The Business of Speaking (And Three Tips for Building a Million-Dollar Speaking Empire)

Great speakers can earn millions from their work. But to do that, you need to understand the business of speaking as well as well as you understand the concept of storyshowing.

 

There are thousands of amazing speakers in the world.

They’re, in fact, experts in storyshowing. They can make their audiences feel every word that they say. Every speech they make influences people to make positive changes in their lives.

And they’re making absolutely no money from their work.

Being a great speaker doesn’t automatically make you a great businessperson. You can deliver the goods every time that you’re on stage. But without the business acumen to back it up, you won’t make any money.

That’s why so many thousands of great storyshowers can’t make a great living from their work.

It’s about much more than your talent. Your speaking is your product. If you don’t know how to sell it, you’re essentially giving it away for free.

You need to understand the business behind speaking before you can build a great career. But the good news is that there’s plenty of money to make once you do. Leading speakers get paid thousands of dollars for each engagement.

Do you want to join their ranks?

Here are a few tips to help you build your speaking empire.

 

Tip #1 – Build Your Integrated Product Funnel

Integrated Product Funnel (IPF) is a salesy term that doesn’t seem like it relates to storyshowing.

But a strong IPF can have a huge effect on your speaking business.

It’s the old “try before you buy” idea. Give your clients something for free to get them to buy the services that you have to offer.

Apple offers an amazing example of how to do this.

It all starts with iTunes.

iTunes is a free application that anybody can download regardless of whether they own an Apple device.

And that’s where the selling starts. Using iTunes, you can buy music, movies, and all sorts of digital products. Apple offers free samples of all of these things to encourage you to buy.

But then you need something to play them on, so you buy an iPod or an iPhone.

Now you’re hooked on the brand. Let’s say that you want to get a tablet computer. Do you go with another manufacturer or do you go with the familiar company that you understand.

Of course, you buy the iPad.

That’s how Apple sell so many products and create a sense of brand loyalty. By giving iTunes away for free, they’re showing people what they can get. They just need to buy Apple’s devices to access it.

Tesla does a great job of this too. A salesperson talk all day about the many great features of a Tesla car. But they’ll tell you it’s not until you give it a drive that you’ll really understand.

You get that free test drive and you’re hooked. Tesla have just made a sale.

So, how can you use the IPF funnel for your storyshowing business?

Highlighting your talents on other media helps. Create a Facebook page and posts clips of yourself speaking. People can view them for free, but they won’t get the entire story until they hire you.

Write blog posts and build a website. Give people a small sample of what they’ll get. That tiny taste gives them a good enough idea of what you’re about to give them the confidence to hire you.

Of course, you could take things further. At Speakers Institute, we often invite potential clients to our speaking engagements for free. They get to see what we have to offer, which means they’re more likely to hire us.

Plus, they’ll talk about us to their friends. Our IPF funnel turns our potential clients into storyshowers on our behalf.

 

Tip #2 – Turn Clients into Storyshowers

We touched on the concept of turning your clients into storyshowers. Let’s expand on it a little here.

Traditionally, you’d rely on the salesperson or the publicist to get people interested in your product. If you’re a speaker, you may use an agent to advertise what you’re selling.

But social media has completely changed the way that we do things.

And that brings you right back around to your speaking.

Don’t just tell people what’s so great about you. Show them. Make them feel something with your story and take them on an emotional ride that they just have to share.

In traditional terms, you’re looking to generate “word of mouth”.

But using modern tools, you’re looking to tell stories.

Think about it like this. We all respect the opinions of people we trust over random salespeople. When a friend or family member tells a positive story about an experience, you’re more likely to want to share in that experience.

Every like, share, and comment adds to that story.

Eventually, the people that you tell your story to become storyshowers themselves. They’re showing people that you’ve never interacted with why they should hire you.

And the seed just keeps growing. Every story that you show plants a new seed. The people who you take along for the ride share your story and add to it.

And in doing that, you build the human factor into your product or service. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to sell. What matters is that people connect with it.

Use every tool that you have at your disposal. Show people a story that’s so riveting that they can’t help but share it with others.

All of the while, your business grows. Attendance to your speaking engagement go up and you become an influencer in your sector. The more you and others showcase your story, the more demand that you experience.

 

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Tip #3 – Show Your Story to Your Team

When you’re up on stage, it can feel like you’re all alone.

Sure, you have an audience that you’re trying to influence. But it’s your story that’s going to make or break the engagement. It’s up to you to show them something that will influence them towards whatever decisions that you want them to make.

But when it comes to the business of speaking, you must recognise that you’re not alone. You’ll usually have an entire team of people working with you.

If you haven’t shown them your story, you can’t expect them to help others to understand it either.

Daniel Flynn offers his view on this subject. He’s the co-founder of Thankyou, which is a social enterprise that helps communities find sustainable water sources.

Every penny of the profit made from Thankyou’s products go towards that goal.

But Daniel needs to show people a compelling story to convince them to buy water. To do that, the company lets people in on the good and the bad. They show people the highs and lows that they’ve gone through to get where they are.

They let them see their vulnerable side.

None of that would work if the whole team wasn’t working to get people to join the story.

As Daniel says to his sales team: “We are not salespeople, we are storytellers and we are inviting that person across the table from us to be part of this story. They can write the next chapter with us.”

It’s a team effort. Daniel may show Thankyou’s story on stage. But the entire team has to show it when dealing with potential clients.

It’s a group effort that achieves a single goal – continuing to write your story.

Your team has to understand your story and why it’s important. They have to believe in what you’re doing and what you’re trying to show people.

If they’re not fully engaged, the whole thing falls apart. You could tell the greatest stories on stage. But when your team doesn’t back you up off stage, people aren’t going to buy your product.

 

The Final Word

The business of speaking comes down to knowing what makes your story unique. You need to engage people emotionally and show them what’s so special about you.

But always remember that your speaking is one of your products.

Without the right business structure, you can only go so far. To build a business empire you need:

  • An effective IPF that gives people enough of a taste of your story for them to want to explore more.

  • Show people a story that’s so amazing that they have to share it with other people. Build a community around your story and turn your clients into storyshowers on your behalf.

  • Build a team that believes in the story you’re showing and wants to spread the message. It’s ultimately your team that will help you to sell your story and your products.

Of course, we all need a little help every now and again. We’ve shown you some of the key tips for building your speaking empire.

But there’s so much more to learn. We encourage you to do all of the following:

We’ll help you to learn how to show your story. Then, we’ll help you to build a business around your story.