If you happen to be a great speaker, you have a number of ways to get clients for your business by speaking. (By the way, if you aren’t a great speaker yet, keep tuning in, because we can help with that.) The most important thing to keep in mind is that your goal is to build your authority on a specific topic. Once you do that, you will create an endless supply of speaking opportunities and clients.
Your authority depends on a few things. First, when people do a Google search for your name (or your company name,) what do they find? Most everyone is going to do this simple due diligence as a first step. If you are applying for a job, the interviewer will Google you. When you want to connect with someone on LinkedIn, the connection will likely Google you. This is also true with potential clients or customers. When someone hears about you (or your company) for the first time, they will do an internet search for you.
The things that they find will either build your authority or diminish it. The good news is that you have total control over what potential clients find about you.
Use Writing and Speaking to Increase Your “Internet Authority” to Build Trust with Potential New Clients.
Before I go into how to use speaking and presenting to find new clients, let’s start will increasing authority. I had a student a couple of years ago who wanted to help inner-city kids make better decisions. This sounded like a worthy goal. After chatting with him a little, I realized that he had no experience working with kids. In fact, he currently worked as a mechanical engineer. Throughout his entire career, he never supervised or coached anyone either.
He had decided to venture into an arena in which he had absolutely no experience. This was not a goal, it was a pipe-dream. My point is that before you set off to be a speaker or writer, take time to develop your expertise. This engineer would have been a fantastic speaker on “How to Cut Energy Costs in Summer Months.” He was an expert at that.
On the other hand, I have a friend who was attending an accounting conference years ago. He sat through a breakout session because a friend of his was the guest speaker. During the question-and-answer part, someone in the audience asked a question about a specific software package. The speaker had never used this software, but he knew that our mutual friend had. So, the speaker asked my friend to answer the question. 20 minutes later, my friend and the speaker were still answering questions together. Now, my friend travels the world as a guest lecturer himself.
So, write and speak on topics where you know the content inside and out, and you will do very well. If you don’t feel like you are there yet, study and train a little more to build your expertise.
Start by Writing Down Your Words of Wisdom. Remember that You Are the Expert.
Don’t let the word “expert” throw you off. Anything that you have done for a considerable length of time is something you are an expert at. For instance, I love baseball, but I never played the game myself. I grew up in a rural part of Arkansas. There were no Little League or Select Teams in my area. In High School, the kids on the baseball team had been playing for 10 or more years. I, on the other hand, had never learned to catch, throw, or bat. So, I was way behind their expertise.
My son also loves baseball. However, he started playing tee-ball at four-years-old. Since I didn’t have an expertise or skill at the game, I learned by teaching him. In his fourth year, the coach needed help so he asked me to be his assistant coach. Six years later, I now have a decent expertise in coaching baseball. Granted, I don’t have as much credibility as an ex-major league or minor league player. However, there are tons of parents out there who never played the game. I am an expert on that topic to them.
So, step one is to begin to write down your expertise. This will help you organize your thoughts better. In the beginning, don’t worry so much about the quality of the writing. Just start by brainstorming your knowledge about the topic.
Whether You Are Writing or Speaking, Use the Same Organization Structure for Your Content.
One of the speakers on my staff once came to me and said, “Doug, I love speaking. I think I have a gift for it. However, I know that writing is not my strong-suite.” I was floored. This was a guy who had been teaching the Fearless Presentations ® classes to hundreds of people every year for three or four years. He was an expert at, not only speaking but helping other people speak more effectively.
I paused before responding to him. Then, I asked him to design a speech on the topic that we were discussing at the time. He was excited because that was what he was an expert at. Then, I had him practice the speech with me. I turned my phone camera on without him realizing it. When he finished, I texted him the video along with the words, “Transcribe this video for me, please.”
He got the message. Whether we are writing content or speaking content, the structure is exactly the same. First, create a topic that has a benefit to the audience. Second, identify the three to five main points that the audience needs to know about this topic. Then, finally, use stories, analogies, and evidence to prove the points to your audience.
For a step-by-step process on how to create content like this, see 5 Ways to Prepare for a Speech.
Combine Similar Posts into Booklets, Books, or Series.
Back when Covid first hit, meetings and classes were being postponed and then canceled left and right. As a result, many speakers for my company had a lot of free time on their hands. Since we weren’t speaking as much, we decided to write more. One of our instructors, Candace Cox in Las Vegas, was fascinated by how the casinos were reinventing themselves.
Candace is an expert coach and an expert presenter. However, her background is in radio, not reinvention. However, she had been through a similar change in the AM/FM radio industry in the 90s. The golden age of radio was about turntables. So, when CDs arrived, many of the “disc jockeys” resisted the change. “Vinal sounds better,” they said. (Which is utterly ridiculous.) Then, just a few short years later, the disc jockeys were replaced altogether.
