Teach Them How to Buy From You
Many of your neighbors are current prospects, but don’t yet know how to buy from you. They hear your stories of the road; see you at local area or industry events; read your articles, press releases, and news of your latest book or award. They are already impressed with you and envious of what you are doing for your other clients, but they haven’t approached you.
It’s amazing how well our speaker/expert marketing works and how poorly, by comparison, we work. It appeals to them but we neglect to show them how to buy from us. This is true for me after 37 years in this business, and I’m sure it’s true for you, too. In the past month, four different people have said to me, “I’d like to have you come and speak to my team sometime. Do you do that? P.S. I can’t afford to pay your usual fees.”
Note that they want to buy, but are afraid that their need is too small to justify your time commitment, and that your fee is too high for their situation. I’ve often stumbled with these inquiries in the past, but recently a response occurred to me that has changed everything. Here are the magic words (I’ll explain more in a minute), write them down and use them often. Are you ready? Here they are: “Yes, in fact, I love to work locally with groups like yours. When I do local engagements here’s how that works…”
The phrase “Here’s how that works…” sets you up to tell them what your policy or process is for lower fee or smaller group presentations. In my case, I tell them that I work with people on a three month basis. First I meet with them to gather information about their needs, and then I do my initial presentation. After the presentation, I stay in touch with them from week-to-week as needed, and remain available for individual coaching or follow up briefings over the three months. Then we either expand the agreement to keep me on the resource team, or conclude with my guidance regarding how they can keep the learning active once I’m gone.
In this way, you have positioned yourself as a solution source instead of a ‘speech giver.’ You’ve focused on their needs and goals instead of your content, and you’ve made it clear that you can be helpful on an ongoing basis. Since the engagement is local, you can include a clause that allows you to reschedule in the event of a full fee out of town engagement. And voila!, your calendar is full again.
Question: “Jim, do you ever do charity events?” Answer: “Yes, I love to give back to my community in this way. Here’s how that works…”
My policy on non-profit events is that they sign agreements just like the regular clients, and instead of paying me in cash, I have them designate me as a Gold or Platinum sponsor for the event. That usually gets me a table for guests, a page of advertising, my logo on their signage, and special recognition beyond what I’d ever get as a speaker. You are being paid and honored instead of being treated as just someone who agreed to do a free speech for them.
I sure hope these ideas work for you as well as they have for me.