This past summer marked a ton of milestones for the SpeakerFlow team. Not only were we able to partner with the National Speakers Association (NSA). We were also able to attend their annual conference, because of this partnership, despite being less than six months old, as a business. Needless to say, Influence 2019 taught us many things, including how to talk for almost five days straight, how tight-knit the speaking community is, and how much fun the guys at the Cigar Peg are.
But, all fun aside, we also learned a ton of valuable lessons, as aspiring speakers ourselves and as business owners in the speaking industry. Below are just a few of these lessons and how you, as a speaker, can implement them in your speaking business:
- 1. If you don’t have a customer relationship manager yet, get one.
- 2. Diversify your content as much as you possibly can.
- 3. Experiment with text message marketing for both during and after your gigs.
- 4. Network, network, network.
- 5. Invest in high-quality video content.
- 6. Make sure your website is updated and optimized.
- 7. If you use eSpeakers, be sure you are using every feature to the maximum.
- 8. Make sure you’re always mobile.
- 9. Your prospecting process is just as important as your sales process.
- 10. Make your technology do your job for you.
Before we begin, I’d also like to take a quick moment to thank the many other vendors and partners of the NSA that were kind enough to share their advice with us at Influence 2019. It is partly due to the approachability of these individuals that we hit the ground running in the speaking industry. To the many business owners that welcomed us with open arms, thank you.
Now, without further ado, let’s get started on the ten tips to take your speaking business from zero to sixty. 🚀
1. If you don’t have a customer relationship manager yet, get one.
It goes without saying that the more organized your business is, the more likely you are to be profitable. The speaking industry is no exception to this rule, and there are dozens of tools out there to keep you organized, even if you’re not a naturally organized person. One of the main tools is a customer relationship management system, or CRM. CRMs are designed to help you do just that: manage your customers or clients. As a speaker, it also gives you a single place to track which gigs are coming up. That way, you can be sure you never miss a deadline to register for an event (like Influence 2019) or a follow-up email to a decision-maker.
CRMs also allow you to form a sort of central hub for your speaking business. Although this is in part due to the structure of the CRM, it’s also facilitated by integrations with other tools. These tools may include proposal software, such as Better Proposals, or project management tools, like Asana. By integrating these systems and tracking all of your businesses’ information in a single place, you save time spent looking for information in multiple places and manually entering information over and over.
In short, a CRM allows you to manage the different gigs you are in the process of booking as well as any additional pertinent information. We personally recommend SpeakerFlow CRM and, because it was designed with speakers for speakers, we’re 100% confident it can take your sales efforts from “precarious” to “predictable.” But, for more information on CRMs, in general, check out our guide to CRMs for speakers.
2. Diversify your content as much as you possibly can.
Next on the list of tips from Influence 2019 is a big one: diversify your content. If you’ve been speaking for a while, you’ve probably noticed the many channels through which other speakers reach their audience and their fans. These include blogs, podcasts, and a variety of social media channels. Diversifying your content basically means maximizing these channels to share the content as widely as possible.
Let’s look at one of your videos for example. Let’s say you were at Influence 2019 and took a video of yourself in front of the event center. You can take that video and post it to LinkedIn and leave it at that. Or, you can also share it on Facebook and Instagram and work in some hashtags to attract more attention, such as #influence2019 or #professionalspeaker. After that, you could also put the video in a blog about Influence 2019, describing the connections you made or the inspiration gained.
By sharing your content across multiple channels, you not only show that you know your technology. You also reach a considerably larger audience with your message and personal brand. This audience could include decision-makers looking for a speaker like you or up and coming speakers looking for inspiration. Either way, you became a speaker because you have something to say to the world. By sharing content across platforms, you’re reaching as much of the world as you can.
3. Experiment with text message marketing for both during and after your gigs.
Moving on to the third lesson on Influence 2019, we have yet another technological tool: text marketing. We already mentioned CRMs and how great they are for managing your sales and internal operations. But what about your marketing? How can you reach your audience while you’re on stage and turn them into your next client?
In the United States alone, over 90% of the population owns a smartphone, so most of your audience probably will, too. With text marketing, you can make the most of that and use it to capture their attention and contact info. In short, by allowing audience members to opt into additional information about your brand while you’re on stage, so you prevent them from leaving and forgetting your message. If you haven’t used a text messaging platform before, a few that we recommend are EZTexting, SimpleTexting, and Mobit.
Additionally, if you’re like us and are on a mission to make your business completely digital, I’d like you to meet SavvyCard. If you didn’t get to meet their team at Influence 2019, SavvyCard is basically your digital business card. Like the other text marketing tools out there, it also has SMS functionality and so can be used for prospecting, as you’re looking for speaking gigs. That said, if you’re not sure which platform is right for your speaking business, let us help! We pride ourselves on knowing these tools inside and out, so we’re happy to share our knowledge.
4. Network, network, network.
I’ll keep this Influence 2019 tip short and sweet, as it’s a fairly obvious one: Network, network, network. The speaking industry thrives on referrals and personal connections, so if you’re new to the game, get your name out there! As newbies ourselves, all of us on the SpeakerFlow team can promise that the vast majority of speakers want to connect with you, too. So go to the bar and chat with speakers at the next NSA conference. Connect with speakers you admire on LinkedIn. We’re all part of a global speaking community, and a rising tide lifts all ships. 👍
5. Invest in high-quality video content.
Next up is another relatively well-known piece of advice: invest in videos for your speaking business. We learned this first-hand at Influence 2019, thanks to the talented Matt Bauer at Motivational Media and Chuck Gallagher at Primeau Productions. Throughout the conference, Matt shot footage of us selling our services, connecting with speakers, and speaking with current clients. Now, we can use that footage in emails, on our website, and on social media, all from a single event.
