How To Find Speaking Engagements- #105

Finding Speaking Engagements

How To Find Speaking Engagements

My guest today is Taylorr Payne of SpeakerFlow, a business that helps professional speakers create predictable revenue streams. In our discussion, we talk about how to find speaking engagements, how to generate leads for your keynote and training programs, and why speakers should be spending less time on social media? Enjoy the episode. -How To Find Speaking Engagements


In this episode:

  • Origin Story Of Speaker Flow?
  • The State Of The Speaking Industry Report
  • Top Lead Sources
  • Online Marketing For Speakers
  • Finding Speaking Engagements
  • The Role Of CRM For Speakers
  • Tracking Your Numbers


Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript

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

James Taylor 0:00
Hi, I’m James Taylor and you’re listening to the speakers you podcast a show for aspiring and professional speakers. My guest today is Taylor Payne of speaker flow, a business, which helps professional speakers create Predictable Revenue Streams. In our discussion, we talked about how to find speaking engagements, how to generate leads for your keynote and training programs, and why speakers should be spending less time on social media. Enjoy the episode. Hello, Taylor. Welcome to the show.

Taylorr Payne 0:28
James, thanks so much for having me on. It’s always a pleasure.

James Taylor 0:31
Now, I’m gonna try really hard to keep this interview relatively short within 30 minutes, cuz every time you and I have a conversation, I learned so much. I just wanted to go on and on and on, because you’re just a font of knowledge. So first of all, how are you doing? How are things going?

Taylorr Payne 0:45
Thanks for great, man. Thanks for asking. How

Taylorr Payne 0:47
about you

James Taylor 0:48
very well. Yeah, it’s nice seeing things like dates going into the diary for in-person like face to face? Sure.

Taylorr Payne 0:54
Yeah. I mean, the I mean, the optimism for quarter three and quarter four. Oh, it’s so exciting. I mean, people are just getting Yeah, it’s really filling up.

James Taylor 1:02
And especially where you are, you’re in your base in the US. The US just like I speak to all my bureau friends in the US and speakers in the US. That is one market that’s just taking off like a rocket? Just

Taylorr Payne 1:15
Yeah, it sure is. Yeah. Well, I mean, especially with now the confidence in the vaccination rates kind of going to the, to the middle of the year here. I mean, yeah, we’re gonna see a lot of traction, I think to open up quarter three, especially in the next year as well, worldwide. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 1:29
So good signs of green, green growth coming through. Now. I think I first met your business partner, Austin, probably unfairly, maybe like three years ago. And then through that kind of got introduced to you and to speak of flow. So tell us what is the origin story of speaker Flow? -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Origin Story Of Speaker Flow

