As speakers dedicated to building a real business, we know storytelling is only a small portion of our jobs. “How I climbed Mount Everest on a pogo stick with one leg, blindfolded,” is a great story, but doesn’t matter when we’re talking about generating business.
We can’t rely on storytelling, stagecraft or vocal power to build a sustainable business; we also have to have a great sales process. However, what stops most speakers (and most salespeople in general) from getting in front of folks who can buy from them is the fear of being rejected. And that comes from the fear of cold-calling.
Never Cold Call Again
Why are so many speakers, experts in communication, afraid to reach out to people who have never heard of them (I mean, isn’t that the case every time they take a stage?)
“On stage it’s different,” they tell me. “On the phone, I don’t want to be considered a slimy salesperson.” Yet it’s that same fear that keeps many speakers in feast-or-famine, waiting for the phone to ring and the emails to come in.
That fear is not from speaking – we’re already great at that or we shouldn’t be in this profession. The fear comes from not being prepared when reaching out. Not providing value to the folks on the other end of the line.
We’ll cover exactly how we prepare before reaching out – but before that, we should get clear about what happens when speakers don’t prepare. See if any of these ring a bell:
-Finding out that the person we are asking to speak with is either retired, dead or even worse, has never worked there. (Can you say “awkward”?)
-Being cast into the black hole of voicemail (Delete!)
-Getting shut down by people who can say ‘no’ but not ‘yes’ (It’s the only power they actually have!)
(If you’re challenged with building sales into your business, you won’t want to miss our next Speaker Sales Masterclass. Click HERE to register.)
How To Research Speaking Prospects:
Before sending the first letter, card, email or picking up the phone, we want to know some things about our prospects so that we come across as professional solution providers. Here are a few things you can find online to prep for your ‘warm calls’:
–Identify the CEO and their email address: When we identify the people at the top of the food chain, we bypass gatekeepers.
–Obtain specific email addresess and direct phone lines: Find the specific email address and phone numbers for the decision makers. Speakers can find this information by looking at an email signature or the organization’s website.
–Gather a physical mailing address: Having someone’s email address is great, utilizing a multi-channel marketing approach is even better. By having a system that leverages letters, cards phone and email, we are more likely to be remembered.
–Identify past speakers: When we identify speakers they brought in the past we can answer the question, “Do they hire external speakers?” and as most of these speakers are represented by bureaus, it’s not hard to engineer what the event paid for them. Of course, we charge similarly.
–Know when and where the next event is: Selling solutions is all about being specific. Being able to ask for the person in charge of that particular event gets us directly to the decision maker.
–Create ROI they care about: Work to discover the cost to become part of the organization. We then make a direct connection between the value we deliver and the results they’re seeking.
Do this now:
-Build a spreadsheet or create data fields in your CRM for every account so you can be sure the prospect’s information is available.
-Go through your existing list and start filling in the information gaps on your prospects.
-Before making ‘warm calls’, familiarize yourself with the account information so when you’re asked why you’re calling, you come across as knowledgeable about their organization’s events.
If you’re ready to begin building the systems that build speaking businesses, we’re offering a free speaker sales masterclass beginning soon: