How to create a 7 figure Speaking Business – #147

How To Create A 7 Figure Speaking Business With Ford Seaks

How to create a 7 figure Speaking Business

Ford Saeks has redefined a formula for business success. His efforts have helped companies generate a total of over a billion dollars in sales worldwide from startups to Fortune five hundred six is widely recognized as a business growth innovator with over 20 years of experience ranging from retail to wholesale, authored several books awarded three US patents and received numerous industry awards. tenacity and innovation are what fuel this revenue-generating powerhouse from grassroots to Google Ford provides its clients with fresh perspectives and doable tactics to resolve marketing operations and growth challenges. As President and CEO of prime concepts group Incorporated, Ford specializes in helping businesses attract loyally and repeat customers, monetize social media, and ignite creativity. We’re happy to have him here with us today. So please give a warm welcome to Ford Saeks


  • What are the most important key factors of a 7-figure speaking business?
  • How did you get started in this business and why?
  • How do you stand out in such a competitive industry?
  • What are the landmines to avoid that will kill a speaking career? With so many options, what are the top 3 secrets of success in this business?

How to create a 7 figure Speaking Business


Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript

Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.

James Taylor 0:00
I’m James Taylor and you’re listening to the SpeakersU podcast a show for aspiring and professional speakers. This episode is with my co-host Maria Franzoni. Enjoy the episode, we have a guest and unlike our usual way that we do it I, myself, and Maria will introduce the guest we have going a bit fancy this week. We actually have a video to show to introduce this wonderful guy who makes my life

Maria Franzoni 0:26
a lot easier right love it.

Ford Saeks 0:30
46 has redefined a formula for business success. His efforts have helped companies generate a total of over a billion dollars in sales worldwide from startups to Fortune five hundred six is widely recognized as business growth innovator with over 20 years of experience ranging from retail to wholesale, authored several books awarded three US patents and received numerous industry awards. tenacity and innovation are what fuel this revenue-generating powerhouse from grassroots to Google Ford provides its clients with fresh perspectives and doable tactics to resolve marketing operations and growth challenges. As President and CEO of prime concepts group Incorporated, Ford specializes in helping businesses attract loyally and repeat customers, monetize social media, and ignite creativity. We’re happy to have him here with us today. So please give a warm welcome to Ford Saeks

James Taylor 1:33
Welcome for welcome.

Ford Saeks 1:35
So glad to be here. How are you guys doing today?

James Taylor 1:40
Joining us it’s lovely to see your face. It looks great setup. You look like a real kind of your proper YouTube. This is the look, this is the YouTube look you’ve got with a nice purples and yellows in the background.

Ford Saeks 1:51
Well, thank you so much. You know, I mean, if you’re gonna do it, do it right. Yeah. Speaking good.

James Taylor 1:56
Exactly. Exactly.

Maria Franzoni 1:58
Fantastic. So with I’d love to understand Ford, how did you actually get started in the business? How did you and why?

How did you started & why

Ford Saeks 2:06
Well, I started out as an entrepreneur, many, many years ago, I invented some products. And I sold products through every channel of distribution. So retail, wholesale manufacturers rep, distributing, exporting chain stores, mass merchants. And so having taken lots of different ideas from a napkin to fruition. Then people started asking, Hey, how do you take an idea? And actually leverage it? How do you get a patent? And how do you, you know, develop manufacturing and distribution channels. So that led to him being invited to go speak at some conferences. And then I thought, Well, hey, you know, this is a business and I can certainly generate revenue from this business. So I said, I’m going to learn how to turn this into a business. And so then that led me to actually turn it into a business and start as a speaker, author, trainer, consultant, and that was 34 years ago, long time ago. And since then, you know, the real challenge has just been, you know, how do you stay relevant and add value and make a profit. And so, you know, now, I still don’t position myself just as a speaker, obviously, I want to be booked as a keynote speaker, and my fees aren’t cheap. But it really is about being a thought leader, and how do you actually stand out over the competition?