Taylorr Payne 1:49
Yes, that’s a great question. So Austin and I back in our day trained sales teams together in a completely different industry, we had to fulfill these fortune 500 contracts, basically. And our whole job was to go and open up a sales office, train entry-level sales, people who have never sold before, because you can hire them for pennies on the dollar, right? And train these sales teams into high-performing cultures, train a manager to manage that high-performing culture, and then go and rinse and repeat across the nation basically. So we probably hired and fired 500 to 1000 people and had to train God only knows how many different offices and the sales kind of world that we were in. And you know, there comes a point in sales where you just kind of want more, and you’re in the field all day selling face to face or training a team. And there are some niceties to that. But I think for both of us, our interests were elsewhere. And so we parted ways for us a short while after, you know, that event of training all those salespeople, and I went into the digital marketing world and Austin went into the software world. And I was still fascinated by the buyer’s journey, how people have the psychology to buy and especially in high ticket environments. And what I knew about sales is it was all relationship-oriented. And I really wanted to figure out how I could apply that to making relationships at scale, but more like online. So I scoured virtual jobs, basically, who basically were e-commerce sites, and I found this one that was struggling, they were looking for a director of sales, what they really needed was a director of marketing. And it gave me the perfect platform to learn all of the acronyms that we come to learn and love in marketing, you know, SEO and paid advertising and conversion rate optimization. And eventually, were able to turn that company around, which turned into a digital agency after a while because I just got good at marketing. And it was really fun to have an impact on our clients. But I wasn’t really in any particular niche. I think the niche overall was just local small business as we are growing the agency. And so we were working with roofers and home builders and cleaning companies and lawyers and you know, those types of businesses, then then a speaking business comes knocking on our door and says, Hey, like, would you like to market for professional speakers, coaches, consultants, were looking for a service to white label. And we thought I mean, small business, a small business, and marketing is a very mechanical process. I mean, you take steps A to Z, and you’re gonna have a digital faucet. So we said, Yeah, why not? And so we started marketing for speakers. And as a digital agency, we’re kind of spoiled with the clients we work with because they often have a team. So what I mean by this is we turn the digital faucet on and leads come through, our job stops when the leads are qualified, and we’re getting them at a low cost. What happens after they get the lead though, they have to sell that to follow up that they have the systems in place to make sure their conversion rates are good. So when we did this for speakers, we turn the digital faucet on and everything just came out the other end, and nothing, no revenue was made practically. And only the speakers that had really dialed in systems saw some level of success with it. So we get into digging because we loved working with speakers so extroverted, they want to have a great impact on the world. They’re just there’s something captivating, you know, magnetic about speakers, and so we wanted to find a way to work with them and find a way to provide value and we found Time and time again, the biggest thing that made the difference was streamlining their workflow. If we just gave them the best practices on sales, marketing and operations with the technology, the systems to support it, they could then now actually start thinking about hiring a team because things became standardized. And they could actually make use of marketing efforts and sales efforts. But it’s almost like if you turn the faucet on, but you don’t have a good foundation for your your business, yet those systems you need, you really can’t capitalize on it. So quite honestly, we stumbled into it. And it was an alignment of the types of people we wanted to work with and have an impact for. Now, one -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 5:33
of the things I’ve noticed that you’ve made an impact really quickly is because your content marketing is so good, really good. And people comment on it. And one of the pieces of content marketing you did was a state of the speaking industry report. And you know, you get the you see some of these types of reports. Often it’s the speaker’s associations who bring one out, for example, but they maybe happen every five years. And so it can, it can be a bit of a little bit hit or miss. So you did did want to tell us, I think it was very interesting. I’ll go after your story. I’ll give you my the things Mike and aha moments in that report the things I’m going to have a link to the report as well as people get that here. But when you did that report, what are some of the the aha moments? What are some of the things that you discovered in that process of doing that? That survey? -How To Find Speaking Engagements

The State Of The Speaking Industry Report

Taylorr Payne 6:19
Yeah. So and Thanks for pointing that out. Yeah, I mean, our whole goal is to run that annually and get more and more people chipping in so that data is as significant as possible. So certainly Stay tuned for the next round of that coming out at the end of the year.

