I was just at World Travel Market (WTM) and prior to that TBEX, so I’ve had a chance to refine my in person pitch. It’s really tough when you have to basically walk the pavement and sell your services. Blank stares are usually a good indicator that you’ve lost your intended audience. Or sometimes, they start looking around waiting for an excuse to leave your presence.
As such, I’ve come up with ten tips to help you win over your potential partner. Feel free to add additional ones in the comments section below. Here goes:
- Dress smartly. Yes, most people do judge you by how you look. It’s how we are as humans. You have one chance to make an impression, don’t waste it. With that said though, dress as the conference dictates, don’t over do it.
- Do your homework. If possible, do a little homework about the partner before you approach them; check their web site, magazine, etc. You are looking for what are they working on, what’s coming up in the future, etc. The thought here is that you have a potential solution for them.
- Have a proper greeting. Say Hello, with your name and add “I’m a travel blogger,” extending your arm for a firm handshake; not too firm now. Look them in the eye and don’t get distracted by what is going on around you.
- Exchange business cards. If the potential partner offers a card, do the same at the same moment or as soon as possible. If they don’t ask for yours at the end of the conversation, say something like, “if you have additional information, here’s my card, feel free to let me know.” At this point, they may also hand you their card. Don’t feel intimated to ask for their card by saying, “Do you have a card? I’d like to send a followup email with some additional details about my travel business.” They may at this point say, I’m out of cards. That’s O.K., say thank you for their time, offer your hand, shake and depart.
- Use both hands if appropriate. If cards are exchanged, note how they are giving you their card; if two hands are used do the same. But don’t be clumsy as I did at a booth at WTM as I had hot tea in one hand and my bag in the other. I had to put everything down, which was a little awkward. It was a good thing the potential partner really wanted to talk to bloggers.
- Keep the pitch short. Deliver your 60 second pitch ending with “How may I help you with your marketing goals?” then wait.
- Get it together. Based on what you say/propose they may have additional questions; answer directly and professionally. No need for the extra stuff that adds no value to the conversation.
- Be respectful of their time. The worst thing you could do is to waste the time of your prospect. Have your ducks in a row.
- Be genuine. Look for an avenue to genuinely comment about their appearance, their culture, etc. don’t over do it though and don’t get too personal.
- Talk about a common bond. If during the conversation, you find you have a common bond, talk about it, but don’t for too long unless the conversation warrants it.
- Move on. If nothing comes of your interaction, that’s O.K., you did your best, move on thanking as you go and being polite.
- Review and Improve. Go over the conversation you just had in your head and see how you can improve it for the next encounter.
There you have it; good luck in your pitching. Like most things, it takes practice. Press on.
Leave a comment below to let me know about what you’ve experienced in your encounters and additional tips you have for your fellow travel bloggers.