I know that I am learning what I need to in order to be successful and I know I can help many other people by sharing what I know. I also know that there are a lot of people on my team who will help and support me every step of the way and who are confident about my success, sometimes before I am. I am at the beginning of a very exciting time for my own personal development!
It is important that you begin finding great speaker clients as soon as possible. It is easy to start doubting and asking, “Can I really do this?” if you do not put your new skills into practice right away.
Your best opportunity for profitable clients is to find people speaking often (at least 25 engagements a year) and who are speaking for a fee. These are usually people whose business revolves around being out and talking to people about their expertise.
Three Types of Speaker Business Prospects
Subject Matter Experts
These are people who are known for a very specific kind of expertise. They present at scientific events, academic societies and in front of corporate audiences. They are very process driven, they usually have a high-paying job and they’re just speaking on the side. Some of these people are trainers. They will have just a few clients versus a lot of them and they’ll go train for weeks or something like that at a particular location. Subject matter experts need less marketing and more of the presentation building, content building, research and fact checking.
The Thought Leader
The majority of speakers that VSA’s work with are thought leaders. These people are consultants and coaches, often with other revenue streams like books and seminars. They speak, not only to generate speaking fees, but they use speaking as a marketing tool. They need a lot of VSA help, because they’re often out consulting and they’ll have fewer speeches than others. But it’s very important for them to leverage those events, because they’re always looking for business. They may also have training programs that they do as well. So you will be dealing with a variety of speeches with a lot of customization as you will with subject matter experts.
The Motivational Speaker
Motivational speakers are the traditional type of speaker. They have an inspiring story as a former executive, a celebrity, a sports figure or perhaps as a comedian. This is a very transactional business for speakers. Marketing to get speaking engagements is the focus here.
These are the people that are going for broke and most of what they do is speak. Speaking for pay is the major revenue stream in their business model, they usually have products to sell during their speeches like books, CD’s or DVDs. Some motivational speakers are trying to move into other areas, such as consulting or giving retreats.
Their message is based on their own stories and successes, so once they have a speech, there are fewer customizing activities. They also tend to be creative and right-brained, so these folks need a whole lot of help in processing and organizing. They are charismatic, very friendly and upbeat, but they also have very high expectations, because they don’t know what they need. They just want everything done. You’re going to have a lot of autonomy with them (you’ll also have some autonomy with thought leaders, probably less so than subject matter experts, these folks are really, really picky about their presentation, they want everything just perfect because they’re very left-brained).
The first step in identifying speakers as business prospects is understanding which type of speaker you’re going after.
Personal Prospect Lists
The more possible clients, called prospects, that you can identify, the more you can begin a marketing campaign to interest them in working with you. You will talk to many people who may become professional speakers in the future and who will remember to call you. You will talk to others who will wish they had known about your services two years ago when they just starting to move from amateur to professional speaker. The more people you talk to, the more likely they will know people who could use your services, even if the person you are talking to is not a likely client.
Sit in a quiet place and think of everyone you know who is a speaker or who might be in a place to refer speaker clients to you as you read the next section. If you have an entrepreneurial friend or business associate, get their help in brainstorming all your possible connections as well.
Aspiring Speaker Prospects
You may not realize it right now, but you already know people who are speakers or who are thinking becoming speakers, perhaps because they have just become authors. And those people know other aspiring or successful speakers. Think about each family member, friend, neighbor, club member, school parent and professional you work with: Are any of them speakers?
There is no sign-up list that people register on when they start thinking of becoming professional speakers. Many people are shy about talking about these thoughts, doubting that they can really ever make it happen. It becomes your job to get these people talking because YOU ask the question: “Do you know anyone who is an author and/or a speaker? I have recently become a certified professional speaker’s assistant and I can help them speed up and enjoy the process of becoming a professional speaker.”
You will be surprised how often you get a resounding, “Me!”
It is estimated that almost half of the adult population actively considers writing a book. Most of us do not know that others are writing until they find a publisher and are willing to talk about it. And once they do, they begin speaking as a way of selling their books and other products.
Here are some great places to find aspiring professional speakers or be recommended to them:
- Toastmasters groups
- Professional organizations
- Networking groups
- Women’s organizations (groups and clubs)
- Online training classes for speakers
- Speaking conferences (like the National Speaker’s Association)
- Other virtual assistants or virtual author’s assistants
Get on the Internet and do a search on www.Google.com with any of these words or phrases and look for those in your area.
Business Professional Referral Sources
Besides individuals who might be speakers themselves, there are many people who, as part of their professional work, work with speakers. Anyone with a large contact list is likely to know speakers.
The next time you meet a professional at a Chamber of Commerce or networking meeting you might say: “Do you have any speaker clients? I have recently become a certified professional virtual speaker’s assistant and I can help them speed up and enjoy the process of becoming a successful professional speaker. I work on all aspects of the speaking process, helping with marketing and sales, travel arrangements, handling the work of the speaker’s office and more.”
Here are some great places to find professional referral sources who can recommend you to speaker clients:
- Business managers
- Business coaches
- Marketing consultants
- Event planners
- Speaker’s bureaus
Communicating with Prospects
Once you have a prospect on your radar, or have been referred to a prospect from a business professional, it is important to create a great first impression. Sending a simple mail can be a wonderful, no-pressure way to offer your services. Use this marketing brochure as an attachment.
What a VSA Can Do For You