Speakers who wait for the phone to ring and inbound inquiries to show up in their email accounts were living in a glass house – a house that was just shattered by COVID-19. Shattered like a piece of glass meeting the end of a baseball bat.
Why is that business model so precarious? If we aren’t being booked, we can blame it on others – ‘someone didn’t pick up the phone or email an inquiry, isn’t business horrible?’. However, when we decide that we are going to control our revenue and sales, it doesn’t mean that we’ll book a gig each day, each week or even each month. That can get stressful, because it takes work to call, send emails, LinkedIn messages etc.
The speaking business is isolating to begin with, as we largely operate from home offices and on the road to get to our stages. Because we can’t turn to our cubicle-mate and commiserate, we need other strategies to keep our motivation up. If we’re in the rare group of those speakers who are taking active control of their sales, it can get very isolating especially when results aren’t appearing on a daily basis. We need ways to make it through the dry season.
Below are some strategies we’ve discovered help us get perspective on where we are, because when we’re in the day-to-day it can be depressing when we don’t see the types of results we’re working towards. We need ways to know in between the conversations with buyers and in between proposals that we’re doing things we CAN control – and understand when we should be expecting results.
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Here are the things we ensure we don’t forget in between the great sales conversations, proposals sent or gigs booked:
1. Don’t forget where you came from
If you have reminders of the stages you’ve been on when you’re in the day-to-day of sales outreach, they can stand as proof you’ve have had a lot of success in this business. These can be name tags and lanyards from past events, posters of you clients made framed on your office walls, etc. If you don’t have any of those yet, make your own: Print the email marketing piece your first few clients create to promote your talk to their members or employees and use those as placeholders until you can gather other reminders of success.
2.Don’t forget who you are
Do you remember that you get paid to do something most people on the planet fear more than death? And you love to do it because of the impact you get to make? The hope you bring to others? For thousands of years, it was tough to turn expertise into a profession that put us onto stages around the world, and even if we only book one gig a month, that’s something most of our friends and relatives will never be able to do – or deliver on.
Additionally, what seems like common sense to us – because it’s our expertise – may be crucial insight to someone else. Insight that could change their lives and their businesses. A few words from us (because they’re well-crafted) can be the difference between success and failure in someone else’s lives. That’s a lot of power, and as Spiderman would tell you, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
3.Don’t forget where you’re going
Meredith Elliott Powell, a sales speaker I have a lot of respect for, said that sales activity is like exercise. We don’t run a mile and get upset because pounds haven’t melted away. We run a mile every day and results eventually happen. The same is true with sales.
Major milestones become less monumental, like the sales conversation and proposals and gigs. What becomes more important is the long-game we’re playing. Our ‘exercise’ today might look like qualifying just a few prospects into the pipeline, sending a few emails and making a few calls. No marathon effort is required if we’re putting in a mile every day. Letting our outreach tasks fall behind then requires us to do 25 miles in a day without training (and that usually doesn’t end well in sales activity or in running). By doing consistent things each day, we know we’ll get to our destination.
Don’t forget why you’re doing this
If we don’t have a goal we’re working towards, it becomes difficult to know if we’re even running in the right direction with our daily miles. It’s important to reconnect with the big goals we have – quality of life for the family, getting out of debt, traveling to new places, etc.
Checking in with those goals reminds us why we’re putting in the daily effort. Even when those goals may take years – or a lifetime – to be achieved, remembering them will be the fuel we need to keep picking up the phone, sending emails and attempting to reach folks who have problems we can solve. Having our eyes on the prize lets us know that doing small activities, consistently well, will yield the results we’re after.
Negative results can become reminders of the positive actions we can take.
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