Rebel Uprising Podcast

How to Apply for Speaking Gigs with Pitches that Actually Get Accepted

The best way to book speaking gigs?

Easy, ask.

Then ask some more, and ask again, and then follow-up.

Sounds simple right?

You know that you need to be pitching if you want to be speaking, but it's not as easy as it sounds because a lot of the times we don't feel ready to pitch.

We think, oh, my website's not good enough. Or I don't have a speaker sizzle reel yet, I don't have action shots, I don't have a speaker's one-sheet.

We get so wrapped up in all of the marketing, that we don't do the very thing that gets speaking gigs, which is pitching.

Today I’m sharing five keys to start pitching before you think you’re ready.

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Key #1: Remember You’re Running a Speaking Business

The first key to getting yourself out there, and get pitching, and get asking, is to remember that you're running a business so act accordingly.

Think about the other aspects of your business. Whether you are selling a product, or a service, or even a whole course, you don't get offended when people say no.  As business owners, we want to get people to say yes or no to our offers. Or sometimes it's just a, “Not right now.”

Speaking is the same way. You have to take yourself out of your speech, the product that you're selling so that you're able to pitch because pitching takes tenacity. It's about perseverance (Nevertheless, she persisted and so should you), and for every 10 pitches you send out, you might only hear back from three of those pitches and one of those might be a, “Thanks, but no thanks.” The purpose of pitching is to be asking and to get your name out there.

Key #2: You're Not a Pitch-Hole

The second key to pitching before you're ready don't be a pitch-hole. It is too easy to write a pitch letter that is all about you and how awesome you are, and just send it out to a whole bunch of places that could possibly hire you. This is a pitch-hole move.

As a speaker, if you want someone to hire you, you have to be familiar with that organization. You have to customize that pitch, and because you are a Rebel Speaker listener, I know that you're not a pitch-hole. You are doing the research on each place that you're pitching. So take the time to customize those pitches because that's how you get a response.

Key #3: Outsource Your Pitching to a Talented Virtual Assistant

Speaking of time, my third key for you is to set aside one to two hours a week to find and pitch places to speak. If it's not in my schedule, I don't get it done. Like if it's not on my to-do list, it's not going to happen, and this is everything from the gym, to pitching, to marketing, to sales. So you have to create the space to take the time to research and find speaking gigs.

If you're like, “Oh, Michelle, I just don't have the time,” well, guess what? You can hire a VA to help you with this. There is no need for you to be the one that does the research and all of the pitching. You can hire a VA for one to two hours a week to do this for you. So find that VA and create that time to be pitching.

Key #4: Don’t Be Afraid to Follow-Up After Sending a Speaking Pitch

Once you've sent the pitch, this brings me to my fourth key about how to pitch before you're ready. Don't be afraid to follow-up. Sending a pitch is a big moment, and it will feel like, “Oh, my gosh, yes. I did that. Whoo-hoo!”

But your work isn't done. You have to have a way to track whether or not you're getting responses and follow-up. One of the techniques I love to use is email tracking so you know that they got the email and they opened it. There are numerous choices:  HubSpot has its Sidekick, Gmail uses Boomerang. Email tracking just gives you peace of mind that your email made it to their inbox and they actually opened it.

If you don’  get a response, do follow-up two or three times to see if they're interested.  

You are trying to get them to that yes or no. It's going to feel a little uncomfortable like you're bothering them, but things get lost in our inboxes all of the time if we don't respond right away, so you're just reminding them gently that you'd like to hear back from them.

Key #5: Get a Pitching Support System

My final key for how to pitch before you feel ready is to get support.  The very best way that I know of to get support for your pitching is to do the Get the Gig Kickstart with me. 

In this Kickstart, what we'll be doing is figuring out how to get paid to speak. You're going to learn how to sell your speech to organizers and planners. You'll discover the Three Pillars of Building a Successful Speaking Business, and I'll be doing a workshop where I'll be giving you an easy research technique to find speaking gigs.

One of my clients actually filled her whole speaking database just using this technique.  There are a lot of speaking opportunities out there, you just have to find them. And finally, you'll get to steal my proven pitch template.

The last time I did this Kickstart, one member heard back within a few hours from an organization she pitched and they wanted to talk more to her about speaking.

What's cool is that you'll be doing this with other speakers who are feeling the same feelings that you do about not being ready to pitch. You'll get the support you need.

Now get ready to get out there and start pitching, even though you aren’t ready. The first few are scary, but it gets easier. It becomes a part of your routine, and it is the best and quickest way to land more speaking gigs.

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