But the state of the industry report this year, what was fascinating about it is we’re really trying to look into the business mechanics of expert businesses more or less, where their revenue streams are coming from, how do they view sales, marketing, and operations? How does it perform for them generally? Where do they hang up? So what are their team sizes, and what we’re really trying to do is get a gauge of other speakers, businesses, so we can then try and learn together and figure out what’s working and maybe what’s not. And I think the very first thing that stood out to me when going through this report is when we were asking about people’s confidence levels, and their ability to sell, and their ability to market. And when we ask, what’s your confidence and your ability to sell, most people will put themselves at a seven to a 10. That’s the far majority. When do you ask what’s your confidence in your ability to market? They’ll put it at four. And so we ask, okay, well, why? Why do you think that is? And so we get in the sales call and people saying, Well, if I can just get somebody on the phone, I can get them to close almost all the time. We hear that all the time. And that’s because speakers are magnetic, they have a really good way of communicating their value a lot of the time. But we looked at the marketing responses and two things came up. And the first thing is finding leads. So they were basically putting finding leads into the bucket of marketing, which is a function to lead generation and marketing. But there’s also a major one in sales that we’re fully in control of, but also an incredible amount of emphasis on social media where all of their efforts was going, basically promoting on social media nonstop hoping that brings in revenue. But then when we ask, Well, where’s your revenue coming from? Less than 10% came from social media for most people. And so what they’re what we notice is there’s this cognitive dissonance between what sales means and what marketing means. And really, what we should see is people being less confident in sales because very few people are doing their own prospecting, their own business development, their own outreach, and actually, they’re missing 50% of the equation. They’re really confident in their ability once somebody gets on the phone. But this is why most businesses are driven by referrals because very few have business development processes in place, taking leads and following up until you get a meeting booked. So what we notice is that there’s overconfidence in sales, when really it should be much lower and too much emphasis on social media, when there are far better marketing channels for generating captive audiences that you’re actually in control over like email marketing. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 8:53
It’s interesting, you know, that I often do when we bring in new SpeakersU members, and if I’m coaching them, one on one, and usually one of the first three questions I’ll ask is, if they’re an existing speaker, they’re already speaking, you know, what’s your top three lead sources? Where’s the where’s the business coming from just now. And sometimes they don’t know, in which case, they just have to kind of go and kind of figure that out in different ways. But those that do know, when they say I’m going to go it at no point do I think social media will ever come in the top three? I think I’ve done it. I was doing a lot of analysis, not just on my staff. And I think it equated to about 3%. So that’s probably what we don’t do. We don’t across all different platforms. We put out stuff all the time. But it just doesn’t really move the needle in some other ways as well. So when you were doing that kind of asking that question, I know you asked that question in the survey. These were the top lead sources for you. What did you discover what were people telling you? -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Top Lead Sources

Taylorr Payne 9:52
Yeah, so I mean, the biggest one is referrals and past clients, and I think a lot of the times those get grouped hand in hand for people actually percentages of both of the same 77% of people said that referrals and past clients are their top performers. What’s fascinating about this, though, is if you ask speakers, hey, do you have a mechanism in place to follow up with your past clients regularly? Like, are you checking in with them regularly, most will say no. And so what has happened is their past clients are coming back organically. And then what happens is when revenue tanks, everyone says every speaker tells every other speaker will reach out to your past clients, your past clients should never be a reactive thing, it shouldn’t be something you just do when you need money, it’s unfair to them and you, it should be something that’s concurrent, you’re always doing it once a quarter maybe once every six months. And so if you just make that Swift, quick change, then of course, you’re gonna make more money. So that’s kind of fascinating. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

