Recently I talked to a new high performance coach who wants to do some speaking. Wendy (not her real name) had a 20+ year corporate career and a couple months ago quit her full-time job to pursue her passion. Now THAT’S exciting!
As the conversation continued, I learned quite a bit more about where she’s starting from and I recognized familiar challenges I have seen countless others face. Like many before her, Wendy wanted to know the secret to speaking and coaching success.
See if any of this sounds familiar…
So far she has invested in a bunch of training, certification, and group programs, but as of now she has only one client to show for the time, effort, and money she has already put into her business. Also, she is being influenced by two drastically different crowds: one who regularly charges $6000 for a 12-week session and another crowd who says there’s no way she can get even half that with any kind of regularity, even though her first client is happily regularly paying the fee she asked for.
She has learned PART of the path to profiting from her passion along the way, but not all of it.
What I will share with you in this post are the very same 7 Steps to Speaking and Coaching Success that I shared with Wendy.
- Dump the dead weight
- Greatness is not a prerequisite to success
- What to do with them after the speech
- Keep communication open and flowing
- Continue the experience
- Grow your fan base exponentially
- The secret is there is no secret
I don’t necessarily share this info with everyone because not everyone is ready to hear it and/or take action on it. Wendy was. Maybe you are, too. Maybe you’re not.
Either way, I laid out the full path for speaking and coaching success and thought I’d share it here with you.
The 7 Step Path to Speaking and Coaching Success
DUMP THE DEAD WEIGHT
Let me start by saying your family, friends and business associates probably want what is best for you.
But, have you heard the saying that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”?
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
– Jim Rohn
Right away, there was a business success lesson I could share in our conversation: I told her to dump the second crowd FAST.
Who you listen to and hang out with matters IMMENSELY! If you are in a group of people, whether in person or virtual, such as in a Facebook or LinkedIn group, and the overwhelming message is “You can’t do that,” when others absolutely HAVE done it and ARE doing it, then you’re in the wrong group.
In the words of a horror movie haunted house ghost: “GET OUT!” Run! Don’t walk; RUN away from the naysayers. The longer you spend with them, the more you will begin thinking like them. The more you think like them, the more you get the same results as they get.
Teachable Moment: Success Is Contagious – So Is Lack of Success: Which Will You Catch? (Tweet that!)
Think about it like this:
Doesn’t it seem MUCH better to hang out with the millionaire’s club than with Guttersnipes R Us?
You could learn a technique or two (or twenty!) from what the millionaires are doing. But the main reason to spend time with a group of successful people is their MINDSET. They believe they can succeed and because of that they make things happen.
Simply by being with them, listening to what they discuss, and absorbing their success vibes makes all the difference.
Success, you see, is contagious.
GREATNESS IS NOT A PREREQUISITE TO SUCCESS
To be successful you need to offer a small variety of presentations and YOU HAVE TO BE GOOD. (Don’t worry if you don’t think you’re good right now,we can fix that.)
Important Note: If you have different kinds of audiences for your same topic (like I talk about communication, branding, and speaking to business owners, but also to corporate folks), you need two different, yet possibly similar speeches that address the needs of the different audiences.
I tell my clients you want to craft one speech you deliver for free as a marketing tool to get clients from the audience – I call that your Signature Speech, and at least one different speech unique to you, that you do for a fee.
Let’s break your Signature Speech down into it’s main 4 parts.
– Marketing: This is the part of your business where you get the phone to start ringing, so to speak. You’re driving traffic to your website, you’re meeting people networking, you’re using videos and articles, you’re using outbound direct marketing techniques, you’re buying targeted ads… all so people know who you are and what you do.
– Sales: After people know you, then they need a chance to buy from you and/or hire you to speak or coach or consult or train or whatever you offer. This can be online through your own sales page, through a forum that manages the process of selling your products related to your speeches or your speaking services for you like Amazon, Fiverr, Upwork, Udemy, or others, or directly through a personal conversation.
– Content: Obviously, you’ve got to have SOMETHING to say to an audience.