Maria Franzoni 3:28
Fantastic. And actually, you mentioned something, so I’m going to go on to that. Wherever you want me, because you said how do you remain relevant? 34 years is is a long time. I mean, not for me, because I’m old. But it’s a long time to be a speaker. You know, I’ve been in industry for a while, and not many people lost that course. How do you stay relevant? Yeah,

Ford Saeks 3:49
and you don’t I mean, you know, the and Natalie relevant, but you know, the joke nowadays, the inner circle joke, the non political Good joke is O W, G, old white guys, right. And we because, you know, and it’s just worth saying it’s not political or anything else, it’s just, you know, when when an organization is interested in hiring somebody, now, they’re looking at the type of person and the expertise. And there’s a lot of factors that go into it, right? And so relevancy really comes down to adding value. And in for those listeners, whether you’re on the speaker Bureau side, whether you’re a new and emerging speaker, or whether you’re a top producer, and you just love speaking business TV, and you’re just hanging out to try to come away with some new inspiration to be relevant. It really starts with adding value, right? And so, you know, once you start to really deliver value, then all those other factors that may be an initial factor, aren’t as big of a deal. So to remain relevant. It really started starts with and for me and everybody else I work with. It just starts with really asking what problem do you solve that people are willing to pay to make go away? And the key word there is pay so There’s a lot of people that have problems. But if they’re not willing to pay to make the problem go away. So everybody’s responsibility and role as a speaker, author, trainer consultant, is how well do you really understand the problems that you’re solving? And more importantly, are you communicating that to your market?

James Taylor 5:19
And for how did you when you first got involved in the speaking industry? How did you think about your positioning? Did you come at it from a perspective of I want to be the number one expert in x?

Competitive Industry

Ford Saeks 5:32
And anybody who tells you that they had it all figured out is just BS. Okay? So they’re just, they’re just not they’re not? They’re not serious. So no, what happened was, I was a troubled youth, I grew up in foster homes, and, you know, detention centers, and certainly not the path of a silver spoon. Quite the opposite, actually. And when I was in a jail cell, six foot by eight foot, at 15 years old, thinking to myself, maybe I haven’t made the best life choices. One of the guards gave me a cassette, some of you millennials, you’re gonna have to Google what a cassette is, because you won’t know what that is. But it’s a place where you can listen to audio. And the audio program was the strangest secret by Earl Nightingale. And so, you know, think about as a motivational tape, right? And so that message at 15 changed the course of my life. So that’s what set me off to be an entrepreneur. That’s what led my me on personal growth. And I started reading more books and going to more seminars. And so when I finally decided, we’ll be through the demand of speaking, I thought, well, I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to be a motivational speaker. Well, let’s be clear. I like motivational speakers. And yes, I’m motivational and inspiring. But that’s not how I positioned myself in the marketplace. Okay, I positioned myself as a business growth accelerator. So the story here, James, was originally when I started speaking, I positioned myself as a marketing speaker, very niched marketing, because at the end of the day, that’s what I do. But here’s the here’s the nuance, it’s so critical. Marketing is a feature, the result of marketing is business growth. So I did make for probably 10 years, I was positioned as a marketing speaker, and I made good money. And I spoke on digital marketing back in the day, it was direct response marketing. And then when the internet came on, it was digital marketing. But what I found out was a lot of meeting planners. And again, you know, Maria, you’ll ever meet someone in this industry, you’ll understand that if they just think marketing, oh, that’s not the topic we want. Well, as soon as I changed my positioning, from marketing to business growth, it opened up the doors. So if you think about it, business growth and business growth, acceleration, that’s what I’m known for, is the result of marketing. And so the positioning change to the result. And then that’s when it really, really took off, is when I started to promote which you would do in any business, right? You want to promote the benefits, not the feature. So the benefit is business growth. The feature is marketing.

James Taylor 8:08
And what do you decide you? You said at the start here, you think yourself, author, speaker, trainer, consultant, that there’s going to four different things? At what point did you decide to add on one of these things, if these buckets, these these kind of new areas in your business, because I hear from other speakers, sometimes they feel that they try to do too much too quickly. I want to be everything I want to do all these things, they all do fantastic. I actually, I’m just gonna focus on this one thing, I’m gonna get to a million dollars, and then move to that next thing and undo sequentially. So what how did you approach that?

Ford Saeks 8:44
I would, I would approach this with what I did and what I would tell anybody to do listening right now. Through all of the titles out of the way. speaker, author, trainer, consultant, seminar leader workshop, throw that all out. That’s all just crap. Okay. Oops, I can say crap. Okay, so

James Taylor 9:00
that’s it. Yeah. Okay. Experience word. I think you’re fine. Okay.