But beyond that point, it’s, I mean, honestly, the numbers drop from the lead sources. I mean, we go from 77% of all of that to some people saying LinkedIn, because they do sell through LinkedIn, which is really just a mechanism of prospecting more or less 26%, bureaus. 26%, Google search, actually, so a lot of people just googling stuff, equivalently to bureaus, 10% of people just straight up said they didn’t have leads and 6% of people said they’re doing some type of advertising, generally speaking, but for the most part, prospecting is way low on that list, and everybody is relying on organic to kind of come in. And because most people don’t have sophisticated inbound marketing strategies, it’s all reliant on referrals and past clients. So when you get 2020, a pandemic, that happens 90% of the market dries up because we don’t have active revenue generation in place. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 11:34
It’s interesting, you know, that prospecting piece? So I guess some people, they just said, isn’t it, they kind of put some of this into the marketing. So we want to share with sales. We had Bob strange on the show recently, who is a closer, you know, that’s what he does. He just the sales part doesn’t deal with any marketing. It’s just sales, he closes those deals. And I know one of the first questions that he asks of his clients when he starts working with speakers, so these are usually speakers that are already speaking, they’re already getting inbound stuff already. He said, okay, send me your list of clients and contacts you work with over the past 5-10 years or something. And because he knows that that’s that that’s the low hanging fruit. That’s the easy wins that they have for you. And that amazes me that is they’re not it’s not useful. There’s no kind of ongoing communication. That’s incredible. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Taylorr Payne 12:27
Yeah. And I think it’s just because we think of just getting to the sale, you know, and so we think about just the sale, yeah, that where we collect the money, because it’s the most exciting part of the sales process. But we forget about the other big two portions of it, which is business development, getting leads actively to book meetings to sell. And then account management afterwards, just staying in touch with those clients and being top of mind. And building revenue is no more than being top of mind for a lot of people. Because selling, providing a service is a numbers game. So if you can just do that consistently and have your mechanisms in place, then it’s really not rocket science. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 13:01
Now, I know there’ll be some speakers listening to this soon. And I’ll be saying, James Taylor, that’s all fine for you. But I’m just a keynote speaker, I just go and get the opening, or the, or the closing keynote speech. And my general retort to that would be either, okay, but maybe like, let’s say, if you’re speaking for Dell, you spoke at the Asia Pacific conference, but you’ve never spoken to the North America conference, never spoken to the Middle East or never spoken to the European one. So even within the same division, you can go in different languages. And then the other thing, and I was listening, somebody that they have in Binjiang, who’s really great speaking, great communicator, and he was like, probably in 2019. He was one of the top 10 keynote speakers in the States. He’s actually in Australia. And he recently moved his family back to Australia. And he’s been really spending this pandemic building out his online training, which is live online training, not online courses, but really live workshops. And it’s amazing because it’s got this product is already got all these clients and his customers he’s helped in the past, who trust Him who know him who like him. And now he’s got a new product line he can go to market with or sometimes it’s not, you can go to the same clients. zing, but we just go over that with a different product line, for sure. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Taylorr Payne 14:16

Yeah, you’re doing them a disservice. Honestly, if you don’t let them know about other ways you can help them. So if you’re always top of mind, when you release a new product, it’s not like because imagine you’re you buy something, right? So imagine you get something from James or from us at Speaker Flow, and you just buy and you never hear from either one of us, right? It’s just darkness. Well, that would suck as a person. And then we only hit you up every time you launch a new product every time we launch a new product. I mean, that would feel promotional all the time. And you’re only there to promote to us. But if we’re there regularly following up with you checking in seeing how things are going being a human being and then we say Oh, hey, by the way, we just launched this new product, your sales are going to go through the roof because you’ve been Top of Mind that entire time and it doesn’t feel spammy in any way. So I mean, it’s just the main And afterwards, it’s just so understated. If you know, that’s where a lot of your business comes from, a simple thing to do that will transform your business is just keeping in touch with them regularly. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 15:09
It’s been interesting to go over these past two years. I remember going to some speakers association meetings very early on. So my Chris turns 17, or, or there abouts. And because like you, I had a bit of a background in online marketing, and it was like, it was like the Antichrist, like it was making such a professional speaking service in his circle some, but it’s been very interesting watching that change recently. And I don’t know whether it’s the Gary Vee effects, or they’re seeing people that have traditionally been from the kind of maybe marketed online using those same strategies and tactics, and having a lot of success as speakers. So are you feeling this as well? Are we starting to feel some more love here in the speaking community? -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Online Marketing For Speakers