Your content is what meeting planners and clients pay you money for. One of the oddest questions I get from people who believe they are good speakers is, “What would I talk about?”
If you don’t know about something and have expertise in that something, you *could* make money speaking, but you’re not going to build an entire business of your own from it.
Spend some time learning something so in-depth that others will pay you for it. And by “some time” I mean years.
You don’t need an advanced degree, but it’s certainly helpful to prove you’ve focused your time on a particular area, yet still not required. You don’t need any education at all – but you DO need lots and lots of experience.
Again, I’m talking YEARS here. Don’t read a Kindle book, take someone else’s digital training and suddenly decide you’re an expert in that. You’re not and it will show.
Get REALLY good at something, do something, and then people will ask you about how you did it. That’s your content.
– Delivery: If you have excellent content but you’re boring or irritating on stage – you’ll never make a living as a speaker.
Unlike college professors who can be brilliant but boring, you’ve got to be brilliant and engaging. That means no reading word for word from PowerPoint slides, no endless monologues without audience interaction, no staying glued to the lectern with a death grip on it, and no 60-minute sales pitches devoid of actionable or useful information.
You don’t have to be as funny as a stand-up comic, but it helps to have a good sense of humor and keep your presentation light.
You also don’t have to be choreographed like a 90s boy band, but it helps to know your blocking, gestures, and have your movements be planned and purposeful.
Finally, you don’t have to have the panache of Steve Jobs or the inspirational oratorical presence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but you’ve got to be able to hold people’s attention.
Too many speakers *think* they know it all when it comes to delivery. It’s the ones who fall into that trap that often need the most help. Your content alone is not good enough to carry a speaking business.
And it’s often the case that the smallest tweaks make the biggest differences.
WHAT TO DO WITH THEM AFTER THE SPEECH
The money is in the back-end.
Don’t bother building a speaking business without a back-end, and some version of coaching or consulting is the easiest way to have something that comes after your speech.
If you’re any good on stage, and if you clearly know your stuff, people will ask you about consulting anyway and you’d better have an idea what that looks like. You also need to know and be able to explain the results of your consulting and what you’re different than others.
For example, I tell people, when they hire me it’s like getting multiple consultants in one: you get marketing and branding consulting and coaching for your business AND you get content and delivery help for your speaking AND you get training development help for your products.
It’s rare to find someone as qualified and effective as I am in all those areas.
What about with you?
First, know the difference in what you’re offering.
Coaching and consulting represent different forms of helping professionals. I do both with my clients. Here’s the difference:
Coaching – is a process of the coach asking questions and eliciting answers from the client. Coaching is great for goal-setting and creating action steps.
Coaching works well when someone is having a challenge with something in her life or business and there is no one right way or several proven formulas or whatever.
Coaching is about allowing your clients space to grow and develop and make mistakes along their journey that they own, understand, and learn from, while at the same time, guiding them away from as many of those mistakes as possible.
Coaches ask many questions and allow clients to come to their own conclusions and answers. Coaching is a process.
Consulting – In your role as a consultant, you tell your clients what you know based on YOUR specialized background, knowledge and expertise and provide them with tools and techniques to use along with the instruction to go with it.
There often *IS* a right way or a proven formula. When you are a consultant, you are hired to use your expertise for your clients so they don’t have to learn the proven formula themselves. They simply turn to YOU to tell them what it is and either explain how to implement it or implement it for or with them.
A great consultant knows when to consult and when to coach.
When these two roles are combined, you get a customized plan developed by your clients with guidance and support from you —along with the skills to achieve your clients’ goals and follow through on their plans. The best consultants blend coaching and consulting together as we work on your needs; that’s what I do so you’ll end up with extraordinary one-of-a-kind plans and results.
It’s fun for you as the consultant AND fun for your clients!
KEEP COMMUNICATION OPEN AND FLOWING
Listen, if you’re going to have a speaking business, no matter if you run it mainly online, mainly offline or do a combo of the two, the fact is you have to do some kind of writing to support your speaking work.
Think of writing as the yin to the yang of speaking. They go together and one cannot exist without the other.