Delivery Method

Ford Saeks 9:05
So, so we’re gonna throw all that out. How I positioned myself is I’m a research based thought leader. I spent a lot of time in research and being a thought leader. Now to develop a thought leadership, you have to develop reputational equity. So that’s a constant, constant working, you have to write articles, do blogs, do podcast interviews, you know, you have to go live on LinkedIn. I mean, there’s a lot of things you need to do to build your reputational equity. And that’s just a fancy way of saying content marketing. So, you know, let’s be clear, reputational equity is just if you’re not being visible, then people don’t know who you are, right? So. So just remember that the reason people hire you to solve whatever problem it is, is the reason they’re spending money. The delivery method is speaking training, coaching, consulting, learning management systems, webinars, public events, whatever the different value stream is, but the value Who is at the top. So when you look at if you were doing an organizational chart, if you drew a circle at the top of my circle, it would be accelerating business growth. At the end of the day, I help people do four things, get more high value clients, increase the average transaction, increase the frequency of of purchase, or referral and operate more efficiently. I mean, at the end of the day, that’s the only way you’re gonna grow, you’re gonna get more hype, we don’t want more customers, we want more high value customers, right? We want less customers that are going to spend more money at each transaction, we want them to spend more money with us. So how do you add value? It’s not about the money, everybody, it’s about how do you add the value so that people will pay for the solution? And then how do you build referrals or referral partners? Or repeat sales with the client? And go deeper? And then how do you run your business more effectively? Because you know, the highest expense that someone’s going to have they start adding labor? Is their employees? And so or staff or outsourcing or whatever they use? So it’s, it’s a long answer there, James and Maria, but I would, I would just say that the positioning should always be around the value, not the delivery method. Now, obviously, if I’m speaking to a speaker’s bureau or an agent or an association, yeah, I’m a keynote speaker, I’m a Hall of Fame keynote speaker. So yes, but above that is really the value.

James Taylor 11:22
Just to get a final one kind of Maria want to jump through here as well. I mean, you kind of talking really there from a kind of client centric, what is that client put that client in the middle, and then you can build up things you have to be at rather than a product centric. So your pop up, because is there any of those delivery mechanisms, delivery methods or those modes, right? If you could only do one of them, like all the other ones are taken away, you can just do this, this is you for the rest of your life in only delivering this particular mode. What that mode be,

Ford Saeks 11:53
I love the speaking part of it, obviously, delivering value connecting with the audience making, seeing them actually take action is where I really get juiced up, is when you’ve given somebody a fresh perspective, help them rethink, reframe, refocus, and reignite their passion towards their business. That’s what’s fun. You know, in business, people are good at one of three areas. And I guarantee that James and riads is same for you. You’re either good at delivering the product or service, which we’ll all put a checkbox in, I think we’re all great at delivering whatever we say we’re selling. But number two, you’re either going to be good in marketing and sales, or management leadership. Okay, so marketing sales on one side, leadership and management on the other side. So you’re either one of those others? Well, if you’re not, if you don’t have someone who’s going to hunt sales, and someone who’s going to farm the leads, you need a hunter and a farmer perspective, or in when and if you do that, then if you have any types of solutions that involve other people, you have to learn how to lead the people, right? So there’s two sides of that. And so in business, regardless if it’s a speaking business, or the manufacturing or retail or wholesale doesn’t matter, you have to look at it, I didn’t dynamics of that, and realize that you’re going to have to hire your weaknesses. So when you ask me, what would I rather do? No, the speaking is the fun part. Because for me, you know, it has variety, it has uncertainty, it has significance, it meets so many human needs, that I’m more willing to do that for free. You do. And then sometimes I felt the back of the room or something. But the speaking really is is the driving it. So you know, that’s that’s what we call a long road to a tiny house. James, I could have just said. But that kind of fills in the blanks a little bit. No, that’s

James Taylor 13:40
good. I think you and I are very much simpatico on that. We’re very much together on that on that side. Maria

Maria Franzoni 13:46
antastic. I’m going to take a short road to I think the question that everybody wants to ask. And sadly, I’ve spotted that we’re not able to stream to my Facebook group at the moment. So anybody who is struggling there, that’s getting a bad signal, we will post it in the group afterwards. So this is the million dollar question, or should I say? Several million dollar question. What are the key factors to having a seven figure business as opposed to a six or a four or a five figure business?

