Do you want to know how to use your speaking gigs to get more leads and clients?
Listen as Jeannie Spiro, shares her wisdom so you can use your speaking engagements to get more leads and make money.
Do you want to know how to use your speaking gigs to get more leads and clients?
Listen as business coach, speaker, and host of the Midlife CEO Podcast, Jeannie Spiro, shares her wisdom so you can use your speaking engagements to get more leads and make money.
In this week's powerful episode "How to Best Use Your Speaking Gigs to Get More Leads and Clients" you will discover...
Susan Friedmann: Welcome to Book Marketing Mentors, the weekly podcast where you learn proven strategies, tools, ideas, and tips from the masters. Every week, I introduce you to a marketing master who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books. Today, my special guest is a business coach, speaker, and host of the Midlife CEO Podcast, Jeannie Spiro. Jeannie specializes in helping women coaches and client-based business owners use speaking strategies and events to fill their coaching programs, to earn multiple six to seven figures. After taking her failing coaching business to multiple six figures in 12 months, she developed a speaking and sales system to help other women coaches do the same. Jeannie loves living near the beach, and lives with her family outside Newport, Rhode Island. Jeannie, what an absolute pleasure it is to welcome you to the show, and thank you for are being this week's guest expert and mentor.
Jeannie Spiro: Thank you so much for having me, Susan. It's a pleasure to be with you and your listeners.
Susan Friedmann: Excellent. Well, Jeannie, I know you love talking about how to get leads and clients from speaking. I know that that's of real interest to our listeners, because one of the most frequent questions that I get is, "How do I get speaking gigs?" What kind of wisdom would you share if somebody came to you with that question?
Jeannie Spiro: I actually always go to back to the beginning of how I did it, and how I still do it today. A lot of people overcomplicate this and think, "Oh, I have to have this strategy and I have to hire someone to do it," but really what we do when we're thinking about putting ourselves out there, is there's a process to this, and I go to who you know first. That is the first part of getting and securing speaking engagements. For example, Susan, we know a lot of people when we're in business already or thinking about starting a business, most of us do. People, if we think about it, have opportunities that exist within their communities, where they're already hosting people, and if we start with the people that we already know, that's the best way, I think, and the easiest way to start finding speaking opportunities. So I always think about who in your circle has opportunities that you need to talk to? That's the first one.
Susan Friedmann: Then how would you approach them with this? I mean, is it like, "Well, do you need someone to be a speaker?" What would the best and the nicest approach be?
Jeannie Spiro: I always approach everything from a place of value and service. This comes from mindset first, and so, what you want to think about is, "How am I offering value to someone else? What is it that I do that is valuable to someone else's community?" You want to put yourself in that mind frame first, and then you want to think about how is what you do valuable to someone else, and look for the match.
Then you simply ask that, and usually, what I will do is if I know someone who has podcast or a stage, I will do some research in advance to find out more about their audience, who they are, who else they've had speak, and look for the gap in between to then say, "Well, I see you haven't had anyone that speaks about what I speak. It looks like you provide an incredible opportunity to share your resources with others. Would you be interested in having what I offer? Would you be interested in me being able to provide that to your community as well?" So you can see it's very much about filling a gap, offering a service. That's really the approach that I take.
Susan Friedmann: Obviously, with our listeners, because they've written a book and they want to talk about the value that they offer within the pages of the book, the material, like you rightly said. What's in it for the other person? What's in it for the potential client? What are they going to get from that? So, I love the fact that you say to look at what value and service can you offer, which is critical, because people say, "Well, I've written a book." So what? People say, "How does that help me?" Because we're always interested in what's in it for us. I love that, putting that first. And you said you do research beforehand, you look at their website, their podcast. What else? What else would you look at in terms of looking to find out what might be missing, and what they might need?
Jeannie Spiro: The whole thing you just said is actually all that I do, and a little bit more I'll add to this is that when I look at what I do and what is unique about what I offer, and especially for authors who have written a book, you've already got something that you're sharing and want to share with more people, and you've got that dialed in, then you're going to look for the people that you want to bring this to, so who's the right audience match, and what is it that they talk about, and how can you add to it, and more? Can you put a spin on what they're saying? Can you fill a gap in what other people have talked about? Can you fill a gap in what they haven't shared, but also supports what they do?
And so, you want it to be a win-win. I know this sounds a little strange, but I always look at this as like, how can you also make them even more valuable than what they offer already? An example is I have a client who has an amazing podcast, and she speaks about intuition. She speaks to business owners about it. And so, I went to her and I said, "I know that you talk to business owners about using their intuition, but the gap is they don't understand and know completely about how they can start using speaking as a tool in their business to be able to get out in front of more clients. Would you be interested in me being able to bring this to your audience, and talk more about how they can do that?" You can see how I can position that as a value add, and also filling a gap.
