How to Get “Unstuck” When Developing New Business as a Speaker

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Editor’s Note: Each blog post that appears in this series was written before the pandemic and civil unrest took hold of the nation. We may be isolated, but we’re still united, working together to create an even better and healthier future.  NSA-IL hopes this content will help you remain steadfast as you move toward a “new normal.”

As a professional speaker, developing new business can be a challenge sometimes. It’s easy to get stuck. I recently spoke with Lynne Franklin about how you can get unstuck, move forward and develop new business. In her almost decade of experience Lynne says: “LAUGH, LEARN, TRY SOMETHING NEW, AND WALK AWAY WITH AT LEAST ONE NEW ACTION TO TAKE NOW: these are my goals for those who come to my programs.” In this post she shares some of that wisdom.

Getting Unstuck While Developing New Business

When things get tough and you’re developing business fast enough, you need to take action, not just think about taking action. Specifically, you need to find ways to get “unstuck” when developing new business as a speaker. While Lynne believes in positive thinking, she knows that sitting in her office and thinking good thoughts is not going to make her phone ring. She says, “activity begets activity.” When your phone is NOT ringing what is it that you can do to change your situation?

A lot of times changing things is as simple as picking up the phone and calling someone to say “I’m not having a good day; I could use a little inspiration. What have you done that’s worked well or what has helped you turn the corner during tough times?” Hearing their story and sharing yours changes your energy level which is a great start to changing your situation.

Calls like that might lead to new business. Because you’re sharing your story with them, they might know someone with a problem that you can solve with your services. The important thing is not to call someone out of desperation to ask for business, the intention of the call is just to raise your energy level. That way you’ll leave the call with a new mindset that might help you pick up the phone and make that next successful sales call.

Networking Events

When you REALLY need new clients, Lynne offers time-tested advice. “First, take a deep breath.” She continues, “There’s nothing like desperation to destroy new speaking opportunities. Many people will go to networking events with a “vibe” of desperation, and that can turn people off.” Lynne doesn’t go to networking events to find new business. Instead, she sets goals for herself in advance. For example, she may decide to meet three new people and obtain the contact information of at least one of them for follow-up purposes.

Her advice for networking events? Set realistic goals that are achievable. If you set the goal of getting three new clients, that’s not going to happen. You’ve set yourself up for failure. Instead, set the goal of meeting new people or reconnecting with people that already know you and focus on building the relationship from there.

SO… You might be thinking “If I don’t go to networking events to get new business how DO I get new business???” It’s a matter of realizing that you’re not at a networking event to sell. You rarely, if ever, sell to people the first time that you meet them. You’re there to start building new business relationships. That new contact won’t be a sale, but they might become a client or an excellent referral source down the line. You need to invest the time required to get to that point in the relationship.

Here are a few tips for non-sales-first-time-conversations.

First, ask about THEM and then LISTEN. You will learn about the other person and what’s important to THEM. Then when it’s your turn to speak you already know what to talk about that will get their attention: what they just told you about themselves.

The next thing that happens is that you follow the “Rule of Reciprocity.” When you listen first, you build goodwill with the person that’s speaking. That makes them MUCH more interested in learning about you. They’re also more interested in making introductions for you when they feel like you care about other people more than yourself.

The purpose of going to networking events is to let people get to know who you are. A great way to do that is to make introductions for other people. If they come to you with a problem, even if you can’t solve it, it’s great to leave the conversation with “I can’t help you, but I think I know someone that can.”

Follow Up!

This is one area where many speakers falter. Even with the best of intentions many people get a paid speaking booking, they speak, and the engagement is over and then they’re off and running and looking for the next one. When you do that, you miss out on valuable opportunities to continue nurturing that relationship after the event is over. That recent engagement is filled with people who saw you speak and know that you did a good job. Leverage that situation to get warm leads for new speaking bookings!

Lynne’s contract involves a clause that requires the client to write a LinkedIn testimonial for her (assuming they like her work, of course). Another part of her contract says that the client will refer her to three other associations, corporations or organizations who could hire her as a paid speaker. She writes the introduction note for them if they want her to because that increases the chances that it will happen. We all know that if someone else does our homework for us, it’s more likely to get done. Once the introduction happens it becomes Lynne’s job to follow up on the new opportunity.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. After every speaking engagement Lynne sends a handwritten note to the client. She adds some kind of personal comment from information that she learned about the person that hired her through the process of working with them, so they know it’s a personal note and not just the same note that she sends to everyone. It shows that she does remember them, and she does hold them in esteem.

When you get a new lead how long should you continue to follow up with someone that could be a client? Take it to one of two definitive places: Take it to NO for sure, or take it to YES for sure. Don’t leave a lead in between those two places.

In Closing…

Keep going! You have an important message to share. Find ways to share it. When you’re not feeling up to par, find somebody who can support you or find a way to change your energy. Use these tips to Get “Unstuck” When Developing New Business as a Speaker.

About The Guest

After a boy threatened to kill her with a machete, Lynne Franklin started learning all she could about persuasion. She’s a neuroscience nerd: translating how the brain works into practical, easy-to-use communication tools. Leaders and teams work with Lynne to advance their careers by building more rapport, creating more trust, and attracting more opportunities. Her TEDx Talk, on how to be a mind reader, went viral with over 3 million views (http://bit.ly/2C9CE3G).

Lynne is a consultant, speaker and trainer, and past president of the National Speakers Association Illinois Chapter. She wrote Getting Others To Do What You Want and is working on her next book—Leaders on Rapport: Secrets to Creating Successful Connections.

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