Key Factors 7 figure

Ford Saeks 14:18
Certainly. Well, you know, it really it really I get asked this question a lot. Yeah. And just for the record, you know, seven figures, you know, what you sell isn’t what you keep? Okay, so there’s a lot of difference between, you know, revenue and profit and so forth. But, you know, I’ve certainly been in the business and making seven figures for a long time. I’m one of the founding members of the million dollar speakers group of the National Speakers Association in the States. So I’ve been doing this a long time. And what I would say is, the first thing is you have to have a strong area of expertise, okay, you have to have a really solid value proposition and expertise. Once you have the expertise, then you need to have a revenue model. Okay. So you need to have a way of distributing that, that value, how are you going to earn money, you have to be great onstage you have to be able to deliver whatever your content or expertise is, we all have seen speakers and certainly with your experience back in the bureau industry, you know, there’s a lot of speakers that were very, very smart and very educated, maybe they wrote a best selling book, but they couldn’t entertain an audience for 15 minutes without putting them into a coma. So you know, there’s, you have to be skilled at delivering the value that you offer. Number four, you have to have a digital footprint. And your digital footprint has to do with your website, basically what shows up when someone Google’s your name, so for those of you listening, or if you’re watching this live, you can type my name into Google, and you’re going to see over 105 Star Google reviews for my speaking business, you’re going to see over 100 for my agency, you’re gonna see lots of photos and videos and podcasts and backlinks and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, right? And so, so you can vet me pretty easily, if someone’s interested in actually hiring me. So your digital footprint is what shows up when someone Google’s your name. It’s your website. It’s your search engine rankings. It’s your social media profiles. And frankly, I’m not that active on Facebook anymore. I really don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, my team does some posting and some things, but I spend more my time on LinkedIn and YouTube and doing some of the other marketing. And so you don’t want to judge your severe social media presence by, oh, well, why don’t you have you know, gazillion millions of views. I’ve got clients that have, you know, hundreds of millions of views that we’ve helped get. So it’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality of those leads, right. So you know, my fees aren’t cheap. So I don’t need, you know, a million people to hire me every year, you know, I do about 50 presentations a year, that are in person and more virtual. And that’s plenty for me at my age. Now, I don’t really want to be on the road, like I was in the early 90s, where I was on the road, three weeks a month, you know, for three years straight, I really don’t want to do that anymore. So back to the point, you have to have a value, you have to have a revenue model, you have to be great on stage, you have to have a digital footprint so that you have your your website, your social media rankings, your search engine, rankings, your business directory listings, and then and then your reviews, what do people say about you? And then number five, you got to take massive action, you can’t just, you know, invest in a website, I want to throw one more thing in there a demo video is part of your digital digital footprint. So if you’re going to be booked as a speaker, especially, you know, a five figure speaker, if you’re going to make five figures or more, you know, we’re talking about $1,000, you know, for for would be 1000, I guess so I guess four figure, if you’re gonna be a four figure speaker or more, you’ve got to have a compelling demo video, you have to be able to, in today’s day and age, leverage the power of video just like we’re doing here today. And you know, yes, I’ve got a switch here. And I can change and I can I can do picture and picture and I can change things. But it’s not about the technology or the website, it’s really comes down to delivering the value. So those five things, if you’re going to build a seven figure speaking business or eight figure, then you definitely have to look at those five things because that’s the those are the foundational things, they’re gonna make it or break you.

Maria Franzoni 18:24
Any business actually not just speaking business, I think, exactly. I think it’s so important.

James Taylor 18:28
I’m James Taylor, keynote speaker and speaker business coach, and this is the SpeakersU podcast. If you enjoy listening to conversations that will help you launch and grow your speaking business faster than you thought possible, then you’ve come to the right place. Each week we discuss marketing strategy, sales techniques, as well as ideas to increase the profitability of your speaking business and develop your craft. You will find show notes for today’s episode as well as free speaker business training at This week’s episode is sponsored by speakers, you the online community for international speakers, speakers, you helps you launch grow and monetize your speaking business faster than you thought possible. If you want to share your message as a highly paid speaker, then SpeakersU will teach you how just go to to access their free speaker business training.

Maria Franzoni 19:15
One of the things you said which I think is vital, is the take action. And a lot of people will you know, they’ll create the website and then not touch it again. They’ll create a demo video they’ll create their speech and not work on it anymore. I imagined as part of being relevant. But I’m gonna go off on a tangent now but I want to stress that point. But a tangent I want to go off at is do you think it’s harder now than it was when you became a seven figure speaker? Do you think it’s harder now? You think it’s more competitive?

