speaking engagementWhen I started speaking eight years ago, a friend of mine gave me some crazy good advice that I impart on anyone who asks me how to make money from the stage.

As you well know, no one (and I mean no one) wants to sit in an audience where the speaker spends the good part of an hour selling his or her wares.

In fact, most conferences ban that.

But you can motivate people to hire you, if you align your speech correctly…and you follow my friend’s advice.

He said:

Always provide case studies where you have done the work you’re recommending. There will always be someone in the audience who has that same challenge and will think, “Wow. She solved it for them. Maybe she can solve it for me.”

And he was right.

I even take that a bit further and research who will be in the audience.

Then I look them up online and I choose some things they’re doing well in my speech—and highlight tweaks they could make to explode results.

Every person has always been grateful for the extra attention they get, as long as I’m careful not to admonish or embarrass them.

And, 90 percent of the time, they call post-event to see if we can help them.

Sure, they’re not all ideal clients, but we can always set them in the right direction.

And people never forget how you made them feel when you helped them.

It takes a little extra time on the front-end of every speech, but it works significantly for generating all sorts of qualified leads.

There are six additional things you can do to ensure you’ll gain business from speaking engagement.

Your Bio Sucks

A couple of weeks ago, I made a very grave mistake.

I didn’t ask the person introducing me to not read my bio.

And it went on fooooooorrrrrever.

It went on so long, the conference coordinators told me they were afraid we were going to go back into the awards I’d won in third grade.

That sort of bio works for your website and for the conference website, but have a bio crafted for introductions.

It needs to be enough that showcases your expertise, but doesn’t require the person to stand up there for five minutes, reading your bio out loud.

Some people are very particular about what the person introducing them can (and cannot) say.

I believe it should be your name, where you work, and one thing you’re working on that’s relevant to the audience.

This allows you to be introduced quickly (they are going to spend an hour with you, after all) and provide the audience enough information to immediately see you as an expert.

Use Relevant Case Studies

Taking my friend’s advice, you want to use case studies that are relevant to the audience.

A lot of the highly-paid speakers use the same speech for every speaking engagement—and that’s great because it means you get incredibly good at giving it.

You can do that, too, but just change up the case studies so they’re relatable to the audience.

If you can use case studies that are industry- or job title-specific, the audience will be able to picture themselves working with you.

And, if you don’t have a case study that’s relevant for that industry, do your research to find organizations who are attending that do things well.

Craft case studies around the attendees and you’ll not only make them look like heroes, they’ll want to hire you to help expand what they’re doing.

Use Your Own Case Studies

While you want to make sure most of the case studies you use are relevant to the audience, I’ve found when I talk about results we’ve had for Spin Sucks, it draws a lot of attention.

The reason being is that I have access to the data, so I can show real results that are meaningful to my audiences.

In nearly every speaking engagement I have, I show a slide that provides the funnel of how we sell our online courses.

I’ll start at the beginning with a link to one course in one article.

Then I show the in-page analytics for that article so they can see how many people read it—and how many people clicked on it.

Then I show data from Samcart so they can see the conversion rate from people clicking a link in an article to buying a course.

People. Love. This.

And it demonstrates to them the kind of work we could do for them. Without selling.

Get the Audience Involved

I like to do things such as ask the audience to stand up.

Then I ask them to sit down if they don’t have the following social networks.

I start out by naming Facebook and then LinkedIn and then Twitter and, of course, everyone stays standing.

Then I start to drill down until there is only one person standing.

(I usually lose most people at Snapchat.)

That person becomes my teacher’s pet and I say so, by using his or her name (see below) throughout the rest of my presentation.

I also know this person is going to be the one I can say, “George, how would you answer Cindy’s question?” when I’m not sure of the answer.

Use People’s Names

I like the settings where table tents are used so I can see people’s names beyond the front row.

If you call on people, by name, they’ll remember you after you leave.

But, if you’re in a large audience, get off the stage and walk around. Look at people’s nametags. Talk to them, specifically.

Marcus Sheridan is the master at this.

In fact, I’ve been known to slip out of the room when he gets off stage and starts walking into the audience—because I know he’s going to put me on the spot.

(And, introvert here. I don’t like being the center of attention in that way.)

But he is very, very effective with it.

If you’ve ever seen him speak, you know what I mean.

He’ll walk into the audience and pull them into his speech.

I highly recommend you watch him do this. While it won’t work for everyone, nor every speaking engagement, there are more subtle ways you can use this tactic.

Provide a Leave-behind

Give the audience something they can take home.

The main purpose of this is so they have your contact information without having to hunt for it.

But if you give them something of value, they’re going to feel like they really got a lot out of your presentation.

Books, of course, are ideal, but I’ve found a text campaign works even better.

Somewhere in your speech, offer the audience something of value.

It could be templates, an ebook, proprietary research, a discount code…whatever fits your topic.

Ask people to text a code (we use SPINSUCKS) to a pre-determined number (use LeadDigits for this) and they can immediately download whatever it is you’re offering.

This does two things:

  1. It gives you their contact information and you can do a small drip campaign post-event; and
  2. It keeps you top-of-mind with them post-event.

Your Speaking Engagement Hacks

Of course, there are lots of tricks to the speaking engagement trade, but these are the things I’ve found to be most effective.

If you don’t sell from the stage and aren’t obnoxious about it, all of these things—individually and together—will sell for you.

My goal is to always come back from events with at least three qualified leads (depending on the size of the audience).

If I can do that, I have done my job. And it ends up being one of the most lucrative marketing tactics we use.

Now the floor is yours. I’d love to know what hacks you have for getting business from a speaking engagement.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich