By Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Professional Speaker
Want to grow your consulting business faster? Consider speaking engagements.
Whether you get paid to speak or decide to speak for free, this highly effective marketing strategy can attract as many consulting engagements as you can handle.
If you’re willing to stand in front of a room of your ideal customers and share just a sliver of your knowledge, launching yourself as a speaker could be the smartest thing you ever do to generate new leads for your consulting practice. (Or start a new consultancy!)
Here are three important speaking tips just for consultants:
1. Choose your audiences carefully. Ask questions about who will attend the meeting. Do a little homework on who will be in the room before you accept any engagement – or offer to speak at one. If your ideal customer is a small business owner, it won’t help you if you are talking to a room full of retirees or C-level execs from mid-sized companies.
2. Promote like a pro. No one likes to be sold to, so pay close attention to how you script the subtle sales message of “I’m available to consult you” when you’re live on stage. Practice being smooth. Some great ways to be subtle:
“When a consulting client came to me a few months ago and said, “Ben, we want to increase our revenues by 20% in the next 6 months…”
“I was recently hired to consult a large manufacturer in Dallas. They were facing a problem you might be facing in your business too…”
“An estimated 43% of small businesses have <this challenge>. The ones who overcome it and continue to flourish invariably apply what I call the “The 5 Principles of (whatever)”. We have time to cover just one of them today, so here’s what I can share with you in the time allotted…”
3. Give away “free meat”. One of the most overlooked sales strategies every consultant-and-speaker should use is to give some real value while they’re on stage. If you’ve ever watched my friend, the uber-superstar of marketing, Jay Abraham speak, you will notice that no one in the room is looking at him. Their pens are leaving scorch marks on the notepaper in front of them! His speaking style is so content rich you know at the end that if you could just get this guy to consult your business for a few weeks… That “I just got SO much from this!” sensation is a great feeling for audiences – and it makes them long for more of what they can only get from you.
These three tips will get you more referrals than you can handle – assuming you get yourself some speaking engagements. The best part? If you nab paid speaking engagements whenever possible, you’ll get paid twice – once for the speech, once from the clients you pick up. Perfect!