How to Become a Professional Speaker
“Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.”– Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Have you ever thought about striking out on your own as you toil away at your nine to five job. I bet you have!
If you are an amateur speaker in your local Toastmasters Club or other speaking organization, you may have thought about becoming a professional speaker.
Starting a professional speaking business is not like the Fields of Dreams movie – build it (your presentation) and they will come. They always come in the movies.
If you just build your presentation, they will rarely come. However, in real life there is much more to being a professional speaker than speaking.
In rank order of importance, be a marketer first, be a salesperson second, and be a speaker third.
Most people get marketing confused with sales. They are both part of the process of obtaining and keeping a customer, but they have different purposes.
Marketing develops a relationship between a large customer base and the products and services the business sells. After Marketing has “reeled-in” the leads, it is up to the Sales Department to close the sale.
One of the most important parts of marketing is determining your target audience or target customer.
Some people think it is better to “cast a wide net” and become a generalist or “jack of all trades” in order to cover more needs of more people. Nothing could be further from the truth. People will part with their money for an expert, not a generalist.
An example of a target market is mid-level career electrical engineers in the power industry in the Northeast United States. Getting as specific as possible will help you better define your target customer and marketing.
But the target market will still not buy from you unless you discover it’s “pain points,” frustrations, and needs.
The last task of marketing is to generate leads for the Sales Department.
Sales Person Second
The purpose of sales is to transform a lead into a buying customer.
There are seven steps of the sales process. They are:
Step 1 – Prospecting
Step 2 – Make Contact
Step 3 – Qualify Your Prospect
Step 4 – Nurture Your Prospect
Step 5 – Present Your Offer
Step 6 – Overcome Objections
Step 7 – Close the Sale
Skipping any of these steps will preclude the sale from happening.
One of the keys to sales is tying your product or service to alleviating your customer’s “pain points” and frustrations and satisfying their needs.
Sales happen when your customer believes his or her return on investment (ROI) for what you are selling is worth more than the money he or she is spending to obtain the product or service. If the customer believes this ROI is not high enough for the money they are spending, a sale will not be made. It is that simple.
The complex part is discerning the belief of the customer on whether the ROI is high enough to warrant the sale. Sometimes, this is not an easy task.
You now know marketing and sales are absolutely necessary for a business to be sustainable. It is time to shift priority to the service you provide.
Many years ago there was a commercial on TV with the tag line, “Where’s the beef?” All the marketing and sales in the world will not fully sustain a business unless there is a service (the “beef”) for which customers are willing to part with their money.
The “beef” is the content of your service. You now know to make a sale, customers must believe the service you are providing has a higher ROI than the money they are spending for the service. The focus of the content of your service has to always be alleviating the “pain points” and frustrations of your customers and satisfying their needs.
You need to first explain to yourself how your service is the solution to your customers “pain points” and frustrations and then when you are convinced it does, explain it your customer. Short of explaining this to your customer, you will not have sales. If you don’t have sales, you don’t have a business.
Refer to my blog topic, “I Have My Speech Topic. Now What?” for pointers on how to prepare your presentations.
A service without “the beef” will never sell. Show “the beef” solves your customer’s “pain points” and frustrations, charge a fair price your target market will be willing to spend for your service and you will have a sustainable professional speaking business.
You now know to have a sustainable professional speaking business, you must be a marketer first, a salesperson second and then a speaker third.
Prioritize these out of order and/or short change any one of them and you will be planning to fail in your professional speaking business!
Call to Action
“The single most important lesson of effective communication is this: Focus on clarity. Concentrate on precisions. Don’t worry about constructing beautiful sentences. Beauty comes from meaning, not language. Accuracy is the most effective style of all.”– David Gerrold
Introducing a new book from Frank DiBartolomeo! “Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”
Launches January 30, 2021 online and in a store near you!
DiBartolomeo Consulting International’s (DCI) mission is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence.
Contact DCI at
Office – (703) 815-1324
Cell/Text – (703) 509-4424