In an era dominated by digital marketing, professional speakers often find themselves leaning heavily towards marketing activities, neglecting the equally critical aspect of sales. This imbalance can hinder their business growth, as marketing alone doesn’t guarantee conversions. Ed Rigsbee, a veteran in the speaking industry, sheds light on the necessity of maintaining a balance between marketing and sales to optimize business outcomes.

Marketing activities, as Rigsbee explains, encompass all forms of social media engagement—from posting on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to sharing content on YouTube. These efforts are crucial for building brand familiarity and comfort among potential clients. However, they do not equate to sales, which involve direct interactions aimed at closing deals.

For B2C (Business to Consumer) speakers, platforms like Facebook and Instagram are the go-to channels, whereas B2B (Business to Business) speakers find more value in LinkedIn and YouTube. LinkedIn, for instance, offers features like newsletters, which can be a powerful tool for establishing thought leadership and staying connected with an audience. Rigsbee encourages speakers to utilize these tools fully, pointing out that unused invitations to connect or subscribe do not carry over month-to-month.

Moreover, Rigsbee emphasizes the distinction between marketing emails and sales emails. Mass emails fall into the marketing category and are less likely to result in sales compared to personalized, targeted emails. The saturation of generic emails has led to a growing frustration among association decision-makers, who prefer communications that demonstrate a clear understanding of their needs and challenges.

On the sales front, Rigsbee identifies two types of salespeople: farmers and hunters. Farmers wait passively for opportunities, while hunters actively seek out potential business. He advocates for a ‘hunter’ approach, encouraging speakers to engage in proactive sales activities daily. This involves not just cold calling but following up on leads and utilizing insights to tailor communications effectively.

Rigsbee’s methodology is straightforward: use marketing to draw potential clients closer and let sales do the heavy lifting. He advises speakers to contribute articles to industry editors as a way to deposit into a ‘relationship bank,’ which can then facilitate introductions to decision-makers. The key to successful selling, he notes, is knowing when to listen. Allowing decision-makers to express their needs can provide speakers with the exact blueprint for how to sell to them.

Lastly, Rigsbee cautions against overeagerness that can turn potential leads into lost opportunities. Respecting a client’s timeline and communication preferences is crucial for building long-term relationships.

In conclusion, while marketing is essential for creating visibility and establishing credibility, it is the strategic balance with direct sales efforts that will yield substantial business growth. Speakers must recognize the roles both play and allocate their time wisely to ensure not just visibility but actual market penetration and revenue generation. As Rigsbee eloquently puts it, “Mixing sales and marketing in your daily activities might surprise you—more business will likely come your way more often.”

Being selected as a speaker for association executives is a great opportunity to showcase your expertise and make a lasting impression. In order to stand out from the competition, it is important to understand the industry and organization you are speaking to. This blog post will provide tips and strategies for speakers to effectively connect with association executives and provide value beyond the event.

Understanding the Industry and Organization

 

As a speaker, it is essential to thoroughly understand the industry and organization you will be addressing. By doing so, you can deliver a tailored and impactful presentation that resonates with association executives. Here are some key steps to take to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the industry and organization:

 

Researching Current Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities

 

Before stepping on stage, it is important to familiarize yourself with the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities within the industry. This research not only helps you stay relevant but also enables you to provide valuable insights to association executives. To gather this information, consider the following approaches:

 

  1. Browsing Industry Websites and Publications: Keep an eye on industry-specific websites, blogs, and online publications to stay updated on the latest news, emerging trends, and key challenges faced by professionals in the field.
  2. Attending Industry Conferences and Events: By attending conferences and events related to the industry, you can interact with professionals from various organizations and gain firsthand knowledge of the key issues and opportunities they are currently facing.
  3. Engaging with Industry Thought Leaders: Connect with industry thought leaders through social media platforms or professional networking sites. Engage in discussions and follow their insights to understand the prevailing industry trends.