Candace saw a similar thing happening in the casinos as a result of the Covid pandemic. Casino shut down their buffets. No one bought tickets to the great shows. So for about a six-week period of time, she studied the topic and wrote blog posts about it. It was fascinating.
In November, she combined all of the posts together into a book called Irrawaddy Reinvention. Since then, a number of Fortune 500 companies have invited her to speak to and train their people.
Make Recordings of You Delivering the Content You Wrote Down.
When you write your content, shoot for between 2000 and 2500 words. This way, you will be able to create about 30-minutes of recorded content for each post. Get yourself a great 1080p webcam and a great microphone. Then, just start a Zoom meeting by yourself and record it. You will end up with 30 minutes of great-sounding audio and 30 minutes of great-looking video.
If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to a computer, invite a friend or coworker to join the meeting. You could just have the friend be a compassionate face to speak to or have your friend interview you. If you started with a great topic and just a few key points, just make your points into questions. Then have your friend ask you these questions. Make the process conversational whether you do it by yourself or with a friend.
Publish Your Content on Your Own Website and Social Media. Then, Offer the Content to Other Experts as Well.
Obviously, if you are an entrepreneur, it is easier to get your content published. You can just post it on your own blog, social media, or podcast. If you work for a bigger company, make sure to get your content approved, first. Then, see if the company will post your content on their website.
For my company, the more content that we publish, the more authority that we have. So, I never turn down a guest post from one of my expert instructors. There is a good chance that whoever is in charge of marketing or your website feels the same way. Send them your content. The worst that can happen is they say no.
In addition, you can look for industry associations or trade organizations that publish guest posts. One of my first instructors, Ron, was a CPA. He got his start speaking by actually writing. The Society of Certified Public Accountants had a monthly newsletter. The same three people were writing all of the articles for it every month. Eventually, they ran out of ideas and asked a few members to contribute.
Ron ended up writing a couple of articles for them. Then, they invited him to be a guest speaker for one of the meetings. The audience loved him so much that the association asked him to teach a continuing education class. He enjoyed teaching so much that he left accounting to become a professional speaker for my company.
This new career all started with writing a single guest post for the association, though.
Ways to Get Clients for Your Business by Speaking to Groups.
I know what some of you are thinking… “You said we would get new clients by speaking. However, very little of what you have covered so far has ANYTHING to do with speaking. What gives?”
The often overlooked part of being a great speaker is to master your craft first. You can be a great speaker, but if what you are saying is gobbledygook, you won’t build a lot of followers. I get dozens of people every month wanting to be a guest on my podcasts. The first thing I do is Google them. Specifically, I look for recordings of the speaker. It usually takes less than five minutes of watching or listening to determine if he or she is an expert.
If you can’t easily tell an audience two or three really tangible tips, then when you speak the audience will think you are wasting their time. The audience will be confused. So, everything we have talked about so far is critical to being a good speaker. Now that you have done the hard work, let’s have some fun getting new clients for your company!
Reach Out to Social Organizations and Offer to Be a Guest Speaker.
One of the absolute best ways to practice your speech and deliver is by speaking to social groups. Rotary International, Kiwanis, the Lions Club, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, or the Junior League are good places to start. Each of these organizations has weekly meetings. Most of them also like to have a guest speaker at each meeting. When you speak to these groups, you can’t sell to them. However, you’ll be amazed at how often something you say will spark an idea with the group.
My wife is a Rotarian and was elected to an office last year. When Texas began to loosen up the Covid restrictions, the group decided to start meeting in person again. They had a very difficult time getting speakers to attend. So, in a pinch, my wife asked me to speak to the group. I had just created a workshop called Tipping Point which was about how to reduce stress. Since it was still a pretty new topic for me, the Rotary club was a great place to master the content.
The group loved the topic. In fact, they spent 20 minutes asking me questions, and it turned into a great discussion. A week or so later, I got a call from the president of the group. In my presentation, I had quickly mentioned how during Covid, my team had repurposed a few of our team activities into virtual events. She had just canceled the main fundraiser for the group because of Covid. She needed a virtual replacement, so she thought of me.
Volunteer to Be a Guest on Podcasts Where Your Potential Clients Are Listeners.
By the way, if you haven’t yet noticed, I have organized the speaking opportunities in a specific order. The social clubs are a great starting point. Your pressure to perform well is pretty low. So, they are great places to practice. (If you totally screw up your speech, only a few people who you will likely never see again will ever know. 😉
Step two is to make yourself available to be a guest on podcasts. Podcasts are great for a couple of reasons. First, they reach a larger audience. Second, although there is a permanent recording of the podcast episode, the popularity of it is short-lived. This is a fantastic balance for you. If you do a phenomenal job on the podcast interview, you can publicize the episode on your social media. However, if it wasn’t your best moment, a few weeks from now, no one will ever be able to find it if they aren’t looking for it.