Taylorr Payne 15:53
For sure, unfortunately, it’s 20 years too late. But yeah, I mean, certainly it’s, but I think what’s happened is, it’s because of this lack of wanting to change. Like, if we look at a simple history of the maybe speaking industry like that, let’s break down the last two decades, the early 2000s, we have the emergence of people being normal people being able to put up websites, right, so we see blogs starting to come out, we see new content mechanisms. But more or less leads in the speaking industry are still mainly governed by bureaus and agents, because companies have trusted sources, they don’t have the internet to look for speakers and like this just doesn’t exist. So bureaus and agents is how it went. But then you kind of get up over the next 10 years, the mid 2000s, we’re now starting to see the emergence of personal brands, we’re starting to see influencing video content, I mean, it was just explosive content growth over those first 10 years 2000 to 2010. And then now you take 2010 to 2020. Of course, we had a recession, what clients want, and more than just speakers were solutions to problems because they had big problems to solve. Then you have another decade that goes by pandemic hits, personal branding, websites, YouTube influencers. And now what you see here is people that have much larger audiences that might have a shallower level of expertise, but will outsell a speaker with 30 years or 40 years in their own and environment simply because they market they create content there on every channel. And when you think about speaking, like we believe speaking is you’re an expert. First, you’re a thought leader, you provide solutions to problems. And the definition really of thought leadership is you produce lots of content in various learning styles, meaning across all of the platforms to be exposed to more people. And so unfortunately, I think this kind of trend of influencers, websites, and so on has forced speakers who have been reluctant to get into digital marketing to highly, highly consider it now. Because there are no other options, the next 20 2020 to 2030. Yeah, it’s gonna be incredible. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 17:52
And it’s been fascinating just watching over these past 12 months where more experienced speakers there’s, you can almost kind of see the decisions have been going on in their heads where some of as you just said, Do you know what I’ve done 40 years, 30 years in this business, I’ve had a lot of success, I’m going to exit stage left, I’m going to buy a nice place somewhere and chill out and enjoy my retirement now. And they can have going that way. Others I’ve seen have decided to use this time to just take a break, have a little mini retirement for a year and kind of rethink what their we reposition their topic in some way or kind of learn or pick up new skills. Others I’ve seen, have used the time to write a book. And so I think we’re gonna have probably next year we’re gonna have a lot of books. Yeah, that’ll be interesting next year. And then there’s those ones that I’ve seen who have they’ve, they’ve really embraced it, and they’ve gone You know what, you know, this evolutionary perspective is not the survival of the fittest as the ones adapt best to the environment. And I want to quote a couple of speakers. I think I’ve been doing this very well like pickiness, Chavarria as Speaker, and who’s very, you know, Speaker Hall of Fame speaker. And she was like, just you’re on stages all across the United States in the world. And she went real heavy into online courses, online coaching, and I’ve seen this multiple lots of other people, Victor, Antonio, and, Roberto, there’s so many and and i think that that gives me a lot of optimism and a lot of hope that you are seeing those people making those changes and making those transitions. And suddenly, I’m having these conversations all the time with speakers, they’re going to know what you know, I’ve got I usually get offered these gigs, the speaking gigs to go and travel this place. And there’s this fee is lower below my normal fee. I’m not going to do those gigs anymore. Because I don’t have to do those I can make slightly different decisions so is opening them up. And hopefully now as we come out of pandemic and people start to Travel, they can be a little bit more kind of strategic in their decision. So there’s there’s some definitely some been some very good things that happened during this time, -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Taylorr Payne 20:07
for sure. And I think I think the reality is just kind of tying back to our timeline is that, you know, for a while The stage was our only content platform, you know, what else were we going to do pick up the phone and call people? No, I mean, we just didn’t have mass exposure online, we didn’t have our websites, we didn’t have social media, we didn’t have video content, we didn’t have a virtual stage for people to organize events and speak to. And we’ve just seen that content production stack over the next these last 20 years. And so that means like, more and more content production is going to come out like people thinking that you’re not going to be doing stages and AR or VR and the next five or 10 years is totally going to happen, because now we have a new content mechanism. So I think really, what we’re seeing is we’re just seeing more and more ways to get our word out there. And what that means is there’s that many times more opportunity and at scale to be able to have a productive business. So if you asked me, I think a lot of speakers you know, they would say like all the 80s, the 2000s. Those were the best days of speaking because I just got on a stage and I can go but now we’re stepping into an era where we can reach so many more people and build such larger businesses with lower infrastructure. There’s never been a better time to build an expert business in my opinion. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 21:17
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 discussed marketing strategies, sales techniques, as well as ideas to increase the profitability of your speaking business and develop your craft. You’ll find show notes for today’s episode as well as free speaker business training at speakers If you enjoyed learning about our guest today, then check out my interview with pay traffic expert Ilana Wexler, where she walks us through how to use Google and Facebook ads to generate speaking inquiries. Here my conversation with Ilana at speakers After the break, we return to my interview with Taylor Payne of speaker flow, and the numbers that every speaker should be tracking. This week’s episode is sponsored by speakers, you the online community for international speakers, SpeakersU 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 speakers you will teach you how just go to speakers to access their free speaker business training. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Now one of the things I like about speaker flow is there’s always like great individual great products have usually got like one feature that just hooks you in bring you in as makes you go. Oh, tell me more. So you mentioned like one of the things you found in that study was finding leads and finding opportunities. So you’ve looked to kind of help solve that problem by creating a feature within speaker flow? Can you tell us about that? -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Finding Speaking Engagements