 

Understanding the Specific Organization

 

While understanding the industry is crucial, it is equally important to have a deep understanding of the specific organization you will be speaking to. Here are some strategies to gain insights into the organization:

 

  1. Requesting Access to Recent Magazines and Reports: Reach out to the organization and request access to their recent magazines, reports, or newsletters. These resources can provide valuable information about the organization’s objectives, challenges, and achievements.
  2. Gaining Access to Industry Associations: Many organizations have ties to industry associations or trade groups. Joining these associations can give you access to exclusive resources and networking opportunities.
  3. Conducting Interviews or Surveys: If possible, try to arrange interviews or surveys with employees or members of the organization. By directly interacting with them, you can gain valuable insights into their perspectives and needs.

 

Benefiting from Physical Resources

 

In addition to online resources, physical resources can also be immensely helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of the industry and organization. Consider these approaches:

 

  1. Sending Hard Copies of Industry Magazines: If you have access to industry magazines, consider sending hard copies to the organization. This gesture not only shows your commitment and dedication but also provides them with a tangible resource they can refer to for valuable industry insights.
  2. Requesting Physical Documents: If the organization has any physical documents, such as annual reports or research papers, request access to them. These documents often contain in-depth information about the organization’s industry position, challenges, and strategies.

 

By thoroughly understanding the industry and organization you will be speaking to, you can deliver a talk that is relevant, insightful, and memorable. Doing the necessary research and gaining insights will not only benefit you as a speaker but also leave a lasting impression on association executives.

 

Customizing Your Approach

 

Association executives appreciate speakers who tailor their approach to their specific needs. This not only shows professionalism but also establishes a strong connection with the audience. When you clearly communicate how your expertise aligns with their goals and challenges, you demonstrate your understanding of their unique needs and increase your chances of being selected as a speaker.

 

Customization is the key to delivering a successful presentation or workshop. To begin with, it is crucial to do your homework and thoroughly research the association you are presenting to. Familiarize yourself with their industry, their current challenges, and their strategic objectives. This will enable you to understand their specific needs and provide solutions that are relevant and valuable.

 

Understanding Their Needs

 

One of the first steps in customizing your approach is to clearly identify the association’s needs. This can be done through careful analysis of their mission statement, strategic plan, and any available industry reports or surveys. By identifying their pain points and challenges, you can tailor your presentation to address these directly.

 

Consider reaching out to the association’s representatives or members to gain a deeper understanding of their needs. Request a brief phone call or arrange a meeting to discuss the key focus areas and desired outcomes of the event. This proactive approach not only shows your commitment but also allows you to gather valuable insights that will help you further customize your approach.

 

Aligning Your Expertise

 

Once you have a clear understanding of the association’s needs, it’s time to align your expertise with their goals. Highlight your relevant experience, achievements, and knowledge in your presentation materials. Clearly communicate how your expertise directly relates to their challenges and how you can provide valuable insights and solutions.

 

Using real-life examples and case studies can be incredibly powerful in demonstrating your understanding of the association’s needs. Share success stories or highlight previous engagements where you successfully addressed similar challenges. This not only builds credibility but also instills confidence in the association executives that you are the right speaker for their event.

 

Clear Communication

 

Effective communication is essential when customizing your approach for association executives. Craft your presentation in a clear and concise manner, using language that resonates with the audience. Avoid jargon or technical terms that may be unfamiliar to them.

 

When communicating your understanding of the association’s needs, be specific and provide concrete examples. Show them that you have done your research and are genuinely interested in helping them overcome their challenges. Use their language and speak directly to their pain points to create a stronger connection.

 

During the presentation, encourage interaction and engagement by asking questions and inviting feedback. This will not only show your attentiveness to their needs but also allow for a more personalized experience. Be open to adapting your approach as you receive input from the association executives.

 

Providing Value Beyond the Event

 

Once booked as a speaker, it is important to go beyond simply showing up and delivering a presentation. Association executives value speakers who actively engage with their organization and provide additional value. This can include offering resources, follow-up consultations, or even participating in post-event discussions. By providing ongoing support and expertise, you can establish yourself as a trusted resource for the association.

