For many speakers – new and experienced – partnering with a speaker agency is the ultimate goal. It has the potential to increase your exposure and your average speaking fee. Plus, it’s always nice to have other people selling on your behalf, so you can focus more on the “speaking” side of your speaking business.
However, in many ways, partnering with a speaker agency is only worthwhile if you are a well-established speaker. After all, their success directly depends on your preparation prior to collaborating with them. If you have low speaking fees, for example, speaker agency representatives have less incentive to promote you. If you don’t have a clear definition of why and how you are valuable to your clients (and a digital presence to match), agency sales reps won’t be able to communicate it to your clients, either.
Because of this, we generally recommend mastering sales yourself before partnering with a speakers bureau. This includes addressing the issues mentioned above but also following a sales process that will help you create predictable revenue all on your own. That way, working with a speaker agency will be less of a “hail mary” and more of a support mechanism to help manage the incoming sales you’ve generated independently.
In this guide, we’re going to outline one such sales process, namely the SpeakerFlow Watertight Sales Blueprint. Over our team’s years of experience, we’ve refined and adjusted this process to work flawlessly for our own business as well as those of our clients. Now, we want you to share in the success, too! 🎉
Intro to the Watertight Sales Blueprint
Originally, our team’s founders – Taylorr and Austin – created the Watertight Sales Blueprint after reading Bryony Thomas’s inspiring marketing guide, Watertight Marketing. In this book, Thomas alleges that “Even the smartest businesses can find themselves exhausted by yo-yo marketing and paralyzed by the overwhelm of big ideas, big promises and the next big thing. Money and energy is wasted on running the marketing taps, whilst potential revenue pours from a very leaky bucket.”
In other words, many businesses invest too much time and resources into finding new leads when they could simply improve their follow-up process for the leads and clients they already have. To avoid this, Thomas suggests the implementation of a “watertight marketing strategy” that consistently engages with leads and propels them down a clear path to becoming a customer.
In the same way, SpeakerFlow’s Watertight Sales Blueprint takes this idea and customizes it for sales in the speaking industry. From finding speaking opportunities to identifying decision-makers to requesting referrals, it’s all about finding those “leaks” in the average speaker sales process and stopping them. That way, you won’t need a speaker agency to sell for you (and take a cut of the profits). You’ll already be crushing it on your own and keeping 100% of your paycheck. Win, win!
How Speakers Use the Watertight Sales Blueprint
Initially, the Watertight Sales Blueprint begins with a lead. This person can come in contact with your speaking business because (a) they fill out a form on your website or contact you directly or (b) you find them through a search engine or social media. In the former case, the lead is considered “warm,” as they’re already interested in your offerings and have already invested the time to contact you. In the latter, the lead is “cold,” as they likely don’t know anything about you yet and you have to pique their interest in the first place.
However, regardless of where the lead came from, the next sections of the Watertight Sales Blueprint include steps to keep them on your radar. For cold leads, it outlines ways to consistently keep in contact with them. These prevent you from accidentally missing a follow-up, and they show leads that you’re determined to authentically connect with them, not just take their money and run. For warm leads, the Blueprint breaks down each step to book a conversation and turn that conversation into a deal.
Additionally, if any step in the process goes unanswered or “lost,” the Watertight Sales Blueprint includes safeguards to minimize your loss. For example, if you’ve emailed, called, and messaged a lead and still received no reply, no worries! Simply find the contact information for one of your lead’s associates, and begin the Watertight Sales Blueprint outreach process again.
Essentially, by using the Watertight Sales Blueprint, you don’t just ensure that you do everything you can to connect with new leads. You also ensure that, once you wrap up an event, you make the most of that original win. Who knows? Maybe your current client has a friend or colleague that could use your services, too.
How a Speaker Agency Uses the Watertight Sales Blueprint
But, before we get into the specifics of how the Watertight Sales Blueprint creates this cycle of revenue, it’s important to note that the basic principles of the Blueprint aren’t unheard of. In fact, the average speaker agency uses many of the Blueprint’s processes, just on a much larger scale.
Take the initial “outreach” phase, for example. When you receive a speaking request, you likely start with a phone call and an email, after which you follow up regularly until the lead books a conversation. Likewise, in a speaker agency, a sales representative does the same thing. They track incoming calls and emails, follow up with potential leads, and handle the initial vetting process to be sure you’re the right speaker for their event. Typically, they’re also part of a team of sales representatives. So, if you’re a good fit for multiple incoming opportunities, members of the team can simultaneously contact each opportunity’s decision-maker to firm up the details.
That said, while partnering with an agency may send business your way, in many cases, agency sales reps aren’t looking for events for you. They’re managing incoming requests and choosing opportunities for you based on which requests best match your keynote or presentation. In addition, as mentioned previously, speaker agencies are also usually made up of a whole team of people. This means that, as a lead moves through the sales process, they interact with multiple people, each of whom is indirectly representing your speaking business as well as the agency that employs them.
Consequently, if you truly want to ensure consistent revenue – and consistently exceptional service – in your speaking business, you have to take matters into your own hands. That’s where the Watertight Sales Blueprint comes in.
