Your business is not sustainable if it’s based on one-offs. That’s true for bureaus as well. If you’re constantly searching for bookings with new organizations, it’s time to strengthen your repeat business strategy.
Otherwise, your outreach is based on search and rescue!
Some of the speakers we represent constantly get asked back or referred to related organizations. Each speaker has a slightly different strategy. You need to adopt and adapt one that works for you.
Here are my recommendations:
1. Be easy to work with. That means showing up ahead of time and not requesting last-minute changes in the program or agenda as well as being willing to cut down your speech if the speaker before you goes overtime.
2. Be accommodating. Ask the meeting planner how you can help make the event a great success. Hang out with the attendees in between sessions to get to know them and their concerns. Listen more. Talk less. Publicize the conference, if appropriate.
3. Be highly professional and super-organized. Have a back-up plan for everything, including for the possibility of the electricity going out. Think about the speakers who were booked on September 12, 2001. Every one of them had to throw out the script and speak from the heart. Be prepared for anything.
4. Be a team player. If you speak at General Motors, while you’re there, you are a member of their team. Act like it (without being presumptuous).
5. Customize your speech to include some information, maybe historical, about the organization that attendees may not be aware of. Remind them that they are part of a great organization.
6. After you’ve gotten rave reviews from senior executives and meeting planners, considering taking those executives for lunch a couple of weeks later to discuss new possibilities. Or just as a thank you!
7. As the one in the spotlight, you’re a role model for the audience. Ensure you show that in every word you say (without pretending to be perfect!).
8. One multi-talented speaker often finds gaps in the workplace that are not being met and offers to do a double-header next time. And she returns!
9. Be real. Sophisticated audiences know real from fake and they relate to someone who’s real.
10. Finally, whether you’re an information provider or a powerful storyteller, end your speech with a riveting call to action. Give those in the audience inspiring actionable information that will stay with them and that they’ll pass on to others.
And here’s a word from one of our top speakers, Lisa Orrell.
“Even though I’ve been speaking professionally for almost a decade, I still approach EVERY engagement as an audition and I consider EACH audience member a potential lead. And, aside from aiming to give the best presentation possible each time, I hyper-focus on providing my client contact with exceptional service by sending paperwork, marketing assets, files, etc. on-time and responding to all communication promptly.
It is because of this mindset that I get repeat business and referrals from organizations. To me, it’s always about making the person who hired me look good, and that’s done by “showing up” 100% before, during and after the engagement.”
How can you improve your referral strategy?
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