Secure Fall Speaking Opportunities Now
Summer is a great time to line up fall speaking gigs.
Public speaking is a great way to generate new business. However, it's not a time for a sales pitch. If you're able to share your inside secrets about your expertise in an organized fashion, with a confident and vibrant tone, you'll indirectly sell yourself and your products.
WHO TO PITCH
Summer is a great time to pitch your speaking services to professional organizations that begin their new membership calendar year or "season" in September. Keep in mind most professional organizations hold fewer meetings in the summer, since members are off gallivanting in the sunshine. However, organizations also survey their members during the summer about educational topics they'd like to hear about come the fall.
I've been a professional marketing speaker for sometime and have acquired a lot of marketing clients after presenting. Recently my speaking success compounded when I launched a second business two years ago called, http://www.VisitingGeeks.com In addition to describing marketing client campaign successes, I started sharing my Visiting Geeks success stories during my presentations. After every presentation I consistently receive new marketing consulting and Visiting Geeks business.
Amazingly I'm able to drive interest to both of my businesses, simply by talking in front of people about what I know! Public speaking works particularly well for any relationship-based business, or consultant-type businesses, such as:
All four of the above specializations involve the customer sharing very personal information with the consultant, increasing the need for people to trust the expert they're seeking to hire. Public speaking is a great way to build trust -- prospects feel like they know you because they've "seen" you.
HOW TO PITCH
I like to pitch using email. I first scope out organizations whose members match my target audience demographics, and then I'll send a brief email introduction (3 or 4 sentences) about myself and my area of speaking expertise. You can usually find the appropriate contact of the person responsible for organizing speaker's right at the association's Web site, or you can use the generic "contact" email and ask who the appropriate person is to contact. Either way, expect a delayed response, since the member responsible for checking the association's email is probably a volunteer, and therefore, only checks email once, maybe twice a week. On average, I've found most organizations respond within two days, three at the most.
Once you've found the right contact, ask her if she'd like to receive your bio. Don't just send your bio without permission, instead, be invited to do so. Why? By withholding your bio, it gives you another excuse to "touch" your contact. At minimum, you'll usually have four to five opportunities to contact the speaker coordinator, including:
- Initial introduction Email
- Would you like to review my bio? Email
- Follow up Email One
- Follow up Email Two
- Follow up Email Three
Remember every step of the way they're evaluating your professionalism. Stretch out your touch points, so to deepen the relationship. In other words, don't show your cards all at once. Hold on to them for a bit to build a relationship.
PREPARE SPEAKER RESOURCES BEFOREHAND
It's imperative you have a professional speaker bio before you pitch your speaking services. Feel free to check out my format at http://www.SharronSenter.com/s.htm A standard bio is usually one, 8.5 X 11 page.
Your bio should include the following:
- Professional Headshot
- Credentials - education, certifications, awards
- Experience - past speaking gigs
- Sample Presentation/Workshop
- Contact Information - phone, Web site and email
Sharron Senter is a New England-based marketing consultant, speaker, writer and founder of Senter & Associates, a marketing communications firm that helps small businesses deploy low-cost online and offline marketing tactics.