4 Reasons to Do Public Speaking As a Business Owner
On a recent group call, I had one client who wanted to talk about session ideas for an upcoming speaking opportunity at a conference next year and another who dreaded the idea of public speaking.
Each of them had a solid reason for their point of view, yet the benefits that public speaking can provide to your business are many – particularly if you are in a service business. That got me thinking about the common objections I’ve heard from clients when I suggest putting them up for a speaking gig AND the reasons I’ve used to convince them it’s the right idea.
Objection 1: It doesn’t generate sales. I need to spend my time doing sales-generating activities.
Truth: Public speaking can 100% generate sales. Like all marketing, it’s about getting the right message in front of the right audience.
For instance, if you are a wedding planner and you are speaking to a bunch of venue owners about how to make their venues more wedding-friendly then you may not see an immediate return on your investment (i.e. time put into the speech.)
However, what you do receive is a group of venues that:
- now know their sh*t about what will make your life easier as a planner. Easier planner life = more referrals by planner to that venue.
- know a planner who is interested in setting the venues up for success. This translates into more venues willing to refer you.
So while you may not walk away with a paid gig (though it’s also possible), you have contributed towards future lead generators. That’s a win.
If you, as the wedding planner, gave the same speech to a group of rental companies or caterers, then yes, you would have wasted your time. Wrong message to the wrong audience. Focus on finding the RIGHT audience who can either buy from you OR refer you to someone who will buy from you (i.e. ideally their existing clients) and your speaking gig has become a revenue-generating activity.
Objection 2: I don’t know what to talk about.
Truth: Yes you do. Talk about the things you talk to clients about every single day. Educate the audience the same way you seek to educate your clients. In this way you’ll be demonstrating how good you are at your job by being able to teach them how to make better decisions with their service providers.
And this applies whether you are teaching someone how to pick an HVAC provider, florals for their corporate event, venue for an incentive trip or the right shingles for their roof.
Stick to what you know like the back of your hand that made you confident enough to start your own business. THAT is your topic(s).
Objection 3: It takes so much work to find the right audience and develop the presentation.
Truth: Running a business takes work and yet you did that right? So if it takes a little legwork to find the right audience and develop a presentation on a topic that showcases your expertise to keep that business going (and growing!) then I am confident you can do it.
Here’s how you find the audience & book the gig:
- Think of where your target clientele spends time. Is there an event where they congregate or a conference they attend each year? Where do they get their professional development from?
- Reach out to those organizations hosting those events/programs and pitch them on an educational topic you can speak about that would benefit the event’s attendees. (REMEMBER: this is meant to demonstrate your expertise through educating their guests, NOT be a sales pitch for why everyone should hire you. Keep the focus on providing benefits to attendees and you’ve got a better chance of the organizer saying yes.)
- Secure the speaking spot before you spend time on a presentation deck. No sense in putting the cart before the horse. This also allows you to factor in any notes or suggestions from the organizers.
Objection 4: Why bother?
Truth: Oh this is my favorite and it’s because the answer is so simple:
The more people who know what you do, who you do it for AND can clearly see you are able to demonstrate your expertise in that area, the more who can hire you directly or be able to refer you to others.
I mean, you could continue with individual meetings and 1-1 sales calls where you are qualifying people and educating them on how you can help if you want. OR, you could do the same thing to a group of 10, 15 and 500+ people in the same amount of time.
Choice is yours!