 

As a speaker, your role extends far beyond the time you spend on stage. To truly provide value to your audience and the association you are working with, it is essential to take a proactive approach in engaging with them before, during, and after the event. By going the extra mile, you can position yourself as a valuable partner and build long-lasting relationships.

 

Offering Resources

 

One way to provide value beyond the event is by offering additional resources to the association and its members. This can be in the form of handouts, e-books, or even online courses. By providing these resources, you are giving attendees something tangible to take away from your presentation and continue their learning journey. It also shows your commitment to their success and establishes you as an authority in your field.

 

When creating resources, it is important to tailor them to the specific needs and interests of the association. Conducting surveys or interviews with the association’s members can help you gather valuable insights and create content that is relevant to them. This personalized approach will make the resources more valuable and impactful.

 

Follow-Up Consultations

 

Another way to provide ongoing value is by offering follow-up consultations to the association’s members. This can be done through virtual meetings, phone calls, or even email exchanges. By offering personalized advice and guidance, you can help attendees implement the knowledge they gained from your presentation into their own professional lives.

 

When offering follow-up consultations, it is important to be accessible and responsive. Make sure to set clear expectations regarding the scope and duration of the consultations, and provide guidance on how attendees can schedule their appointments. By being proactive and offering your expertise beyond the event, you are showing your commitment to the association’s members and their growth.

 

Participating in Post-Event Discussions

 

Engaging in post-event discussions is a great way to continue the conversation and provide additional value. This can be done through online forums, social media groups, or even dedicated discussion boards on the association’s website. By actively participating in these discussions, you can answer questions, share additional insights, and foster a sense of community among the attendees.

 

When participating in post-event discussions, it is important to be respectful and considerate of others’ opinions. Encourage open dialogue and create a safe space for attendees to share their thoughts and experiences. By actively engaging in these discussions, you are not only providing value to the association’s members but also establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field.

 

Establishing Yourself as a Trusted Resource

 

By consistently providing ongoing support and expertise, you can establish yourself as a trusted resource for the association. This will not only strengthen your relationship with the organization but also increase the likelihood of future speaking opportunities. Association executives value speakers who go above and beyond to add value and support their members.

 

To establish yourself as a trusted resource, it is important to maintain a strong online presence. This can include regularly updating your blog or website with valuable content, actively engaging on social media platforms, and participating in relevant industry events and discussions. By positioning yourself as an authority in your field, you will become the go-to speaker for associations looking for valuable insights and expertise.

 

In conclusion, providing value beyond the event is crucial for speakers who want to build long-lasting relationships with associations. By offering resources, follow-up consultations, and participating in post-event discussions, you can establish yourself as a trusted resource and position yourself as an authority in your field. Remember, your role as a speaker extends far beyond the time you spend on stage, and by going the extra mile, you can make a lasting impact on the association and its members.

Being a successful speaker takes a lot more than being a subject matter expert or even mastering all the elements of stagecraft. 

Sure that’s all very important. 

But while the association world is huge (over 100, 000 associations in the US) – the meeting and events part of this world is much smaller. Your reputation will take you a long way up or drag you a long way down. 

So the question is how does a speaker build a stellar reputation and become in-demand in the association meeting space?

In short, it requires you to master the art of partnering. 

To be the optimal partner, it is crucial to first understand and address the various factors that contribute to the success of an event. 

Understanding the Meeting Planner’s Needs

To be an optimal partner, it’s essential to understand the specific needs and goals of the meeting planner. This includes gaining insights into their target audience, event objectives, and expectations. By aligning your efforts with the planner’s vision, you can effectively contribute to the event’s success.

If the planner’s goal is to create a networking event for young professionals, you can contribute by suggesting engaging icebreaker activities, recommending a suitable event space, and providing contacts within your network to help expand the attendee list.

For the planner it is important to see you as invested in the event’s success as they are. 

Effective Communication and Collaboration

Maintaining open lines of communication and collaboration is another key to building a successful partnership with meeting planners. Regularly share updates on your progress, ask for feedback, and offer assistance when needed.