How to create a 7 figure Speaking Business

Harder to start now

Ford Saeks 19:46
Yes, it’s definitely more competitive because you’re competing now with bloggers and influencers and, you know TEDx speakers, and there’s much more competition. You know, this business is a really, really easy business to get into For all of you listening, you’re watching, you want to be a speaker. Okay? You’re a speaker, I just, I just made your speaker. Okay? So just saying you’re a speaker makes you a speaker now whether you can deliver, that’s a whole different story. So this is a really easy business to get into. It’s a harder business, to make it a profession, and treat it really as a business to, you know, a lot of people have said to me forward, you know, you’re such a great marketer, how about, I’ll give you 60% of everything I make, you just booked me, right? And it’s like, it doesn’t work that way, why would I take 60% of your fee when I can make 100% of my fee? Right? It doesn’t, it doesn’t work that way. So I think it is definitely more competitive. But that’s a good thing. You know, at the end of the day, people vote with their wallet. And, you know, I think that there was a big swing when when COVID hit and everybody went to virtual, and they started getting studios. So I was doing virtual way before COVID. So I had a head start. And then now that we’re coming out of it, at least hopefully knock on wood, and we’re moving into more live events, the dynamics of how people have their meetings, the corporate budgets, though, what they’re willing to do, and the hybrid meetings where they do live in corporate and pre recorded. So my motto and people have used this, it’s you guys can, you know, model it, because it’s certainly been taken by a lot of people. What I coined years ago, was onstage on screen on demand. So I can be on stage, if you want to put me on stage live, I can be on screen like we’re doing here today. This could be like a keynote, like I gave yesterday to a franchise organization, they had all that was their annual franchise conference, or On Demand, which is means I’m going to record the content. And then replay just like the speaking business TV you’re going live. But then you’re going to take the episode, you’re going to you know, be able to distribute it Facebook and LinkedIn and whatever else, YouTube and the other places that you post.

James Taylor 21:54
Brilliant. So I’m just thinking you, you’ve been in this industry for a long time. You’ve also seen it when you go to this NSA events or any speaker Association events, I can look around and think okay, well 50 To 30 to 50% of these people are not going to be here next year, because they get they’re going to come in and they’re going to either to

Ford Saeks 22:19
kind it’s much higher number nine crime,

James Taylor 22:23
for whatever reason, either because they don’t find that they enjoy it, or they find it too hard, or for whatever reason. They’re just not it’s not suited for them. But then there’s also the speakers who kind of flare out quickly as well. So from what have you seen, what are those kind of landmines that any speaker that goes into this industry should be really, really cautious and be sitting there prodding with their little knife, making sure they’re not going to they’re going to step on it?


