What if I told you that there was a simple marketing strategy that you have been overlooking? It’s not fun like Facebook or sexy like twitter but it can be a really effective way to overcome what Grant Cardone calls our greatest competition which is obscurity and will probably get you a free meal at the same time. What simple strategy can help us go from unknown to known and put our business in the minds of decision makers? Public Speaking.
I’m not talking about hitting the lecture circuit or holding seminars in front of thousands of people, though if you can pull it off, please share that story with me, but instead offering to share your industry experience with your local service club such as the Rotary or Kiwanis Clubs.
When I took my first job as a salesperson my manager suggested that I get in front of as many service clubs as I could. I wish that I had followed this advice but it seemed like such a daunting task. I thought that I needed to be famous before I could make such a move.
After serving as President of our local Rotary Club for the second time now, I have to laugh at these thoughts. The real story is that clubs like these need speakers and are happy to host virtually anyone who approaches them. Our club meets every week and it is both a challenge and a struggle to find interesting programs that keep our members engaged.
So you don’t have to be famous, you just have to be willing but if you want to make the most of your opportunity, there are three things I would urge you to keep in mind as you take advantage of this excellent opportunity.
- Offer Value with Your Message.
Don’t get me wrong, anytime you have the chance to be in the front of the room, it’s an opportunity but one of the biggest mistakes most speakers make is trying to close a sale with speech.
One of the most effective presentations I have ever seen at a Rotary meeting came from a young real estate professional. He centered his entire presentation on getting your home ready to be sold. His message wasn’t “hire me to sell your house” it was “here is some expert information that you might find useful”. He left that meeting with business cards of several members that were looking to make a move. Not because he pushed hard, but because he established himself as an expert that people could trust.
- Be The Expert
Let’s set the record straight on something: If you’re standing in the front of the room as the speaker, you are an expert…until you tell me that you’re not.
It’s not important that you know more than the rest of your industry, you just have to know more than your audience and be willing to share your knowledge.
Speak about something you know, something you’re passionate about and something that you want to help people with. As an audience, we don’t expect perfection, we only expect that you’re prepared and know your subject better than we do.
3.Don’t Be Boring
My mother used to tell me that only boring people are bored but I have long said that there’s never been a bad audience, only bad presenters.
It’s your job as the speaker to make your subject interesting to your audience no matter what it is. No one has done this better than a speaker our Rotary Club hosted recently. The gentleman serves as Ohio’s State Veterinarian and most of us were expecting a boring presentation on Ohio’s state agricultural policy. Instead we sat spellbound for thirty minutes hearing stories about Ohio’s issues with exotic animals, rescue operations and how these animals are nursed back to health.
It was a presentation that could have been extremely boring but it wasn’t because instead of focusing on facts and figures, this expert speaker shared stories and that highlighted the facts that he was prepared to present. No matter your industry, you have stories that highlight what it is that you do. Stories of success from people that used your product or service or horror stories of people that didn’t. Use them to make you points and you audience will walk away happy and remember that you as the expert.There are literally hundreds of ways to spread your message and market yourself and your business but there are few that will allow you to do it in person and get fed at the same time. Speaking to organizations can be a great way to make new connections and make you known to important decision makers. You just have to make the most of your opportunity when you get it.