One of the most simple things to do is text the planner when you arrive at the hotel or let them know if your plane is late or delayed. Don’t give them heartburn wondering if you are going to show up or not. Keep them in the loop. 

Another example might be if you are responsible for organizing a panel discussion. Make sure to keep the meeting planner informed about the confirmed speakers, discussion topics, and any changes or updates. This proactive approach will help ensure a smooth event execution and demonstrate your commitment to the partnership.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Let’s face it, at any event there are a lot of balls in the air. Events can be unpredictable, and being able to adapt to changing circumstances is a valuable trait in a partner. Embrace flexibility and be prepared to adjust your plans or responsibilities as needed.

Don’t be a diva! You need to roll with the punches.

If a speaker cancels at the last minute, be ready to step in and find a suitable replacement, or offer to restructure the event to accommodate the change. Your adaptability will be appreciated by the meeting planner and help maintain the event’s success.

This flexibility and willingness to make life easier for everyone will show a significant return as your reputation as a partner grows across the industry. 

Delivering High-Quality Content

Some speakers have a signature speech and deliver the same performance everywhere they go. But even if you’ve climbed a mountain or won an Olympic medal it’s important to understand your audience’s needs and adapt your content to the conference’s theme. 

When you’re tasked with providing content for an event, ensure that it is relevant, engaging, and valuable to the audience. High-quality content is a critical factor in attracting and retaining attendees.

Let’s say you are presenting a workshop on industry trends, conduct thorough research, incorporate real-world examples from the industry you are presenting too, and engage the audience through interactive activities or discussions. This will create a memorable experience for attendees and reflect positively on both you and the meeting planner.

Becoming the optimal partner to meeting planners is one of the best ways to grow your reputation and your speaking business. It’s an often overlooked  – but critical – skill that every speaker needs to master.

By adopting these strategies you will show planners that you are willing to go above and beyond the details in your speaking agreement and demonstrate your commitment to their event’s success. 

And that  should be your goal at every engagement.

Inflation and recession are economic realities that businesses often grapple with, and professional speakers are no exception. As these economic challenges loom, it’s essential for speakers to address price objections by demonstrating their value to meeting planners and associations. 

At the ASSC we focus on the association market. The good news for speakers is that even in tough times, associations continue to organize events. But that doesn’t mean they don’t feel the same economic pressures as everyone else. So the onus is on us to demonstrate that it is worth it to them to pay our full fee. Because let’s face it – discounting sucks. 

Define Your Value

It’s crucial for speakers to clearly articulate the value they bring to the table. Avoid picking arbitrary prices; instead, build a strong business case to justify your fee. Show potential clients the return on investment (ROI) they can expect by hiring you and the benefits their members will derive from your presence at the event.

A cybersecurity expert speaker might develop a presentation that highlights how businesses can save thousands of dollars by implementing proper security measures. By showcasing case studies of companies that have experienced significant cost savings, the speaker can justify their fee and demonstrate the tangible ROI to the audience. Associations must deliver value. Your job to help them do it!

Become a Valuable Partner

Help meeting planners create events where attendees see value at every touchpoint. Ensure your session appeals to a broad audience and presents a compelling reason for people to attend. Make your session a draw by connecting the dots between what you do and the ROI for attendees.

A speaker focusing on leadership development could collaborate with meeting planners to create a series of interactive workshops at a conference. By providing materials, group exercises, and facilitating discussions, the speaker ensures that attendees walk away with practical insights and a memorable experience, making the event more valuable for everyone involved.

Also every one of those events is an opportunity to turn those in attendance into paying clients for internal workshops, seminars or training sessions on the same topic. That’s why we love associations!

Leverage Statistics

There are statistics for everything. Use them to make the case for your presentations.  Use these statistics to make your pitch more persuasive and to build a business case for your speaking services. Government agencies are excellent sources for statistics that can resonate with meeting planners and conference attendees.

A speaker discussing the importance of employee engagement might reference a Gallup poll that shows a 21% increase in profitability for companies with engaged employees (Don’t use this –  I just made it up). With statistics, the speaker can emphasize the financial benefits of their topic and strengthen their case for being hired for the event.