Taylorr Payne 22:51
Yeah, for sure. So it’s basically what’s called our speaker flow Intel engine. And what we’re trying to solve is a couple of problems with the current prospecting of finding high paid events. First, you never know what events are paid, the No one’s advertising that and it’s all about negotiation, your value proposition and so on. But you can extrapolate which events have paid other speakers, right? Normally, for somebody to figure that out, though, it’s like a 20 or 30 minute process to try and dig around the internet to find that information out. So finding paid events isn’t really easy. The second thing is that there’s a big competitive pool over the lead sources that speakers have. So what I mean by that are things like Association directories, I mean, those are sold every speaker on the planet, basically, and then going after the same maybe 1000 leads, or maybe they’re a speaker lists that you can subscribe to, you know, $100 a month, you’re gonna get 200 leads, but that person is sending the same 200 leads to 2000 other people right every single month. And so the competition for leads is way too high. And then people kind of have this kind of spray and pray approach to prospecting. So we also want to bring the honor back to the sales process actually going in intentionally finding leads, putting in that effort that are a good fit for you finding relevant information that matters to those leads, so you can then reach out in a relevant way. But the reason why most people resort to Oh, let me find somebody just generate a list, let me just have somebody else send me leads every single month is because it’s a time consuming and draining process to individually go and prospect your events, then find a decision maker, then figure out their email address, then figure out their phone number, then figure out what matters to them. I mean, you’re going to spend 30 to 40 minutes per lead trying to find that information out. And it’s largely because the internet is inefficient for helping us find those events. I mean, for example, let’s think about this for a moment: event websites if they’re annual or if they’re putting on summits or their sales kicks off kickoffs, those pages go up for six months down for six months up for six months down for six months. They don’t have SEO ninjas or search engine optimization experts working to put those event pages on the front page of Google. So honestly, your best leads are often deep deep in the search results. So the idea of the Intel engine was to take that 30 or 40 In that process, shrink it down to two or three minutes per lead by basically writing custom search algorithms online and then giving you a process to follow find an event, you found an event, great, find the event planner, here’s a button, you can press to find that information. Now find that email, basically by looking through the internet, and then confirm that it’s good. And now you can reach out. So we basically just take a complex process done all the really complex searching, so we can really bring that down to a few minute process. And then speakers can hire somebody else like a VA to follow that process of finding leads, which is way more effective than just scraping or hiring somebody on Fiverr, or subscribing to a lead list. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 25:41
So this is great. I love this. Because what you there’s some of these individual parts, there’s maybe solutions for some of these individual find like finding an email, you can go to services find that, you know, doing something, but the fact that you brought all them together in a workflow to make it easy and to compress that time, I do have to ask a question because one thing that’s always struck me as an outsider, like we all are first coming into this industry, is that speaker bureaus don’t do outbound. They don’t do prospecting. And I was always kind of intrigued about this cuz you think these are sales people working at them or their agents or consultants or have have they designate themselves? And why is that I used to get clients who are who are bureaus, because you think this is a tool made for a bureau, not just a speaker? -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Taylorr Payne 26:23
For sure, yeah, bureaus could totally use this tool. It is rare, like you said that bureaus do a lot of outbound. And I think because we see this really big divide of the caliber of bureaus either have mom and pop shops, which are great, because they’re local, they’re known to have an awesome clientele. Or you have massive, fully functioning operating bureaus that are amazing to work with LSB W, SB Saxton, you know, the big dogs in the space. And so what happens though, as you grow inevitably, is your inbound traffic does pick up if you are a sophisticated Bureau, you have advertising things underway, you have paid advertising going, you have SEO that’s happening, your speaker directories are optimized. And so quite honestly, I think what happens, James is that they have so much inbound traffic, because companies are looking for these solutions. Event companies are looking for these solutions, so that outbound becomes less of a priority. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

