These are some questions you want to ask yourself when you’re building your speaking business because the more clear you are about where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, the more likely you will get there.
Most speakers don’t sit down to analyze their business. They just improvise, wing it, and hope for the best.
But the speakers who make money are the ones who know what they’re doing.
When you ask yourself better questions, you get better answers. And if you sit down to answer these questions (instead of just reading them on this blog post) then you will see a huge change in your speaking business.
Don’t be like most speakers…
Most speakers are passive. They learn something and don’t use it. They read something and don’t do it. If you want to take your speaking business to the next level then you have to be very aggressive in your marketing.
Here are some questions you should be asking yourself (these questions are in no particular order)…
What do I want to be known for? (area of expertise)
You need to know what you want to be known for before you can really start marketing yourself. If you don’t know the answer to this question then it’s like someone saying they want to build a business but they’re not sure what business to build.
What’s my end game for this speaking business? Where do I want to end up?
When you know your goal for the speaking business, everything you do will move you towards that goal. If you know that you want to get paid corporate gigs, then you will focus on the corporate market. If you know that you want to host your own events and do seminars, then you will focus on seminars. Know your end game.
Who do I have to become to get there? What will this future me be doing differently throughout the day?
The person you are right now, and the person you have to be to get the results you want are two completely different people. Think about the person you would be when you’re doing 70 events a year (or whatever your goal is). What time would you wake up? What would you be doing throughout the day? Would you really be hanging out on Facebook? Think about the person you would be…and then start being that person.
Why would anyone pay for my knowledge? What’s in it for them?
If you don’t know why someone should pay you, then they won’t know either. You need them to see the end result for paying you. If you’re a leadership speaker then you know that you can help them build a team of people to grow their business. Whatever it is, don’t focus on you, focus on what they get from paying you.
What problem do I solve?
This is similar to the question above. What are you helping them achieve? The biggest problem CEOs have is finding talent. So if you can help them find top-notch talent then they will pay you a lot. In some way or another, you have to connect what you’re doing with the big problem you solve as a speaker.
What’s something extraordinary that I do and/or talk about? Something that really gets people talking?
This is what’s going to separate your from all the other speakers. Don’t skip this and really think about it. For example…I do mind reading demonstrations so I can demonstrate what I talk about rather than just talk about it. And the ending to my presentation blows people away. You need to do something extraordinary that will get people talking you…figure out what that is.
Do I want to build a seminar business or a paid speaking business?
You have to figure this out from the start because the marketing involved is completely different. If you want paid speaking gigs then you’re going to be marketing yourself to meeting planners. If you want to do seminars then you’re going to be marketing to people who have the specific problem you want to solve. Figure out which business you want to build.
What platform do I want to build?
Figure out where you want to spend 90% of your time to increase your visibility. So maybe you want to speak on leadership…how do you want to get your message out there? You can do a blog, YouTube, write books…figure out which platform you want to build and then focus on it. If you decide on YouTube videos then make the videos, don’t try to do several platforms or your lack of focus will create a lack of results.
How would other people describe my speaking topic? What category is it under?
You must must must figure this out. When someone asks what you speak about…they need to understand it. Don’t say, “I change lives” because that doesn’t create a mental picture for anyone. When someone asks Tony Robbins, he says he looks at what the best people are doing to be successful, figures out what they do, and models it. It’s clear…you understand it. Your description of what you need to do should be just as clear.
Where is going on in the world and how does my topic fit into it?
This question will help you get publicity because when your topic fits in to what’s going on, you’re more likely to grab attention. If you’re a leadership speaker then you can easily talk about how big companies are failing to do xyz. Figure out how your topic fits into the world around you.
Who do I want to hire me?
You need to know who’s hiring you as a speaker. Never confuse who you’re speaking to with who’s hiring you to speak. If you’re in the corporate marketing, the meeting planner hires you but the audience is the employees of the company. You need to know this because it lets you know how to market yourself as a speaker.
What market do I want to dominate?
Pick a market and dominate it. Grant Cardone picked the ‘sales’ market and he’s dominating it by putting out lots of content. When you know what market you want to dominate, then you can focus on being omnipresent.
Does this market currently pay speakers?
If you enter a market that doesn’t pay speakers, or pays speakers very little…then you’re going to have a hard time building your speaking business. Lots of speakers want to make $10,000 per speech but they speak to a market that can’t afford it. Make sure your goals are aligned with your actions.
Who are the top 5 speakers in this market?
