I’ve been on a marketing and lead generation kick lately with my blog because it is just as important for many speakers as improving their presentation skills. Most of my clients and SpeakU students fall into two buckets: bid presentations and thought leadership. Both types of presentations can generate significant revenue for business and increase a presenter’s worth and salary considerably, so I wanted to make sure we cover not only presentation skills but also how to generate that larger income. This week, we’re talking about lead generation from speaking engagements.
10 Ways to Maximize Your Lead Generation from Speaking Engagements
- Presentation Calls to Action – Simply asking your audience to do something, such as give you their business card or download a guide from your website is one of the best and most overlooked, ways to generate more leads. This step is so important; I wrote an entire blog post about it about a month ago — check out Presentation Calls to Action (CTAs) for more info on this step.
- Ask for the Attendee List – This request is something you should ask the conference organizer before the event. Not all events will provide an attendee list, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. (Some won’t do it because that is a sponsor privilege that they paid for, but you can also ask for the list without email addresses.) Getting the attendee list can be powerful because you can tailor your stories and examples to the attendees. You can also ask key prospects attending that event to attend your session or even ask friends to sit in for moral support. The key to this “premarketing” is two-fold, promote that you’re a speaker to key prospects and secondly, most people attending will bring a friend or two if they go to your session so you’ll fill up your session.
- Ask to Advertise in the Conference Collateral – Often conference speaking engagements do not pay for speakers, or they only reimburse select travel expenses. You can ask the conference for a free advertisement in their collateral, similar to an in-kind sponsorship. This exchange is a great bargaining chip, especially if you’re a polished, well-known speaker with a strong resume. Again, it doesn’t hurt to ask and sometimes sponsoring an event that you’re also speaking at gives you double the power (reach) and clout.
- Ask Your Audience to Connect with You – Don’t underestimate the power of social media. I always give my LinkedIn and Twitter handles with my other contact info when I conclude a presentation. I’ve also seen many savvy presenters include their Twitter handle at the beginning of a presentation and ask the audience to live tweet during the presentation. Connecting with your audience via LinkedIn and Twitter (if you’re mostly professional there) allows you to know the anonymous faces in the audience and most importantly, it keeps you visible long after the presentation. I’ve mentioned a few times in other blog posts that I’ve had clients get new work as a result of a speaking engagement years ago and many times a LinkedIn connection bridges that time gap. When you speak, you position yourself as a thought leader and many people want to continue to hear what you have to say and social media gives them that access.
- Promote Your Speaking Engagements via Social Media – Promoting your upcoming speaking engagement via social media not only puts more “butts in the seats” for them to see your amazingness and to hear your call to action (hint, hint), it also affects your prospective and current clients that don’t make it to your presentation. They see your posts about your upcoming presentation, and it builds credibility in their minds about you; you’re a thought leader, and people want to work with the best.
Also, promoting your presentation afterward can show humbleness and allows more eyes to see that you’re a thought leader. If you ask your audience to follow you on LinkedIn and Twitter during your presentation, you will have new people seeing your posts, and when they like or share your posts, that continues to expand your reach. Never before could you effectively reach people not attending your presentation. Social media gives you that power so use it. [Keep in mind, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Sorry, I couldn’t resist.]
- Finish On Time & Stick Around – Better yet, finish your presentation a few minutes early because it gives you more time to collect business cards (your call to action from before) and to have one-on-one conversations with audience members. One of the biggest travesties I’ve seen presenters do is have their presentation run late, and then they run out the door. That prevents a presenter from getting leads and shows the type of professional you are to work with ongoing. Remember that presentations can start new business relationships, but they can’t happen when you skip out.
- Stay Throughout the Conference – If possible, attend the entire conference or summit, and do not just show up for just your session. Walking around a conference with a “speaker” name tag is powerful and can lead to great conversations with prospects and potential referral sources. Just like sticking around immediately following your presentation, audience members will want to chat with you hours after your presentation, particularly at a social event.
Even before you present, people will ask about your presentation. Once my husband was speaking out-of-state, and this guy noticed his nametag at a mixer and said, “I regretfully can’t attend your presentation tomorrow morning because of a family emergency. However, my company is the biggest ___ in the state, how can you help me with _____.” That was the initial conversation to one of my husband’s most significant contracts at the time.
Attending the conference events before you speak also allows you to get to know the conference attendees some, so when you talk, you will have some familiar faces in the audience that will calm your nerves. Also, they will provide additional intel to refine your presentation, and you can refer to them as friends during the presentation, which makes you more relatable and makes the audience feel you really understand them.
- Ask for Business Cards – I know I mentioned this earlier as a call to action, but don’t forget to ask for business cards when you’re networking before and after your presentation. When you have these one-on-one conversations, you can put a name and a face together (and a company name too). This conversation, along with your presentation, is an excellent way to start a business relationship.
- Follow Up – The biggest mistake salespeople make is not following up with prospects and referrals. I don’t get why this ever happens, but it does especially following a presentation. If you attend the entire conference as I suggested prior, you’re probably out of the office for a few days. Don’t let catching back up at the office steer you away from this task at hand. Make sure you make it a priority to follow up with prospects that wanted to talk and that you add any leads to your CRM. If you don’t do those two things, then your presentation (and this blog post) are worthless.
- Don’t Forget to Look for Referral Partners – If you’re speaking to your trade association or a conference for your target audience, most likely the other presenters are also selling to that audience. Seek them out and get to know them. Also, don’t forget to network with the sponsors. They can become strong business allies or at least recommend you at times because they’re chasing the same people. Remember, a goose that lays golden eggs is better than a golden egg.
Most of these suggestions to increase your lead generation at speaking engagements should become second nature to you but even seasoned pros skip them at times and wonder why they don’t get leads from speaking gigs anymore. Presentations provide a high ROI and lots of benefits if you use them strategically and follow these ten lead generation steps.
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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.