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Are you looking for a marketing tool that is both effective and inexpensive? Then pull out your microphone and do some speaking! Why should you consider ‘public speaking’ as a way to obtain new customers? Because it doesn’t cost anything, except your time, and it is effective.

Why is being a speaker at an association meeting or other event so successful?

Before answering that question, let’s look at the traditional method of obtaining a customer – the sales call.

When you meet one-on-one with the customer, he/she perceives you as a salesman.

The customer knows you are trying to sell him/her something, and the person reacts accordingly to this sales situation.

On the other hand, when you are the speaker in front of a group, you are instantly transformed from a salesman who is ‘giving a sales talk’ to a knowledgeable guru imparting enlightening and interesting information.

Okay . . . that might be a bit exaggerated, but here is the point. When you are the speaker, you have credibility. You are perceived as an expert.

In the future, when people in that audience need your product or service, they will seek out an expert. And, in their mind, that expert will be you.

Overcome your objections

Chances are, you are uncomfortable speaking in public. Most people are. If you become nervous, you aren’t unique. You are normal. As I tell my clients, you are only weird if you are like me – I enjoy speaking to groups, which is a good thing, since it is my business!

Yes, you may become nervous. But, there are many tips you can learn to overcome this – which we can look at in future articles.

Finding the right occasion

There are speaking opportunities everywhere. Consider civic organisations, business clubs, and sector associations. Most groups are eager to find free speakers.

The program manager at these associations is responsible for finding a new speaker every week or month – depending on the frequency of the meetings. It can be a frustrating job (if you have ever done it, you know!). Trust me, they will be delighted you called and offered your services.

Be an expert, not a salesman

Once you have obtained a speaking engagement, choose your content carefully. This is not a sales presentation. The audience expects to be informed, educated, or even entertained. They don’t want to be sold to.

Your exact content will depend on the group you are speaking to and what they want you to speak about. Here are a few examples to get you started. Think about how you can adapt them to your situation.

Share your expertise: ‘Here are 10 advertising tips.’ ‘Here are five ways to write a Press Release.’

Provide advice on what to look for when buying your service: ‘If you are hiring an accountant, here are four things to look for.’

If your job is unusual or interesting, talk about it: ‘Here are three things I love about my job, and one thing that drives me crazy.’

Share the process about how your product is made: ‘Here are the four main steps to manufacture widgets.’

Don’t overlook the possibility of speaking on topics other than your business. What are your hobbies or interests? Where else do you have knowledge or expertise?

Even if you are discussing indoor snow skiing in Dubai, you can still mention that your job is selling insurance. I am sure you are familiar with the expression ‘Customers buy from people they know.’ So, become known!

Leadership positions

Another way to use speaking as a marketing tool is to accept leadership positions within organisations. These may be industry-specific (i.e., Dubai Human Resources Forum) or community-related (i.e., Rotary International) or business-related (i.e., Chamber of Commerce).

When you become involved with an organisation, you will need to speak. It might be as simple as a meeting announcement or committee report. Or, it could mean leading every meeting.

In addition to enhancing your professional development by improving your leadership skills, there are numerous benefits to your company’s revenue – including free publicity and increased credibility with your current customers.

Of course, there will also be networking opportunities and exposure to potential customers.

Give this effective marketing tool a try. Start looking for opportunities to speak. You will not only grow your business, you will grow personally as well.


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