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Imagine a group of potential clients in a room, hanging onto your every word. They are already QUALIFIED, have expressed interest in your services, and are intently listening. Is this a sales-driven dream?
A GREAT SALES TECHNIQUE
No, it's just public speaking -- one of the most effective MARKETING tools in a competitive market. Industry sources indicate that over 6,000 seminars, meetings and conventions are held every day. And the #1 source for filling the agenda: experts like you who have products or services that can benefit the audience. Public speaking is like any other tool -- its effectiveness depends on how you USE it. The following are the top ten ways public speaking can generate a steady stream of new clients:
GETTING CLIENTS WITHOUT SELLING
Why can speaking generate so many new clients? Because the audience assumes you are a CREDIBLE source of information even before you say a word. That assumption makes the audience more receptive to the idea that this credible person can help them INDIVIDUALLY (unlike the typical sales situation, where credibility is not assumed and the "audience" can be more skeptical.) Remember: pitching your services from the podium is the kiss of death, do don't even think about it! Let your INTRODUCTION tout your achievements.
DIFFERENTIATING WITH ORIGINAL THINKING
Speaking is a way to differentiate yourself from your peers and competitors, so make sure your message is not the same as everyone else's. Broad topics will not allow enough time to discuss nuances, so assume that the audience has general KNOWLEDGE on the subject and then expand by going more into depth with NARROWER topics.
BUILDING YOUR DATABASE WITH FREE REPORTS
Give audience members a reason to give you their business cards by offering a free special report or document. Special reports can discuss TRENDS, common mistakes, or MYTHS about your topic. And they don't have to be lengthy -- most people won't read more than three to five pages. A free newsletter will work here too.
FOCUSING FOLLOW UP EFFORTS
Getting business cards from interested prospects can focus your FOLLOW-UP efforts after the program. Introduce the question and answer period with comments such as: "In the interest of time, I will only take questions about the subject at hand. If you have any questions about me or want info about my work, just put an ASTERISK on your card and I'll take care of it after our program." These cards now become your "must follow-up" list. You can also remind the audience about the "special report" at this juncture as well.
CREATING RESIDUAL EXPOSURE
Even if a group may not have an opening to hear your talk, they may still be interested in your subject. Volunteer to write an ARTICLE for their newsletter or bulletin in exchange for your contact information printed at the end. Interest generated through an article can result in a FUTURE speaking engagement or increased interest for your program later in the year. Articles also make great additions to promotional materials.
SPEAKING BEGETS MORE SPEAKING
Professional speakers know that audiences consist of members of many organizations and that REFERRALS from the audience are a natural way to get more talks. Make sure your introduction highlights your speaking. A story or two about your speaking to other groups is okay too, as long as the story illustrates one of your key points.
BUILDING YOUR REPERTOIRE
A real desire to write is the beginning. Believing in your talent and having the confidence that you will succeed comes next. Writing for non-paying markets is a start and offers you EXPOSURE. Recognition and payment comes later. And remember, anything you publish, irrespective of whether you were paid for it or not, is a CREDIT to your name and can be added to your clip file. Successful writers are not driven by greed, they are driven by their love of writing and by the desire to give others pleasure from reading their work.
WORKING WITH ME WON'T HURT
Using humor and stories will show the audience what WORKING with you is like. People who are easy and fun to work with get more business when all other things are considered equal. Show your audience that you take your work, but not yourself, seriously and let your PERSONALITY shine through.
LEVERAGING YOUR OWN DATABASE
Help those "fence-sitters" in your database decide by INVITING them to hear you speak. These invitations will be more warmly received than those "Are you ready to make a decision yet?" conversations and the talks can again demonstrate your VALUE. Your sponsors will also appreciate your help in promoting their event by mailing a flyer to your database or mentioning the talk in your newsletter. The more times people hear of you, the more willing they are to regard you as an expert.
GETTING MORE REFERRALS FROM PAST CLIENTS
Referrals are the name of the game, so why not remind your CLIENTS how good you are? Invite them to hear you speak as well -- even if they can't attend, they send others who need your services but don't know about you yet!
GENERATING MORE PUBLICITY
Media outlets such as local newspapers and radio talk shows may be very interested in your views, especially if someone else has invited you to express them. Help your sponsors promote the event by providing press RELEASES outlining your key points, as well as a list of contacts and fax numbers. At the very least, the newspapers will include it in the calendar of events. And you look like the local (or national) EXPERT to everyone who reads it.
Since 1987, Vickie Sullivan, president of Sullivan Speaker Services, Inc., has helped thousands of professionals use public speaking to generate revenue, increase market share and increase visibility. Visit her website at www.sullivanspeaker.com.
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