Well, here you are, all dressed up and nowhere to go.  You have a whiz of a website, a well designed promotional page, a media kit, a three minute video, topics that are much needed in the market, a great desire to get out there and now what?

Here’s what.  Now it’s down to the business so many speakers avoid.  It’s down to the business of actually getting the bookings.

Maybe the reason so many speakers avoid this part is that old fear of rejection.  After all, your website, marketing materials and speeches get rave reviews from family and friends.  But picking up the phone and making calls to inquire about speaking engagements can be a little trickier. 

These people don’t know you, may well be inundated with calls and can often sound either a little irritated or impatient or worse still, speak in sound bites, saying that they’ll review the material and get back to you.  Ho-hum!

Sure they will.  Don’t worry about it.  Just respect their time; always ask whether it’s a good time to call and if not, get off the line quickly.  But do call back unless it’s really clear that this prospect and you are not a good fit.  There’s nothing worse than beating a dead horse.

And then pick up the phone again.  This time you may get an even better response, the person is friendly, open and interested in your topic and has a convention coming up.  So she asks you to send in your promotional materials.  That’s great. 

But even with a good response, don’t hold your breath waiting for something to happen.  Good responses don’t always lead to paid speaking engagements.  The whole process of getting booked has a lot of moving parts and this complex and delicate sales cycle can turn into a spin cycle at any juncture.  That’s normal.  You have to expect that.

So pat yourself on the back for the good response and make the next call.  I remember, from my days as a journalist having to send in a proposal, and then wait for six weeks for a response before I could send it out again.  (Periodicals weren’t happy if you also submitted to their competition and somehow they knew!).  It was a frustrating and time consuming process and at one point, I vowed I would never hold my breath waiting for anything to happen again.

Instead, I would make it happen.  Once I made that decision, my life changed.  So will yours.

So here goes.  Don’t hold your breath.  Don’t allow your life experience to be in the hands of another person.  They don’t care nearly as much as you do.  Be persistent, not pesky.  Take control of your own career.

Having multiple possibilities in the works is called ‘filling the funnel’.  The more prospects at different stages you have in your funnel, the more business you’ll get. 

Here are some innovative ways to get booked.

  1. Book yourself.  Put on your own event.  And if you think that no one would come, take another look at the BIG PROMISE you’re making to the market.  Clearly it’s not big enough or credible enough.   Fix it.  Infuse it with some passion
  2. Volunteer at events for meeting planners, join associations that your prospects belong to, write for the magazines they read, get an online following, join online groups that they’re part of and make sure you’re a real presence.
  3. Find the markets that would be a good fit for you.  Now find the sub markets of those markets.  Let’s say your background is in the grocery industry.  What subset of that industry is underserved by speakers (as opposed to saturated?).

Go after that subset.

I’d love to hear about your experience.  And stay tuned, part 2 will follow.....

Author's Bio: 

Cathleen Fillmore is President of Speakers Gold bureau and a marketing consultant to speakers who want to make more money doing what they love. She’s written five books, most recently The Six Figure Speaker available on Amazon. To sign up for her ezine full of great information for speakers, go to www.speakersgold.com. Email her at cathleen@speakersgold.com or call 416-532-9886 for more information.