Today is a personal story that came out of an extremely painful experience.
One of the fastest, low tech sales strategies to grow your business – is speaking.
Early on in my business, I was a new mom. Short on time to say the least, and needed to jumpstart my business.
Speaking was what I chose to get there. I had experience with this strategy working for a company in the early 1990’s – this was our #1 way to generate leads and book tons of sales calls.
Soon after diving into the speaking circuit, I learned the hard way how to navigate this sales strategy.
I prepared intently to construct an interactive talk, got together great content, and was preparing to help by answering ANY and ALL questions from the audience.
I was on fire!
On this particular sunny day in June, I got up on stage, started my talk, but it didn’t take long for my enthusiasm to be squashed.
I made three critical mistakes that day that sent me home with zero leads to follow up with afterwards.
I Was Robbed
About 5 years ago, I had a smashing opportunity speak to a group of accountants, bookkeepers and coaching consultants.
About 40 professionals showed up.
Since my specialty is sales, I came up with a talk that had a bunch of tips that would help them focus on closing more sales in their business.
Well, it was for them.
I started my talk with the usual introduction, and then moved into content.
As I was going though each of my points, the hands started to go up.
Questions started flying my way, and I was actually quite happy with the way I was able to handle and fully answer them.
The crowd LOVED it!
They couldn’t get enough, so I thought… geez, I was only on tip number two (I had three more to go!) and the questions started to come even more fast and furious.
I thought to myself, “Yes! They love me, they really love me!”
Soon after, there were so many questions, the room started to talk amongst themselves.
Then, things got so out of control with conversation, that another sales professional in the crowd felt the need to jump in with their expertise and appease the hungry crowd.
I lost control of my room.
I never got to finish my presentation AND now another sales person was wooing my audience! Nice opportunity for them, right?
I left there feeling terrible. My talk ran out of time, and people told me what a great presentation I had, but left with no appointments after my talk.
3 Critical Steps To Booking Sales Calls From Speaking
Learning from my mistakes, here are three keys ways to conduct a successful talk, lead the room, and walk out with gaggles of sales conversations:
Step 1: Always command the room.
Make these types of requests throughout your talk – drive your audience to look where you want them to look; instruct them to take out a piece of paper and write down key points, get buy-in by asking them questions and to respond by raising their hands.
This establishes your authority status as the subject matter expert, which translates into credibility and trust.
Step 2: Avoid Q&A during or after your talk.
This sounds counterintuitive, but stay with me here!
Have you ever owned fish? If you keep feeding them, they will keep eating!
This is no different than your audience.
Think of your “free” advice during Q&A like fish food. Your audience will consume it, and will always ask for more…as long as you allow them to do so!
If you answer all of their questions, then what reason would they have to set up a sales call with you?
Step 3: Turn Q&A into a one-on-one conversation after your talk.
Invite people to schedule some complimentary time with you. Bring your calendar, an assistant, and schedule time with them before they leave the room.
This way you don’t have to chase people, and fling endless emails back and forth trying to coordinate schedules.
Everyone’s situation is different, and carving out special time to be focused and attentive to their issues is a much better way to serve your people on a high level.
Be sure to get them scheduled before they leave the room. Because once they leave, you are now an afterthought. You will be competing with the 50 zillion other things that will come across their radar.
And you will walk out of your talk with gaggles of sales conversations.
These are the critical steps to keep audiences engaged, and gives them an opportunity to speak candidly about their situation once everyone has left the building.
You will be able to find things out on your sales conversation that they would never share in a room full of strangers.
As for the person who robbed my talk?
They had their own speaking event the next month, and they were sure not to give up their audience to the other sales professional in the room.
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