Your writing supports your speaking. Your speaking supports your writing. It’s a fine balance that must always exist in harmony.
What you can touch on during a presentation, you can expand on in-depth in a blog post or a even more so in a book. People read your books and blog posts and hire you for more speaking or consulting.
It’s a beautiful circle of how business is run.
Leave one out – the writing or the speaking – and it’s like having a peanut butter sandwich without the jelly, or without the honey and banana (the way my kids love it!).
Plain peanut butter on bread is dry and while it gets the job done (a quick breakfast, snack or lunch) it’s not inspiring or comforting or even fulfilling. You’ll leave your biggest fans – and potential clients and customers – starving for what they are missing from you.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be an awesome writer.
There are many tools available to help you create written content from your spoken content.
There are people you can hire to help edit what you’ve roughly written, edit a transcript of a speech, or write from scratch as a ghostwriter.
There’s no shame in hiring someone to do the heavy lifting of your writing for you. In fact, it’s smart business and highly productive. Give your ideas to someone to put into complete sentences with proper grammar while you work on something else.
Then you’re getting two things done at once!
CONTINUE THE EXPERIENCE
So let’s say you’ve got a blog, a book (Kindle book or physical), and a speech.
That’s a great start, but you’re still not FULLY developed in your speaking and coaching or consulting business yet.
You’re missing out on one of my favorite parts of the business: making money while you sleep, or doing anything else you prefer to do.
There is some debate as to if you should even create training and products to sell online. Some think if you do that, clients won’t have to hire you. They can buy your training and be good to go. That kind of thinking is a mistake and I’ll explain why in a moment.
Another mistake is thinking if you offer lower-price tools and solutions online, people will see you as a bargain basement-type person and not a high-ticket consultant or coach. Seems to make sense, in a way. The theory is if someone pays you a small amount, they won’t see your value, thus you have devalued your knowledge and expertise.
Nothing could be farther from the truth!!!
You’ve used your valuable knowledge and expertise to provide a tool or solution that you know people need and are very happy with. You take your time to create the product and the sales process ONCE and then you’ll get paid over and over again, potentially making in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Someone who needs a Speaker One Sheet Template is in the mode of getting booked to speak. In that moment, the likelihood is extremely high that person is the exact ideal candidate for me to work with and help move forward.
Because if someone wants to get booked to speak, they need marketing help. AND they need help with content and delivery for when they do get on stage. AND they should be developing a full business around their speaking so they don’t leave money on the table.
With customers for the Speaker One Sheet Templates, I’m essentially having people pay me to tell me they could be ready to work with me. Most will not, and never will become a high-ticket consulting client. (That’s fine because I only work with 5 at a time and I’m usually fully booked.)
Consider developing a tool that will solve a problem your ideal client has RIGHT AT THE MOMENT when it would be good for them to hire you. The tool should be complete in and of itself.
Don’t skimp. Make it really good.
Consider it to be an audition that may get you a call-back for if it’s good enough.
GROW YOUR FAN BASE EXPONENTIALLY
We are nearing completion of your business success puzzle. Are you excited! Because I AM!
Let’s talk about list-building for a moment.
When you have a list of subscribers, meaning a group of people who are interested in your work, like your style, and are in your market who have signed up to hear from you via email, you have a hidden gold mine not many outside our industry (or frankly even IN it) fully comprehend.
Consider the many things you can do with a list of engaged subscribers:
– Sell your own products, training, and services:
This one is a no-brainer, easy way to make more money. When people opt in to join your community of subscribers, you can let them know what you personally have created that will help them solve a problem they experience or reach a goal they want. As your business grows, your subscribers will tell you what they want and it becomes easier to create lucrative offers.
– Sell affiliated products and services:
When you build a list of people all interested in the same general kinds of things, telling them about other products and services created by someone else can make you money. For example, if you tell everyone you meet in a certain niche to read a particular book, you’d benefit financially by simply signing up for an Amazon Associates account here, which is free and couldn’t be easier. When someone uses your special tracking link to buy the book or whatever else you recommend, you’ll make money. Individual business also have affiliate programs, so you can make money the same way; get an affiliate tracking link and when someone you refer with that link buys something, you’ll get paid. To get an idea of what this looks like, you can see my affiliate program here.