Susan Friedmann: Excellent. Jennie, your approach is different from what other people do when they teach speaking and speaking skills. What makes you different?
Jeannie Spiro: Well, many things, but I use speaking in business for two amazing reasons. One is to position and let others know about you, and also start to connect with other people, and bring in great leads into your business. Where others talk about the techniques, and all of this is very important about how to become a better speaker, I really look at it as how are you going to position yourself, and also, how are you going to bring the right audience or the right leads into your business, so that you can take it another step further?
I look at speaking as the first step, especially free speaking as the first step for people to get to know you and decide if they like, know, and trust you, and want to hear more. Then the back end is having a way to take it further into sales. I really like people to think about it as two things. You're not selling when you're out there initially, unless you have the opportunity and you're told that you can start selling your book, or whatever your products or services might be, but I really look at it as when you get out to start to speak for free, you're positioning your topic, and you're positioning yourself, it's the first step of the sales process.
Susan Friedmann: I love that idea, and I want to investigate that a little bit further with you, this whole idea of speaking for free. I know having been in the speaking business for over 30 years that that's a great way to start, but people are sometimes reluctant to do that. So talk to us more about making that decision, and where and when you would decide that you would speak for free.
Jeannie Spiro: Oh my gosh, okay. I coach my clients on this quite a bit because many people will say, "Hey, I got a speaking engagement, and I can get paid for this," and I think, "Good for you, but you have only a few minutes to speak. Do you really want to get paid for five minutes, or do you want to be able to have more interested people who you can nurture, and then ultimately bring them into the next step of a conversation?" Part of it is you want to look at what is the opportunity? Who is it in front of? Is it going to be an opportunity to bring the first thing that you sell, maybe your book, right? Do you want to bring that as the first thing that they have, and is it more important to get paid to speak, or is it more important to bring in leads and future sales?
So you want to think about that as you're deciding, "Do I want to accept payment for this in this scenario?" Then if you want to get paid, and many people do get paid to speak, they also sometimes, and I've seen this many, many times, and I'm sure in your case, you have an opportunity to sell your products, your services, your books, that's wonderful too. So, it really depends on what you're deciding to do with that speaking opportunity in the post-sale process. I hope I'm making sense by this.
Susan Friedmann: Oh, absolutely, and I think one thing that's also very important, especially in a free situation, is that you're talking to potential prospects.
Jeannie Spiro: Yes.
Susan Friedmann: I mean, yes, you could be like, I'm a rotary member and we're always looking for speakers, but the audience tends to be many retired people, and so, they're not necessarily your target audience. So yes, it might be nice to practice your speech in front of these different groups, but at the end of the day, if you want to do this seriously, and as you said, in terms of afterwards the back end, is this to gather leads, then you want to be talking to people who are potential clients, correct?
Jeannie Spiro: Yes, that's exactly right, and also, Susan, being that you know this and have been speaking for so many years, there is this scale, right? When you first start speaking, it's this whole other way of communicating. Well, I look at it as a process, right? So for me, I would much rather practice as often as I possibly can, and especially when you're working on a new presentation with new material, and not have the pressure of, "Oh my gosh, someone just invested in me coming out to speak," let me do this as much and as often as I can for free, still possibly with the opportunity to sell my book, although I don't have a book at this time, but to sell my book or to offer something for free, or offer something of value, before I go into the next tier of sophistication, I guess you could say in speaking. It takes some of the pressure off, when you're not having to worry about that stress.
Susan Friedmann: Yes, and speaking is one of those skills that you just have to practice over and over again. You can't just pick up a book and read about how to be a better speaker. Yes, it might give you some tips and techniques, but at the end of the day, it's all about practicing, practice, practice, practice, and yes, get in front of as many audiences as you can, do it for free, and if you goof, which we all have, it doesn't matter. That's great wisdom here, listeners. Let's talk about the whole process of getting those leads and potentially those clients from your speaking engagements. How?
Jeannie Spiro: So, how do you get them after they have heard you speak, is that the question?
Susan Friedmann: Correct, yes. If I'm speaking for free and these are my potential clients, what would I need to do to, I don't know, take them to the next step?
Jeannie Spiro: Yes. So you really want to think this through, and a lot of people use the word all the time, the "sales funnel," and you do want to think about this. When you're speaking, you have to think about what it is that you're going to be selling. When you're introducing yourself for the first time, a topic to a new audience, oftentimes, people will think, "Well, they're going to buy immediately." Well, they don't. Most of the time, they don't, or if they do, they will buy something probably at a lower investment, or they like to have a free taste, what we call the lead magnet, there's so many different names for it, to get to know you better. Right? So in that, that's the first part of the whole sales funnel. You want to have something there that brings them into the next step, so after the presentation.
