While many speakers earn money for each speaking engagement they land, the real money is often in using your speaking engagements to sell the products and services you offer. That's because you have attendees who already know on some level that you're an expert — otherwise they wouldn't be coming to hear you.
You don't have to be overtly 'salesy' either — if you're offering a product or a service that is a logical extension of your topic as a speaker, a brief mention can be enough to land you a sale.
1. Examine the Audience You're Trying to Reach
Look at the audience who is most likely to buy your products or services. Hopefully, you've considered potential customers as you've developed your offerings, in order to plan out your marketing. Those same potential customers are who you want to make sure you're speaking to, so that you can effectively sell to them.
Plan to talk about topics that make the benefits of your product or service clear — even if you never mention your company's name.
Choose speaking gigs where you'll get to address your ideal audience. Whether you're pitching proposals to conference organizers or you're being sought out to speak, make sure that you're getting in front of the right people. Of course, if you really want to speak to a group of folks who aren't likely to purchase anything from you, that's your perogative — but categorize the work that goes into such presentations as something other than marketing.
Ask for extra information about the type of people attending an event if you need to. While not all event organizers can give you lots of details, many will be happy to help you make sure that your talk is spot on for their audience.
Plan to talk about topics that make the benefits of your product or service clear — even if you never mention your company's name. Focus on the problems you can solve for your audience, as well as for your customers.
2. Plan an Offer Just for the Event
Look over the products or services that you offer to find one that fits particularly well not only with the audience who you're speaking to, but also fits with the topic you are talking about.
Create an offer specifically for the event. Your offer doesn't actually have to be all that unique: unless you're seeing the same audience over and over again, no one is really going to know. It can even be something that you normally offer to customers, but put into the context of the talk you're going to give.
Develop a physical manifestation of your product, if it's not something that you can just take with you to the event. Even if you have the most amazing ebook or website theme in the world, very few people will remember to look you up after the fact, just based on notes they may have taken as you talk.
If they have a postcard, perhaps with a coupon code, there's a physical reminder that they plan to take action. Having a piece that audience members can take away is doubly important if you're asking them to make a big commitment — the sort that they're going to go away and think about before committing to.
Plan how to measure your sales resulting from your speech. Especially if what you're offering is the sort of thing that a potential customer won't immediately act on, making sure that you're correctly attributing your sales to the marketing work you've done is necessary. Otherwise, it's hard to tweak your marketing to sell more in the long run.
Line up a way to get your marketing materials, or even a sample of your product, into the hands of attendees. Preferably, you can find an option beyond handing it out yourself, although that's also a necessary part of marketing your products or services. If you can arrange to have your materials included in a swag bag or available on a table for attendees, you can make sure that more people have access to what you're offering.
3. Arrange to Sell Your Products at the Event
Check what sales are permitted at the event. Not all conferences or other events allow speakers to set up a table for their products or to offer a service to attendees. The logic behind that requirement is that if a speaker is good enough that an audience member wants to make a purchase, she can find the speaker after the event.
Even if the event doesn’t allow direct sales, check what other options you have: if you are creating a special deal just for attendees, many event organizers are willing to be a little more flexible.
Even if the event doesn't allow direct sales, check what other options you have: if you are creating a special deal just for attendees, many event organizers are willing to be a little more flexible. You may need to pay for an exhibit hall table or for a sponsorship to be able to sell your product or services.
Prepare your presentation based on the guidelines of the event organizer. If you are not allowed to pitch your product or service during your talk, don't. Make sure you're giving your all at such events, though, to ensure that people come up to speak to you afterwards.
Prepare statements that you can use in conversation after your talk or at your booth. While you can't script out a conversation in advance, you can make sure that you have facts and numbers at hand and you're prepared to talk about them. These conversations are often when you can close a deal that you started on stage.
4. Make Your Offer
Share your background during your talk. You need to win over your audience from the very beginning of any talk you give. Doing so is actually part of your sales pitch, albeit a very subtle part. But by talking about the experiences your clients and customers have had, particularly in addressing a problem that members of your audience face, you're establishing yourself as the person with the solution.
Show — don't tell — what you can do. You can't get up on stage and tell everyone you know what you're doing. Rather, you need to be two steps ahead of your audience: you might tell them about a problem that they don't even know they have, a trend that's coming soon or another factor that they can't easily deal with, unless they have your help.
Mention any special offer that you've brought for your audience — but just mention it. Repeating what a great deal it is or trying to make a hard sell is rarely appealing to an audience, so keep your pitch brief.
Make yourself available after your talk to address questions and concerns from the audience. Even if you've added your information to a swag bag or you've got a table where you're handing out information, make sure that you can hand something out — preferably more than just a business card — while you're talking.
5. Make Yourself Easy to Find After the Event
Include all of your relevant contact information in your presentation. It's often best to have an introductory slide, giving your name and company, and then using the last slide to offer up all of your contact details — that's the slide that will stay up the longest if you take questions.
By asking your audience to contact you about a specific question, a survey or some other detail, you’re making it more likely that they’ll contact you after the event.
Create opportunities for follow up. By asking your audience to contact you about a specific question, a survey or some other detail, you're making it more likely that they'll contact you after the event. Integrate such a request into your presentation.
Mention your talk on social media, both before and after. Make sure that you use any event hashtag or the specific forums where your audience may be, so that you can remind your audience of what they found valuable about your talk.
Post your slides online. It's so easy to share slides after a presentation, as well as make it clear that those slides are part of a particular event, that you should do so every time, unless there is a very specific reason not to.
Speak, Market, and Repeat
If you're selling a product or service, marketing is a constant process. Speaking can be a practical strategy for including in your overall marketing plan, because it can be possible to make a sale on the spot — not just once, but to multiple members of your audience.
Provided you're offering interesting presentations, you'll be able to use the same strategies for marketing your products or services within your speeches, over and over again.