April 19, 2017

How Top Professional Speakers Grow Their Business

BY Caitlin Delohery IN Professional Speaking 0 Comment

professional speaker

Running — and growing — your professional speaking business is much more than just rocking the stage for a few hours. While keeping a full calendar is your ultimate goal, you can’t scale a mountain without the right gear, a positive attitude, and a lot of elbow grease.

Your professional speaking business is the same. A bustling business depends not only on your talent, but also stellar marketing, strong relationships, and hard work.

In our interviews with top professional speakers, we learned that the magic happens between speeches, too, not just on stage. Here’s how the best speakers grow their business.

They prioritize marketing

A successful speech is one that makes a connection with the audience. Pro speakers know that marketing is really about connecting, too, and that they’ll succeed if they’re always reaching out to potential clients — online and off.

In this message/millisecond world, top speakers know just a few tweets or blog posts aren’t going to cut it. They make a regular plan and stick to it.

The worst thing you can do is neglect your marketing efforts, says Michael Hoffman. “I may be delivering four to six big speeches in a month, and everything in between is trying to keep ahead of that curve. Many people will overfocus on delivery. They will ignore marketing, the relationships, or the upkeep of social media.”

Shep Hyken agrees, noting that a speaker’s job is, above all, about marketing and relationship building. Every week, he writes three blog posts, creates an immense amount of online content, and produces his radio show.

He favors content creation over cold calls and credits newer modes of outreach with increased exposure: “The exposure I can get from that one hour spent writing an article is so much greater than if I spent that same hour making two to four calls.”

They wear many hats (and they like it!)

Top professional speakers realize that wearing many hats is part of a successful business. No speaker lives on keynotes alone. To grow your business, you’ll need to run all your marketing, sales, and outreach, too.

Owning and expanding your professional speaking business includes a range of responsibilities, says Mike Wittenstein from Storyminers:

“Each day, you’ll be involved in all the things that matter – from finding clients to building new content, from staying up-to-date on current trends to providing thought leadership for your audiences.”

They anticipate customer needs

No matter what your area of expertise — from customer experience curation to leadership education — your content needs to be up-to-date. No industry is interested in 2010’s hottest trends. If that’s what you’re peddling, you may be losing out on savvy clients.

Good professional speakers know they need to stay on top of industry trends to stay top-of-mind. Wittenstein says, “You need to stay at the leading edge of your industry and keep up with prospects, clients, and colleagues for your voice to matter.”

Don’t get hung up on ideas that went out of fashion with Myspace and flip phones. Tap into what’s happening right now — and tomorrow — in your audience’s industry.

They are disciplined

Growing your professional speaking business takes commitment. Just like a vegetable garden takes planning, attention, and time, a professional speaking business needs daily discipline to thrive.

Hyken discusses why all professional speakers need discipline:

“Professional speakers need to be disciplined. If you aren’t on a stage speaking, you aren’t making money. At the end of the day, if you want to be on a stage or on one of these different channels getting paid to speak, you need to make it happen. You need discipline.”

Stay tuned — we’ll touch more on the gifts of discipline in a future article.

So there it is: 4 ways professional speakers grow their businesses. Want more advice from brilliant speakers? Check out our article 7 Habits of Highly Effective Professional Speakers.

Caitlin got her roots in inbound marketing before it got its name. As a teenager in the 90s, she promoted her independently published magazines by writing about the importance of indie publishing all over AOL. Now, Caitlin is passionate about moving people and society forward. She follows thought leaders in the National Speakers Association, the staffing industry, and all human rights movements. She loves learning and helping people learn.

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