If you’ve taken the brave step to take control of your speaking business and are actually conducting outreach to folks who could hire you, congratulations. You’re in the top 1% of speakers in the world.
You’re treating your business like a business and not a hobby.
So how would you like to get into the top .01%?
The folks in that top-tier of speaking businesses didn’t get there with a bestselling book, or an appearance on Oprah. They got there because they’re doing something only .01% of business owners in any industry are taking the time to do.
They monitor their conversion metrics – and do something with what they learn.
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The Ugly Truth About Speaker Conversion
If you ask most speakers what their close (or ‘conversion,’ in this example) ratio is, it’s always a high number. It’s not uncommon to hear a close ratio or greater than 90%.
So if speakers are so great at closing business, why do so many suffer from feast-and-famine in their revenues?
There’s a follow-up question that reveals the answer: “Of the leads you ‘close’ with your 90%+ ratio, how many of them reached out to you rather than you initiating the contact?”
You’ll quickly find that the conversion ratio is so high because the buyers are coming in through referral/inbound means. In other words, they’re warm leads who are mostly convinced you’re the right speaker.
That model works to generate revenue – until it doesn’t. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a bank yet that is willing to accept mortgage payments when folks finally get around to emailing me or asking me to speak at their events. Banks want more regular payments – and so should you as a business owner.
If It’s That Important, Why Aren’t More Speakers Tracking Conversion?
Speakers have a lot of excuses for not treating their businesses like businesses, and this situation is no different. I’ve heard reasons such as ‘I’m bad at math,’ ‘no one taught me,’ and ‘it takes too much time.’ If Richard Branson and Warren Buffet have the time to look at conversion metrics for their companies, please tell me about how busy you are.
The fact is, we’ve found most speakers aren’t tracking metrics on outbound business for one reason: The answer will undoubtedly frighten them. Unfortunately, without knowing how to generate speaking engagements, we’ll always be at the mercy of someone else picking up the phone. When the inbound calls/inbound emails stop, so does your revenue – and your business.
There is a better way.
So What Will Knowing Conversion Metrics Do For My Speaking Business?
Knowing conversion ratios allow you to know the health of your business – and how to make it healthier. Whether that looks like more clients, higher fees (or both), knowing the numbers and understanding how to leverage them ensures your business stays in business.
Said another way, conversion metrics allow you to understand how much of something you need to put into one end of your sales funnel to get a specific result out of the other end. If you’re using multiple sales campaigns across a pipeline, you can go a level deeper with your metrics to track and tweak your marketing across each campaign to improve it, as well.
For instance, knowing that putting 100 leads into a campaign converts to 20 conversations, of which 10 convert to proposals and you close 5 gigs. That’s a 5% overall conversion. Want to double the amount of deals? Put in 200 leads. Knowing a simple conversion flow allows you to tweak leading indicators (leads, conversations, proposals) to lagging indicators (closed deals).
I’m Sold – So What Numbers Should I Start Tracking?
While there’s no aspect of outbound sales and marketing that can’t be tracked, let’s keep it simple so you can begin tracking metrics today. What are the important metrics we track in our business? Let’s start by walking the sales process for most speakers from the end to the beginning – proposal to initial call.
Proposals Issued Vs. Closed: How many proposals did you issue in a given timeframe (quarter/year)? How many of those closed and delivered revenue?
Conversations With Decision Makers Vs. Proposals Issued: How many conversations did you have with folks who make decisions around keynote speakers in that timeframe? How many of those accounts eventually asked for a proposal?
Calls Made Vs. Decision Maker Conversations: Of all the calls you made in that timeframe, how many decision makers did you get in touch with/have a conversation with?
As an example, let’s say you discovered you issued 10 proposals and closed 5. You had 20 conversations with decision makers to issue 10 proposals. You had to make 100 calls to have 20 conversations. To double closed proposals, double amount of calls (this is a very simplified example, but gives you an idea of how easy this can be).
I Have My Numbers, What Do I Do Now?
Knowing something is useless unless you can apply it to create change. In the case of conversion metrics, having your number is good, doing something with it is great.
There are two things you can do with conversion metrics to create changes across your pipeline and increase closed sales:
1. Increase gross number of inputs: Once you have a handle on your conversion metrics, you’ll know exactly what number of increased leads to put into cold outreach in order to affect the total number of closed sales
2. Increase efficiency/reduce bottlenecks: Another way to leverage the power of your metrics is to use them as an indicator of weak points in your pipeline. Where do your numbers tell you leads are getting ‘stuck’? In your attempts to generate conversations? In issuing proposals? Pay attention to where your numbers tell you an increase would be helpful and modify what you’re doing at that point to generate increased sales.
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