Here is an in-depth interview about how entrepreneurs, executives, business owners, coaches, and experts can unleash a flood of new clients using the power of speaking.
Q: What does it mean to Market with Your Mouth?
David Newman: A lot of business owners work hard to interrupt people with cold calling, advertising, and spam. That era is over. We’re living in a world of voluntary attention. Which means — first you earn their attention, and then you have a chance to earn their money.
“Market with your mouth” is shorthand for one of the best and most direct ways to earn attention. As a speaker — if you’re in front of the right room with the right people and for the right reasons — you have at your disposal a tremendously powerful marketing platform. You’re an authority. You have high visibility. You have the opportunity to deliver high value. And if you do it right, you earn high trust.
At that point, the marketing and sales process is 80% finished and now you’re simply in the process of filtering and sorting your best-fit prospects and you invite them to do business with you!
Q: Why should someone consider the strategy of generating business leads from speaking?
David Newman: Every consultant, solopreneur, and small business owner needs to establish their thought-leadership in order to stand out from the crowd and be heard above the noise. No matter what business you’re in, there’s simply no room for yet another “Same-O Lame-O” player. 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 from the Wellesley Hills Group 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. So the startling truth is that if you market with your mouth, you’re never more than one good presentation away from generating new clients and new revenue.
Q: You emphasize choosing a target audience and a very specific niche topic when you speak. Why is that important?
David Newman: Whenever I work with clients 1-on-1 or speak to groups of business owners, we always ALWAYS start with identifying specifically WHO you are marketing to. I call this your “Buyer Persona” and we use 7 key questions to flesh out the specific characteristics of the folks who are your highest-probability prospects.
You need to understand what makes them tick — what are their characteristics, traits, attitudes, and values? What’s important to them? What headaches and heartaches do they have when it comes to the types of problems that your product or service is brilliant at solving? What do they SAY about their situation and what WORDS do they use to describe it? This is what I call “learning to speak prospect language about prospect problems.“
Until you can do that, NO marketing strategy will work, and especially speaking where your main focus is on articulating problems you can solve and sharing answers to those problems that your audience can take away and use immediately.
Q: We all want to spend more time in front of right-fit audiences. How do we get started finding them?
David Newman: That’s a great question that I get asked a lot: What groups do my ideal clients belong to? This will obviously determine which audiences you want to be in front of. Here’s my suggestion: Don’t guess — ask!
Here is the script to ask your current clients, prospects, and centers of influence who know your target market well…
“I’m looking to speak more in front of groups of [BUYER PERSONA]. I’d love to get your advice, insights, and recommendations.”
Another way to ask might be…
“Of all the industry groups and associations you belong to, which ones provide the most value in terms of the speakers and programs they present?”
With both of these scripts, the natural follow-up discussion would center around your desire to serve this industry/community more and to share information with them that would help them become even more successful.
Likely outcomes from you having this discussion with your best clients would include:
~ Names of specific groups, associations, and conferences
~ Names of specific people serving in board or programming positions
~ Names of other executives or decision-makers in the field
~ Names of other companies or firms in need of similar information/services
~ Specific networking introductions
~ Offers of referrals to the individuals they already know
~ An opportunity to reciprocate and ask how YOU might be of service to THEM
Q: How can we find even more venues for speaking on top of the ones our best clients share from their personal experience?
David Newman: Finding venues to speak profitably could be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Here are some resources to help you laser-target your speaking to your best-fit audiences:
~ The Directory of Associations online (www.marketingsource.com)
~ National Trade and Professional Associations of the United States — hardcopy from www.columbiabooks.com
~ www.LeadershipDirectories.com for access to 500,000 corporate and association decision-makers (this comes at a hefty $5,000 annual fee)
Secret Tip: Your Public Library — Free access to high-priced proprietary business databases (including all of the above PLUS Hoovers, D&B Million Dollar Database, InfoUSA and most likely several industry-specific ones to boot!) All paid for with your local tax dollars – so enjoy!
Q: How can we design what you call a “client magnet presentation” when we go out to speak?
David Newman: At this point, it might be tempting to create a presentation based on your professional passions, interests, or favorite topics within your expertise. That would be a huge mistake. DON’T do it!
For your speaking efforts to pay off in terms of marketing results, you need to design your presentation content NOT around what YOU are passionate about, but what your buyers and prospects are passionate about!
Imagine a pair of X-ray vision goggles that you are now using to zoom in on your target clients. Ask yourself the following:
~ What do they want?
~ What are they missing in their lives?
~ What hurts?
~ Where is the pain?
~ What are they yearning for?
~ What do they worry about most?
~ What are their biggest headaches, heartaches, and hassles?
~ What are their urgent, pervasive, and expensive problems?
Build your presentation around THOSE specific questions, problems, challenges and obstacles. And don’t hold back. Unleash your best material, most powerful tools and templates, and give ‘em everything you’ve got. If they see the value in your presentation, believe me, they’ll be ready to buy at the appropriate time. And the person they’ll want to buy from is the one they already trust to deliver top-notch answers and specific hard-hitting ideas — YOU!
Q: What’s the first step that business owners should take to find those specific “hot button” issues to address in their talk?
David Newman: What’s the first step? Research. Preparation. Homework. Industry, regional, business, and company news is now at everyone’s fingertips on the Internet. Look for verbatim quotes, video clips, audio interviews to capture as much as you can from representative members of your buyer persona group. Search Google, YouTube and LinkedIn. Scan industry and association message boards.
