July 28, 2020 Shawn

The Importance Of Sales Objectives For Speakers

If you’ve taken the monumental step of researching places to speak and reaching out to folks who may be able to hire you, you could still unwittingly set your speaking business up for failure. Even if we reach a person who CAN say yes to hiring us, we can still walk away wondering what happened to the sale because every call won’t generate a sale. This isn’t because of our lack of charisma, expertise or even speaking skill – it’s because we’re lacking multiple objectives for each sales call.

While getting a proposal out is always our first objective, we can still move our speaking sales forward if we know we’ve achieved secondary objectives.

As speakers, we’re likely solopreneurs. All aspects of running our businesses fall to us. So if we’re taking time away from content generation, marketing and our families to reach out to people who can hire us (or taking the odd inbound inquiry, which have become especially rare since COVID-19), then we should have call goals in mind. Otherwise, we’re not conducting sales outreach, we’re just calling to chat. With conversational goals for our sales calls, we can at least know if we achieved our primary objective and if not, what secondary objectives we were able to achieve.

This process actually came out of the need for me to find a way to not get into a funk when I did have a call with a decision maker that wasn’t ready to hire any speakers yet. I knew that if I was able to leave the call with information I didn’t have before that better positioned me for the speaking gig in the future, then I could consider the call a success even if they didn’t ask for a proposal.

So what else can we achieve in a sales conversation to consider it a success if the call doesn’t result in a proposal?

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The answer to that question is dependent on where that prospect is in our pipeline. By knowing where a prospect is, we’ll know exactly what information we need to ask for in order to consider that interaction a success (even and especially if a sale isn’t made).

Let’s go through the different verticals of a speaker’s sales cycle and outline what call objectives we can shoot for if we don’t make it all the way to the sale.

Cold Outreach:

Definition of this stage: They’ve never heard of us/most of the leadership team has transitioned since our last contact
What we should walk into the conversation with:
Names of likely decision makers, location of next planned event, direct phone numbers and emails if they can be found online, LinkedIn profile URLs.
Secondary objectives for these calls:
Confirm the name and contact information of the person responsible for hiring speakers. Discover challenges they’ll be addressing at their event. Discover budget. Discover buying process (single person, committee, etc.). Discover buying timeline.
Bonus: Number of attendees, any additional events they hire speakers for.

We Know The Decision Maker’s Name:
Definition: We know the decision maker’s name and likely their direct contact information but don’t know what challenges they’ll be addressing at their conference, what budget they have for a speaker, or what their buying process or timeline might be.
What we should walk into the conversation with:
Name of the decision maker and their contact information.
Secondary objectives for this stage:
Discover challenges they’ll be addressing at their event. Discover budget. Discover buying process (single person, committee, etc.). Discover buying timeline. Number of attendees. Find out if there are any additional events they hire speakers for besides the one you called to ask about.

In Selection Mode
Definition: We know who the decision maker is, we’re in the timeframe they said they’ll be selecting a speaker and we know we can speak for their budget range.
What we should walk into the conversation with:
Decision maker contact information, notes from previous chats. Budget range. Buying process (single person, committee, etc.)
Secondary objectives for this stage:
To confirm latest challenges they’ll be addressing and what they’re looking for in a speaker before hiring them. Buying process is a great one to get at this point as well (will it be a single person selecting the speaker, a committee, etc.).

We Never Heard Back
Definition: The results of our outreach attempts in ‘we know the decision maker’s name’ and/or ‘in selection mode’ were not responded to. We target this vertical of our campaign to the executive director/CEO if possible as we weren’t able to get traction with the decision maker.
What we should walk into the conversation with:
The name of the decision maker/their contact information AND the executive director’s name/their contact info (this is the decision maker’s boss if they’re not the CEO themselves).
Secondary objectives for this stage:
To have a conversation with the executive director to confirm whether the decision maker you have still works there/if they’re still the ones responsible for speaker selection. Discover the executive director’s ideal outcomes from the event you’re targeting. Get their permission to CC them in an email to the decision maker to restart the conversation about bringing you in. Getting a message from the boss saying ‘have a conversation’ is a great way to restart an otherwise lost deal with a decision maker who wouldn’t respond otherwise.

With secondary objectives, we can ensure every call moves the ball a little further down the field towards getting you on a live or virtual stage, even if the sales call doesn’t generate a sale.


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