So a lot of what it happens is it really depends on the business’s goals like for us at speaker flow outbound will always be a mechanism because we believe having an active revenue generation piece is insurance on your business, basically, for some businesses, they just don’t want that insurance don’t think they need that insurance. And so outbound becomes less of a priority when you have highly qualified leads. And so really, it just boils down to the goal of the Bureau. Do they want to ramp up more sales than let’s put an outbound team in place on top about inbound? Yeah, in an ideal world in a sales hierarchy? You have an outbound team and an inbound team. But like I said, when you have a lot of inbound traffic, it does warrant the question, how useful is this to me right now? Which is what I think bureaus. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 27:57
Yeah, well, we track monthly, it’s interesting. We’re just doing one the other day for the previous month numbers. And so we track our inbound like SEO related inquiries. And we see, and you can see it dropping off, you know, when a pandemic starts to hit, because people just aren’t searching for certain phrases in the same way. We can also see our ads stuff just not being as effective. And it was actually fascinating just watching some of my main kind of competitors. I know most of them. And so looking at their ad spend, because it’s tools that obviously we can use to see how much money other speakers and bureaus are spending. And I can see all of them just started probably around like I would say, maybe the march april time used to be dropping off. We actually kept ours. We dropped it, but we kept a lot of retargeting ads kind of broke at time just just to keep things moving. And then, so we then I can look at Okay, how, what are we doing with our outbound campaigns? We have numbers like, how many outbound are we doing every month? And we actually dropped it initially in the first few months, and then we picked it back up, but the type of communication we were doing was not, it was not like harder sell stuff, it would just keep in front of mind. How can we use things that were genuinely of value because of the situation? Maybe event planners were not right. And we just weren’t, we weren’t pitching, because clients just weren’t sure what they were doing. And they weren’t sure. But it’s been interesting seeing now as we start to come out of this. And this is not just us doing this work. And lots of other speakers I know have been doing this. Just keeping them being useful, being helpful, being front of mind, adding new people in prospecting all the time brings those new leads new opportunities. And then when things start to come up, you’re Top of Mind, you’re you’re you’re the ones right, because you’ve been communicating and people do remember that they absolutely remember that. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Taylorr Payne 29:50
Yeah. And I think sometimes we think the people reaching out to are less smart than they actually are. You know, like, for example, what if I don’t make the ask in an email like what if I don’t ask them to get Do a call with me and I only provide value well, then what’s the point? Well, like they’re gonna see your email signature, if they’re intrigued enough by the value just provided, they’re gonna click on your website, they’re gonna go explore, like, sometimes I think it’s about having blind faith in your prospects for wanting to be attracted to you when you provide value. So, yeah, to your point, James, I mean, if somebody just only provided value and never even made the pitch while doing outbound efforts, naturally, you would accumulate business because you’re attracting people still. So -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 30:29
one of the things that we noticed, because with a CRM, which is kind of what you provide for as part of speaker flow, as well, is we can see those relationships and maybe started like four years ago, and we see them opening the emails, you know, every few months, I’ll be opening, checking some stuff out. And then suddenly, like four years into it, they’ll raise their hand, we have a date coming up. And it blows my mind when I talk to some of our team and they say, you know, you realize that that came from a campaign that we ran a profit grant four years ago, like this thing here. That’s when it finally is so some of it is just like, playing a long game as well. But so so first of all, what a CRM because this is this, whenever I use the word CRM with speakers, I can I see them glazing over? How do we make CRM slightly sexier for a cooler? -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Role Of CRM

