Public speaking is one of the best ways to generate leads and referrals, especially in today’s market. Why? Because you need to be visible to sell. A few years ago, I did very little marketing and still got amazing results. But that’s not how it is now. Today you need to be seen and you need to be speaking in public.

When you’re up close and personal, people get to know you through your words, body language and vocal variety, and they know whether or not they want to work with you. This is why public speaking works better than any other marketing strategy out there.

How exactly do you get those leads when you speak?

Your Elevator Speech

You need to have a great elevator speech so that people not only know what you do in 10 seconds or less, but they want to know more. This is how to get great leads.

I’ve received lots and lots of leads at networking events. People ask me what I do, I share it with them and BOOM, they’re a lead. If someone gives you their business card, that’s a lead. Make sure you follow up with them within 24 hours.

And don’t try to sell them standing up! The minute you start to get into it, someone will interrupt—because you’re at a networking event. You’ll never have that opportunity for closure, and you may not get their card. So don’t even go there. The only time you can sell standing up is when you are a platform speaker in front of a group.

If someone asks “how much do you charge?” or “how do you work?” say “I’d really love to sit down with you and share that one-on-one without all these distractions. May I have your business card? I’ll call you tomorrow and we can set a date.”

Don’t just show up and “throw up” all over people. Take your time, get that lead and follow up the next day. So, one way to get leads is networking. And not just networking, but having that polished elevator speech that attracts people to you; the one that says, “here’s the benefit of what it is that I do.”

Your Magnetic Self-introduction

In 25 seconds or less, your self-introduction needs to be so benefit-driven and so magnetic that people will want more. They will seek you out to give you their business card. I’ve made thousands of dollars on my elevator speech and my self-introduction because they are benefit driven, clear and concise, and people get it.

The secret to persuasion it to find out what people want and give it to them! It sounds simple, but believe me, most people don’t do it. Something happens when we get in front of someone who shows interest in our product or service. We turn into selling and sliming the person. They just want to walk away and not even give you a card. So instead, be interested, not interesting. Be interested in them, and not interesting yourself.

A little trick that I teach all my clients is when someone gives me a card and I see it as a hot lead, I fold the corner of the card. I’ve trained my staff to know that that means a serious follow up and phone call within 24 hours. Always follow up, even if you don’t feel like it!

And don’t change your core message! People change their message like they’re changing their underwear! Your core message is the reason you are in business and the thing that you do for people, whether it’s saving their lives or saving their businesses. Never change it! People have to hear it 7 to 9 times before they actually get it. Don’t sabotage yourself by changing it.

This whole speaking thing won’t work if you keep changing your core message, if it’s not benefit driven, or if you’re not clear and concise.

Your Signature Talk

Use your signature talk to get more business cards and referrals!

The Raffle: At the close of your talk, invite people to participate in a raffle. Give something away. If you have a product or book, give that away because it will give you an opportunity to talk about it. If not, a $25 gift card works just as well. The key is to get 100% participation. So a $5 card might not do it. Give something of value, describe it, and talk about the value. Then collect their business cards. Pick a card and give your prize away.

I still use this strategy today—and I’ve built my database in less than 7 years to over 8,000 people! These are people who have either seen me speak or heard me through a tele-class and stayed on my list because they’re interested in public speaking.

I have someone who just joined my Protégé program, and she said that she’s been following me for 6 years! So you just never know when people will be ready to engage in your service.

The only way that building your database works is if you take those cards and enter them into a database that you can send emails from. Don’t let them sit on your desk. Think of those cards as money! It’s money to you and to the people you can help.

Those are what I consider warm leads. So how do you get HOT leads from speaking?

No Q&A: To get hot leads, instead of doing a Q&A, I invite people who have questions to come talk to me at the end of my talk. Only the ones who are REALLY interested are going to come up to me afterwards. Again, I don’t sell standing up—because now I’m not on the stage, right? I get their business card and make an appointment to talk to them later. That is how to turn the warm leads into hot leads. Invite them to come talk to you after your talk.

If you’re not going to follow up, then collecting business cards and giving away those gifts will not create leads for you. So you MUST follow up! And it doesn’t necessarily mean follow up with an email. The more personable it is, the better.

After my talk, I send out an email to everyone who was there and just say something like, “it was really nice meeting you at such-and-such event. I hope that you get out there and start speaking. If there’s anything I can do to support you, let me know.”

The ones who give me hot leads, get a personal note. They still get the email, but they’ll get a handwritten note, and I will call them within 24 hours.

The One-on-One Strategy:

Whenever I go to a networking event, it’s not about me getting clients; it’s about me interviewing people to be my clients. It’s as if you’re interviewing them to see if they have potential, or if they’re a fit for your product or to be on your team or whatever it might be.

Ask appropriate questions instead of selling. “When it comes to your health, what do you like most about it?” Or “what’s the biggest challenge?” “When it comes to your finances, what’s the biggest challenge that you have? What’s the thing you like about it?” Start by asking questions and have a conversation.

