"Get Business Opportunities From Speaking"
From Career Tips, 2006 Volume 5, May 2006
Last month I introduced you to my SPEAK approach to making sure that speaking generates business opportunities on a regular basis:
- Setting the Stage
- Kick Off
This month I'm going to talk about Preparation.
Building rapport with your audience is absolutely critical to have any hope of generating business opportunities.
But if you wait until you get up to the podium to start, you are severely handicapped in the effort. Think about how much more powerful your presentation will be if you have taken steps to build rapport in advance, so that people are already excited about coming and listening to you, and hoping to actually meet you!
Don't assume that just because the organizers are going to send out a meeting brochure or flyer, people will flock to your session. Think about what steps you can take to "pre-market" your presentation.
I was asked to do a workshop last Fall at the local community college. Since they run a wide variety of career workshops all year long, I assumed their own marketing would be sufficient. When I arrived, there were 4 people in the room. I repeated the workshop there 6 weeks later, but this time made sure I put the word out a variety of ways, and 43 people showed up. The college's comment: "We've never had so many people come to one of our workshops!"
Even if the organizers will do the marketing, think about how you can encourage more people in your niche to attend, and to get them more 'connected' to you in advance. Some possibilities:
Marketing the Event:
- Post announcements to your or others' newsletters.
- Ask friends and business associates to forward an email announcement you provide them.
- Alert people who have attended talks you've given in the past.
- Put announcements out to relevant Yahoo or other networking groups.
- Put up flyers in libraries or businesses near the location of the event.
- Hold tele-classes or webcasts that give a taste of what people will get from the event.
Pre-Marketing to the Event Attendees
- Survey pre-registrants about key issues or alternate points that you might address in the talk.
- Call people who pre-registered - this could be to remind them to come, or to ask about 1 or 2 key issues they would want to see addressed. (This also gives you valuable information for any follow up you might do afterwards.)
- Send out postcard reminders, including a simple testimonial or key point they can look forward to getting from the program.
- Give a simple "homework" assignment.
People appreciate a speaker reaching out to them. And just a simple step like this can substantially decrease the number of no-shows, and build rapport even with those who don't attend. One tele-class pre-registrant I called last summer apologized that he wouldn't be able to make it. I asked if he'd like to set a time to just talk about some of the issues he was facing. He did, and then became a client.