Ford Saeks 22:51
Well, the landmines I mean, you know, obviously the political landmines, I mean, even me just saying on this podcast on this interview, you know, saying, oh, wg, old white guy, I mean, that taken out of context, that could really hurt because, you know, I have lost bookings, where they booked me, and they’ve called me and they’ve said, we’ve decided to go with a different speaker. And I said, What was I content? Wasn’t my video, they said, No, we just met with our committee, and we just have all men, and we need to bring in some women and, and I’m like, okay, you know, I mean, I get it. I mean, I totally get it. So, so landmines are doing hazing, political, you know, I do believe that you need to have an opinion, I don’t believe you should sit in the middle of the road, or you get run over. But you have to be really careful as a professional if you’re going to represent brands, that you maintain that professionalism. So it’s really important to avoid those types of controversies if you’re going to make it in this business, if that’s what you want to do. And that’s what you want to say, that’s great. That’s part of it, but But it’s going to be harder for a brand to bring you in to a company that might have 1000, or hundreds of 1000s of employees, if you’re too politically charged, and we’ll just say politically, that covers a lot of different topics. Okay, so that’s one landmine, the other landmine is not being visible, which means you’re not you know, every day that a speaker isn’t speaking, they’re unemployed. Okay. So, you know, if I’m only going to speak, you know, 40 to 50 times a year, I’m unemployed, those are the days so what am I going to do those other days? Am I going to do a webinar? Am I going to do a podcast? Am I going to write a LinkedIn article? Am I going to read a Forbes article? You know, what am I going to do to remain relevant? So the biggest landmine is not taking action, thinking that the business is just gonna come to you? You know, it’s very rare. It’s the unicorn that, you know, does something and all of a sudden now they’re just in hot demand. Because there’s always going to be someone new. There’s no every, every time there’s a Olympics, every time that there’s a reality TV show, or there’s 30 more speakers, right anytime somebody winds up there There’s another speaker, right? Because I mean, you know, anytime someone wins a show, okay, now they’re on the speaking circuit talking about the challenges that they went through. And so those types of speakers usually don’t last very long. They’re usually fads, they come in, they have they, they rock it up. And then all of a sudden, a year later, no one knows who they are. So the biggest landmines are not marketing, and not doing those five foundational things, which is, you know, working on your expertise, working on your presentation, working on your humor, working on your content, and really getting clear on what’s lifestyle friendly. You know, this is something I didn’t bring up. But I want to make sure it’s brought up here in this in this conversation. Lifestyle friendly relates back to the question, you asked me before, you know, forward, if you could only pick one, what would you be? Well, lifestyle friendly means what’s lifestyle friendly for you. So I would much rather jump on video and do a video than sit down and write a 2000 word article. I would rather put a fork in my eye than then sit there with a blank page and trying to come up with a blank No, do I have to do it? Yeah. But that’s not fun for me. You know, I have a dozen employees. It’s not fun having to look at my balance sheet, my income statement and my cash flow. And I mean, yeah, I’m gonna do it, because it’s my business, and I need to do it. But that’s not that doesn’t excite me as much as, hey, let’s do this article, or let’s do this funnel, or let’s do this campaign, or let’s do this webinar, or you know, something that’s a little bit more personable. So for those of you listening and watching, the landmines are, you know, treat this as a business, you don’t go broke making a profit. All right. So if you’re not making the money you want to make if you’re not making the revenue you want to make, the question you need to be asking is, how can I add more value, like I mentioned in the opening, because if you’re not adding value, you’re not gonna make any money. So whenever I talk about money, let the money go, it doesn’t matter. Six figures, two figures. You know, I’ve had a lot of speakers, James and Maria say, well, Ford, it’s just not about the money for me. I just want to change the world.

And I just, I just want to say, look, okay, that’s great. I want to make an impact and change the world to, but if you really want to do that, earn money, start a charity, be full of philanthropic gave the money back, you know, do something with the money that’s going to help the people to really make an impact. But being poor, doesn’t help you change the world. And so you really want to look at how do I add more value, but more importantly, what’s lifestyle friendly. So for me, I have some sales funnels and some membership stuff that I do, and some high end consulting, that I didn’t do when I was in my 20s and 30s. Because I really wanted to be on stage and on the you know, on the road. Well, now travel is not fun. I don’t know about you guys, you know, certainly it doesn’t matter where you are in the world. Traveling is not fun flights get canceled. I mean, it’s just not as glamorous and the fee and the costs have gone up. I mean, you know, I have a flat travel buyout. And for my speaking engagement, it used to be $1,000. Us, I’ve raised it to 1500, I found that people would rather pay more for the speaking fee and less on the travel from a bureau standpoint or a client standpoint. So, you know, it’s just this is a great business to be in. There’s a lot of opportunity. Yes, there’s a lot of competition. If you’re in sales, leadership communication, or b2c, like weight loss, or personal growth or motivation. There’s a lot of competition. But just like musicians, look at the number of songs that come out every week, look at the number of movies that come out every week, right? So there’s always room out there if you’re talented.

James Taylor 28:37
So on just under speaking, when we’re just go focus on that for the consulting and the training and the other things to one side, you live in a very rural location. In Kansas, I live in a very rural location as well. And just now it’s beautiful, because there’s loads of things coming out. There’s loads of beautiful crops we’ve got on all the spring lambs, it’s gorgeous is wonderful. But I often think I sit and watch, if I get up really early, if I’m doing an event that’s in Asia or the Middle East, and I’m up really early. I see those farmers walking around. Putting this at noon as often and doing that every single day, you know, day doesn’t mean Christmas doesn’t matter when it is. So they’re planting those seeds every single day, every single day that they’re doing that stuff. As a speaker, what are those things that you think a speaker should be doing? Those seeds a speaker should be planting every single day consistently doesn’t matter. But if you just keep doing that planting those seeds keep doing this every day on a consistent basis. Success is almost in the same way that nature’s going to produce something it’s almost guaranteed.

