Direct Marketing Article
Talk Up Your Business: How to Get More Customers
via Public Speaking
By Pam Lontos
All business owners want more customers. The question is, how do you attract
them? Advertising can be expensive, and traditional marketing techniques may
take a long time to show results. Fortunately, there is another option.
Did you know that as a business owner or professional in your field, you are
also an expert? And, did you know that people (a.k.a., potential customers)
want to learn from your advice? That's why it makes sense for you to share
your knowledge by giving informative presentations on your area of
Before you let your self-doubt creep in and proclaim, "But I'm not a
speaker!" rest assured that people aren't expecting a high-tech motivational
event. They don't expect eloquence or even flamboyance. They simply want
some targeted information that can help them improve their business or their
life. And chances are, it's the same information you tell people via phone
or in one-to-one interactions every day. When you can deliver those bits of
information to a larger audience, you can get more business. Here's how to
• Hone in on your topic.
Even though you may not aspire to be a professional speaker, if you're going
to market and brand yourself as an expert, you have to pinpoint some key
speaking topics. To do so, think about the questions you commonly get from
customers. Chances are those are great speaking topics.
For example ...
o If you have a gardening shop, you can talk about how to grow an organic
garden in your backyard ... or the best plants to grow for your geographic
area ... or tips for getting the most blooms from your plants.
o If you own a dress shop, you can talk about how to dress for success ...
or ways to create a "mix and match" wardrobe ... or the most flattering
styles for various body types.
o If you own a furniture store, you can talk about home staging ideas ... or
easy ways to spruce up the look of your home ... or how to pinpoint your
unique decorating style.
o If you have a restaurant, you can talk about stocking a healthy pantry ...
or healthy eating tips ... or do a cooking demonstration.
Whether you speak for free or get paid is not important. The idea is to get
in front of your ideal buyer with some useful information. That's how you
get perceived as an expert. As legendary speaker Zig Ziglar used to say, "If
you're the one up there giving a speech, people automatically think you're
the expert." All customers want to feel that they're doing business with the
best of best. Speaking puts you at that best of the best, expert level.
• Go public!
Next you need to decide where to do your presentations. Often you can have
the speaking event right at your business location. If your store is small
or not conducive to hosting a gathering, you could use a room at the local
library or reserve a meeting room at a restaurant - both of which are
relatively low-cost options. Also, look for local Meet Up group or clubs
that attract your target audience, such as mom's groups, yoga clubs, sewing
circles, book clubs, or any other organized gathering of like-minded people.
It's common for these groups to bring in speakers a few times a year. If
your message would resonate with a particular demographic, offer your
speaking topic to the group.
If your topic is geared more for business to business customers, then
investigate your local Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, and BNI Chapters.
All of these organizations have regular weekly or monthly meetings where
they bring in speakers from the community.
Finally, contact other local businesses that are complimentary to what you
do and offer to speak to their customers. For example, if your company does
pest extermination, contact a plant nursery and offer to do a seminar for
their customers on environmentally friendly pesticides, thus introducing the
pest extermination company to a new source of business. Think of other
companies that are not direct competitors with you and whose customers would
be a good match for your company.
• Promote yourself.
One of the best ways to increase the number of people who attend your
speaking events is to promote it to your current customers. Make sure you
get email addresses from your customers so you can email them a monthly
newsletter, coupons, and announcements of your upcoming seminars. Also, post
the event information on your social media channels, and put up signs around
your business about the next presentation. If you're not charging admission
to the event, you may be able to put an announcement of it in the local news
media under the Community Events or Community Happenings section.
Of course, email and social media can only get you so far when it comes to
promoting your events. Studies show that each day, more than 294 billion
emails get sent. The sheer amount of information people are being bombarded
with is overwhelming. So while email and social media are great tools to
reach people, if you really want to reach people, then you need to start
using one of the oldest marketing tools available: the telephone. Have your
employees call your customers and extend them a personal invitation to
attend the speaking event. When you talk with someone rather than just send
an email, you develop rapport and gain their attention faster than any email
message ever could.
You want to be the company people think of first when they need what you
offer. That's called having Top of Mind Awareness, and public speaking helps
you achieve that. When you gain that Top of Mind Awareness, you'll have a
leg up on your competition and will be perceived as the expert.
Ultimately, speaking about your industry knowledge is one of the easiest and
cost-effective ways to bring in new business. So don't be shy! Get out there
and market yourself as an expert/speaker. By doing so, you'll stand out from
the competition and reach new levels of professional success.
About the Author:
Pam Lontos is President of Pam Lontos Consulting. Pam consults with
businesses, speakers, authors, and experts in the areas of marketing,
publicity and speaking. Pam is a past Vice president of sales for Disney's
Shamrock Broadcasting where she raised sales 500% and she founded PR/PR
Public Relations. She is the author of I See Your Name Everywhere: Leverage
the Power of the Media to Grow Your Fame, Wealth and Success. She is also a
former professional speaker. For more information on her consulting
services, call (407) 522-8630 or email PamLontos@gmail.com,