Offer Additional Services

If a meeting planner isn’t convinced of your value, consider offering additional services to move them towards a “yes.” Offer a pre-conference webinar, two presentations on the same day, or promotional videos to help the organization promote the event. By being flexible and delivering more, you can demonstrate your worth and create a lasting partnership.

A motivational speaker could offer to host a post-conference follow-up session online to help attendees implement the lessons learned at the event. This added service not only provides additional value to the conference but also demonstrates the speaker’s commitment to the success of the event and its attendees.

Focus on Partnerships

Aim to become the perfect partner for meeting planners and associations. Offer support beyond the content of your speech by working closely with planners to ensure the event’s success. This approach will help seal the deal and prove that you are worth the investment.

A marketing expert speaker might collaborate with a conference organizer to create a tailored marketing plan for the event, including promotional materials, social media campaigns, and targeted email outreach. By working closely with the event organizer, the speaker demonstrates their willingness to invest in the event’s success, making them an attractive choice for future engagements.

The association market is large (over 100,000 associations in the US) – but the planning world is small. As in any industry reputations are made and lost all the time. As a speaker you always want to be building a reputation for excellence that is known far and wide. Follow these simple strategies and you will ensure your business-success independent of any economic circumstance.

If you’re in the business of selling products or services to associations, you may have come across the term “Association Management Company” (AMC). But what exactly is an AMC, and why should you care? In this article, we’ll explore the world of AMC and explain why they can be an essential part of your association sales strategy.

What is an Association Management Company?

In simple terms, an AMC is a company that manages multiple associations. Rather than each association having its own staff and infrastructure, they outsource these functions to an AMC. This means that a single AMC can manage the day-to-day operations of many associations, often with the same staff members working across multiple organizations.

Why Do Associations Use AMC?

There are several reasons why associations choose to work with an AMC:

  • Cost-Effective: By outsourcing their operations to an AMC, associations can save money on staffing and infrastructure costs.
  • Expertise: AMC staff members often have specialized expertise in association management, allowing them to provide better service to the associations they manage.
  • Flexibility: AMC services can be tailored to the specific needs of each association, providing greater flexibility than hiring full-time staff members.
  • Scalability: As associations grow or change, an AMC can quickly adapt to meet their needs without requiring significant investment in new infrastructure or staffing.

How Do AMCs Work?

AMCs operate under contract with each association they manage. The AMC staff members work as the executive directors and staff of the association, while the association’s board of directors retains ultimate control over its operations. Each association is assigned an “account executive,” who acts as the main point of contact between the association and the AMC.

Why Should You Care About AMCs?

If you’re in the business of selling products or services to associations, AMCs can be a valuable part of your sales strategy. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Access to Multiple Associations: By working with an AMC, you can gain access to multiple associations with a single point of contact. This can be a more efficient way to reach a large audience than trying to contact each association individually.
  • Increased Visibility: If you can get your product or service in front of an AMC, you may be able to reach multiple associations at once. This can increase your visibility in the association market and help you build your brand.
  • Networking Opportunities: AMCs often hold events and conferences for the associations they manage. These events can be a great opportunity to network with association staff members and build relationships that can lead to future sales.
  • Efficiency: By working with an AMC, you can save time and money on marketing and outreach efforts. Rather than trying to contact each association individually, you can focus on building relationships with a single point of contact.

AMCs can be an essential part of your association sales strategy. By working with an AMC, you can gain access to multiple associations, increase your visibility in the market, and build valuable relationships with association staff members. If you’re looking to the association market, it’s worth exploring the world of AMC to see how they can help you get on more stages.

If you are a member of the community Ed Rigsbee has full 20 minute program on Association Management Companies that includes names, examples and strategies to succeed. Watch it here. 

Speaking from the stage is both an art and a science. The most successful speakers are masters of not only platform skills but also business and marketing. Unfortunately, many talented speakers struggle to find gigs, while others with less skill seem to do well. It’s clear that being highly skilled at speaking is not enough to succeed in this business.