If the top people in your industry aren’t making money then you’re going to have a hard time making money. If you speak on HIV/AIDS and the top speakers in the industry are only making six figures then you’re in a bad market. But if you look at motivational speakers then you can see that Tony Robbins is making 9 figures…so even if you’re just ‘ok’ then you can easily build a huge business.
How much are they making/getting paid to speak?
This is just some research you need to do. Don’t just assume the top people in your industry are making money because everyone acts like they make money. You also don’t know what other income streams they have (their marketing is invisible to you). So you need to figure out how much people are getting paid to speak and that gives you an idea on how big the market is.
What are the revenue streams for my speaking business?
More revenue streams equals more money. Think about how else you can make money as a speaker and what skills you need to make it happen. Can you do speaker workshops, write books, audio products? Think of other revenue streams and what skills you need to make it happen.
Which revenue stream will I build first?
Don’t try to build all revenue streams at once. If you’re a paid speaker in the corporate market then your main revenue stream is the speaking gig and your second revenue stream can be books. But if you try to make books, then a workshop, then an audio product, all at once, it will take you too long to market yourself. Master one revenue stream (getting paid speaking gigs) and then focus on the others.
How much do I need to make in this revenue stream before I focus on others?
If you’re a paid speaker in the corporate market then you can say to yourself, “After I make $200,000 with paid gigs, then I’ll do seminars” or whatever revenue stream you want. But you need to know when you’re going to start your other revenue streams so they don’t take focus off your main marketing efforts.
How much money am I wiling to spend on marketing?
If you’re not spending money to grow your business then you don’t have a business. Figure out how much you need to spend to educate yourself and to generate more leads. If you get stuck in the mindset of ‘I don’t want to spend anything’ then you will take 5 years or more just to get a little momentum.
What systems will I build to run the business?
Systems allow you to have predictable outcomes. If you have a cold calling system in place then you know exactly what to say, what their response would be, etc etc. If you have a Google Adwords system in place then you know how much you need to spend and how many leads you will get. Your systems run your speaking business. Don’t just wing it, put a process in place that creates predictable outcomes.
What’s the thing single most important marketing item I need right now? If I have this one thing, will it get me booked?
I’ll answer this question for you…videos are your most important marketing materials. Most speakers try to create one-sheets, bios, etc etc…and they spend weeks, months, working on marketing materials and never get around to actually booking themselves on stages. Figure out the one thing you need and get it done.
How will I find events? What websites will I go to? What will I say when I find the events?
If you don’t know how to market yourself then you won’t be getting booked. You need to be clear on how you’re going to find events (at least 100 a day) and what you’re going to say to them (this is why you need a system)
How will I get people to find me? What exactly do I have to do to?
While you’re building your speaking business, you also need to think about how to do inbound marketing. So maybe you collect a lot of video testimonials…how will you rank them? Or maybe you want to do PPC to get leads to come to you. Figure out ways to get speaking gigs to come to you instead of you having to go to them.
What one thing will I focus on for the next 6 months to get speaking gigs?
Unfocused speakers don’t get booked. Figure out the one thing you could do every single day, for six months straight, that will get you booked.
If there was only one marketing strategy I could use to build my speaking business, what would it be?
Do you know what your top marketing strategy is? You need to know what your main money making activity is. If it’s cold calling then focus on cold calling. If it’s SEO then focus on SEO. Figure out one thing…just one…and focus on it.
Is there a better way?
Always ask yourself if there’s a better way to leverage what you’re doing. Most speakers think the one thing they need to do to market themselves is the best thing, but there’s almost always a better way. So figure out if there’s a better way to do things than what you’ve currently been doing.
How many hours a day will I schedule for marketing?
The more you focus on marketing yourself, the more gigs you get. It’s that simple. If you only spend 2-3 hours marketing yourself then you it will take you over 3 years to get booked (yeah you read that right).
What will I be doing during that time I’ve schedule? What are the exact steps?
You need to figure out exactly what you’re going to be doing when you’re marketing yourself. Don’t just put on your schedule ‘marketing’…you should know what websites you’re going to visit, what you’re going to say to people in charge of the events…you should know all the details.
How will I make sure I’m doing what I need to do? How will I guarantee that the marketing gets done?
Procrastination and distractions will kill your speaking business. Maybe you can give someone $1,000 and tell them to give you the money back only after you’ve finished doing what needs to get done for the day. In some way or another, you need to figure out how you’re going to make sure you won’t get distracted.