There are also a couple of fantastic ways to get clients by being a podcast guest. Most obvious, the podcast will have hundreds or thousands of people listening that are potential clients for you. However, that benefit is just a small part of the overall power of podcast interviews. First, string together three to five stellar interviews. Then, send links to the recordings to other potential clients.
I often include a line like, “By the way, I recently did a podcast on this topic. You can find it at…” in my emails to potential clients.
Host Your Own Podcast to Create an Endless Stream of New Potential Clients.
Of course, that phrase works even better if you have your own podcast.
Just as an FYI, I never set out to be a professional speaker. I was terrified to speak in front of others. A coach helped me overcome that nervousness. This training opened up a lot of doors for me. Since it worked so well for me, I went back to my coach and asked if she would teach me how to help others. After spending just a year or so with her, my confidence was high. I thought I knew everything about public speaking.
Then, I transferred to the bigger office in Dallas. The office had over a dozen instructors who all had 20 plus years of experience on me. I was a sponge. These experts taught me so much more than what I learned with my single coach. In my last year at that company, I received two awards from the company for superior instruction. This time, I finally knew everything about public speaking. My confidence was even higher.
The next year, I started The Leaders Institute ®. In those first couple of years, because I was the only instructor, I taught more classes myself than most instructors at my previous company did in a LIFETIME. I couldn’t believe how naive I was to think I knew everything prior to this experience. However, now I was sure that I knew it all.
Then I brought on instructors and began to train them to teach. The same thing happened again.
I tell you all this because I had been in the industry for 20 years before I started the Fearless Presentations ® podcast. I’d guess that I have learned more about the industry since then than I did in the entire 20 years prior.
Become a Specialist at Lunch-N-Learns.
Way back in the day (yup, I’m pretty old now,) I used to volunteer to do lunch-n-learns for potential clients. I remember going from business to business in a local business park looking for clients. It was a tough way to find new clients. However, it worked. A manager at one of the companies invited me to their weekly lunch meeting. I bought a six-foot Subway sandwich and brought it with me. The group liked me so much that they hired me to do a leadership series for them.
I also did sessions like this for the Chamber of Commerce here in Fort Worth, when I got started. Of course, as I got busier, I stopped doing these lunch-n-learns. I spent a tremendous amount of time finding groups to speak to. So, my return on investment was really low. That is until social media and virtual meetings came on the scene.
Now, we get new customers EVERY week using this technique. For instance, you can send out an invitation to your entire email list. Then 24 hours later, host a Facebook Live, YouTube Live, or LinkedIn live session. If your topic is popular and solves problems for your list, people will tune in. By the way, if you have a podcast, you can spend a couple of weeks promoting the session to your listeners as well.
We do something similar by offering a “Live Demo” to our website visitors. Potential clients often hire us to do virtual training sessions. So, we offer a 15-minute or 30-minute sample session for them. We started out scheduling these sessions at Noon on Friday. However, we found it just as easy to allow the potential client to schedule a session based on their calendar.
Use Seminars, Webinars, and Long Videos to Build a Following.
My company is in the seminar business, so this final technique is pretty easy for us. However, you can use the same technique in just about any industry. For instance, a realtor might sponsor a seminar about home upgrades to increase the value. Or, a dentist might do a seminar about how to whiten your teeth. Either of these professions can charge a fee for the seminar. However, they could forgive the entrance fee if the person brings a friend.
By the way, I put this one last for a reason. It is a fantastic way to get new clients. However, this technique is fraught with danger and costly mistakes. So, be careful. In the first year of The Leaders Institute ®, I was offering a six-session leadership class. I knew that if potential customers could experience part of the session, they would love it. I also knew that helping people reduce public speaking fear was the most popular outcome of my classes.
So, I rented out a 100 person banquet hall at a local hotel. Then, I spoke to social organizations, business groups, and dozens of other audiences. Each time, I didn’t promote my company (or myself) at all. I just promoted this free public speaking class.
The big night came. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to see the roaring crowd. However, at the appointed start time, I had only one person in the audience. Fifteen minutes later, it was still just the two of us. The whole idea was embarrassing and expensive.
However, five years later, I delivered over 300 public speaking classes in a single year. So, it wasn’t all bad. I learned from the process and improved the idea over time. So, start with some of the easier ideas before trying this one.
If You Need Help Implementing Any of These Ideas, Our Instruction Team Is Here to Help!
When I tried each of these ideas myself, I was learning through trial-and-error. As a result, I made a lot of costly mistakes. You have the luxury of not having to blaze the trail from the start. You can learn from my mistakes and save yourself a bundle of capital and time. So, if you want to implement any of these ideas, please reach out to us. We would love to help you get new clients by speaking!