I have been in the speaking industry for over 20 years … as both a high paid speaker and a presentation trainer as well as owning a booking agency for speakers. I see so many brilliant speakers challenged with getting the attention of meeting planners.
Speakers struggle to get booked for these 10 reasons:
- No speaking platform: What is a speaking platform to begin with? It is the core foundation of who your market is, what your message is and how you are positioned.
- Too generic of a message: Most speakers say “I help my audiences get healthy, make more money, grow their business, be better leaders, etc…” Millions of other speakers say the same thing. The key is to have a very strong point of view on your topic and speak about it in real-world terms. For example, most presenting coaches sell confidence. As a presentation coach, I believe that confidence is overrated. In my marketing, I talk about how stress sitting in the body affects posture, voice, body language and energy so the most confident person could still read badly if they are carrying stress, pain or trauma. What is your point of view and how does it differentiate from other speakers?
- Not targeted enough positioning: As you develop your message, it is essential to position and target it to the challenges and needs of a specific market. While other presenting coaches pitch ‘confidence’ to financial services events, I am stating the fact that only 14% of advisors are female because they feel icky doing the male style of push selling. Then I go on to explain that women love to build relationships and how my talk will help them do that. See the difference? Generic = no gigs. Specific and targeted = standing out and lots of gigs!
- Items missing from their speaking package: It includes your top 3 talk titles and descriptions, 100-word bio, 100-word introduction, 300-word bio, headshot, in action pictures, a speaker one sheet, a speaker reel, testimonials, press listings, client list and more. It is what the meeting planner needs to book you AND the materials she needs to promote you as part of the event. Click here to get the full list of what you need in your platform
- Not networking in the right circles: I see a lot of speakers go to general networking groups that have a wide variety of people. It is far more effective to choose markets that you speak in and go to their events. If you have a great topic for attorneys, look up local associations and publications. Mark down what events they have coming up. Go out and be your genius. Bam! Suddenly you are right in front of your target market and connecting with influencers in the industry and meeting planners.
- Unable to leverage circles of influence: Part of being in circles of influence is #5, learning where to network. The other part is knowing how to look at your current connections, discovering who they know and learning to ask in a way that is positioned and delivered with power. For example, if you see a call for speakers for a conference, find out WHO is the decision maker. Look that person up on Linkedin and discover who in your connections is connected them. Ask for a personal introduction.
- Ineffective strategy: Strategy? What strategy? Like any part of your business, it is key to have a system to get booked and block out a set amount of time every week to work on getting gigs. Your strategy needs to include how you are going to do targeted lead generation, connect with meeting planners, pitch them, follow up and close the sale.
- Unable to ask the right questions to meeting planners: Once you do connect with meeting planners, it is important to ask them the right questions. Most speakers lead with their story and what they do instead of focusing on the needs of the audience. Some of the right questions include:
- What do you want your audience to do as a result of this event?
- When you think of past presenters, what did you and your audience love and not love about them?
- Where are your audience struggling when it comes to _______ (your topic)?
- Showing their credibility in a way that is not succinct and pitched specifically to the gig: The meeting planner doesn’t care about your story, what you have achieved and your knowledge base. What they DO care about is HOW your story, achievements and knowledge can shift and change their audience and propel them into action. When you are pitching and having a conversation, it is important to understand the unique challenges of the target group and industry and position your brilliance to show how you are the solution.
- Lack of negotiation skills: Too many wonderful speakers are asked to speak for free to ‘get exposure’ and then get frustrated and feel de-valued. If you are asked to do a free gig to promote yourself or you are asked to speak for a lesser fee, learning to negotiate will give more money and promotion.