Referral Strategies for Keynote Speakers

In this week’s edition of the Succeed Speaking newsletter, I responded to the following question from a subscriber:

What is it about a keynote that will result in referrals?

As a speaker, you should see every single booking as an opportunity to generate more bookings, whether through referrals or repeat business. This is how all the great speakers have built their speaking businesses — through multiplication rather than addition.

My short answer to the subscriber’s question: a great keynote is what generates referrals! What makes a great keynote?Relevant content presented in a way that connects with the audience so they can take it home and apply it.

I know my reader was looking for more than that, though, so I shared a few tips, including:

  • Learn as much as possible about each audience in advance so you know what kinds of referral opportunities may exist before you speak
  • Customize your keynote, or at least tailor your remarks to the audience — so prospective clients in attendance can see how you may be able to do the same for their audience
  • Try to “cue” referrals at the end of your speech — if possible — rather than passively depend on them (For example, if your audience has expressed their satisfaction with your presentation, you might say, “I’m really passionate about sharing this message and if you know of another group I might be able to help, please hand me a business card afterward.”)
  • Give attendees an opportunity to inquire about booking you or suggest other prospective clients on your event evaluation form or have a tear-off on your handout

Most importantly, make sure you have a good system in place to follow up with the contacts made at any given event — referrals often take time to cultivate, so you don’t want to give up after just one phone call or email. If you don’t have such a system in place and you’d like about the cost-effective and high impact system we use here at The Speakers Group, just ask and I’d be happy to show you how it works and how you can leverage it to generate more speaking engagements.

That’s my take, but I’d like to collect some ideas and practices that other speakers have found to be successful in generating referrals from keynote engagements. I don’t want to be the only voice here at Succeed Speaking; I want to facilitate dialogue… I hope you’ll participate.

So, the microphone is yours…

What are your favorite referral techniques and strategies that you’d like to share with fellow professional and aspiring professional speakers?

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