How do you get speaking enquiries?

Last week I said that there are two ways to get enquiries for your speaking business:

  • You attract them or
  • You prospect for them

I then talked about how to attract them.  Today, I’ll give you some tips on how to start prospecting for gigs.  Where to start, what to say, what to do.  The good news is, ‘it’s not rocket surgery’ (Thank you Britney Spears)

First let’s agree what we’re talking about.  For me prospecting is about looking for gold and that means having to sieve some of the rocks and sand to find those pieces of gold.  What does gold look like for speakers?  Gold = people and organisations running conferences and events who bring in external speakers and pay them.

So where to start? 

Let me tell you how I started.  When I first entered the world of speaker bureaus, I joined as a speaker consultant at CSA Celebrity Speakers.  I was given 9 months to prove myself and achieve a hefty sales target.  As the last salesperson into the business, I was left with the dregs of a database, with nothing useful to work with.  I needed a plan.  A cunning plan, like Baldrick.  I decided to start with who I knew.  I suggest you do the same.

I asked my friends, friends of friends, family, people I networked with, anyone I struck up a conversation with: “do you ever get invited to conferences or events?”  And I was gobsmacked by the number of people who either got invited to, attended, or whose husband/wife/sister/daughter/mother/cat attended conferences.  It was crazy. From there all I had to do was ask for more information and how I could get in touch with the person/people who planned those conferences.  I was off the starting blocks.

When I started in the business back in 1998, I couldn’t do what I’m going to suggest you do next, I don’t think it existed.  Yes, I’m that old, and then some.  I’m talking about leveraging your LinkedIn network.

When was the last time you exported your LinkedIn connections and had a good look at them?  Yes, I know you won’t get contact details, but you will get enough useful information to start doing a bit of prospecting.  This is how you export your contacts, but do it after you’ve read the rest of this email, you might not come back otherwise

Once you have your Excel spreadsheet arrange your connections alphabetically by the company column.  See if there are connections in any big organisations that are likely to run conferences and events.  Most companies with large numbers of employees will have at least annual conference and probably several regional conferences too.  I am confident (unless you are just getting started on LinkedIn) that you will have a few interesting brands in your list.   Now you can message your contact working for the organisation to ask them if they could give you a bit of advice.  Everyone likes to give a bit of advice.  Ask them – “could you tell me who in your company organises your conferences and events?”  And you’re off.

Now while you have your spreadsheet open, reorder your contacts by job title and see if any of those titles include the word event or conference or similar.  They might.  If they do, you know what to do.

As Britney Spears said earlier, it’s not rocket surgery.  If you want to go deeper and you’d like me to help you prospect, (I love prospecting), we can do so together and create a database of bookers for you.  Just follow the link:


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