14 Tips for Booking Speaking Engagements by Kristie Rimmele
Sometimes finding good leads for speaking gigs can feel a bit like
hunting for a tropical spa with umbrella drinks in the desert.
It's easy to get discouraged. But yet when you see superstars that
are booked solid, you know that it can be done. So how do you find
leads for paid speaking engagements? Below are 14 techniques you
can use to find good contacts and get yourself booked!
1) Define a niche. According to Networking expert,
Lillian D. Bjorseth (www.Duoforce.com), a niche can be defined as
types of organizations you want to speak for, an industry you want
to specialize in, or a subject matter. By defining a clear niche,
you instantly set yourself apart. The next challenge of course is
to become known in your niche.
When you become the leading authority in your field, people seek
you out. Speaking trainer Burt Dubin (www.burtdubin.com) says, “There's
no point in being a fine marketer until you have expertise to offer.
And your expertise has gotta be in a specific niche. A niche where
folks with cash in their jeans recognize your value and are willing
to invest in what you alone know. Here's how to select your niche:
identify the topic or issue in which you're willing to do endless
and ongoing research for a market with the means to pay you.”
2. Free to Fee. Speak for free in places likely
to have people who could hire you for fee. Often there are people
in these audiences who could hire you. Check your local Kiwanis,
Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary
After speaking recently in the Women’s Economic Development
Outreach event, someone in the audience hired me for a speaking
engagement for their group. If they hadn’t seen me speak in
person, it’s very unlikely that this person would have contacted
3. Attend Events - Go to the events that your
ideal clients attend and mingle with the decision makers who could
hire you. “The Transition Man” Johnny Campbell (www.TransitionMan.com)
says, “Research the event ahead of time. Know who will be
in attendance. Have a hit list of people you want to connect with.
Ask first what THEY do so you can tailor your 30 second pitch to
address how you can help with their specific needs.”
Johnny likes to go to chamber meetings and sit at the far end so
he goes last introducing himself. That way he can listen first to
who is in his audience and tailor his 30 second introduction. Once
he did this and a gentleman was so impressed that he immediately
handed him a business card and said, “Call me.”
4. Speaker Directories. There are websites that
list speakers for a fee. Meeting planners sometimes go to these
directories looking for a speaker on a certain topic.
Here are two that you can check out:
Speaker Services - speakerservices.com
Speaker Zone - www.speakerzone.com
5. Smile and Dial. Flipping the pages of a meeting
planner directory and cold calling can drum up business. Most speakers
who use this approach successfully make 40- 50 calls everyday. If
you are smart about finding the
“right” targeted leads to call, this is especially effective.
Here are three sources for this information:
A) Douglas Publications - www.douglaspublications.com
They make 2 publications: The Directory of Association Meeting
Planners and Directory of Corporate Meeting Planners.
B) NTPA Directory (National & Professional Associations)
It lists national conventions, meetings, and trade show dates
for over 7,700 trade and professional associations with an annual
report published each February.
C) Columbia Books, Inc. - www.columbiabooks.com
6. Google your way to leads. Google makes it so easy to find leads.
You can search for events in your industry or to find who your
competitors have spoken for.
7. Ask for referrals right from the platform. Keynote
speaker and master certified coach, Rich Fettke (www.Fettke.com)
says this when he speaks to groups “As you can tell, I am
really passionate about what I do. If you know of a group who could
benefit from this message, please hand me a business card afterwards.”
8. Referrals. Ask for referrals from existing clients who have
hired you to speak. If you ever have to lower your fee, you ask
for letters of recommendation and referrals as part of the deal
in exchange for the discount.
Burt Dubin (www.BurtDubin.com) offers this tip to reward those
who refer you.
“Let your clients or customers know they are
rewarded for referring folks who invest in what you offer. Give
appropriate gifts, depending on the size of the ticket. I give a
choice of gifts. A dollar amount in cash or a higher dollar amount
given to their favorite charity in their name, or a certain dollar
amount in free product. Reward referrals generously.”
My personal thought is that a heartfelt note, a Starbucks gift
card, a phone call, or even flowers is a wonderful way to say “thank
you - I appreciate your referral!”
9. Get on Your Prospect’s Radar Screen.
Top of mind status comes from word of mouth of your clients, being
"seen" in the pages of print media, and from testimonials
of audience members.
Know where your audience goes and be there. This includes your
prospect’s ezines, clubs, organizations, bulletin boards,
10. Speaker Website. An effective speaker website
gives a meeting planner everything they need to decide that you
are the perfect speaker for their event. You’ll want to include
downloadable one sheet (brochure), testimonials, program descriptions,
media coverage, results gained for other clients, and your speaker
Lillian D. Bjorseth, the Networking Expert, (www.Duoforce.com)
shared how she got a lead from a major company who wanted to hire
her and found her on the website. The person came back to their
planning committee who said, “You found her where?”
“Have you even seen her speak? My reputation is on the line
here.” Then after reading testimonials from clients who hired
Lillian to speak, they were happy to hire her.
In the past 2 weeks, having a speaking video on my website has
gotten me the job. A client was hemming and hawing and said, "Can
we see you speak somewhere locally first?" I told them where
they could view my speaker video on my website and in 5 minutes
they called back to book me.
11. Join organizations where people can hire you
or might be able to refer you to people. Review your organization
memberships at the end of the year before you renew to make sure
that the fees was worth it.
12. Publicity rules! Red Zone Marketing speaker,
Maribeth Kuzmeski (www.RedZoneMarketing.com) says that hiring a
full time publicist has made all the difference in her speaking
career. She says that when people have seen your face enough times
in publications they get to feel like they know you.
13. Invite prospects as your guest when you speak to groups.
That way they can experience you firsthand. After they
experience the power of your speaking, they are likely to hire you
or even refer you to others.
14. Building relationships. Communication expert,
Cyndi Maxey (www.CyndiMaxey.com), says her secret is to keep in
touch with her clients and prospects. She sends articles to them
to let them know she is thinking of them. She also likes to send
cards and call them from time to time. As Cyndi says, “Never
let them forget your name. You want to be top of mind when they
are ready to hire.”
Article by Kristie Rimmele - Dubbed as the
"Marketing Maven & Brander Extraordinaire" Kristie Rimmele creates speaker websites that help speakers book more speaking engagementss. Find out how an effective speaker website can help you attract customers, build income, & gain visibility
while successfully promoting your speaking business online with our FREE
report "Web Branding Secrets" by visiting www.brandingonthenet.com.
Need a Website to market your speaking?
Find out more about our web design services for professional speakers. We also offer search optimization and marketing services that put you on the 1st page of Google.
am SO excited about my e-zine and my website. I am getting
lots of great feedback - people love it! I got call from a Speakers Bureau who said that the site was awesome - clear, compelling, and impressive. And
talk about return on investment, after launching the site
just one week the site has already paid for itself. I just got booked for a big speaking engagement. Kristie! You ROCK!"
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