Why Speakers Waste Money on Prospect Lists

If you’re a speaker and have money to spend, there are people happy to sell you a list of ‘prospects’ – or the search engines to do so. A lot of speakers are eager to jump on board with a free or for-fee list of prospects, thinking, “Folks who run events and pay speakers? I’m in!”

And then you’re out. You’re out time, and you’re out money. How do I know this? Because I’ve bought about every list, database and search engine out there, wasting time and money in the process.

“But Shawn, are some lists or search engines worth what they cost?”

Absolutely, and we’ve made multiple six figures in speaking fees in my business from our lists. Whether you’re buying a database of associations and companies or paying for a search engine built for speakers, it’s not the list itself that creates speaking revenue. No list or search engine on the planet will generate paid gigs in and of itself.

It’s what we do with the list that matters.

Don’t Be A One-Hit Wonder

If all you have to sell is a keynote, you’re limiting the people on your prospect list that can use you. Most people running events don’t need another motivational speaker – they need solutions to the problems their audiences are facing.

Instead of going to market like most speakers, take the time to understand what changes your talk produces and the impact that has on an audience (yes, this requires human interaction and speaking with the people who can hire you!). That way, you can sort and prioritize your list by the folks who are feeling the pain of the solution you deliver.

Timing Is Everything

If you’re reaching out to the folks on your list and they don’t want to talk about hiring a keynote speaker, welcome to the club. These folks are busy running other events, dealing with site visits, member issues, etc. Their next keynote speaker selection may not be top of mind when you make contact.

That’s where most speakers stop. They say, “Thanks, I’ll chat later then.” And nothing happens. Talk about money being left on the table! We’ve found that if these folks tell us to reach out in a few months, we make a note in our CRM to reach out a few weeks ahead of their timeline to ensure we’re top of mind when it comes time for these folks to look at hiring their next speaker.

Compound Your Prospect’s Profitability: More Than One Event, More Than One Buyer

Many organizations have more than one event, and more than one audience they address. Some of these events are publicly listed and some aren’t. And of course, there’s different decision makers for each of these events.

To ensure that we capture the information of all potential keynote buyers in an organization, we make sure to ask ‘Who’s going to be in that audience? What challenges are they facing?’ and ‘Is that your only event? Do you have other events with different audiences, addressing different issues? Who’s in charge of those events?’

That way, we can cast a net over a whole organization and ensure if we can help any of their audiences address their challenges, that we’re in the front of the line of speakers they’re considering.

Do This Now:

  • Define the value you’re bringing to the audience you’re speaking to (hint: It isn’t motivation, leadership or employee engagement), because it will break down doors and let the folks on your prospect list or search engine results know you’re not a run-of-the-mill speaker. You have their event goals in mind.
  • Capture follow up dates in your CRM so you can ensure no opportunity falls through the cracks.
  • Mine every organization you reach out to for multiple decision makers and multiple events. Not all events are released to the public, but the decision makers know who is selecting speakers and for what events.

Shawn Rhodes, CEO Shoshin Consulting
(813) 833-5059