What if I can’t find any engagements to speak at?
Create your own! Contact your local small business bureau or chamber of commerce and ask them if you can hold a learning hour or free workshop for your ideal clients. Often times they will carry at least half the cost of advertising and promoting it! Make sure that you have your topic and idea ready when you call. It also helps if you already have a working relationship with the chamber of commerce in your area.
You can also host your own webinar, apply to be a guest on a radio show, podcast or vlog.
What should I do other than talk?
Be smart about the time and effort you put in. Think about each person in attendance as potential clients, but push past formal business talk to cater to them as a person, as well.
This builds a solid foundation and will win you clients and their friends.
In addition, I recommend these things:
Gather email addresses. Use a sign-in sheet requiring a minimum of a first and last name and email address. Studies show that email reaches more clients than other advertising avenues such as Facebook and social media. Take advantage of this opportunity to grow your mailing list!
Have business cards and any promotional materials ready. I am not a fan of spending tons of marketing dollars on fancy brochures, personalized pens, or mini-calendars, in fact, I feel those things are mostly unnecessary. However, your best option is to have nice, professional business cards that direct your audience to your website and office phone number. Optionally, a simple post card or rack card can be printed using an online printer like VistaPrint.com for around $100 for 500 pieces with any key points to highlight or services offered. For additional saving, check online for discount codes that are often offered.
Consider giving something away. A great way to guarantee attendance and audience participation is to partner with a vendor to cross promote a program or service they offer that fits in with your topic. Typically, one lucky attendee will receive some sort of complimentary consultation, or it may be something as simple as a Starbucks gift card. To choose a gift, keep your clientele in mind. What would they like to win? What will capture their attention? Additionally, consider offering discounts on your service for those in attendance.
Once you get a few talks under your belt, you will be amazed at how much more confident you’ll be speaking in front of others. It always helps when you are passionate about what you are sharing, as well. I recommend topics that you are knowledgeable about and that correspond to your business.
During these engagements, you’ll have the ability to establish credibility and authority, as well as have a hand in giving back to your colleagues with educating content and all while building your business.