Want to know the one question that will shut up many speakers (and most entrepreneurs)?
“How much did you keep from that last gig?”
Whoa. It’s easy to remember what we were paid to speak (our top line, usually the gross fee), but few speakers – and even fewer solo business owners – are tracking how much they take home (their net profit).
An added layer to this is the business model most of the folks reading this are in – the expert business. For us, we don’t have to worry about warehouse overhead, inventory, or a big payroll. For us experts, our time is our inventory. For that reason, we need to ask ourselves not only how much money we kept at the end of an engagement but also how much time we saved.
So how do we ensure we’re capturing (and tracking!) margins on both our events and our time while continually increasing both Money AND Time?
Make It Repeatable
If you’re re-creating every point of outreach to a prospect or a client, you’re losing the margin of time and dollars. Instead of retyping every message, guessing at what a voicemail should say, or scrambling to pull all the elements together on-site when delivering your talk, make those tasks repeatable.
There are many project-management systems that can handle complex templates, as well as many CRMs. Of course, you can always low-tech your systems and create a printed checklist – don’t laugh, I still use one to ensure I’m not walking out of the door and forgetting my laptop!
For emails, CRMs allow for templates to be loaded and easily sent to contacts. If you’re running emails through Gmail, the Canned Responses feature is a time and money saver. And the price?
(Ninja secret: BCC yourself on EVERY template you send out so you see what a recipient sees until you’re 100% sure it looks great)
Produce Consistently Better Results
There’s a saying in the consulting world that ‘making a broken system more efficient will just produce more broken results.’ Once you have your existing processes, templates and outreach structured into a process, figure out what can be improved.
This is where all the great stuff you’re learning at Speaker Sales Systems and from the other great business development content you’re learning comes into play. Now that you have your existing processes in a system, you can easily change/incorporate your systems to supercharge them, the results you produce during your event, and what you can charge for a fee.
Margins Don’t Stop With The Sale
If you’re working to produce consistently better results for your clients (and you’d better be if you want to stay in business), then you know that just because you’ve been paid doesn’t mean your work is done.
Over the years, I realized I could produce better events if I took the time to interview people in the audience prior to the event. I learned to roll through every slide and video during an AV check so the audience had a great experience. Everything I learned – both from my own mistakes and from my peers in the industry – can be worked into the post-sale task set that I have.
When you’re focused on being worth the money you’ve been paid, you want to have the mental energy to improvise. Good luck doing that if you’re worrying about meeting the minimum expectation of the client.
A great process I learned to use during the event planning call was to offer the things the client might have turned down in the sales process. At this point in the sales cycle, I know I’m making margin on the deal (and have already been paid, in most cases), so I’m willing to sell at-cost if it’s a marketing effort. Books, courses, etc. are great items to offer.
How would I know to consistently bring that up during the pre-event calls? You guessed it. Systems.
Do This Now
Ask and Answer:
-Do you know what it cost you to deliver your last event? (In time and money?)
-Do you know what you kept? (In time and money?)
-What did you do that will likely be repeated with your next client (In both the sales and delivery process?)
Create a simple checklist or process to follow for both your sales and delivery – and use it with your next client!
Shawn Rhodes, CEO Shoshin Consulting