presenting and speaking to crowds for years. However, one of the biggest takeaways throughout the book is that the better background research and preparation you do, the more prepared and confident you’ll feel.

“I think what makes people the most nervous is when they focus on themselves,” Kander says. “Everything about our book is about focusing on the audience and really coming in saying I’m here to serve them. When you shift the focus away from yourself to your audience, you’re going to be much more relaxed, and you’re going to do a significantly better job.”

There are always unexpected elements that pop up before a presentation. One case study in the book talks about a man who had to pitch to a conference room full of people when he thought it was for a small panel. 

He was thrown off, and his nerves threatened to take over, but his focus remained on the presentation. Of course, learning to control their nerves to keep from stuttering or making mistakes comes with practice, but since he was prepared and focused on the company’s values he knew how to center himself and sell his services.

“If I’m doing it, it’s something I’m excited and passionate about and I don’t want to mess it up either,” Trotter says. “I guess for a long time, that bothered me, but now I feel more comfortable with this idea which is that it just makes me human, and it shows that I care.”

Books like this are a great first step in becoming a better salesperson, but as the authors demonstrate, learning from other people’s experiences is invaluable. To lift others up and recognize them for their skills, the authors included a section of the book where readers can nominate their mentors or peers. 

Some of the people nominated will receive a free book and their story could be chosen for future iterations of Go Big or Go Home.

“We want people to be acknowledged for the magic that they’re able to create in the world,” Kander says. “We want to keep the cycle going.”

Go Big or Go Home is available for purchase now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can also find more information on the book’s website.

Kander and Trotter have teased that they may be writing more books but, right now, they are focused on getting this book out and in the hands of people who need it.

Kander leaves us with a piece of advice:

“Take the time to care about everyone as human beings as opposed to human-shaped wallets.”

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