It's a well-documented fact that most people would rather be pecked to death by trained birds than to stand up in front of an audience and speak.

After all, we've all seen that best man speech where the friend of the groom has imbibed a bit too much and makes a fool out of himself, the newlyweds, and anyone else in the room; or maybe we've seen so many truly gifted speakers that we feel, for better or worse, that we couldn't hold a candle to them.

The good news is that speaking - especially business speaking - is awfully lucrative.

Instead of pitching one on one, you can present a sales message to dozens or even hundreds in one sitting.  Now, many of you are used to speaking to a group if decision makers within the same company - perhaps a board of directors, or a city council - but for this purpose, we are discussing a presentation at a conference, or a BNI meeting, for example.

Why wouldn't you try to polish that skill?

Before we get into how to sell from the front of the room, let's look at your business, first.  If there were ever a time to have the systems in place to allow you to undertake a potentially massive influx of new clients, this is the place, so looking inwardly has to be part of this strategy.

How many new clients can you potentially onboard?

Tony Robbins has the systems in place to sell hundreds or thousands in one weekend, you, most likely, don't - even if all you sell is the latest imported gotta-have widget, knowing that you can deliver on the sale is critical.

Imagine, then, being a webdesigner who is a "solopreneur" (I hate that word!) and, as a result of a well-received speech to a local Chamber group, suddenly has 15 new clients?

The result would be a month of lost sales while they scurry to deliver on the products they sold, potentially unhappy clients as a result of not having their website built "fast enough" and, at the end of the day, when all the websites were built and delivered, no new sales in the pipeline or the sales funnel.

In other words, a broken business.

On the other hand, let's take that same webdesigner, give her a small team that can handle the content and the programming and allow her to be the "rainmaker" since she really has a knack for sales and is fun to listen to on stage and that same entrepreneur (she's not alone now!) can give her speech to the Chamber, sell her 15 sites, and continue to build and sell - and increase the sales and the size of her company.

Systems and team are the foundations of success as a speaker.

You cannot effectively sell from the stage or from the front of the room if you cannot handle a purchase from every person in that room.

Why?  When you set foot on the stage or the host introduced you, you suddenly had status as an expert in your field.  As a result, the audience suspended a degree of belief about you and allowed you to lead them to a place - a place where, you hope, they bought one of your products or services.

If you can't deliver on that in a timely manner, two things happen in your clients' brains:  One, they dislike the fact that you can't deliver and two, they feel you directly lied to them about your knowledge, skills, and abilities.

As you can imagine, this can be extremely hard to overcome.

In fact, among the speakers I've known, this is the single biggest challenge faced by all of them - the potential loss of reputation.

Build your fulfillment systems robustly, ensure you can deliver products and services in a timely manner, and next time, we'll look into what to say and how to say it.

Published on: Jan 12, 2018