How to Steal the Spotlight and Catapult Your Speaking Business in 2016
I recently talked to Jane Atkinson, renowned speaking coach and the Dean of the Wealthy Speaker University, about what it takes to build a successful speaking business. With over 20 years of experience in multiple capacities in the speaking industry, Jane has developed a proven formula for finding success in paid speaking. She coaches her clients through this formula and in many cases, their businesses have catapulted from zero to a million in speaking revenue in under four years.
Jane shares her thoughts on the changes someone with an existing speaking business can make to start booking more gigs, getting paid higher fees and catapult their business in 2016… and beyond.
Q: What are some of the distinguishing traits of those you find are able to build highly successful speaking businesses?
Jane Atkinson: The one common factor I see amongst those who are able to find great success in the speaking industry is that they are already Rock Stars in what they do, and they know how to leverage that. This includes focusing exclusively on their strengths and expertise and marketing that in a very precise way. This is something we refer to as “Picking a Lane”. It is understanding that you cannot be all things to all people but become known as the best for one thing.
Q: Can you share an example of one of your most successful clients and what it was that helped them find great success?
Jane Atkinson: There have been quite a few, but the one that I think is most relatable is Ryan Estis. Ryan went from zero to over a million dollars in speaking revenue in under four years. He is what I call a ‘triple threat’: He is a great salesperson and marketer, he knows business (Ryan was formerly an ad agency executive), and he has excellent platform skills. Once Ryan was able to define his lane and create his package, he was on the fast path to success.
Q: You mention that Ryan ‘created his package’. What do you mean by that?
Jane Atkinson: Every speaker needs to create their package, which consists of two things: their brand and their promise statement. Just as in business, your brand is what your prospects think of when they hear your name. Developing your brand – the look, feel and idea of who you are – is essential in reaching your target market. Just as important, and often missed, is your promise statement. Your promise statement, like a tagline, clearly defines the benefits of your work, i.e. the problem you’ll be solving, and is what most people booking speakers will be focused on since it is their job to deliver value to their business or client. Creating an effective promise statement is something I see many speakers struggle with, but once they get it right, it is like magic.
(Click HERE for examples of promise statements and a free exercise from Jane to help you develop yours)
Q: What other strategies should speakers employ to help catapult their speaking business?
Jane Atkinson: Well, my favorite tip I give to all speakers is to make sure they have ‘Be Awesome Marketing’.
Q: Okay…. I’ll ask. What is ‘Be Awesome Marketing’?
Jane Atkinson: (laughing) Thanks for asking, Carolyn! Simply put, being good isn’t going to be enough to become a highly successful speaker. You have to be AWESOME, which means crafting your presentation. You need to swap out dull, 5 cent, words, for extraordinary, or 50 cent, words. It is also not about memorizing your speech, but more about showing up, being present in the moment and having a conversation with the audience. This makes your relatable, and memorable.
Another great tip of ‘Be Awesome Marketing’ comes from presentation coach, Lou Heckler. Lou always says, “the first words out of your mouth when you get on the stage should jar people awake and grab their attention.” So many people open with a dull, “it is great to be here…. Blah blah blah” and that just won’t cut it.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers on how to catapult their business in 2016?
Jane Atkinson: I think 2016 is going to be a stellar year in the speaking industry and for those speakers who are truly focused on and dedicated to growing their business. But growth never comes without a lot of hard work and investment in both time and money. Just as with any other industry professional, those who invest wisely in education and the tools needed to help them grow, and then properly implement those tools, will see the greatest success.
If you’d like to find out more about Jane and her proven formula for creating a successful speaking business, check out her books, The Wealthy Speaker 2.0 and The Epic Keynote. You can also join Jane and a team of industry experts January 29th & 30th, 2016 in Dallas, Texas at the Accelerate 2016 Business Growth Summit and Showcase. It is a 2-Day interactive conference designed to give professional speakers all the tools needed to catapult their business in 2016, including a full year of access to the Wealthy Speaker community. You can find more details about this event, the faculty and registration packages, by visiting their website HERE.