As the professional speaking arena becomes crowded, you simply have to find a way to stand out, to be memorable.
If I had to choose one word for myself as a speakers' consultant, it would be 'positioning'.
Positioning is basically how you differentiate yourself in the marketplace. The most powerful positioning addresses your prospects' (often unspoken) needs. It appeals to the emotions first, then the intellect.
Any speaker who goes into this highly competitive marketplace with a generic, overly-earnest or cutesy topic is going in with a handicap.
If you have fewer bookings lately, don't blame that on the economy. It may be that your positioning is tired or never was strong enough. As the marketplace continuously changes and competition increases, you have to step up in order to keep up.
Are you stepping up?
The position you started out with that was fresh and intriguing ten years ago might not stand the test of time. Take a hard look at your promotional material annually to see if it still captures the imagination of your prospects. More importantly, does it still catch YOUR attention? If so, it will be easier for you to market.
If not, modify it.
Your positioning needs to catch the attention of and communicate value to your buyer. And there's the rub! You have to communicate value and activate emotion in your buyer at the same time.
Although we like to think that we're rational beings, the truth is, we're not. Studies confirm that our perceptions are first processed through the limbic (feeling) part of our brains. If your marketing material appeals only to the viewer's logic (or cerebral cortex, the thinking and judgment part of the brain), your buyer will have to go through a lengthy and rational assessment of whether or not your arguments stand up.
People are bombarded with information today and your promo material is likely to get stuck in the pending file.
If you first catch the buyer's attention though, they will then go through all your material in order to justify their decision to hire you, particularly in a tight economy.
When I first got Paul Rosen's material in my in-box, it was so visually appealing that I dropped what I was doing and called his agent immediately.
That's the reaction you want from your buyer. Paul's material doesn't appeal to everyone but it did appeal to many and it perfectly reflects what he stands for.
Paul's visuals were stronger than his speech titles but they did the trick. They made this buyer stop in her tracks. You can (and should) do the same with powerful writing. Then you've got a winner.
In the next newsletter, we'll look at the second phase in the buyer's decision-making process. If you want an excellent income from your speaking, you'll need to go beneath the surface when it comes to understanding your buyer's needs.
Do an honest and frank evaluation of whether or not your current positioning will take you where you want to go.
And that's right to the top, I trust!
Cathleen Fillmore, owner of Speakers Gold bureau, consults with speakers who want to find the money in the marketplace and maximize the returns on their talents. Cathleen is a member of MPI, a certified consultant with the American Consultant's League and a consultant to some of North America's top speakers.
To contact her,
visit www.speakersgold.com or call 416-532-9886.