I need to promote myself, but I really hate promoting myself. What can I do?
This comes up again and again when I’m working with speakers. After getting them set up for success so that they understand the high-paid speaking market, they’ve worked on their positioning and we’ve worked together to create fabulous content for their websites and LinkedIn profile, they then need to tell the world, well the bookers, that they are available for hire. That means doing some kind of promotion. When we get this to this point and I say, it’s time to start spreading the word, they often look at me as if I've asked them to jump off a cliff. I sort of have, a mental cliff. Let me share 3 simple tips to make it a bit easier to promote yourself so that you can get booked and so that it’s not quite so scary.
The very best way to promote yourself is to be out there speaking, when you are good – the more you speak, the more you speak. You’ll get booked again and again. But if you aren’t out there speaking or you haven’t got sufficient bookings here are my three tips on how to promote yourself without feeling icky about it.
1. Get someone else to do it!
I've put this down as the number one, but actually is probably the last resort. It’s not easy to get someone else to promote you, you will either have to hire, train and pay someone to do it for you or you will need to find a professional representative and pay them a commission. Both require a bit of know-how and time to get results. Let’s start with one of the other options first.
2. If you are uncomfortable promoting yourself, don’t.
Yes, you read that right, I said don’t. Before you give a sigh of relief what I mean is don’t promote yourself, instead promote the outcomes that you deliver. Promote the results relating to the problems that you solve. You're now slightly detached but if you think about it when people buy products, services or book a speaker, what are they really buying? They’re buying outcomes. Once they know you can deliver their desired outcomes they’ll then check to see that you're credible qualified to do so. So, lead with your outcomes.
3. Promote your products and services.
Ideally you’ll have a portfolio of offerings and not just a speech. If you don't you might want to think about what you can add to your portfolio to deliver your expertise. As a booker I was always more interested in experts who could do more for clients than just speak. Products and services that are at fee levels that are lower and higher than your speaking fee, so that you can cater to different budgets without discounting, and where you can do more work and help organisations further with your more in depth offerings (and by that I mean more expensive).
I don’t think of promotion (or selling) as trying to convince someone to buy, I think of it as simply informing potential buyers that I have a solution that might be an option for them. When I was booking speakers, I shared information with event planners, gave them ideas and options that they didn’t know about or hadn’t considered previously. No selling, just informing. It’s the same for you and your speaking, let people know that this is what you do. Let them know on your website, LinkedIn, other social media. Tell people when you are chatting down the pub and tell your friends and family too, you never know who they might tell next.
If you’re still hoping that someone else will do it for you here’s how I can help. I can train your new hire to be your agent, or I can help you create a strategy for working with professional representatives. (I know a bit about that after 23 years representing speakers for a living 😊)
Go out and tell the world you are available for hire.
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