Planting Seeds

Ford Saeks 29:39
Well, there’s there’s two things that I would suggest. I’m gonna I’m gonna toss up a quick visual real quick. I won’t be able to do it with a camera because it’s on a different thing, but I’m going to pull it up real quick. So the first thing that I’d recommend that everybody does, is they pick an industry and they do a mind map they do a brain dump of They’re industry that they want to focus on. And so, you know, if we if we go like a clock, you want to start at the top, you want to understand what are the media sources that that are relevant in that industry? What are the associations into those associations have local chapters, and national chapters? Who are the influencers? What’s the competition? And more importantly, which I should have started with this, the purple box, the challenges? Are you clear on the challenges facing that industry? And then the social media, so So that little mind map there is where you want to start? Okay. So if you’re not clear on what challenges people are facing, and you haven’t done your homework, and you haven’t done your research, you’re not clear? Where are the opportunities? And where are the clients? Or what’s my ideal type client that I want to go after? You have to start there first. Okay, now, let’s put a pin in that assume Okay, for it, I’ve got that I know my industry, I know the challenges and other media, I know the influencers end of the competition, I know the associations. Okay. The next thing is, you have to dedicate time to hunt. To do two things, I would say I’m going to break it up into two more things. One, your reputational equity, which we mentioned earlier, which is you’ve got to be putting out content, video content, written content, interview content, you have to become visible. The reason I say that’s more important is because the way organizations make buying decisions now aren’t just, you know, hey, do you hire speakers, I mean, it’s just, you can dial for dollars, but you’re gonna raise skinny kids, it’s a very hard, it’s very hard road, if all you want to do is pick up the phone and make phone calls all day, you’re much better spending that time writing articles, writing books, publishing books, share, you know, go out and write a book and publish a book and go send it to 100 clients and get visible, and then that’s going to get you much more business than just making a bunch of phone calls or spamming people through LinkedIn. So you know, one, know your industry too. You’ve got to be working on your content and your distribution of just like what I’m doing here. Today, I’m meeting new people I’m sharing now. Now, I wouldn’t say that everybody who’s listening to this is, is going to pay my fee to have me bring in and speak to the organization. But that’s not the point, you get to know me, you’ve heard me you see me something else comes up. And maybe you’re part of a committee, where someone’s going, Hey, we need someone bringing it on business growth and says, Hey, you know what, I remember a podcast, let me go look at that. And then you go find my name. And so it helps. So you need to remain visible, and diligent about marketing.

Maria Franzoni 32:45
I love that. I love that. I love that. I’m going to ask another one of these million dollar questions here, because I like the million dollar question. Because I think and it’s probably gonna have to be the last one so that we can make sure we share your all your contact details. So this one I think people will be interested in, what advice would you give to speakers trying to enter the US market, which is the market that everybody wants to be famous in and wants to wants to get to business in?

US Market

Ford Saeks 33:13
Well, first of all, having an accent really works, I will just tell you that. So while you’re you’ve already got it depends on where you are around the world, that’s gonna help. You know, again, it has to do with being visible, a lot of organizations will bring people in from overseas because it’s different, right? That you can’t be a prophet in your own home or whatever. There’s some saying like that. So, so certainly, what I would say is the same things apply in other industries. It’s a little different in Eastern Europe, as far as marketing, if I was marketing myself to Eastern Europe, but if someone is trying to market in the United States, you need to build in your connections on LinkedIn, you need to make sure that you’ve got easy ways to contact you, I’d recommend getting a Google voice phone number, so that you have a US number, even if it gets forwarded to an international line or just goes to voicemail. But the same things apply at the end of the day, you know, the same question Maria, people ask about B to B, or B to C. And I tell them, It’s PDP its people to people, right? So, you know, it doesn’t matter. If you want to come into this market. If you really want to come into this market, then treat it just like you would any other market. What value do you bring what’s different? What can you do? And how do you get visible? And depending on what your fee is, if they’re going to bring you in from overseas and pay your international travel and things like that? They want to know that you have a unique selling proposition. What are you doing? And how are you positioning what you do differently? Have you coined some process? Some methodology? Do you have a kick at kick butt? I almost said the wrong word. Do you have a compelling that’s a better word. Do you have a compelling demo video? Right? If you do, they will pay for you to come in. I mean I I got booked for an event the other day. And I gave them my keynote fee. I have my keynote fee. And I have a virtual fee. And they’re very close. But I thought this was for a regular in person event. So I said, Okay, here’s my fee. And they said, so then they said, Okay, we want to bring you in. I said, So what location is it? And they said, Oh, no, it’s virtual. You know, and it was interesting, because, you know, I would have probably charged a little bit less hadn’t had, they said, Hey, this is for virtual. So it’s interesting perspective, you know, so, so why should I charge less? I shouldn’t. And there’s a big debate about, you know, should you charge less or not? And we could go into that topic. But I was really thrilled. And then we’re like, oh, no, no, that’s it. And we only want 45 minutes. So I mean, think about it, I mean, I got a full fee speaking engagement for 45 minutes virtual sitting right here and my T shirt, okay, I put a jacket on. So I could, you know, be a little bit more, you know, dressed for the for the keynote. But that’s a lot better than having to fly out the day before, because I have to worry about the flight getting canceled, and getting a hotel and doing an AV check, and a soundcheck and all those other things that go along with, you know, the in person events. So, you know, I think it’s just, there’s, there’s a lot of opportunity for people to speak in the United States, you just need to treat it the same way, make your top list of 100 clients that you want to speak to get on LinkedIn, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to speed, make sure you have a way of contacting you make sure that your website is clear. And if you’re bilingual, make sure you say that, you know, because I’ve had to do translations, like when I go to Canada and speak in Montreal, I’ve had to, you know, speak French and use I don’t speak French, but I had to use translations. And how do you do that. So I wouldn’t treat the US market any differently, it’s the behaviors of how they make buying decisions is a little bit different. You have to be a little bit more, I believe. Vocal, then maybe what I would do is if I if I’m marketing to Europe, I do change my tone and style, where in the US I can be a little bit more. I want to use the word aggressive, but a little bit more bold.