Then what you want to think about is, well, what is your offer? What is it they you're going to be selling, and what is the way that you guide someone through the decision making, that that is the next best thing for them? And if you happen to have, let's say, a higher ticket offer, does your buyer need more time? Do they need more nurturing? Do they need something in between to help them understand what it is they need before they can make an investment in working with you longer? This is where I come into all of the strategizing with my clients, and I look at, "Well, what is the sales engine on the back end of speaking, that is going to help you sell whatever it is that you're selling?"
And so, it can be many different things. It can be that there's the next product, the next product has been created. Maybe it is a course, maybe it is a lower entry something, maybe it is an event that you're having, or a virtual event. The idea though, is that you're really thinking through this as you get out and speak, and decide, "Well, what is the next step for them, prior to whatever it is I'm actually going to ultimately sell?" So you need to think through all of those offers, I guess, the chain.
Susan Friedmann: Yeah. I mean, one of the things that I've been doing recently with any of the free speeches that I've been giving, is that I do either a brainstorm with Susan, you can schedule a 20 minute session with me and we'll do a one-on-one brainstorm, or it'll be a strategy session it depends on the audience, but rightly as you say, it's to invite them to the next step in your sales funnel, the sales process. I love that.
Jeannie Spiro: And that's exactly what it is, but you've thought about that, right? You put thought into what is the next way to bridge it from a speaking engagement, to what it is that you're doing. So it could be a conversation, it could be a product or service, right? Something in between. It could be another free training.
Susan Friedmann: Yes, and I know people invite people to another, as you say, free training. It could be a webinar where at the end of that webinar, you make a pitch. I know that there are some audiences that you're not allowed to sell from the platform, so inviting them to, as I say, a brainstorm or a strategy session, isn't selling them, it's just giving them the option just to have a conversation with you.
Jeannie Spiro: Yes. Right, exactly.
Susan Friedmann: What else? Once that happens, what's the process that you use that's been so successful? You made this failing coaching business into a multiple six figure business in 12 months. What did you do that created that?
Jeannie Spiro: So there's two parts to this story, Susan. So the first is that that [inaudible 00:16:27] part of my journey, and I realized, "What's the fastest and easiest way for me to get clients?" For me, it was speaking. My mode is not necessarily writing, although I cannot wait to be able to compose my thoughts and put them into a book one day, so that may-
Susan Friedmann: They'll talk about an easy way to do it.
Jeannie Spiro: Right, right, but I really thought, "How am I going to get out there and get more clients?", and it was speaking, and that truly was what helped me save my business. As my business kept growing and scaling, I ended up having events and hosting them. So I had a couple of ways of selling my business, and then the pandemic happened, and the two ways that I was selling my business, actually went away. I couldn't get out on stage, and I couldn't host events, and I realized I actually had a selling problem. I needed to figure out how I was going to consistently sell my services.
So I did a huge, deep dive into all the ways that I knew how to sell, and all the strategies that I could teach people to sell. They're services, and I did that for myself. I tested out every single which way, and finally found a system and rhythm for me. And this is the part that I think is sometimes missing for people, is that we lean very heavily into certain approaches and strategies, and put everything into one, or we stack way too many things and we overwhelm ourselves, but it's actually finding the right rhythm to sell your services, and that's what I really love being able to have. So after you've been speaking, after you've gone out to get clients, all of that, then you want to be thinking about, "How am I creating this rhythm in my business to constantly bring in sales into my business?"
Susan Friedmann: Excellent. Yeah. I mean, this pandemic did a lot for speakers. I mean, one day, you had a full calendar, and the next day, it was empty. All these cancellations, which was not good for the ego at all, or the self-esteem. So, yes. I mean, speakers, my colleagues, my speaking colleagues were scrambling, and I'm sure you had that as well. It's like, "What do we do now?" I mean, virtual has just, has made 180 degree turn on how we can do speaking now, but we don't have to leave home, we can do it from the comfort of our home, and people can still get the value because at the end of the day, it's the value that they want, and I think you said that right at the very beginning, the value and the service that you offer, and if you can't do it live, hey, let's do it virtually.
Jeannie Spiro: Oh, 1000%, and yes, you can, and it's possible. I think the pandemic, and I don't want to go on too long about this, but it made many of us think about how do we do business a different way, and what is the opportunity? So for me personally, it was "Okay, so I taught this all the time. I use this in my business all the time. What's a different opportunity to bring my services to more people? How do I pivot this?" And the world opened up to me in a different way. I wasn't seeing some of the things that were available to me. They now are, I use many different strategies.
Susan Friedmann: Our listeners love learning about mistakes, Jeannie. What are some of the common that you see, especially for newbie speakers, that they make?