Because you’re already acting interested, it’s very easy for you to ask them if they know of anyone who would be interested in XYZ. Again, it comes down to the benefit of what it is that you do. If you’re selling beauty it could be, “Out of all the people you know between the ages of 30 and 60, who is really interested and finicky about their skin?” Be very concise about what that benefit is and ask them for a referral.

The Referral Form Strategy:

When you’re trying to get referrals from the stage, it’s slightly different. The verbal script is similar but you want to make sure you have forms to hand out. For instance, I used to do this at my Persuasive Speaking Mastery seminar and got so many referrals that I could not follow up on all of them.

What I’m about to share with you is a license to print money. Here’s how it works:

You have a form—you call it a referral form. The referral form has about 5 or 6 lines at the very top part of the form for Jane Doe who is giving the referral. There needs to be a space for the date, phone number, email address, and of course, the name of the person doing the referrals. Underneath are 5 to 6 boxes that each have lines for name, email, phone number and a little comment box for a note about who this referral is.

From the stage (this goes into your close) you say something like, “My business, like your business, thrives on referrals from others. What I’d like to do now is to invite you to refer some of your best clients and customers. The one who comes up with the most referrals will get this prize” (and then you give them a prize). If you only have 30 minutes to speak, you cannot do more than one close, so I’m not suggesting that you do a raffle and this. When you have 45 minutes to an hour you can do this strategy.

Remember, any time you ask people to stop and do something else (whether it’s one person on the phone or many in an audience), it disconnects them from you. And when you haven’t even built rapport yet, it’s a total disconnect. So always try to avoid creating any kind of disconnect from your audience. The only reason we can disconnect for this strategy is because it’s only once and it’s for a greater good.

Now, before you hand out the form, take a minute to educate them on what a good referral looks like. People don’t know. For example I would say, “A good referral for me is someone who wants to get out there and start speaking about their business or someone who wants to become a powerful public speaker and grow their business doing it.”

This strategy is really powerful because you’re going to get the person who’s in the room, plus 5 or 6 of their best friends or best customers. With smart phones and Blackberries, most people carry their clients’ information with them. Every time I do this strategy I get so many leads that I can’t follow up on them all.

Again, if you know you’re going to use this strategy in your talk, it takes extra time. The business card strategy will take maybe 5 minutes. This takes longer because they’re digging into their phones and they’re writing names, so you need to allow for that in your talk. Having an hour to talk is best when you use this strategy.

Follow Up!

Make sure that the next day you allow at least half the day to follow up on the leads and referrals, or at least have someone in place who will follow up on them for you. The later it gets, the colder those leads get.

When you follow up, you will want to use the person’s name who gave their information to you. You can say, “Hi Greg, this is Arvee and my friend Jane Doe gave me your name.” And then you can say, “You know Jane right? Yeah, she’s really great! Well, she thought so much of you that she referred you to me.” And now you can start a conversation.

Keep Calling!

Don’t call once. This is a hot lead! Keep calling until you get a response. Most people give up too quickly. But these people are interested; they took the time to walk up to you after your talk and give you a business card. Life just gets in the way sometimes. Business gets in the way. They could be out of town or out of the country. You don’t know, so don’t give up! Most people give up after 2 or 3 calls. It’s usually the 7th one that will finally go through, and your future client will appreciate that you cared enough to not give up on them.

Be Friendly, Be Brief

Now, when you leave that message, make it a friendly message. Never say, “Hi, I’m calling to follow up…” That has sales written all over it. I like to say, “I’m calling to reconnect, we met the other day, you expressed an interest…”

If you do leave a voicemail, don’t leave a big long discussion about why you’re calling. Just say who you are, where you met, and that you’re just looking to reconnect with them. Something short and sweet.

Speak Your Way to Wealth

If you have not taken the time to put together your killer elevator speech, magnetic self-introduction, or signature talk, then 2011 is your year. It is time! Every day you wait, costs you money. It costs you in people coming to you; it costs you in people that you can help or businesses that you can help.

So look at it this way—it is time for you to invest. You’re worth it. Invest in yourself and find a coach. I’m here and I have the formulas to do that. Through my programs and CDs, I can help you create that self-introduction and that killer elevator speech—ones that get you business.

And that is how you can generate unlimited leads and get referrals every time you speak.

Author's Bio: 

Arvee Robinson is a Persuasive Speaking Coach, Master Speaker Trainer, International Speaker, and Author. She teaches business owners, service professionals, and entrepreneurs how to use public speaking as a marketing strategy so they can attract more clients, generate unlimited leads and grow their businesses, effortlessly. She teaches a proven system for delivering persuasive presentations, and easy to use formulas for creating a killer elevator pitch and a magnetic self-introduction. Arvee has helped hundreds of individuals to win clients and close more sales every time they speak. She offers private coaching, workshops, and weekly teleclasses. Her programs make people money for the rest of their lives. For more information, visit