Identify Your Target Audience: The first step in effective marketing is to know your target audience. Who are you speaking to? What are their interests and pain points? What motivates them? Answering these questions will help you create more targeted and effective messaging and content. Once you have figured out your niche, you can use resources like the NTPA to find the associations where your content is likely to have the most impact.

Build a Strong Online Presence: Your website and social media profiles are your online home base and should reflect your brand and message. Ensure that your website is well-designed, easy to navigate, and contains all the information potential clients need.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but it’s important to take your online presence seriously. Your website should have a professional look and feel, with clear information about your speaking services, areas of expertise, and past engagements.

Another way to burnish your online presence is to create videos. At the ASSC we have a directory of member videos that we are constantly promoting to planners. For the most part these videos are self recorded on Zoom and show off the speakers’ presentation style and content.

Leverage Testimonials and Endorsements: Testimonials and endorsements from previous clients or event organizers are one of the most effective ways to market yourself as a speaker. The event planning community within associations is often small, so getting testimonials and referrals can go a long way. Endorsements from planners are a powerful tool for building your brand and credibility.

Create Valuable Content: Instead of constantly selling, position yourself as an expert by creating valuable content related to your speaking topic. Write blog posts, create videos, or record podcasts to share your knowledge and insights with your audience.

This content can help establish you as a thought leader in your field and attract new clients to your speaking services. When creating content, focus on providing value to your audience by identifying their pain points or challenges and creating content that helps them overcome these challenges.

Then make this content available by giving it out freely to industry magazines to re-publish in exchange for a link back to your site.

Attend Networking Events: Networking is an important part of building your speaking business.

The temptation is to focus exclusively on networking with prospective clients. But it is just as important to get yourself connected to a network of fellow speakers. This is a great way to build your referral network so that if someone can’t take a gig due to a conflict they can send the work your way. And obviously you will do the same for them!

At The ASSC we have 4 opportunities each month for speakers to connect, share and learn from each other.

Building a successful speaking business takes time and effort. By identifying your target audience, building a strong online presence, leveraging testimonials and endorsements, creating valuable content, and attending networking events, you can improve your marketing efforts and reach a wider audience.

As a professional speaker it is really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your genius and expertise is going to be what gets you onto stages. 

Obviously you need to know what you’re talking about if you are pitching yourself as an expert. But that’s not nearly enough. 

In order to actually get booked your number one job is to be the simplest person to work with. Remember, nobody gets up in the morning, looks in the mirror and says “today I want to deal with someone who is a pain in the butt.”

Meeting planners are responsible for organizing events and finding speakers that fit their specific needs. So you need to make yourself an attractive choice in order to push them towards a “YES.”

By making yourself more appealing to decision-makers, you increase your chances of being selected to share your message and grow your business.

Here are some simple strategies you can use to make yourself more appealing to meeting planners:

Know your audience – Before you reach out to a meeting planner, research their organization, the event, and the audience demographics. Understand their goals and objectives and how your expertise can help achieve them. By showing that you’ve done your homework, you demonstrate your commitment and interest in their event. One of the best ways to do that in the ASSC is to watch our Conversations with Association Executives. In this series of over 40 interviews, Ed Rigsbee goes deep with decision-makers on what they are looking for in their speakers and the best ways to get on their stages!

Create a compelling message – Your message should be clear and focused, highlighting your expertise and the value you bring to the audience. 

But the emphasis shouldn’t be on you. Instead you need to make the case for how you intend to help the audience solve their problems or achieve their goals. If you do that, then pitch is more likely to resonate with the meeting planner.

Provide a strong online presence – I can’t stress this enough, your website, social media profiles, and online content should be professional and showcase your expertise, credibility, and professionalism. 

If you visit our speaker video showcase, you’ll see examples of how our members are creating authentic, informational showcases to demonstrate their style and show off their content. This is different than a sizzle reel.

Use high-quality images, videos, and testimonials to highlight your speaking style and the impact you’ve had on past audiences.

Offer customization – I’ve often joked that a great speaker can customize their expertise to match the theme of any event. Meeting planners appreciate speakers who can customize their content to fit the event’s specific needs. 

