For outreach to new clients (beyond client references to new prospects), nothing is more effective than an excellent and carefully-structured presentation to a room filled with potential clients. The ability to speak in public is key to attracting new clients and spreading your reputation across the world.
And now with easy-to-use-and-distribute video over the Internet, and recorded webinars, you can reach an even larger audience without even showing up!
There are key strategies to effective speaking, if you mean to attract your new clients from the effort. Here is a topline list:
- Research your industry trade shows and conferences to determine which ones are actually addressing your potential client base (the ones that can hire you). Do not bother with events where there are no prospects in the audience, unless this presentation is pro-bono work.
- Answer the conference’s “call for speakers” and find someone in your network to introduce you to one of the decision-makers. If possible, write directly to the decision-maker separately.
- Write an effective blurb with a compelling title, a brief summary of the issues and the “take-aways” for the audience.
- Make certain your short bio (less than 200 characters — not words) states clearly your unique value proposition and your URL.
- Show your expertise without telling your audience the tactics to achieve the results. Stay at the “strategic and results” level in your talk. Details will lose their interest and give away the value you are offering.
- Do not pitch for work from the stage. Not only is this against the understood etiquette of public speaking (and will result in your not being invited back by the conference coordinators), it undermines your “negative selling” approach to prospecting.
- While you must not pitch, you must ask for a direct connection with those in the audience who may want your services. This is done by inviting those with specific issues to speak with you after the presentation, or by offering some trinket you will send to them if they leave their card.
- Make certain all your contact information is on your opening and your closing slides. Speak your name clearly, and state your URL and email address as you introduce yourself, so the recording can capture it for audiences not in the room, and to reach those potential clients who cannot stay to speak with you afterwards.
- State your value proposition early on, and give examples, during your presentation, of one or two stories (presented as case studies) where you had success that addresses the pain felt by the audience on your topic. People love stories, so embed your successes as stories, particularly those stories with humor.
- Wrap up with your selected invitation(s), and leave yourself at least an hour or more following the conclusion of the presentation to handle those who want to speak with you.
- After you have presented your topic a few times, and received some feedback, refine the presentation into a webinar to be offered to online groups of prospects, and later archived and presented many times to a professional or media group’s membership base.
- Post your slides, video and/or audio presentation on your website (or the link to it on the conference site’s archives), and announce its posting to your database of clients, prospects and colleagues and through your social media networks.
This one-to-many personal, live connection to a group of prospects will attract both potential clients (who will feel they know you because they have watched you for more than an hour), and will create “buzz” among those who are not prospects, spreading your reputation into market spaces you are not even considering. The wide distribution of the presentation will attract folks you don’t know and couldn’t meet otherwise. As a prospecting tool for consulting clients, nothing is more effective.