5 Speaker Mistakes That Will Cost You Clients

There’s been a lot of buzz about public speaking in recent years, especially as a marketing strategy for coaches, consultants and other types of experts and thought leaders. People assume that if you’re a confident speaker and can give a good presentation, that’s all you need to get clients from speaking. But that is not necessarily the case – there’s more to it than that.

First and foremost, as with any kind of marketing, your speaking needs to be directed to your target market. Consider that a given. There are some other key factors that need to be in place that many people overlook. These common mistakes prevent even the most talented speakers from getting clients from their presentations.

Let’s take a look at some of these mistakes so you can have a better understanding of the variables that impact how effective your speaking is when it comes to generating qualified leads and getting new clients.

Mistake #1: Not making an offer.
Making an offer at the end of your talk doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s not something you can skip if you expect to enroll clients. So make the offer, and better yet, learn how to make an effective one to ensure that you get the ROI on all the effort you’ve put into your presentation.

Mistake #2: Not having a system for capturing leads and following up the leads you capture.

Sometimes people are so focused on the talk (or their nerves) that they forget to have a system in place for capturing leads, and more importantly, following up on those leads. This is where so much of the marketing magic happens, so make sure you’re prepared in advance. Once the audience leaves the room, so does your opportunity to follow up with them.

Mistake #3: Not providing proportional value.
What is proportional value? This is all about giving enough value that your audience is engaged and leaning in, but not TOO much information so that they aren’t motivated to take the next step with you. When you don’t give enough, they may be bored or feel your content is generic. When you give too much, they tend to think they can DIY the solution you’re offering (whether or not this is actually true – often it isn’t, but they don’t know that). When this happens they’ll be less likely to sign up for a consultation or whatever you’re offering them as a next step.

Mistake #4: Not aligning your topic with whatever it is you ultimately want to sell.
If you want to enroll clients in a program about apples, make sure your presentation is about apples. I’ve seen so many coaches and consultants give a great presentation about oranges, and then are surprised when no one wants to buy apples at the end.

Let’s look at this in terms of wine tasting, one of my favorite business metaphors….If you’re trying to sell customers Pinot Noir, stop giving them samples of the Chardonnay. Notice that we’re still talking about wine, just different types of wine. This is a subtle difference, but it still matters and impacts the end result. Really think about what you’re selling. Does your signature talk provide a direct teaser or taste of the solution you want them to buy from you?

Mistake #5: Not orienting your content around what the audience wants.
This is a big one. There are a couple of ways this mistake usually happens.

Your talk is too focused on you, your experience, what you want, think, believe. Always make your talk about the audience and what they want, think, believe. (This is good advice for any kind of marketing material you’re creating.) Or…

You’re talking over the audience’s head. When you’re an expert, it’s easy to forget what it was like before you got so smart. You have to remember that most of the time your audience doesn’t have the same level of expertise as you. So make sure you avoid jargon they may not be familiar with, and always speak to the problem they know they have (vs. the deeper issues and root causes that you can easily see as an expert but which they probably won’t know about until they hire you.)

So although speaking can be a great way to grow your business, and it’s a strategy I’ve used personally to fill my practice, it’s about much more than just standing in front of a room and giving a talk. But if you avoid making the mistakes above, you’ll position yourself to give talks that get clients. Once you master this marketing strategy, you’ll be empowered to create revenue in your business whenever you want – at the drop of the mic.

Let’s flip those mistakes into a checklist of things you must do for your speaking to generate clients:

  1. Learn how to make an effective offer, and make that offer at the end of every talk.
  2. Have a system for capturing leads and following up on them.
  3. Provide proportional value in your talk – not too much, not too little.
  4. Make sure your topic is directly connected to what you’re selling.
  5. Focus on what your audience wants and don’t talk over their heads.

Use these tips wisely and you’ll be on your way to filling your practice, one speaking gig at a time. Your clients are waiting!


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