In Speaking, “Sell” Is a Four Letter Word

It’s weird. Professional speakers, who are often paid thousands of dollars to give a one-hour talk, are expected to “sell from the platform” – that is, encourage audience members to go to their product table at the back of the room to buy their books, CDs, DVDs, notepads and promotional items using a short commercial at the end of their talk. The problem is that when the pitch goes on too long, it can backfire.

But as a free speaker who is typically compensated only with a free meal or a small gift, you are not supposed to sell at all. Why? Because you were invited to speak by a particular group; you were not hired by them. It is understood that you are there to educate, engage and entertain that group, not take the occasion to promote your own agenda.

The problem is that you ARE there to sell something, and you should expect the investment of your time, effort and money in securing and giving your presentation to pay off in terms of product sales, new clients, referrals, or some other form of financial return. Here are six ways you can encourage your audience to take action on your behalf without turning them off:

1) Change your thinking: Think of sales of your products as a way to nurture your relationship with your audience, rather than as change in your pocket. The only reason people will buy what you have to offer is because your talk touched them or taught them something, and they want to take you home with them. Buying your book, CD, etc., allows them to do that.

2) Remember that nobody likes to be sold, but everybody loves to buy: Pitching is offensive, but persuasion can be pleasant. Rather than trying to sell products, your mission should be to encourage people to want what you have. Since they came to hear you, they are already interested in your topic, and when you respect their intelligence and don’t pitch or push, you’ll find they will be interested in you and be more inclined to linger afterwards.

3) Have a drawing using a sign-up form: Pass out a sign-up form for your ezine (email newsletter) and draw for a copy of your book, CD, or a free consulting session. As you give it to the winner, tell them and the audience that you’ll autograph their copy – and everyone else’s – at your table after your talk.

4) Incorporate your product subtly into your talk: I recently heard an author who excerpted an exercise from her book and had the audience totally engaged by it. During her talk, she would occasionally refer to her book by saying, “This is on page ______” or “This is in the chapter titled ______.” It was extremely effective and completely unobtrusive.

5) Be realistic: I wish I could tell you that you can expect X% of the audience to buy your products, but the fact is that each speaking engagement is unique, and so is each audience.

When I was doing a lot of speaking for my book Secrets of the Hidden Job Market: Change Your Thinking to Get the Job of Your Dreams, my experience ranged from making no sales to selling 44 books in 30 minutes. Same talk but different audiences.

6) Think relationships: Since people do business with people they like, your goal is to develop relationships with those who may have an interest in what you have to offer, and to encourage them to refer you to their friends. Your speaking success won’t be measured in product sales, but rather in the business that comes later.

So the next time you get up in front of an audience, don’t see them as prospects; think of them as people who are there to hear you share with them something they want to know. And very shortly you’ll discover why speaking is the most cost-effective way to generate business for your business.


Janet White is a 40-year veteran of business to business public relations, marketing and sales. Her diverse career includes being a reporter for Newsday, operations assistant at WABC-AM in New York when it was the # 1 radio station in America, 12 years as a commercial real estate writer and publicist in New York and Dallas, and 14 years as a sales rep for mobility, custom rehab, bariatric and patient handling medical equipment.

In 2010, Janet came back to her public relations and marketing roots and established The JW Speakers Agency, Dallas/Fort Worth’s only booking agency for business owners who use free speaking as a way to increase their exposure, broaden their network and bring in new clients, and emerging speakers who need guidance on building their speaking business.

Secrets to Success with Attendee-Funded Webinars

with Lee Salz

Ask 100 people if webinars are free or for-fee. Most will say they are free. Ask the same 100 people if training is free. Most will say you *pay* for training.

What happens when you use webinars to deliver training?

Webinars are merely technology with multiple applications. Most have used webinars for branding, promoting, or database building. In this webinar, Lee introduces you to the world of attendee-funded webinars —
webinars where participants pay to learn from you.

The presentation is virtual, but the dollars are real.

If you are a speaker intrigued by webinars as an income opportunity, join Lee and you’ll learn how to:
• straddle the fine line between free and for-fee webinars — not all content is saleable
• use one question to select the most saleable content — what people will readily pay to learn from you
• avoid the most common mistake that causes no one to sign-up for your webinars
• engage the 3 prospective registrant types effectively — and at the right time — so they sign-up for your webinars
• leverage the webinar buying hot zone — the window when most registrations occur
• select a title for your webinar that passes a 4-prong test
• design your most important marketing tool — the webinar description
• choose the right webinar provider

Get all the details here =->

Turn Your Content into e-Learning for Steady Income

You’ve got content from your keynotes and trainings. You know you could reach more people and make more money if you turned your intellectual capital into an online course — or maybe even an online academy. But how do you do that quickly, easily and inexpensively? Doesn’t it take an instructional designer and tech expert? Aren’t those folks hard to find and expensive? Plus, how do you sell the course?

Is it possible to do all this oneself without lots of frustration? YES! Brian will show you how he did it with his speaking and training business and how YOU can do it with yours. He’ll walk you through his website examples in real time so you can see how it all works. And by the way, Brian doubled his revenue thanks to his e-Learning programs!

With the cutbacks in travel, conference speakers, and in-house training, NOW is the time for you to take the next step to creating your own online learning center.
John Chambers, Chairman of Cisco Systems, said about e-Learning: “The next big killer application on the Internet is going to be education. Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make email usage look like a rounding error.”
In this webinar you will learn how to:
• turn your slides, books, and videos into fun and interactive training courses
• create interactive quizzes and learning games with easy-to-use software
• develop your own branded online learning center and charge for courses
• make money from anywhere!
In this one-hour webinar, we’ll share with you the essential tools of creating your own e-Learning programs.
If there is ever a webinar you absolutely cannot miss, it is this one. So mark Dec 21 in your calendar. Because it will be that day that you look back on as the day in your business when your sales, profits, and income grew — without your having to get on a plane! See you there!

Register or order the CD or MP3 recording. Note: people who register for the teleseminar will get the MP3 recording of the session for free. Also, everyone who registers for the webinar session or orders the recording will get a link to the recorded video of the online webinar.