There’s one thing that will make a meeting planner, executive director or CEO round-file a speaker, and one thing that prevents it.
Unfortunately, it’s what speakers think they’re great at – talking!
After tracking the results of more than 5,000 conversations with decision makers, we’ve learned that a sales call is the wrong time for a speaker’s story. Yes, you’ve climbed mountains and overcome obstacles.
The question that decision makers need answered is:
Why should I care?
We realized we weren’t presenting our keynote in terms of value. We had to take a step back and ask why these events were happening at all.
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Solving Problems And Increasing Success
Whether you’re trying to get on the stage of an association’s conference or a company’s event, remember the entire event is only being held for one of two reasons (or both): Solve problems or increase success.
Newsflash: Your motivational story or five insights into whatever doesn’t accomplish that. It’s what the audience does with your content that solves problems and increases success.
Unless your audience are individuals, you need to start asking yourself what business drivers your talk provides. If your individuals are in business, you still need business drivers – or value – behind your talk.
The World Famous Radio Station: WIIFM
We’ve learned to stop introducing ourselves as keynote speakers – because few people understand how an hour-long talk creates change. Starting a conversation with ‘I sell widgets, you need some widgets?’ doesn’t go far. If you start a conversation by asking about what’s going on in their organization, the problems they’re addressing and struggling to solve, then you’ve earned the right to present widgets (or your talk) as a solution.
That can’t be done via email. It can’t be done solely on LinkedIn. You have to have a conversation with a human about them and their challenges, not about you, your story or your talk. Your decision makers are tuned into one radio station: What’s In It For Me?
They don’t have the energy or time to connect your dramatic story with their audience challenges. It’s up to you to build the bridge between your expertise/story to their challenges, and that’s best done before you’re speaking to people who can hire you.
Features Vs. Benefits
We’ve interviewed hundreds of speakers and asked: What does your talk accomplish? And we hear the same things that put decision makers to sleep: Change management, inspirational, leadership improvement, live on purpose, …………… oh sorry, I nodded off there for a minute as well.
Stop selling the feature of your talk. No one cares until they know how it accelerated their success.
But that’s what most speakers are taught to build their keynotes around, so start there. List it all out. Vomit it onto a page so you can leave it behind and focus on the changes those things produce.
If a speaker isn’t spitting vitriol around their life journey, they often make the mistake of couching their expertise around how they deliver their expertise. Keynote speaker, podcaster, columnist, or they’ll focus on their former job titles: HR Director, Fortune 100 executive, war correspondent/military veteran (my personal former job title).
None of that matters either.
Whether it’s your talk’s subject or your delivery method, neither focus on the benefits of that expertise or experience.
It’s About Changing Your Client’s State
Instead of focusing on your story or your delivery method, focus on how that stuff changes the lives and business of your audience members. If those folks run businesses, what are the business drivers your talk produces? If they’re individuals, what’s different about their finances, relationships and communities when they implement what you teach?
Your job as a speaker is to be familiar with the few dozen ways your experience and expertise creates changed client states. That way, when you ask about what challenges an event is tackling, you can build the bridge between one of the many benefits of your talk with what your client is looking to achieve.
Do This Now:
-Stop selling what you do, the talk you deliver, your experience or your expertise until you know how it will help your prospect meet their goals
-Map out the benefits your clients achieve from your talk. What are the objective, verifiable and observable differences for your clients when they implement what you’re advising them to do?
-Take those benefits-driven statements and practice noticing how they could benefit the individuals and organizations you encounter throughout your day.
Now you’re focusing on value in a systematic way – and that’s a Speaker Sales System.
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