As my dear friend Byrd Baggett says, “You’re either green and growing or ripe and rotting.”
That’s why you always have to have a growth-oriented mindset for your speaking business. There is no “let’s keep it right here” middle ground. You can’t put it on cruise control.
But growing your speaking business isn’t complicated either. Simple math says there are only three ways to do it:
1. Raise your fees.
This is a scary one, I know. It doesn’t matter if you’re a speaker selling speaking engagements or a hardware store owner selling screws. Bump up your price, and you risk losing clients.
But remember, you only have three ways to grow your business. So if you want to grow your business, you have to consider this option. And it’s not so bad, really.
If you’re a $4,000 speaker and you raise your fee to $7,500, will you no longer be affordable to some of your clients? Yes.
But now you will be affordable to a new group of clients — those who spend $7,500-10,000 per speaker — who would have never considered you at your previous fee.
Is now the right time for you to raise your fee? I don’t know, but here are some things to consider:
- Our clients at The Speakers Group are investing an average of 27% more per booking in 2011 (compared to 2010) and many speakers who reduced their fees in the recession seem to be back to normal… budgets are clearly supporting higher fees than in recent years.
- The higher your fee, the more your image matters — Do your materials say “$10,000 speaker” or “$2,500 speaker”? It’s not so different from selling a house — the one with upgraded hardwood, granite countertops, and stainless appliances will always stand out and warrant a higher price — even in today’s market (as one of my private mentoring clients just learned!).
- If you want to move into a higher fee category, put the spotlight on the outcomes you generate. There are thousands of people who can fill the role of a “speaker,” but boosting employee engagement? Shortening sales cycles? Reducing stress? Those are results worth paying for.
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2. Get more clients.
Most speakers who come to me looking for help with their businesses are thinking about this one:
“How can I get more clients?”
If that’s you, here are some questions to ponder:
- Are there new sectors or niches you could explore?
- Could you develop — or do you have — a new presentation that would attract new leads?
- Could you improve your existing marketing campaigns to increase response and conversation rates?
If you do indeed want more clients, there’s one question you’ll need to answer before all the others: Who is your target audience? Do you know?
If you don’t know exactly who your target audience is — and I mean really know (what do they look like? how do they think? what keeps them up at night?) — then you’ll have trouble answering any of the previous questions above.
For instance, you can’t know which sector to target until you know who your ideal clients are… because who they are will determine where they are… and how you need to be marketing to them.
One of Allan Karl‘s keys to success in his marketing to speakers bureaus (did you see the video of me on the floor talking about it?) was that he identified a select number of bureaus and was able to personalize a campaign to them… and his result was very different than 99% of the speakers who “blast” every speakers bureau on the planet… and get no results.
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3. Sell more to existing clients.
This is the easiest way to grow your business… and it’s also why I write and teach so much about building a diverse, multi-layered speaking business.
If all you offer is live speaking engagements, then of course you can still increase the value of each client engagement by securing spin-off speaking opportunities.
But you can do more…
There are more than 30 different revenue centers you can build into your business, and if you set up even a handful of them, then you are in a much better position to multiply your earnings on each client engagement.
(Imagine: “Would you like me to include access to my online training center along with my keynote for just an additional $1,500 — so then everyone in your organization can log in for the next three months and build on what we start in the keynote?”)
Once you win a client’s business, then you have the opportunity to establish yourself as their go-to authority on your topic… So anytime they need help in your area of expertise, you’re the one they come to — whether it’s for more speaking, for products, for training, for consulting…
Getting someone to know, like and trust you is the biggest hurdle in sales. Once you clear that one, then you just need to give them more and more opportunities to buy from you.
And that’s how you grow your speaking business!
Want more help growing your speaking business?
Check out our Summer Marketing Camp for Speakers in June 2011!