Maria Franzoni 37:04
That’s really interesting. I saw you’ve been making notes, James, I’ve made a page of notes. I’m going to listen to this. It’s fantastic. But listen, thank you so much. It’s been invaluable. James, would you please share how people can get in touch

James Taylor 37:17
with? Absolutely,

Maria Franzoni 37:18
I think he’s done it look, all of

James Taylor 37:20
the go find that beautiful prime Head over there. And you can learn much more about Ford and everything he’s kind of got going on, as well. And board you mentioned as well, a couple of social media places that you can hang out because you don’t hang out. What is that one social media place that people should go in?

Ford Saeks 37:38
Yeah, I would say connect with me, connect with me on LinkedIn. Now, here’s something I’m going to do. And I don’t I only do it occasionally. And this is no joke, this isn’t prepared. It’s part of my switcher. But for those of you that want a digital footprint critique, if you’d want to use this talk with Ford, this is going to block out a 30 minute slot, which I’m only going to spend about 15 minutes. So just in all transparency. And so this is limited. So if you’re watching this live, and you want to take advantage of a 15 minute conversation, it’s not a sales call, I’m not selling anything. But if you want me to take a look at your digital footprint, if you want me to look at your value propositions, you can go to talk with Yes, it’s an online calendar link that just handles it automatically. So I don’t have to mess with it. But that’s a link and I know this is going to be in the replay. So that’s fine. And I’ll live I’ll limit it at some point. So if you reach out to me and in a year and ask for it, I’m going to say no, I’m not going to do it. But if you want a digital footprint critique to look at how you can get to that next level just go to talk with that brings you straight to my calendar and blocks a 30 minute slot, but we probably won’t take the whole 30 minutes and for full disclaimer here on the recording. Everything that we’ve been talking about today is for informational and educational purposes only. We are not giving you legal advice we’re not telling you to quit your job and and jump into the speaking business. So I always want to make sure I throw that in on every recording

Maria Franzoni 39:01
that we’ve got some lovely comments people have very much enjoyed it and those who missed it will be for sure catching up on the on the replay. It’s been

James Taylor 39:09
valuable. I’m just I’m just thankful I didn’t say buy Tesla stock at this point. Now after you just said that. That’s great. Well, why? What happened? Anyway, thank you so much for the wonderful speaking to you. We’ve all connected so thank you so much for coming on the show. Please take the opportunity to connect with fraud as well. Maria, lovely having you. Are we gonna do a little bit of a catch up? I think after this maybe I

Maria Franzoni 39:37
think maybe that’d be a catch up after this.

James Taylor 39:41
You can subscribe to the SpeakersU podcast on Spotify, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts while you’re there. Leave us a review. I really appreciate it. I’m James Taylor and you’ve been listening to the SpeakersU podcast.

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