The more you emphasize your ability to customize your topic to the event’s theme, goals, and audience – the more impressed the planner will be..

Provide value beyond the stage – Planning an event is not easy. As a speaker, what can you do to make the planner’s life easier? Meeting planners value speakers who can offer additional value beyond their presentation. Offer to participate in Q&A sessions, meet-and-greets, or social media campaigns related to the event.

What about providing a pre-event webinar or series of promotional videos? This doesn’t just help the event planner, it also gets people excited for your actual presentation and can help deliver a full house. 

Build relationships – Planners are like everyone else they work with those they know, like and trust. But too many speakers don’t work on the soft skills necessary to become successful.

Networking with meeting planners, event organizers, and other speakers can help you stay top-of-mind and generate new opportunities. Attend conferences, events, and trade shows, and be open to collaborating and sharing resources. 

Remember, meeting planners are looking for speakers who can deliver value, engage their audience, and make their event a success. By showcasing your expertise, customizing your content, and offering additional value beyond the stage, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and become a sought-after speaker.

As a consultant, establishing credibility is a key component of growing your business and attracting new clients. One effective way to do this is by speaking to associations within your industry or niche.

Speaking engagements provide a platform for you to share your expertise, showcase your knowledge, and connect with other professionals in your field.

Even if your entire business is currently built on referrals, speaking at association events is a sure fire way to get in front of more prospects, establish credibility and find more clients – even when you don’t get paid to speak.

Building Credibility through Speaking Engagements

Speaking at association events is an excellent way for consultants to build credibility within a specific industry or niche. By delivering a well-researched and engaging presentation, you can showcase your knowledge and expertise to a captive audience.

Associations  are always looking for speakers. And as a consultant YOU ARE AN EXPERT. So that’s how you need to promote yourself.

Association events often feature speakers who are considered thought leaders or experts in their field, so being selected to speak isn’t always easy. But if you make getting on stage a priority, you can market yourself accordingly.  By simply adding a “Speaking” page to your existing website you are showing meeting planners that you are prepared to help them out.

And when you get on stage and knock it out of the park, you’ve got a room full of potential clients who are more likely to seek out your services.

Networking Opportunities

In addition to building credibility, speaking engagements are also valuable networking opportunities. Associations attract professionals who are passionate about their work and committed to staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and developments. By connecting with other professionals in your field, you can expand your referral network, make new contacts, and potentially secure new clients in the industries you want to target. Remember prospects buy from people they know, like and trust. Because you’ve been on the stage, you are known and trusted. Networking is your chance to be liked as well!

Exposure to a Wider Audience

Speaking engagements at association events is the way to showcase your expertise at scale. Instead of working the phone for one pitch at a time, these events can allow you to showcase in front of hundreds – sometimes thousands – of prospects.

When you speak to an association, you are in front of a diverse audience that you may not have been able to connect with otherwise. Sometimes these audiences deliver unexpected connections and opportunities that you may not have even considered –  potentially opening up new markets for your services.

Potential Media Coverage

Finally, speaking engagements can also lead to media coverage. Remember media isn’t just tv, radio and newspapers. It also includes podcasts, industry magazines and more. If your presentation is well-received, you may attract the attention of journalists or other media professionals who are looking for expert commentary on industry-related topics. This exposure can exponitially increase the reach of your business, as it builds your brand, attracts new and interested clients, and establishes you as a thought leader in your field.

If you are a consultant, speaking to associations is an effective way get your services in front of more of the prospects you need to grow your business. Deliver an engaging and content-rich presentations and you will open the door to countless new opportunities

As a speaker, you’ll always spend more time securing events and bookings than actually being on a stage. In many respects that’s your real job!

However, with the increasing competition in the speaking industry, finding and booking events can be a challenging task. Association events, in particular, offer a great opportunity for speakers to get on stages and showcase their genius at scale. 

That’s because when you speak to an association event – you are actually auditioning for everyone in the room. If you knock your presentation out of the park there’s a good chance that someone in the audience will have some interest in engaging with you for additional opportunities. 