How will I measure my results? How do I know things are working on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?
Things that don’t get measured don’t grow. If you want to book 70 events a year then you need to average around 6 events per month (1-2/week). This lets you know if you’re on track or not. So if you’ve been writing your bio for a week then you know you’re not on track to do what you need to do. Measure results.
How will I keep learning?
If you’re not educating yourself then you won’t grow your speaking business. There are opportunities in front of you that you don’t see when you don’t have the right information. Getting the right information about how to grow your speaking business will allow you to grow it faster. (Check out PLATFORM & SpeakPro Academy)
What don’t I know?
You don’t know what you don’t know. There’s a lot of things you could be doing better in your speaking business but if you don’t know it, then it’s almost like it doesn’t exist. Keep asking yourself what you don’t know…and how you’re going to learn it.
What’s going to be my single point of focus…all day and all night?
Bill Gates & Warren Buffett were asked the key to their success and they said the same thing…focus! You should be focused on one thing.
What can I use in my current surroundings to build my speaking business today?
Make this real for you. Don’t just read this post and think, “Oh yea that’s good stuff.” Make this real…look around you and think about what you can use to build your business today. Translate knowledge to your current situation and take advantage of everything in your life that others cant.
What will I do today to build my speaking business? Can I do more?
Get things done today. And do more than what you think you can do. You might have worked on your bio, one-sheet, etc…but you need to be doing more.
What are a set of repeat actions I’ll be doing every day?
If you don’t wake up knowing what you should be doing all day then you won’t build much of a business. Clarity separates the speakers who get gigs and the speakers who don’t.
What systems can I set up to automate actions in my speaking business?
Lets say that you send emails to people to hire you for events. Do you have an email template of what you’re going to send? How can you send it faster? You can use the Chrome Extension called Streak so it types in everything for you…this is an example of putting a simple system in place to automate your business.
How hard do I need to work, every single day, to get to my end goal?
You want to make a million dollars as a speaker but you only work on your speaking business for 3 hours? Slap yourself! Your end goals and your current actions need to be aligned. Figure out what you need to be doing every single day to get to where you want to be.
If someone gave me $10,000 for my speaking business, what would I do with it?
Do you know what to do with money when it comes in? If you don’t know what to do with $10,000 then you don’t know what to do with $1,000 or $100. Can you turn the $10,000 into $100,000? If not, you need to figure out how.
How do I describe my business model to other people?
You should be able to describe to other people how your business works because it brings clarity to what you do. If you’re clear on how your speaking business works then you can easily get things done. But a lack of clarity means you don’t know how to describe to other how you’re getting booked. And if you can’t describe to others how you’re getting booked, then you’re probably not getting booked.
What type of people do I need to be hanging out with to get to where I want to be?
Should you be networking with other speakers? Or meeting planners? Speakers like to join speaker associations when they should be joining meeting planner associations. You should also be hanging around people who you can learn from. You know this…so start doing it.
How can I attract 100 new prospects to my business in 7 days?
If you had to…do you know how you would do it? If you don’t know the answer to this question then that’s one of the reasons why you don’t have the speaking business you want to have.
If I had only 48 hours to book a speaking gig for $10,000, what would I do?
Lets say someone put a gun to your head and told you to book a speaking gig in 2 days. Could you do it? Do you know what you actions you would take? I bet you wouldn’t be working on that bio or one-sheet.
How can I increase the closing rate by 50% that someone will hire me?
In the beginning, it’s hard to get hired because you don’t have video footage or pictures. So you have to contact thousands of people before someone hires you. But you should always be thinking of how to get that number down. Instead of contacting thousands, you bring it down to hundreds, then 75, etc etc. This will allow you to book more gigs with less effort.
How can I build my speaking business in a way that’s never been done before?
No speaker has built their speaking business the same way as another speaker. Tony Robbins used infomercials and had someone backing him (they put up all the money) but nowadays, you can’t do the same thing. So how can you build your speaking business in a way that others aren’t?
What information do I need to keep reading about so my business stays ahead of the curve?
The right information/knowledge changes what you think about. If you read romance books all day then you won’t know how to market yourself. If you read business books then that’s better…but what kind of books? How will you get specialized knowledge to build your speaking business. So many speakers miss out on speaking gigs because they don’t have the right knowledge or mentor to guide them. Don’t let that be you.
Share this with other speakers so we can create more business-savvy speakers in this world.