If you are a fledgling hospitality startup with a promising product that you want to pitch to potential investors or clients, the second presentation in a special “Hackathon Week” series was designed for you. This session featured three hospitality industry experts in sales and marketing who participated in a lively Q&A and offered up their advice on how you can perfect your product pitch: Christopher Contos, senior account executive at Evention LLC; Jonathan Rojas, co-founder at Whistle Messaging, Inc. and Marisa Whitenton, executive producer of “I’ll Have What She’s Cookin’.” Continue reading for key takeaways from the panel; you can also watch the full presentation online.
Overcome your nerves. Pitching to an audience can be nerve-wracking. There are a few things you can do to overcome or at least hide your nerves from your audience:
Repetition and practice.
Avoid filler words and phrases like “um,” “you know” and “like.”
Nerves can lead to “data dumping,” going off on tangents and speaking too fast. Take a breath, take a pause and speak slowly. Also, do not speak too softly; practice projecting so that you can be heard.
Make sure your message is clear, that your audience understands your product in a short, simple way. When posing a solution, outline the problem clearly beforehand.
Make sure that your information is to the point without losing excitability. Do not include extraneous information. This should be your ultimate elevator pitch. Use your time to your advantage. The first 30 seconds are your hook.
Create an outline for your presentation before you give your presentation. Your introduction should introduce the solution before you go into the problem. Address the problem, then tie your product into the solution to that problem. These are the three touchpoints you should make sure to hit.
Be careful with hospitality jargon or the overuse of business acronyms that are specific to one segment of the industry. There are so many ideas, in the age of Covid-19 especially, that can appeal across the board from service industries like F&B and airlines to properties like hotels and clubs.
Know your audience. If your product is specific to only one industry segment, you should direct your pitch to that segment. You do not want to give a product pitch that would include other industries that are irrelevant to the product; it takes valuable time away from the solution you are trying to achieve with your product.
Include key details in your presentation. It does not have to be verbal; you can display a list of features, target markets and segments in your presentation.
Build a relationship with your potential sellers. Relationship-building can be a key differentiator over your competitors. Listening in the sales world is extremely important. Listen to your customers’ needs and address those needs in your presentation.
Cultivate a buying experience that fosters loyalty. It is not just about the product, but also the service. The salesperson often represents the entire company as the primary contact with a client. If you are that person, you should try your best to be easy to work with, confident, relatable and receptive to the clients’ needs.
Be confident. Have confidence in your product. Show passion for your product during your presentation. Field questions with confidence, as well.
Do you need to create a pre-recorded video pitch? You may only have a couple of minutes to make a great impression. The first presentation in a special “Hackathon Week” series recruited digital communications expert Art Lewry, founder and CEO of the creative agency Hunter Gatherer Ltd, to discuss “Digital Presentations for a New Reality.”
In his presentation, Lewry presented several valuable tips for filming and editing video, even if all you have is your smartphone. Read the recap on HFTP Connect and stay tuned for a blog recap of the final Hackathon presentation on strategic analysis.