The past couple of weeks, I’ve written about the ROI for Presentations as well as Presentation Calls to Action (CTAs) to maximize your ROI [and next week I’ll give you tips on scoring more speaking engagements]. If you’re still not on board with the value of presentations, here are numerous benefits of speaking engagements.
In my post on the ROI of presentations, I cited a recent study that found presentations were two of the top three best marketing methods for ROI [see the chart on the right]. Let’s dig into why speaking engagements are so powerful!
9 Amazing Benefits of Speaking Engagements:
- Lead Generation – This benefit is probably a no-brainer for most of you reading this blog, but don’t overlook it. Make sure you don’t make lead generation your presentation goal though because it will be transparent and feel like a sales pitch to your audience. Keep your presentations educational and if you incorporate stories of how you’ve “saved the day,” your audience members will feel like the people that needed saving in your stories and want to work with you too.
- Position You as Thought Leader – When you have speaking engagements, people including prospects and clients, think you must be good at what you do because average professionals aren’t asked to speak. Speaking is one of the best ways to showcase yourself (and your firm) as a thought leader. Don’t be shy about telling people you’re a speaker, especially with prospects. I once closed a deal with a prospect because I said that I’d be out of town the latter part of the week to travel for a presentation out of state. They said I must be doing something right and they signed with me immediately. They even scheduled their training sessions that day to make sure they got on my calendar.
- Referral Generation – When you position yourself as a thought leader, especially within a particular market or niche, it is easier to get referrals. Your referral sources think of you as the expert and recommend you as the go-to expert for your product or service. Also, the person referred is more likely to contact you if they think you’re special and rare. Being a thought leader implies that you’re special and experts are scarce. I’ve read that the number one reason why people do not make referrals is a lack of expertise and the primary reason a referee doesn’t contact you is that they do not see how you can help them. Being a known thought leader overcomes both of these objections with ease.
- Name Recognition – It’s incredible PR (public relations), even when people don’t attend your presentation in person, people see your name in the promotion of the event and on the event signage.
You can promote your presentation to your prospect list too! I had a client traveling to New York to present, so he emailed every prospect in his database within a 3-hour drive, telling them about it even though he knew 99% of them wouldn’t be attending that conference. He did it to say, “I’m an expert, here’s proof.” That is a much stronger marketing message than “buy me” like so many other companies do in their emails. [Note: He also got several replies thanking him for thinking of them, and they wished him their best even though they regretfully couldn’t attend to see him present in person. He closed multiple contracts weeks and months afterward through those email chains that all started with him announcing his presentation.]
- Build Your Resumé – Even if you’re not looking for a new job anytime soon, document your speaking engagements and the publications you write in because they will help you score bigger speaking engagements, interviews, and articles. PR is sometimes about being in the right place at the right time, and when that moment comes when a journalist, editor, or conference organizer is looking for that go-to expert, you will be that perfect person. Most likely you will be referred by someone, and they use your speaking engagements as qualifiers why they recommend you. Speaking engagements tend to snowball from talking to small business groups, to regional conferences, then national conventions, and potentially paid speaking engagements. [Those are always awesome!]
If you are looking for a new job, speaking engagements show your potential new employer that you’re an expert, and they need to nab you fast before a competitor hires you. Plus, being an experienced speaker usually increases your salary. [That’s the main reason many of my SpeakU students cite for starting the curriculum.]
- Close Deals – Speaking of closing deals. Ever have an amazing prospect just sitting on the fence because they can’t decide what to do? Most likely, they don’t have a sense of urgency or can’t differentiate you from your competitors. Invite that prospect to your next speaking engagement. Why? You’ll position yourself as a thought leader (even if they can’t attend), which will impress them, and others will butter you up without you having to brag about yourself [e.g. your introduction].
Also, speaking engagements create a buzz about you and people want to talk with you afterward and throughout the conference. Prospects want to buy from businesses in-demand and experts in the field.
Also, you’ll probably be speaking about the importance of solving a problem promptly. In other words, you’ll add urgency to your prospect using your presentation because you’re most likely talking about a dire situation that needs solving immediately and you happen to be the expert that can solve it. It’s not selling; it is simply telling everyone that I’ve been down this path before and I’m the best person to guide you down it. (PS – Hire me.)
- Create Relationships with Future Clients – The reason presentations are more effective than articles and interviews is because you are there in person; this even happens with webinars. When you present, you showcase your personality and your audience, regardless of how big, relates to you and they feel connected to you. Many of my clients close deals years after a presentation because they created a connection with their audience and those people remembered them when they were ready to buy. [When this happens, you usually don’t have to compete with other firms either because you positioned yourself as that go-to thought leader.]
Also, if you work nationally like I do, sometimes meeting a prospect at a conference is all the face time they need. Even with my local clients here in New Orleans, we don’t always see each other face-to-face because I can do my training sessions via Skype. Some people like that in-person touch and meeting at a conference that I presented at, even years ago, is all they need.
- Build Relationships with Strategic Partners – Most likely, you are presenting to a conference of peers or to an audience of potential clients. The chances are that other presenters at a conference or event are also selling to the same audience. Go to other sessions and listen to the other speakers and seek out potential referral partners or be open to others approaching you about being their strategic partner. [I’ve found that when I speak to a conference of potential clients, especially out-of-state, the other speakers and I are the only ones at the conference that don’t know anyone else, so we tend to bond together. My husband has seen this too, so I doubt it is just me. Use this to your advantage.]
- Content Marketing Content – That sounds repetitive, but most presentations do not exist in a bubble. Use the time you spent preparing for your speaking engagement and break that same content into multiple blog posts, emails, social media posts, or longer forms of content marketing like guides, case studies, or white papers. You can probably take 90% of the same presentation and give it as a webinar, which drastically opens up your audience with little additional effort.
Last month, I made an offhand comment to a client after the team wrapped up a dress rehearsal that I am so educated on their topic (data recovery in this instance) that I could write six blog posts about it. They looked at me odd at first until I explained that they could easily repurpose the same content for their blog and other content marketing needs. [It’s been a while since I’ve seen a group of men look at me so dumbfounded and relieved at the same time because that just saved them at least 8-12 hours of work.]
Let me know if you’ve found any other benefits to speaking engagements.
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How Speak Simple Can Help You
Win more work, increasing your billing rate, and prospects coming to you are all results of being an excellent presenter. Erica Olson created Speak Simple to help technical professionals to become comfortable presenting and excel at each presentation, whether a bid presentation or an educational, content marketing presentation. Learn more about Speak Simple’s flagship program is SpeakU, a self-guided presentation training program.