But of course, you have to get onto that first stage.

Here are some best practices for you to find association events and bookings:

Network and Build Relationships

Networking is a crucial part of finding and securing events and bookings. Build relationships with event planners and association professionals who are responsible for organizing events and booking speakers. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and connect with others in your industry to expand your network and increase your visibility.

Utilize Online Directories

Online platforms, such as SpeakerMatch and Speakerhub, can be great resources for finding and booking events. These platforms allow you to showcase your portfolio, reach a large audience, and connect with event planners and association professionals who are looking for speakers. And don’t forget about the NTPA!

Have a Strong Online Presence

Having a strong online presence is essential in today’s digital world. Make sure your website and social media profiles are professional, up-to-date, and showcase your skills and expertise. This can help increase your visibility and attract event planners and association professionals who are looking for speakers.

Reach Out Directly

Reaching out directly to association events and event planners is another effective way to secure bookings. Research potential events and organizations that align with your area of expertise and reach out to the event planners or professionals responsible for booking speakers. Provide a brief overview of your skills and experience and explain why you would be a great fit for their event. If you are an ASSC member go to the Requests for Speakers page and apply for a few engagements now!

Deliver a Strong Pitch

Finally, when reaching out to event planners and association professionals, it’s essential to deliver a strong pitch. Your pitch should clearly convey the value you can bring to their event and what sets you apart from other speakers. Be confident, enthusiastic, and professional in your approach, and follow up with a detailed proposal that outlines your skills, experience, and why you would be a great fit for their event.

Obviously join the ASSC! 

We are a community of speakers who are helping each other grow our businesses through referrals, RFP postings, weekly Zoom meetings and much more. Poke around the site and book some time for Aidan Crawford to take you on a tour through the members-only area. 

As uncertainty around the economy continues to grow, it’s important to take a look at your business vulnerabilities and try to figure out ways to mitigate them.

Just recently rounds of layoffs have hit the high-tech industry hard. And if that’s the canary in this particular coalmine then multiple industries will soon follow.

If your consulting and training business primarily services the for-profit sector of the economy things could dry up very quickly.

After all when it comes to cutting costs, contractors, trainers and events are usually the easiest branches on the tree to trim.

So how do you safegaurd your business and keep your prospect funnel full during turbulent times?

The obvious answer is to get in front of more prospects who can hire your business. But how do you do that when everyone is cutting back?

Even in the toughest economy Associations continue to hold events. And those events need speakers – both paid and free.

Speaking to associations can be a valuable tool for growing your speaking of consulting business – even when the economy is tight.

Here are some ways that speaking to associations – even when you aren’t getting paid to speak – can help grow your business and find you more paying clients:

  1. Showcase to hundreds of prospects at once: When you speak to an association you are essentially showcasing your genius to hundreds of prospects at once. Remember – even when the economy isn’t great, some businesses continue to do well. And this is a way to make sure you are visble to them.
  2. Establish yourself as an expert: By speaking to associations, you have the opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with a captive audience. This can help establish you as a thought leader in your field, which can lead to more business and higher fees.
  3. Networking: Associations often bring together professionals from a variety of industries. This can provide a great opportunity to network and make new connections that can lead to future business.
  4. Lead generation: Speaking to associations can also help generate leads for your consulting or speaking business. Attendees may be interested in your services and want to learn more – especially after a breakout. You can collect their contact information and follow up with them after the event to build on the relationship and present your pitch.
  5. Brand recognition: Speaking to associations can help increase brand recognition and awareness for your consulting business. This can help you stand out from competitors and attract new clients.
  6. Keep up with industry trends: By speaking to associations, you can stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and developments. This knowledge can help you better serve your clients and stay ahead of the competition.

Years ago I was talking to a very senior speaker at the National Speakers Association’s annual  Influence conference and she told me that it’s better to be a big fish in a very small pond. 

If you take that advice and dig deep into a specific association niche, through engagements at the local, state and national events you can quickly establish yourself as the go-to-expert in that industry.