Over the summer I’ve been working with speakers who want to use speaking to promote their business.
They’ve been out there speaking. It's been fun, the audience loves them, the organizers who booked them to speak loved them.
It all goes really well, and then nothing happens.
No leads, no sales, maybe a few new opt-ins to their email list, but it feels like the audience forgot them as soon as they left the room, and they're not sure why.
Prefer to listen?
The good news is that it has nothing to do with them or their business or what they sell.
It has everything to do with the speech because it’s chasing potential clients and customers away.
If you are speaking for your business and want to increase the number of people that come into your business from speaking, keep on reading.
There are three basic reasons why your speech might be chasing clients away.
Too Much Friction
The first is that the speech is creating friction between you and the audience.
Friction isn’t about the audience not feeling connected to you. In most cases, they do feel very connected to you. And it's not about any ill will between you and the audience.
Instead, what friction is, is overwhelm. You've given them too much information to act on.
The reason you did this is that you want to make your speech valuable. The problem is you've probably made it a little too valuable.
You’ve given them too much to do.
You’ve added things to their to-do list and that creates distance between you and taking the step to hire you. You've left them with the impression that they have to do all of this stuff before they can hire you.
It’s a bit like college prerequisites. Remember there was always that class you wanted to take in college but there were 900 prerequisites you needed to take beforehand? It’s the same way with a speech.
If you’re giving them a lot of action items, and a lot of how-tos, then they're not going to feel compelled to take the next step. They’re going to feel compelled that they have to do it themselves and then they won’t do it.
Give The What and the Why and Not the How
This leads us to reason number two your speech is chasing clients away, it's focusing too much on the how and not the what and the why.
As business owners we are experts in what we need to do, so when we go out to speak we lean heavily into the how of what we do. What audiences don’t understand is why they should do it.
They know that they have some type of problem or challenge. That’s why they showed up!
They’re very interested in hearing how you would solve that problem or challenge.
Unfortunately, you immediately start telling them how to do something…but they still don’t understand why they should do it.
For instance, I could go in and talk about how to write a speech that converts into clients and customers. Great right?
But if people don’t understand why they should be speaking for their business then they’re not going to act on that information.
So don’t go into the “how ” start with the why and the what of what you do. This will make more sense for them, and taking that next step with you will be easier.
Selling from the stage
Now, the third and final reason why a speech can chase clients away is that the audience feels like they’re being sold to.
Tweet: Audience hate being sold to, but they love to buy
If you speak for your business you are probably familiar with the array of speak-to-sell models out there.
Those models teach you to get on stage, give content that leads to a pitch where people run to the back of the room and buy your products.
For many of you, that feels out of alignment.
Perhaps it makes you feel a little bit icky.
Suddenly you’ve gone from a confident speaker who knows her stuff to cringing and thinking, “Ugh, I really don’t want to do this.”
Here's the rebel truth; unless you’ve been selling from the stage for years, making that transition from giving information to asking for a sale is a huge energetic shift.
There are tons of reasons why I advocate for not selling from the stage. Starting with it’s bad for the audience, and they don’t know you from Adam.
But the really important reason that concerns us right now is that it’s very, very difficult to make that shift, and so it's likely that you won’t do it very well. Then it’s going to feel bad for you, or it's going to feel icky or sleazy to you.
Here is what you have to remember. People, audience members, they love to buy but hate being sold to, and those speak-to-sell models, make the audience feel sold to.
So instead don’t sell; give a call to action that gets them into your sales process.
As you start making changes to your speech, watch out for creating friction and giving them too much to do.
Don't focus on the how; focus on the what and the way. And don’t sell from the stage. Create a call to action that allows people to go deeper with you.
What is the one thing in your speech you need to change right now? Make that change and you’ll see more clients and customers in your business.