Then go directly to the source — your real live customers and prospects. If you’re not intelligently researching your prospects’ issues, challenges, and pressures, how can you possibly come in with credible high-perceived-value solutions? One of the best ways to approach prospects is with:
~ Data gathering
It positions you and your firm as an expert resource and it gives you valuable data you should be getting anyway!
Q: What about the nitty-gritty of putting the client-magnet presentation together? What should it be titled? What should it include?
David Newman: Start by sitting down with a clean sheet of paper. Using the following “presentation idea starters,” jot down 3-5 potential topics/titles in each category based on your topic expertise.
Remember your speech should focus on addressing your buyer persona’s most urgent, pervasive, expensive problems. What are the personal and professional heartaches and headaches that they want answers to? In which areas are they hungry for strategies and tactics?
~ How to…
~ 5 Strategies…
~ 3 Keys to…
~ The #1 problem with… and how to solve it
~ Unlocking your…
~ The 3 biggest traps in [topic] and how to avoid them
~ 10 Tips for…
~ Everything you know about [topic] is wrong
Have some fun with these — brainstorm and jot down key words and short phrases under each one as they occur to you. Then begin to rearrange, compile and combine them until something emerges that you can get excited about. Think in terms of 5-7 mini-topics or “modules” — people can’t absorb more than that anyway.
And it’s better to hammer home 5 key points with clarity, conviction, and specific detailed answers than to do a “surface skim” on 20 or 30 sound bites that leave your audience hungry and slightly unsatisfied. The perception of “meat” and value is directly related to DEPTH and not BREADTH of your topic expertise. It’s MUCH better to be a mile deep than a mile wide!
Q: And so how do you convert an audience of people grateful for your insights into a pool of high-paying clients for your business?
David Newman: That is very much the secret sauce and it’s where a lot of business owners — including professional speakers, by the way – fall down on the job! Every time you speak, you want to make sure you leave with between 90% and 95% of your audience’s business cards or contact information.
Simply say, “I have a fabulous resource that I’m going to send to you.” This could be a handout, a special report, a buyer’s guide, an implementation pack, a starter kit, anything is good as long as it has high perceived value and direct relevance to your topic. Then you use the following script: “If you would like that resource, just give me your business card.” And then here’s the language that’s important:
“I would also like to invite you onto my [TOPIC] tips list. If you would like that to happen, just give me your card. If you do not want that to happen, write ‘NO TIPS’ and I will still send you your gift but then I’ll tear up your card and throw it in the trash and you’ll never hear from me again.”
Folks usually laugh or smile at that — and then they get a visual in their head of you tearing up their beloved business card that they are so proud of and you get 95% of the cards in the room and only 2-3 will have “no tips” written on the back.
This one strategy will result in tens of thousands of dollars of business for you — if you do something smart with the business cards. Put them in some kind of auto-responder, follow-up system, subscriber list, Constant Contact, whatever it might be — but you MUST follow up. “The fortune is in the follow-up” has become a cliche for a reason — it is 1,000% true!
The spinoff business for your company’s products and services will surely come from the “drip marketing” that you’re able to do after capturing your audience’s contact information and sending high-quality, high-value follow-up materials to them on a monthly basis.
Q: Is there an online or virtual version of the “Market with Your Mouth” strategy?
David Newman: You bet — and you and I are both doing it right now! Whether you choose blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, Skype, Slideshare, iTunes — any time you are sharing your face, your voice, and your expertise, you are marketing with your mouth.
Look, the sad truth is that generalists die on price and specialists win on value. That means value that you GIVE away, value that you charge a little for — like your $20 book — and value that you charge a LOT for like your premium flagship products and services. The other thing that specialists do is they publish, they speak, and they are generous with their time, talent and expertise.
Do webinars, host teleseminars, be a guest on radio shows and podcasts and TweetChats! So yes, social media sharing and content marketing ideas are definitely the virtual versions of “market with your mouth” strategies!
Q: This sounds like a lot of work — how can we make it manageable while still running our business?
David Newman: Civic and community groups are a great place to start if you want to start locally. They are always looking for speakers and if you have energy, enthusiasm, and a valuable message with relevant take-aways, you WILL get business from it. Or at the very least you’ll get referred and introduced as a business owner worth getting to know.
Does video, audio, and other content generation take time? Yes it does. But the sources you can use are also right at your fingertips. Look at your most recent customer service issue. Look at the most recent client conversation you had. Look at the kinds of customer questions you get all the time — those answers, insights, and recommendations are the raw material for your “market with your mouth” strategy and they come in ALL the time. Often we don’t need to create content — we need to RE-create content that we’re already sharing during the course of running our day-to-day business.
Q: Given everything we discussed here, what are the top three strategies you suggest our listeners focus on?
David Newman: Figure out the audience you want to serve the most because they are your peeps, your tribe, your natural followers.
Then figure out what they are passionate to learn, to do, or to become.
Finally, start talking about, sharing, and connecting them with resources that solve those specific pains, problems, headaches and heartaches.
Do so publicly through speaking, publishing, networking — both online and offline — and your reputation as being a source of valuable expertise will spread.
Once you’ve laid the groundwork to become visible, trusted, and valuable — the floodgates will open for you and you’ll be in the enviable position of NOT chasing business, but rather filtering and sorting the best prospects whom you’d like to hire as YOUR next customer!