One thing I get asked all the time is – How do I find speaking events?

I want you to have the answer because speaking is the single most effective way to make yourself into a trusted advisor and expert in your niche.

Speaking provides you the kind of authority that will help you close more sales. But so many small business owners don’t realize how powerful it is, and their businesses are suffering because of it!

Here are some crazy sales statistics you need to know:

48% of small business owners fail to achieve their sales quotas. 58% of buyers surveyed said that meeting with a salesperson added NO value to the buying process. And 79% of business buyers say it’s absolutely critical to interact with the salesperson and trusted advisor.

The easiest way to get that trusted advisor status is to start speaking!

I didn’t start out being a speaker, I was a hairdresser when I did my first talk. Being a single mom, with a lot of bills to pay, I wanted to figure out how to close clients faster. I thought I’ll go speak to a group of women. That will be easy!

Except for the fact that I didn’t know anything about speaking.

I didn’t let that stop me, though. I reached out to my network and through a referral, I landed a lunch & learn at Hewlett Packard. With 30 women in the room, I talked about fashion and increasing productivity, while they ate their lunch.

I closed 10 people that day! On average they spent $2400. That means I added $24,000 to my yearly income, from one 30 minute lunch & learn! And I was HORRIBLE! Seriously! When I think back about it now, I cover my eyes and shake my head. It was that bad. But it worked!

I know it can work for you too. All you need are the right steps to take to be successful with it right from the start.

1.) You Need to Have the Right Tools

The first tool you must have is your Speaker One Sheet. It contains three things – your bio, your speaking topics, and testimonials.

Your bio is a short introduction to you and your reach. Remember that your reach is everyone in your circle of influence. This includes your social media following and statistics, as well as any reach of the partners and affiliates who support you.

Your topics outline the specific areas of your expertise. Since I’m the Profit Coach, I talk about money and business strategies. What topics can you cover to help others to grow?

Testimonials are so important to add to your Speaker One Sheet because the proof is in the pudding! When people endorse you and tell others about the way you helped them, it holds a lot of sway.

The next tool you need is a video of you speaking. The people selecting speakers for their event need to see you in action. If you don’t have any video footage of yourself doing a talk, create a staged audience and shoot one.

When you edit the video, you need to produce a “sizzle reel,” showing the best highlights of you in your talk. Also, be sure to include footage of you teaching the audience something new because that is the whole point of bringing you in to speak.

Finally, you need to develop a form letter stating why you’re the person who should be hired for the event. The form letter outlines your area of expertise, why you’re so good at it and what the audience will take away from your talk.

Get all this ready ahead of time, so you’re not rushing around trying to get it done when someone asks for your info!

2.) Define Your Ideal Client

This is one of the most important things you will ever do for your business and your speaking career. You have to know who to talk to, so you’re not wasting your time and theirs. There’s really no point in speaking at an event that doesn’t have your ideal client unless you just want the practice, but why not practice in front of people who want to buy from you?

Remember, I was horrible at my first event, but my ideal clients were there and they bought from me anyway. Better to practice with a chance of getting hired, right?

Even if your speaking skills aren’t fully refined yet, the audience will still see you as a trusted advisor, which will help them enroll in what you’re doing. And, I promise, every time you get up there and do your talk, it’s going to get easier!

3.) Create a Speaking Event Hit List

You want to search for speaking events in your area of influence. For me, I Googled small business speaking events and I got 812 MILLION opportunities! That included Chamber meetings, networking groups, associations and more, on both a local and national level.

Doesn’t that get you excited about the opportunities waiting for you?

4.) Network with Other Speakers

This is such a great thing to do because you can get referrals from other speakers. When they can’t do a talk or maybe don’t have the right skill set, they can recommend you. I get between two and four events a year like this.

Think about joining The National Speakers Association, SpeakerHub, Speakatuity, and/or Podcast Guests. Places like this will help you extend your reach as a speaker.

You can also think about hiring an agent, but in my experience, it’s not as effective as networking. It might be more advantageous to hire your own speaker salesperson, rather than an agent. You can find someone with that kind of capability on LinkedIn or Upwork. If you decide to go that route, make sure you create a very specific job description for them.

You can also choose to represent yourself and look for speaking events on LinkedIn. Just make sure you’re very clear about the topics you cover and that you have your Speaker One Sheet listed for people to review.

5.) Attend Local Events

The best way to get considered for speaking is to attend local events. It’s a great strategy because you can make sure the event is right for you and has your ideal clients before you ask to speak. And as an added bonus, they’re going to get to know you better as well, which is always a good thing.

Make sure you schedule the time to find the events. Schedule time to attend the events. Schedule time to solicit the events. You know what I always say – what gets scheduled gets done!

6.) Create a Follow Up Strategy

It’s so important to follow up on your applications. I’ve created a spreadsheet for myself because it becomes a lot to track! The spreadsheet makes it really easy to see where I’ve applied, what stage the application is in and who I need to call to follow up.

A Susie Snacks Special: For every 10 events you want to speak at, you have to apply to 100.

With that many applications going out, you can see why it’s so important to have a system to track it all!

Now it’s up to you to go out there and book those speaking gigs!

I can’t wait to hear about your success and see you on stage! I’d love to hear how these tips helped you prepare.

You partner in prosperity,

P.S. I am LIVE on Facebook and Instagram every Monday @ 12:00 pm PST!!! Bring all your burning questions and come hang out!

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Susie Carder is an unstoppable business coach who has firmly established herself as a successful entrepreneur. She is passionate about helping her clients’ businesses exceed their wildest expectations! Learn more by visiting susiecarder.com.