How the Watertight Sales Blueprint Creates Predictable Revenue
At this point, you might be wondering, “Are we going to actually see the Blueprint or is this just another sales pitch in itself?” and I hear you! I promise, by the end of this, you’ll have the full blueprint, and I won’t ask for a cent. 👌
Additionally, if you’re asking, “You keep saying this system creates predictable revenue, but I don’t see how.” that’s fair, too! To put it simply, the Blueprint is designed to keep you on track for your sales goals. It keeps you organized, it holds you accountable, and it’s been tried and tested by countless businesses. However, besides these benefits, there are three ways that the Blueprint creates predictability, starting on the day you implement it and continuing as long as you follow its steps.
It keeps any leads from slipping through the cracks.
First and foremost, like the “watertight marketing” idea, the Watertight Sales Blueprint keeps your sales process from “leaking” any opportunities, as even the most experienced speakers can let leads slip through the cracks.
In your own speaking business, for instance, think of the last client that signed a contract with you. Then, think of the work that went into communicating with them beforehand. How many times did you have to follow up with them? Did you reach out via email alone or did you have to call or send a LinkedIn message, too? How many touchpoints did it take before you got the final “yes” and were able to send over a contract? Chances are, for each of these questions and the equivalent steps in the sales process, you invested a fair amount of time and energy. Multiply that effort by every lead on your desk (physical or digital) and it’s simply impossible to manage!
Considering this, the goal of the Watertight Sales Blueprint is to make these steps a “no brainer”. If you’re reaching out to new leads, it walks you through email, phone, and LinkedIn follow-ups and the corresponding templates. If you spoke at three events last month and haven’t yet circled back, it outlines everything you can do to maximize your time at those events, from asking for referrals to asking for testimonials.
In short, the Watertight Sales Blueprint keeps you from falling behind in your sales efforts or, even worse, forgetting about leads long enough that you miss your window of opportunity. It also helps you prioritize tasks related to those sales efforts. That way, even if you’re traveling, you can easily and efficiently close new deals in the meantime.
It helps you turn today’s losses into future opportunities.
Nevertheless, not every lead can turn into a deal, even if you follow the Watertight Sales Blueprint to the letter. Sometimes, you’re not the right fit for their upcoming event, and, other times, they’re not your ideal client. When the former is true, however, you still have a chance to make the most of the lead’s initial interest.
For example, let’s say you spoke to ABC Company about their upcoming Annual Conference. Over the last few weeks, you’ve emailed back and forth and met with their event planner via Zoom. You’ve shown them what you can do, and it’s clear that you could have a positive impact on their team. There’s just one problem when it comes to the year’s annual conference: they’re looking for speakers that focus on diversity and your expertise is in customer service. In other words, you’re a good but not perfect fit for this year, and they’ve ultimately chosen another speaker.
In cases like these, a speaker agency might disregard that lead, as far as your chances are concerned. You weren’t the right fit, they chose someone else, and they’re no longer worth the agency rep’s time.
But, when you implement the Blueprint, that lead stays in your sales process until you can pitch them again. Essentially, like the speaking industry itself, the Blueprint is about relationships. If you’re the perfect fit for a new lead, great! Build that relationship by consistently following up and delivering for their event. If you’re not the perfect fit at the moment, that’s okay, too! Maintain that relationship so that, when the right moment comes along, you’ll be the first speaker they think of.
You can use it indefinitely, even if you hire someone to sell for you.
Lastly, when it comes to creating predictable revenue, the ultimate goal is handing off your sales efforts to someone else. If you’re a well-established speaker, this can definitely involve partnering with a speaker agency. But, if you’re still in the process of growing your speaking business – or if you just want to supplement any agency sales – a better option is hiring a sales rep within your own business to sell on your behalf.
In the long run, this is where the Watertight Sales Blueprint is especially helpful. After all, if you can consistently close deals, the more income you’ll have to spend on supporting team members. It’s also crucial to remember if you want to delegate your sales process, you have to understand it well enough to teach it. In the words of Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Along these lines, the Watertight Sales Blueprint doesn’t just help you consistently bring in new leads and maximize existing clients. It’s also incredibly straightforward and simple, so you can train others to take your place. If you’re a sales-focused speaker, you’ll pick it up in a no time. If you’re a rookie speaker, it may take a little longer, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly, too.
Take it from me, as someone that has only a few years of sales experience (and doesn’t sell unless necessary). If I could master the Watertight Sales Blueprint, back when I entered the speaking industry, and actually enjoy the day-to-day operations of it, you can, too. 😊
Learn More About the Watertight Sales Blueprint
Without further ado, it’s time for the main event! As promised, to begin implementing the Watertight Sales Blueprint in your speaking business, simply download the free PDF below. In it, you’ll find the Blueprint itself, sales templates, event checklists, and even a few bonus tips from our team.
Additionally, for more hands-on guidance, schedule a 30-minute call with us or join our University! Whether you’d rather talk one-on-one or work within a community of other speakers who already use the Blueprint, we’re here to help. 👍