Here is special treat for you: A 68-minute content-packed interview with speaker's bureau owner and speaker success coach Shawn Ellis of Succeed Speaking and The Speakers Group.
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Shawn and I share some rock-solid ideas to help you grow your speaking business, approach speakers bureaus in the right way at the right time and for the right reasons, separate your speaking business from the rest of the pack, and leverage your long-term value to clients way beyond your speech.
Shawn helps speakers have more fun, reach more people and make more money.
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Every consultant, expert, and professional services firm leader needs to establish their thought-leadership in order to stand out from the crowd and be heard above the noise.
There's no room for the "Same-O Lame-O" dry boring MBA PhD guru guy or gal. Their days are over and their influence and impact are declining... daily... and dramatically.
So that means that every day you wait to claim your place among the thought-leaders in your industry and in front of your target buyers, you're losing time AND money.
Don't let that happen to you.
The good news is that independent research with over 200 buyers of professional services shows that at any given moment, between 52%-72% of them are willing to change professional services providers.
Across all service areas, more than 50% of purchasers could be considered Switchers, open to changing providers, ranging from 52% Switchers for Legal Services to 72% Switchers for Management Consulting. ("How Clients Buy" 2009-10 survey)
Additional research from the Wellesley Hills Group entitled "What's Working in Professional Services Lead Generation" surveyed over 700 firms and showed that the #1 source of leads is "Warm Calls to Existing Clients" - No surprise there. If you're great at what you do, the old adage applies - "your business comes from your business."
The #1 source of NEW leads for NEW business for professional services firms, however, may surprise you: it is "Speaking at conferences, trade shows and seminars."
Put these two pieces of research together and the dramatic discovery you'll make is...
You're never more than one good presentation away from generating new clients and new revenue.
So the question is... How successful are you at the #1 strategy of lead-generating speaking to drive credibility, visibility and revenue in your professional services practice?
And do you do it "once in a while" with mixed results or has your professional services firm nailed down a process, a speaking "system" and a targeting methodology that consistently puts you in front of the right groups in the right rooms with the right people to say the right things in the right ways to reliably generate new revenue for your firm?
If yes, great - welcome to the 1% club. If not, we should talk. Call me at (610) 716-5984 or drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let's have a conversation about how you can do a better job of generating more leads, better clients and bigger revenues every time you stand up to speak.
As a marketing speaker and marketing coach, the question often arises about how to deliver persuasive speech topics effectively.
This week, we lost one of the great journalists of our time, Andy Rooney. As a side note, there is a strong case to be made that Andy Rooney was the very first video blogger - and certainly the first man to produce viral videos. You can see some examples here and here and a CBS-produced retrospective here.
So as you're crafting your next persuasive speech topic, here are seven lessons from Andy Rooney to inspire your preparation and increase your effectiveness...
1. Start strong - don't waste a lot of time in the wind-up. Begin like a good courtroom lawyer and come out swinging with no doubt as to your position and perspective.
2. Use specific examples we can all relate to. Model your favorite stand-up comedian: "Don't you hate it when..." "How come that every time you..." or "The thing that makes me crazy about ABC is XYZ." Specificity sells your ideas - and in the case of comedians, it also adds humor.
3. Go negative when it makes sense. And it almost always makes sense. Yes, when it comes to marketing and persuasion, some people will tell you to plant yourself firmly in the world of aspirations, dreams and goals. I disagree - the sound bite is "If you're going to sell fire extinguishers, first show the fire." Sell their problem - then you can sell your solution.
4. Don't be afraid to share your opinions on the facts, not just the facts. Yes data is important - but it's emotion that sells. Andy Rooney always had plenty of emotion behind his comments - and he often tapped into yours. Spark an emotional reaction and you'll quickly separate your supporters from your detractors. And when you're trying to persuade, it's the middle of the road where you find the roadkill.
5. Don't let the critics get you down. As I always say to my audiences as a marketing speaker, "if you don't risk turning some people off, you'll never turn anybody on." If you are working on a persuasive speech topic that is selling an emotionally charged idea or one that requires your audience (prospects, colleagues, boss) to take a leap of faith, you will have to deal with critics, skeptics, haters and even some saboteurs. Take it all in stride and understand what my friend, motivational speaker Marvin LeBlanc likes to say - "You ain't nobody 'til somebody hates you."
6. Charm will go a long way. Even at his most ornery moments, Andy Rooney always had a twinkle in his eye. Yes, he could be sarcastic, negative, nasty even... but although he took his subject matter seriously, he never took himself too seriously. And his good-natured charm showed through his most acidic banter, sarcasm, and negativity. It set a unique contrast. It was effective for him and it might be effective for you.
7. Share your passions. Persuasive speech topics are nothing without the persuasion - so once you've made your case, don't be afraid to go positive in a strong way and share what you love, what you believe in, and what you want your audience to believe in. One of the greatest examples from Andy Rooney is this piece in honor of newspapers.
Andy's obituary in today's New York Times concluded like this:
Mr. Rooney frequently said he considered himself “one of the least important producers on television” because his specialty was light pieces. “I just wish insignificance had more stature,” he once said.
But he put things in perspective in his 1,097th and last regularly scheduled “60 Minutes” appearance.
“I’ve done a lot of complaining here,” he said then, “but of all the things I’ve complained about, I can’t complain about my life.”
Thanks, Andy - for showing us how to persuade, how to spread your ideas, and how to have a great time doing it.
Too often, professional services firms:
- Do marketing “by accident” or don’t do outbound marketing effectively
- Hope that “prospects will call us when they need us”
- Never know where their next lead is coming from
- Don’t market using their best asset – thought leadership
- Throw too many dollars into a “marketing black hole”
Independent research with over 700 professional services firms proves that the #1 source of new business is “Making warm calls to existing clients” – and #2 and #3 are “Speaking at conferences and trade shows” and “Running our own seminars and events” yet if yours is like the majority of firms, you haven’t yet cracked the code on how to make this work for YOUR people to attract YOUR clients.
More research shows that 52-72% of B2B professional services BUYERS are willing to switch to new service providers across a spectrum of specialties. (Wellesley Hills Group, 2009 What’s Working in Lead Generation professional services market study)
Meaning: You’re always ONE good presentation away from closing new business.
Professional services firms and thought leaders within large companies can often do a MUCH better job in the following areas:
• Design and deliver a client-magnet presentation
• Generate leads without being salesy
• Use Before-During-After marketing to stay top of mind
• Maximize profits on a shoestring marketing budget
• Generate more leads, better prospects and bigger sales using irresistible offers and high-integrity techniques
...and in my experience working with clients like this, it does NOT take huge amounts of work; small, targeted shifts in your packaging, promotion, messaging, and followup makes all the difference (which we usually nail down over the course of 1 or 2 days together and then the floodgates open!)
Last Word: Marketing Skills vs. Presentation Skills
A decent presentation built for marketing and sales results will outperform a brilliant presentation built for a “standing ovation” or praise from your local Toastmaster’s club or high marks from a presentation skills coach.
Bottom line: I don’t care if you become a great speaker. I do very much care that you become a good speaker who consistently generates more leads, better prospects, and bigger sales each time you present in front of a roomful of potential buyers.
What do you think? Fire off some thoughts, comments, or questions in the COMMENTS section below. Let's talk about this one...