There is nothing like an empty calendar to get one fired up to sell again. I can honestly say that in the past 20 years, as a professional speaker, I have never really had to sell myself, let alone one of my keynotes. So after looking at my empty calendar this past quarter, I did as most advanced thinking professionals would do, I sulked! Felt sorry for myself, I felt old and irrelevant and as I am on the cusp of my 50th birthday, I drank a lot of wine.
Now seriously, who is going to hire an old, veteran keynote speaker who has been giving the same keynote for the past 15 years? No ONE! And my calendar was proof of that fact. So, “What did you do?” you ask. Now comes the content of this article:
1. I called up a few good colleagues to give me some advice and a well needed kick in the butt. First came Rhonda Victoors; she put me and Richelle, my office manager, through a bit of a strategic planning session. “What do you mean? I have to call people up?” I asked. “On the phone! Really?” “Really, Really,” she told us. And so it started. I decided that I needed to take back the sales calls and lead responses from Richelle because for some reason clients seem to respond better to me. Now this had nothing to do with how skilled a sales person Richelle is; it has to do with the client responding to me and how I sell what I believe in—which is my new programs. What do you know? We started booking more leads. So if you are in business for yourself, know that people respond to speaking to you personally. So get used to it.
2. The next action I took was to take a colleague up on her special offer to audit my web site. It was well worth the money, I might add. And in a few short minutes of being on the phone with Jane Atkinson, I came to the realization that I had become a hoarder! I had soooo much old crap on my site that was sooo outdated. I kept hearing Joe Calloway’s words from his famous NSA Keynote “let it go….” Within 3 days after that call, I had completely cleaned up my site, and re-branded my programs and strategies.
3. Finally, it started to become increasingly obvious to me that even though I was landing some bookings, I was also losing some–bookings that I believed I was a good fit. And again, being honest with myself, I had to put some structure to my conversations with these potential clients. During each client call, I asked if it would be appropriate for me to send them all the points we chatted about, in a proposal format. Now I know there are many of you out there that have been writing proposals since you started working or running your businesses, but for those of us who have been getting off on our good looks and sense of humour, it’s revolutionary–alright?
To summarize this piece, here is how I started to re-sell my products and services:
1. You must call people on the phone to actually speak to them in person. I get most requests over email, and I respond with a very vague email and ask when we can chat in person on the phone. Have lots of questions to ask about them, their event and their desired outcomes. Then position yourself as the exact person with expertise that they need to fill that spot on their agenda.
2. Take an honest look at your materials, products, programs, and publications. As well, make sure your website does the absolute best job for you that it can. My site is very well positioned on Google and I needed to update it with fresh photos, and current, relevant language that still represented me and pushed me to write a few new keynotes, and programs.
3. Get good at writing an upbeat proposal. Cover the material you will deliver including, outcomes and expertise. Provide a short bio. State the investment the client will make by using your services and you. Tell them your proposed fee and expenses. Then add a few bits of feedback about how great you are. Customize it so it looks like you have only ever written this for their group.
Marketing Your Business and Services
Here are a few thoughts on marketing your products and services: I went back to every one of my past clients to let them know I was expanding my business. I wanted them to know about my new programs and what I had been up to. I left it at that! I also wanted them to see the changes to my website. Additionally, I pay a fee to have someone position my site so my site ranks high on Google under several KEY words and that drives lots of traffic to my site.
Marketing yourself as an expert
You simply must have on all your marketing materials, what it is you do and what you offer. Be clear and pick a lane you want to be known for. But it’s in the copy you write that positions yourself as an EXPERT. If you are outstanding in a certain area, then you best be saying that you are! And then deliver! If you are easy to work with, then use some testimonials from past clients who love you. Do your homework and go to some of your competitions website and see how they have positioned themselves. Read the copy they use to promote their services and try and emulate what you like and make it your own. And for those of you who work for someone and are reading this and wondering how this applies to you, then I really suggest you start thinking about yourself as an expert in whatever field you are currently working in. Write articles for your newsletters. Your power, like anyone’s is in the articles you write. Again, simply start thinking about yourself as an Expert!
I hope this was helpful. Email me and ask me anything that’s on your mind.