You’re presenting to four large industry associations in the next four months. Or your local Rotary wants a speech on healthy lifestyles for busy execs. Did you think twice about doing it? Even well-known wellness leaders are often conflicted about speaking engagements. They love the opportunity to spread the word, and the visibility’s great – yet the business payoff is often uncertain. And local speaking opportunities often don’t pay well. Use our “BAD” techniques to make sure your speaking engagements deliver a business payoff:
1) Do the right things BEFORE the speech
- Establish evaluation criteria for speaking opportunities. The audience, topic and the group’s overall focus should be compatible with your business.
- Set realistic expectations for the results of your speech. Unpaid speeches usually produce the following results in the following order: publicity that reinforces your reputation as an authority; increased awareness that your business exists; and lead generation. It’s rare that a public presentation results in immediate sales. It’s reasonable to expect, say, 5 leads and 30 new newsletter sign-ups. It’s not usually realistic to expect 5 actual sales.
- Announce the speech in your newsletter and via social media.
- Post signs and other promotional material in your business. Consider a postcard marketing campaign if justified by the scope of the event.
- Personally invite selected prospects or existing customers who’d be interested in your topic or the organization.
- Provide your preferred introduction to the person who will introduce you.
- Wander through the crowd and introduce yourself to attendees.
- Put your contact info on all of the materials you’ll use or hand out.
2) Do the right things AFTER the speech
- Follow up with everyone – on a prioritized basis. For example, you can send a general follow-up to everyone, and place a phone call to the contacts that seemed most promising.
- Email attendees a link to the recorded session on your website. Circulate the link via social, too.
- Important: Incorporate attendees into your ongoing marketing processes. Don’t just throw business cards in a drawer.
- If you don’t have an ongoing marketing process through which you can continue building your relationship with attendees, you’re wasting most of the business potential created by the speech or presentation.
- Add them to your mailing list if they’ve agreed.
- Keep your promises. Promptly send anything you promised to send – the name of a book, an article, an email introduction to someone else.
- Convert your presentation into a short article. Include it in your sales kit, post it on your website, hand it to prospective clients – whatever’s suitable.
- Schedule a future presentation with the same group. Repeated exposure will increase your perceived authority.
3) Do the right things DURING the speech
- Circulate a sign-up sheet for your newsletter.
- Invite people to leave business cards if they’d like to receive a complimentary item (say, a pedometer or tip sheet) or a copy of your presentation.
- Make it interesting. For example, work with a colleague and demonstrate what you’re recommending. Or use props – for example, a giant box of cereal or the “fake fat” teaching products that illustrate what a pound of fat really looks like.
- Consider embedding prerecorded video snippets of existing customers in your presentation.
- Incorporate anecdotes or references to the brief conversations you had with attendees before the speech.
- Keep it interactive. For example, pose questions that can be answered by raising hands: “How many people ate breakfast this morning?”.
- Record the presentation. Post it on your website. Post it on YouTube. Promote the link in your newsletter or print ads.
- Have someone take pictures of you and the audience. Post them on the website and in your business to promote your expertise and availability as a speaker.