– Speaking of affiliate programs, you could create your own affiliate program:
Your happiest clients and customers will want to shout your name from the rooftops.
When you have an affiliate program, they have an extra incentive to remember to tell others about you. There are a number of ways to track affiliates, but choosing an automated system that ties into the rest of your sales cycle is by far the easiest and best choice.
– Get Sponsors:
When you have a group of people that a particular marketer wants to reach, that enables you to sell sponsorships to that organization. You can be paid for an individual event like a live event or a webinar, or on a monthly basis for posting the company’s logo on your blog or showing photos on social media of you engaging with that company in one way or another.
What to do to build your list? Simple.
- Give people in your audiences where you speak a reason to sign up for something for free.
- Or do a Facebook ad campaign.
- Or spend some time (or hire someone) to make sure your website is optimized for the search engines (called SEO).
- Or put your free offer on the back side of your business cards for when you go to networking or speaking events.
- Or offer a colleague that you’ll do a webinar for her community of subscribers for free and have them sign up for the free webinar.
- Or make a video and put it on YouTube with your keywords and a link to your free offer online.
So. Many. Things!
And here’s the final piece of the puzzle I shared with Wendy, and I’ll now share with you…
THE SECRET IS THERE IS NO SECRET
Please understand that using the word “secret” is simply a time-proven marketing tactic.
The word evokes mystery and suspense and our minds need to know the answers and what the “secrets” are. So when a marketer uses the word “secret” – it’s to drive more traffic, get more clicks, and generate engagement.
Employing the word “secret” as a marketing tactic is fine – many of my contemporaries and I, myself, use it.
However, make no mistake. What to do to become successful in a speaking, coaching, and consulting business is not a secret at all, in any way.
It’s out there. It’s also right here in this post.
Look at what successful people in the speaking and coaching world are up to – you’ll see them doing the same kinds of work, in their own ways.
“There is no club or group or association or grand pooh-bah of the speaking world,
holding closely guarded trade secrets and allowing only members to
receive their golden tickets to success.”
– Felicia Slattery
Now, there are plenty of reasons to join clubs, groups, and associations for speaking, coaching, consulting and business success (like maybe learning a super secret handshake to go with the usually awesome networking?) but the path to business success is about as public as possible.
Yet not everyone knows it – or takes action on what they know.
What it comes down to, and what I help my clients with, are the individual PARTS of making a successful speaking business happen. KNOWING what to do and being ABLE to implement each section of each step along the way is the difference between reading a recipe for chocolate chip cookies and enjoying the unmistakable aroma of those luscious chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven and finally savoring the flavor of those still-melty chips in a freshly home-baked cookie.
Sure, you can know what to do, but if you don’t do it – and don’t do it all the way – you won’t reach the level of success you want. Just like if you read the recipe for chocolate chip cookies and don’t make them – no cookies. Or you do make them and decide not to add the chocolate chips. You’ll get cookies, but you’ll miss out on the best part!
The smartest speakers get that to be successful, you can KNOW the plan in your head, you can be in free groups with other people for support, but without specific actionable help along the way, you’re going to make the mistakes and it’s going to take A LOT longer.
I help people fast-track their success. If you’re interested in that recipe for a successful speaking business, what you need to know – the recipe – is on this page. That’s why I created the Speaker Cash Collective. It’s my way to work with speakers who need it, who may not have the budget to work with me privately. Check it out.
There it is. All laid out for you.
Your exact 7-step path to running a successful (meaning profitable) business doing public speaking, coaching, consulting, and writing books. Put these pieces together and you’re on your way to living an extraordinary life where you get to serve the kind of people you can help best.
And, if you need any help putting the pieces together, contact me.
PS: If you’re a speaker, author, coach, or consultant, please share in the comments below what has worked for you, what you struggle with, and if you found anything particularly interesting, useful, or valuable from this post! I look forward to reading your thoughts!