Now, that’s easy for us to say, as a tech consultancy, but why does this matter for speakers? The short answer is that you won’t pull all of your speaking gigs from outbound sales. Truthfully, you can for a time and you still should be doing some of that all the time. However, if it isn’t already, some of your business will be coming from referrals and some will be from decision-makers looking at your website or social channels. High-quality video content on those channels gives them concrete proof that you know your stuff and they should hire you. If you’re already getting referrals as a large part of your business, you already know how important this is.
6. Make sure your website is updated and optimized.
Speaking of your website (no pun intended), what does your site look like right now? Does it clearly explain what you speak about? Does it represent your brand as well as your knowledge and skills? If it doesn’t, you’re in the right place, reading our sixth tidbit of Influence 2019 advice: optimize your website.
From the navigation bar at the top to the links in the bottom footer, your website should act as a salesperson. That way, as you’re reaching out to decision-makers, all they have to do is click the link to your site, and they’ll fall head over heels for your speaking. Ideally, your site will also take work off your plate, thanks to website automation. Although it may sound a bit advanced or unnecessary, automating parts of your website can save you countless hours and headaches.
For example, let’s say you just emailed an event planner for an upcoming conference, requesting a meeting with her. In your email, you can mention your website and your calendar and link to both. You can also use an automated scheduling tool, such as Calendly, so they can book a meeting with you right from your website. You can also automate an email to go out when she books a meeting on your site to say, “Thanks, and I look forward to meeting with you soon!” As always, if you’re not sure which aspects of your site may need a little TLC, shoot me a message. Websites are a huge part of what we do at SpeakerFlow, and I’m here to lend a hand if you need it.
7. If you use eSpeakers, be sure you are using every feature to the maximum.
The next bit of advice will sound familiar to many speakers in the industry, namely to eSpeakers users. For those of you that don’t yet know about eSpeakers, to put it simply, it’s an event management platform for professional speakers. At Influence 2019, we had an amazing time with a booth next to the eSpeakers guys and have only one note to pass on from our experience: If you have an eSpeakers account, use it to the absolute max.
Although eSpeakers functions as an event manager, it also has a ton of resources built in for the sales side of your speaking business. These features include their “Lead Master” tool, “SpeakerTrack” lead generation system, and meeting planner database among others. Regardless of your speaking businesses’ age or your number of gigs, if you have an eSpeakers account, give their guys a call when you have some spare time. There’s a good chance you could be using their tools a more and bringing in some extra gigs without even knowing it.
8. Make sure you’re always mobile.
Number eight of our Influence 2019 tips and tricks is one we heard over and over from speakers: Be mobile. I mentioned before that the majority of the U.S. population has smartphones, and the same goes for professional speakers. Because many speakers are balancing ongoing gigs with prospecting for the future, it’s imperative that they work on the go. In light of that, when choosing systems and tools for your speaking business, choose those with mobile applications. If you can’t do access it when you’re on the road, you are better off going with a different tool.
That said, besides mobile apps, there are a ton of additional tools that you can use to run your speaking business on the go. One of the better known of these tools is HeyMic, owned by the lovely Julie Holmes. An expert in processes and systems, including the aforementioned CRMs, Julie developed HeyMic in order to improve audio for mobile videos. So, remember when I mentioned diversifying your content earlier? For a video taken on the road, HeyMic lets you capture high-quality audio. That way, when you share it across social media accounts, your message gets through to your audience crustal clear, even without recording studio equipment.
9. Your prospecting process is just as important as your sales process.
The second to last lesson we learned at Influence 2019 is one echoed over and over by million-dollar speakers: Don’t rely on referrals alone. Sure, as an established speaker, you’ll likely be getting a percentage of your gigs from past clients or connections. However, that flow of gigs to your calendar can be inconsistent. The solution is to be sure you are devoting as much time and care to your outbound sales efforts as you are to your inbound leads.
Now, as technology consultants, our first impulse is to recommend the best tools to make this happen. We’ve already mentioned the most important tool, a CRM, so that leaves a mass-emailing platform and a sales engine. A sales engine, like the Speaker Intel Engine, gives you consistent leads and, between an emailing platform and a CRM, you email those leads automatically and keep track of which ones they’ve opened. That way, you can easily pinpoint where in your process the roadblock is and get it resolved immediately.
10. Make your technology do your job for you.
That brings us to our tenth and final tip from Influence 2019: Maximize your technology. When we entered the speaking industry, our goal was to combine cutting-edge technology with sales, marketing, and operations expertise to create the optimal business experience for professional speakers. Today, that goal remains the same, and, considering these lessons, we are more determined than ever to make it happen.
For each of these ten tips, there are tons of systems and tools to help make them into reality, with minimum stress and financial cost. To learn more about them, about growing in the speaking industry, and about making your tech take some of your workload away, book a free discovery session with me and the SpeakerFlow team. No matter what stage you’re in, as a speaker, we’ve got you covered. 👌