If you are starting a business, speaking is an amazing marketing tool. When I started out, I spoke anywhere and everywhere I could for free during the first few years. I knew that this was a great way to gain exposure, build my name and my list. It's an easy way to meet lots of people and give them a personal experience of you which helps with the Know, Like, Trust Factor for gaining clients. I also did free workshops and free teleclasses.
As I continued, I started charging $25 per person for the workshops. Then the fee went to $35. At that time I was still paying for all the flyers, handouts and the room. So, if I were doing this today, I would do it a bit differently, charging more like $95 for a three-hour workshop because of all the content and value I share.
Another powerful aspect of filling a room is that when I gathered a group of 25, 45 or 65 people with my standard talk, I knew I was going to close 3-5 new clients. People would actually rush the stage saying, €I definitely want to work with you.€ I didn't worry about the fee initially because I was building my list and getting plenty of new clients.
Then at one point, people starting asking me, €What are your fees for speaking?€ That was a good sign helping me make the shift to establish a speaking fee and start charging.
If you are just starting out or in the first couple of years of your business, speak for free as often as you can to get the exposure your need, build your list and get new clients. As you progress, paid speaking might become an option.
To learn about the speaking business, you might want to check out The National Speakers Association which is an organization for professional speakers with local chapters around the US and the world. They have lots of information on how to build a speaking business.
Your Client Attraction Assignment
If you want to start charging for your signature talk and have gained experience with presenting it , then it's time to do some research.
To package yourself for paid speaking gigs, here's what you need to think about:
- Who is the target audience you want to reach?
- What conferences and events appeal to your target?
- Make a list of event planners that run these selected conferences and events.
- Check the websites for these conferences or events €" they often have a speaker application on the site.
- Create a speaker sheet with your bio and a description of your talk to include with your application.
- Establish your fee. A lot of events have a set fee they will pay, but you need to know what you want in case they ask you how much you charge.
Then apply, get out there and enjoy the stage!