by Alicia Smith
When I started building one of my early businesses – a review course to prepare people for the Texas Real Estate exam – I knew I had a great idea, but I wasn’t sure how to reach prospective students. The easiest group to identify were licensed salesmen who might be interested in getting their broker’s license. Active salespeople are required to work under a licensed broker. So I contacted the broker/manager of the largest real estate offices and offered my services to speak to their agents.
I created a flier with descriptions of 5 topics that were of interest to active agents. The brokers chose the topic and dates were set to speak to their agents at regularly scheduled sales meetings. Timely topics made being invited in easier than I imagined.
When I approached the broker/manager I was upfront with them about my motivation. In exchange for delivering valuable information, in an engaging fashion, I wanted to let their sales people know about my new Exam Prep course. I promised that I would not make a sales pitch, but that at the end of my presentation I would briefly let people know about the review course and hand out brochures. Long story short, the Exam Prep course grew to be the largest in the state of Texas and I often had 200+ in the twice monthly course. My only form or marketing was speaking to groups.
If you’re ready to get started, or revived, in your public speaking then prepare a list of topics that you can speak on with relative ease. With this list in hand contact 5 local organizations, charitable or for-profit, and offer yourself as a public speaker for one of their upcoming meetings. With the advent of telelcasses and tele-interviews you can also choose a much broader, even a global, reach.
It’s great if you can get paid for your speaking but more than likely you will be offering your services for free. However, I always recommend that you “barter” for something that will be of value to you:
- A letter of recommendation written by the president or program chair.
- Referrals to 3 other groups that may have an interest in your for-fee presentations.
- The ability to do a drawing for a free month of your service or a free product. This allows you to collect business cards so you can follow up with people.
- If they have a member’s publication ask for a free ad or write up in their newsletter.
- Be allowed to have a sign up sheet for people interested in a free consultation or demonstration or to sign up for your newsletter (if you have one – if not, for when it is available).
- The topic you choose will be dependent on your background and expertise, as well as the needs of your target group. Here are some ideas to get your brain-waves stimulated.
- Looking and Feeling Great after 40 (For Extreme Care Professionals: Skin Care, Fitness Trainers, Hair Stylist, etc.)
- Protecting Your Assets for a Lifetime (Estate Law or Certified Financial Planners)
- Time Management in the Corporation (for managers)
- How to Improve Communications ( for a Communications Company)
- How to Care for Your Aging Pet (for Veterinarians)
- Customer service at Its Best (Any Small Business Owner can speak on this topic)
- Stress Management (for Physicians, Massage Therapists, Chiropractors)
- How to Buy Your First Home (For Realtors)
What works best is to have a Menu of Topics so that when you do call to set up your speaking engagements you can offer them 3 – 5 topics for them to choose from. When possible you will want the topics to be about, or complementary to, your business. That way you can weave in many stories and examples about your business and how it can be beneficial to them or someone they know.
Please post a comment below sharing your speaking success stories. Also, feel free to ask any questions you may have. This one technique can take your business from non-existent to fully booked.
Speak your way to success!
Alicia Smith, DiSC Ninja™
This lesson excerpted from the 90 Day Marketing MarationTM, available at www.90DayMarketingMarathon.com.
Copyright 2008 Alicia Smith