Selling Keynote Speeches: How to Structure Your Sales Process

In the role of a professional speaker, you are in a competitive marketplace of superstars… TV show hosts, famous athletes, celebrity CEO’s, and mega best-selling authors. So how do you stand out with speakers bureaus and meeting planners when you are a non-celebrity speaker? After all, not everyone can land a plane on the Hudson River and become an overnight superstar on the speaking circuit.

There are many parallels in selling keynote speeches and my role as a book Publisher. One of my main tasks is reaching high volume book buyers. Some buyers are in bustling cities like San Francisco, Sydney and New York. Others are in quaint sleepy villages like Ashland, Oregon, home of the Bard and grape. Wherever the prospects are, the underlying psychology of selling applies.

In selling books, the high-volume buyers are interested in catalogs of books or audiobooks, not just a couple of volumes from a single author. When managing a large list of content, it’s more efficient to buy books from one source.

When buying keynote services, the same rules apply. For a busy meeting planner, it can be easier to buy from a speaker’s bureau than to shop a half dozen individual speakers.

Just as this one-stop-shop dynamic creates massive opportunity, a “swing and a miss” in the sales process can be hard on my business. I’ve got to be convincing. There are no second chances.

That is why I recommend breaking down your sales pitch into increments. If you read my article about how authors structure advertising campaigns, you’ll remember the Rule of Seven. This rule says it takes a minimum of seven exposures to a new idea before your audience will act.

When approaching new retailers or corporations who buy books in bulk for their employees, the Rule of Seven is the technique I use to break through.

There’s no mystery. It’s pure psychology.

Whether you’re selling your latest book to a buyer or pitching high priced speaking engagements, your message needs consistent reinforcement – no less than seven times.

This may seem like nagging to the uninitiated. The creative challenge comes into play when you make the task of reminding someone seem like a fresh idea each time you contact them. This can take many forms.

Let’s explore a case study of the Rule of Seven from a determined non-celebrity speaker who booked over a half-million dollars in keynote speeches in less than a year.

As a speaking professional, your best chances for success start with your ability to sell one-to-many. Tapping into speakers bureaus is an excellent place to start your sales targeting.

Repetition? You Can Say that Again.

OK, so let’s break down a successful campaign. First, imagine this scenario: you are contacting an overworked meeting planner who is not dreading your call, but is actually waiting in rapt anticipation for your next sales contact.

  • Build your list of contacts by acquiring a list or hiring a contractor to build your list. Initiate contact via social media, such as Linked-In.
  • Send a customized video email greeting, via a tool such as BombBomb. One Speaker using this service quoted that they are getting a 100% response rate using video emails to introduce themselves.
  • Make a call and be prepared to leave a scripted voicemail.
  • Send a physical item to the prospect’s office as an attention getter. Some speakers prepare a “Box of Wow!” to send to important prospects.
  • Send a follow-up email with a link to your Speaker Demo Reel.
  • Physically mail your Speaker One-Sheet or a Media Kit.
  • Send an email with an automated scheduling tool (such as ScheduleOnce) to book an appointment.

Author & speaker, Dr. Allan Colman, is using a similar approach to generate awareness for his consulting services to law firms. He created a coloring book (red-hot category of books) to send in his Box of Wow with a whimsical, educational message geared to legal professionals. By structuring his campaign using the Rule of Seven process, he gained differentiation for his services to a demanding target audience, Senior Partners of law firms.

When you apply the Rule of Seven to your speaking business, you can achieve phenomenal revenues in a very short time. Where will your message take you?

Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.