Talk your way to More Clients with Pam Lippitt
The greatest struggle coaches have is acquiring new high-quality, high-paying clients
Yes, many good coaches… even the ones that can indeed help their clients, struggle with new client acquisition; especially if referrals begin to slow or dry-up completely.
One strategy that consistently results in quality leads and new clients is speaking. A speaking engagement does something no other lead-generation strategy can do. When done properly, speaking in front of a live audience (or online) positions you as an expert; someone who knows more than the audience about a particular subject.
And because of this, you acquire immediate credibility and trust. Even the biggest skeptics in the room will be won over when they see others paying complete attention and taking copious notes.
Another thing that drives me to run workshops, presentations and attend speaking engagements is my ability to reach more people in a shorter period of time. This one-to-many approach creates credibility faster than any other method (other than maybe being a published author).
I’ve had success conducting “seminars” and “workshops.” People are used to attending these, some for free and others at a reasonable cost. The decision to charge or not to charge for your seminars/workshops is something I recommend testing. The quality of your audience may improve if you charge a nominal fee, but you will undoubtedly have a larger audience if it’s free to attend.
Target the Right Audience
Whenever possible, you should speak in front of your ideal audience. These are your people, your tribe, your followers. Can you define them? Do you know the organization they belong to, where they hang out? Is there a niche within this target that’s even more prone to work with you?
These are people you truly understand. If you’re not quite sure you have the depth of understanding you need to attract them to your seminar/workshop, do some research into two key areas:
1. The PROBLEM they have that they don’t want.
2. The SOLUTION they want that they don’t have.
Structuring the Presentation
So let’s assume you could speak to that ideal audience… what would you say? What would you want to share with them that will enrich their lives, businesses, etc? Speaking should be synonymous with giving. It’s not about selling your services. It’s about providing value first.
As a speaker, I get attendees to think about the true implications of their inaction or actions. During the presentation, it’s imperative that I take the audience from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence… and then to action… hopefully with you as their coach.
Your presentation should start by building credibility for yourself as an expert. Tell your story, tell “your why,” tell folks about your background.
Then focus on the two areas I mention above; first letting the audience know that you understand and empathize with their main concern, frustration and struggle… and then intriguing them with top-level strategies/solutions (not so detailed that they can actually execute them without you).
Even for this article, I started with the problem you have that you don’t want… that being not enough leads/not enough new, high-paying clients. If I struck a chord, then you continued reading as you obviously have! This same strategy and structure work for speaking engagements as well.
The next step is to provide the audience with some proof; interesting examples, stories, case studies that show that your solutions have worked for others. Don’t belabor the point. Provide a short summary of the client’s problem, then a brief explanation of the solution you helped the client reach and then the specific (and hopefully impressive) results your clients got from implementing the solution(s).
Don’t Sell… Educate
A speaking engagement should never have even a hint of a sales pitch. At the same time, the topics you choose and the presentations you make should always tie directly to the services you sell.
Therefore, it’s critical you have a clear understanding of what those services are so your speaking engagements support your business development efforts… and most importantly, the next step in your client acquisition process.
Please Don’t Read the Slides
I know I’m pleading here, but it’s one of my biggest pet peeves; presenters who read their slides to the audience. And that would be bad enough, but they compound it by creating slides that are full of words, long bullet points or even worse, full sentences.
Instead, use interesting visuals along with a few words (2-6) that tell the gist of each slide. Then you, as the presenter, tell the audience your thoughts about the subject of that particular slide. This way the attention is on you and not your slides. You want people listening to you, not reading slides. You’ll generate so much more credibility and trust if the attention is on you.
Be Clear on Your Call-to-Action and Next Step
If you’re not quite sure of what you want your audience to do at the end of your talk, you will get similarly nebulous results. As with a lot of projects, you must start with the end in mind. Since you’re not attempting to “sell” or close a client, what’s an appropriate next step and call-to-action?
An obvious next step is to meet one-on-one with your prospects. It’s only through a one-on-one meeting (or call) that you can build the necessary value and personal connection. But how do you get them to want to meet with you?
You must not just offer the opportunity to meet with you; you must promote it. You must explain to the audience what they will get out of this meeting with you… the value they will receive… the outcome they will experience. It cannot be just a sales pitch. Prospects won’t meet with you if all they think you’re going to do is sell them on hiring you.
