Readers are invited to submit a question which we will then pose to a YEC member with relevant expertise. This group is full of entrepreneurial experience; we’re eager to share their insights with you.
Question: How Can I Turn a Speaking Engagement Into Business?
I've been invited to give a speech at an industry conference. How can I best capitalize on my speaking engagement to get more business/interest?
Meet our entrepreneur: Arel Moodie, Likability Strategist, The Art of Likeability
Arel Moodie has delivered over 1,000 professional speaking engagements to over 500,000 in 48 states and 5 countries. He has spoken at colleges, businesses, associations and even the White House! He also hosts the top career podcast on iTunes, The Art of Likability. To learn more about Arel’s work please visit www.truespeakingsuccess.com.
Answer: Share Real Value and Offer Connection Opportunities
So you have an invitation to speak at an industry conference? It’s equally as thrilling as it is nerve racking. You can get a lot of business and position yourself as a thought leader others should do business with— but how do you leverage it properly without looking like a sleazy salesman? Here’s how:
1) Make sure to hold nothing back during your presentation. Many people don’t want to give away their secret sauce because they fear if people knew their goods, they would steal it and not want to work with you. On the contrary! When you really demonstrate that you know what you are talking about and aren’t feeding people generic info, they see you as the expert and trust you and want to work more closely with you. You also get to become the best speaker at the conference because you actually gave meaningful content! Which helps you get booked for more talks!
2) At the beginning of the presentation say something like “I am going to give you as much content as I can during this 60 minute presentation but I can’t possibly give you everything you need; no one can in just one hour. If you have more questions or would be interested in working more closely with me, that’s definitely on the table. I’d be happy to help.”
Saying something like that up front lets people know they can work with you and they can hire your services. Then throughout the presentation instead of them just filtering your great content as simply great content, they are filtering it through the lens of how they may be able to work with you to help their organization.
3) Toward the end of your presentation, you want to solidify that you are helping people and they get it. Ask questions like “By a show of hands, how many of you are seeing ways you can use this kind of information in your lives/businesses? And how many people wish more people at YOUR organization or clients of YOUR business had these kinds of insights too?”
By doing this you are getting the audience to think about how useful the information you shared actually is and how others can benefit from it. It subtly plants the seed for people to take action to work with you.
4) Finally, at the end it’s a great idea to offer something of additional value to your audience that they can get from you in exchange for their contact information. For example, you can say things like “Was this information helpful to you? Well, I have a really cool video series/report/ebook etc. that will show you how to accomplish BENEFIT 1, BENEFIT 2. If this would be valuable to you, drop your business card off in the back of the room or send me an email to [insert your email address on a slide] and I’ll send this cool resource to you for free… oh, and if you are interested in potentially partnering more deeply with me and my organization, just write on your card the word “info” and I’ll make sure to reach out. Or if you are sending an email, make sure to put the word “info” in the subject line of your email and someone from my team will be in touch!”
This kind of close is super low-pressure. You are giving EVERYONE a free gift who wants it, and people can self-select to be contacted by you in a very low-pressure, high-value way. A true win-win. No one feels like you are a slimy salesperson trying to pitch from the stage, but someone who adds real value while getting business leads at the same time.
How cool is that?
Now of course there are TONS more things you can do before, during and after your presentation to get business leads while offering real value, but this should help you get started right away!