Jeannie Spiro: Well, the first one is that there's this assumption that you need to sell immediately, and that you're selling your service. You're actually not selling your service first. Typically, you're positioning yourself in what it is that you do. So, I really want people to start to think about it differently. People need to know who you are. It's the whole know and trust, but they actually really need to understand who you are, see who you are, relate to who you are, see that you have a solution, before they actually can buy what it is that you offer for a solution. What you're doing is you're positioning yourself first. The mistake I see is people lead with, "I'm selling something." Well, actually you're positioning yourself. So, that's how I always look at that.
Another mistake that I see speakers, especially newbie speakers making, is going so far beyond who they know in their immediate circle and thinking, "Oh, I need the bigger audiences." Well, I can't even tell you how many times I've spoken to smaller audiences, and because of the intimacy, that some of those clients became multiple year clients, and I've earned many thousands of dollars in even smaller audiences, and they were great practice opportunities, in the sense of me being able to do this in front of a smaller group of people. I would say don't dismiss having smaller speaking opportunities, because when you know what you're doing to ultimately bring people to the next step with you, it can lead to a lot more than what you think. Those are the two that I think are pretty important.
Susan Friedmann: Yes. I always equate that to, I have clients who say, "Oh, how do I get into the New York Times or The Wall Street Journal?" And I was like, "Your local paper is hungrier for you than ever the New York Times, or The Wall Street Journal, or any of the big magazines, because they've got everybody pitching to them, but yet, your local environment doesn't, and they're hungry." And I see the same with the speaking, that, yeah, the smaller audiences, those are the people who really need you. Other people have lots of choices, and you're up against so many other people who are better qualified, or often have been speaking longer than you have. So yes, those smaller audiences are often great ones, and you can grow with them, wouldn't you agree with that?
Jeannie Spiro: Oh, you sure can, absolutely. And also, I think when you see someone has been speaking for a while, or you put more credibility aspects on your website, "as seen in," all of that, that grows in time. I 1000% agree with you. You start where you are, and you grow from there.
Susan Friedmann: What about getting repeat business from people? Do you have any strategies that we should keep in mind, in order to get repeat business? Because as we know, it's easier to get more business from an existing client, than it is to go out there and try and find somebody new.
Jeannie Spiro: Yes, and I love this because of two things. So I was in sales for a very, very long time, and also, it was in client retention. Part of my job in client retention was to obviously make sure that I was retaining my clients. It was not uncommon for me to work in my last career with people for 15 years, and how was I going to continue to be their representative? I was always thinking about the ways to be able to continue having the relationship. So part of what I did in my own business was look at the same thing. "Why do I need to go out and find new clients all the time, if I can continue supporting my existing clients? I'm evolving, or some things that I'm teaching evolve, and they're evolving as well."
So what I did was I looked at my business from two angles. One was, "How am I providing current information, the most appropriate content, as I'm developing myself, and as I'm learning that others will need, as they're evolving too?" And then secondly is I saw them evolving in their own journey, especially because I'm in the business side, I was looking at their evolving as business owners too. So, how can I create my services and develop them in a way that it is an evolutionary process, and I can take them on the journey?
Susan Friedmann: Beautiful. How do our listeners find out more about you and your services? Because I'm sure, and I hope that they're intrigued to learn more, because this is great information, and especially when you're starting out and you want to get into speaking, because as we know, that's going to make you a little bit more money, potentially than just selling books. How can they find out more about you?
Jeannie Spiro: Oh, thank you. I always direct people first to my website, jeanniespiro.com, and on my site, I also have a special gift, which I call the Ultimate Speaking Lead Generation Starter Guide, and included in there are three strategies that I use to generate leads through speaking. That is actually at jeanniespiro.com/guide. You can go directly there as well. So, people can learn about me there.
Susan Friedmann: Perfect, and I'll put that in the show notes so that people can get a hold of that guide, because that sounds like a terrific piece that they need, especially when you're giving them strategies that they can use, and I know when you come into the premium members studio, we're going to talk more about that, so excellent. And Jeannie, if you were to leave our listeners with a golden nugget, what would that be?
Jeannie Spiro: It is to put yourself out there, and to be able to bring your work to as many people as possible. It is to start to do it where you are right now, and to be consistent with it, to keep going and doing it. Speaking is something you're going to get better at, and the more you do it, the more audiences you're going to reach, and there's so much opportunity from you speaking as much as you possibly can. So, that's The golden nugget.
Susan Friedmann: It's a beautiful golden nugget, and I endorse that 1000%, because it's all about practice, practice, practice, when it comes to speaking, and the more you practice, the better you get. So Jeannie, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, and thank you all for taking time out of your precious day to listen to this interview, and I sincerely hope that it sparked some ideas you can use to sell more books. Here's wishing you much book and author marketing success.