There must be a quid pro quo. That is, both parties must recognize that each is going to get something positive out of the meeting. In our case, we promise that the prospect will understand how each of the strategies we shared in the presentation could be applied to their business and the estimated financial impact they could have on their future growth.
Market Your Talk
One strategy to use to market your talk is to offer it as a Free Value-Add to your referral partners. That is, for them to offer it to their clients as a “customer appreciation” event. We call this a Host Beneficiary type of event.
In this case, the host would promote and market your talk to their client base. You would just come into their business and present your talk. Obviously, this same strategy could apply to organizations, Meet-up groups, Chambers of Commerce, networking groups, etc.
If you’re marketing your talk, you must give it an interesting title. A boring title is the fastest way to kill attendance. A few years ago, we gave a talk on how to deal more effectively with stress in the workplace.
Instead of calling our talk, “How to Deal More Effectively with Stress in the Workplace,” we called it “How to Practice Safe Stress.” It made people smile and it intrigued them enough to read the rest of the flyer.
That brings me to a very important point. You cannot rely solely on the title to sell your talk. You must inform the audience who your talk is for and what they can expect to get out of it
Delivering the Talk
Make sure you’re prepared. Preparation is key to delivering an effective talk. Practice your presentation. Not just once, but several times. Know how long it truly is. Know your material. You should also know the room and the equipment you will be using. Visit the room ahead of time and do a check of theirs and your equipment. Anticipate problems.
For example, have extra batteries for your remote, put your presentation on a USB drive in case your laptop decides to be wonky, or better yet, print-out your slides so you can still deliver your presentation. Don’t try to fix the technology while you’re supposed to be giving your presentation. It’s a surefire way to lose your audience.
You shouldn’t be 100% reliant on your slides; in fact, you should be able to give the entire presentation without them. With a printed-out copy, you’ll have the ability to refer to your slides and continue on with your presentation… or at least have an outline of your presentation with you just in case.
Deliver your talk with passion and confidence. We’ve all sat through a presentation where the presenter was monotone and/or shaky. You cannot bore the audience into wanting to work with you! If you’re not excited and passionate about what you’re presenting, why should they be? And if it seems like you don’t know your materials well, you will not earn the credibility as an expert.
Have fun! If you’re having fun with the presentation and the audience, the audience will like you and the presentation more. Remember, people want to work with folks they know, like and trust. Help them like you by being likable and fun. But be yourself. Be authentic. People can tell when the presenter is trying too hard to be likable. And it makes them uncomfortable.
Make your talk interactive. Draw the audience out. Don’t allow them to merely sit back and evaluate you. Have them evaluate themselves vis-a-vis your materials. Ask them to rate themselves on their competency in certain areas of your materials. This will further help your audience get to the point of conscious incompetency because their ratings of themselves will clearly point that out to them.
Don’t throw away the closing/call-to-action. Deliver it with the same passion and excitement that you delivered the educational material. After all, if you’re not excited about why people should meet with you one-on-one, why should they be?
Lastly, consider having the audience complete a short self-assessment and return it to you at the end of the presentation. You’ll then be able to use this as the foundation for your one-on-one meeting; getting them to open up about why they ranked or assessed themselves a specific way on the key areas of your presentation.
It’s better if you can have them do this before they leave. It’s far less likely that they will fill the self-assessment out later and email it back to you.
A Final Thought
If you’re conducting these seminars/workshops on your own and without a host-beneficiary business or organization, you should consider attracting a sponsor… another business that wishes to get in front of the same audience and is willing to pay for the room and refreshments in order to get their logo on materials you distribute and a short “plug” to open the meeting.
As a speaker, you have the power to move groups and individuals to action and reflection.
As I said earlier, to move them from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence… and then to action… hopefully, with you as their coach. But more importantly, I’ve found that a speaker’s journey is not only about the effect we have on others, but about the profound impact, it can have on the speaker, both personally and professionally.
About Pam Lippitt
Pam Lippitt is a business breakthrough strategist and rainmaker specialist with The Next Level Business Coaching in Greenwood Village, CO. She graduated from Ithaca College and had a successful career at NYC and Baltimore advertising agencies. Pam also did a stint as the Director of Business Development for a start-up and has spent the last 9 years as a successful business coach. Pam can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 720-384-4564.
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