Taylorr Payne 31:21
Yeah, honestly, it’s by realizing what you’re missing out on by not having one like, once you really understand that, then you just you desire that in your business. And I think there’s a there’s a point at which really having a CRM becomes painful, like if you’re doing any level of lead generation, following up setting follow up tasks, you need a CRM, but where most people fall short is they’re like, Okay, this CRM is really just a glorified Rolodex that tells me what to do when I need a follow up task. If you’re using follow up tasks, at best most people don’t. What a CRM really should do is keep track of every interaction somebody has had with you. So you can continue to tailor the experience. It should be the hub to your entire business, if somebody sends you an email, it’s in the CRM, do you send them an email, newsletter or campaign send the CRM, they complete a survey in the CRM, they sign a contract, you get the idea, right? Every interaction, your CRM is your hub. When the CRM becomes the hub, that’s when you can use data to make really intelligent decisions like James like, What if I told you after setting up a CRM, three to six months from now, you could know your highest performing lead sources across all of your conversion rates, for example, and then you figure out Wow, prospecting is doing 20% better than my SEO, okay, well, let’s put some more effort into that, or this industry is performing better than this ones, let’s put some more effort into that. You finally have someone to tell you what to do when you have a CRM dialed in, because you’re using the data to make decisions. And it’s not a guessing game about how to grow a business. Growing a business is very mechanical, you start somewhere, it gets some results, you have a feedback loop, you iterate, you do it again. And so as long as you have that data in place, and again, it’s still not that sexy when I say data and CRMs, and interactions and blah, blah, blah. But the question is, what kind of business do you want to build. And when I talk to most people that say, I want to be in the I want to be in the two comma club, seven figure speaker club, that’s what a lot of people aspire to be. You have to be prepared to run a seven figure business then. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 33:13
Yeah. And it’s interesting, you know, as you’re saying that, you know, the with the CRM, the way I like to think about it is almost being that mad experimenter. It does, I do feel it does require a different part of my brain getting into that space. And I love it. And I was saying to my wife the other day, I said, I had a really good day today, because I was just building out some campaigns in our CRM. And she’s like, that’s fun for you, you enjoy it, as it turns out, because because having built some of these little kit, we test these little campaigns is that prospecting different types of campaigns. And sometimes I’ll get this campaigns gonna crash here, this is going to be amazing success, all of this is going to be this is the smartest thing. And we’ll run it and it delivers zero, ad. Okay, so there’s a little bit of a knock to the ego, I guess. But then you try other things on my on my staff, my team suggests ideas. And I think that isn’t really going to what you do it and it flies as like, okay, that’s this, do more of that then. And so it’s quite nice to have that kind of feedback loop and a certain pretty quick feedback loop, you can get, you know, you can see what’s working within, you know, definitely within a month on things you mentioned. So part of the tool is finding helping find those leads, part two was helping you kind of put all this stuff together and understand the data and what the trends are. Another part that you have is, is kind of really the kind of outreach, so kind of tracking the flow of the process inquiry or the opportunity to booking to all those different stages. So take us through what that looks like. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Taylorr Payne 34:51
Yeah, for sure. So it all starts with a lead, right. So either you attract that lead because maybe it came into your website or they downloaded a lead magnet, or you found it, maybe using a Google Search LinkedIn, the Intel engine. And the whole idea is you take a lead and you follow up with them until they book a meeting, they express explicit interest in having a conversation with you. Now, sometimes you don’t book a meeting, you pick up a call, because you’re following up and they just happen to be in their office and you have a great conversation and it kind of naturally moves into an opportunity. But once that happens, and explicit interest is expressed, now we can walk them through the process. So we’re talking about it, and we’re qualifying each other to make sure we’re an okay fit and everything seems Okay, so let’s send a proposal and we send the proposal and they want to negotiate. So okay, let’s negotiate. And then they say, Yes, everything looks good. So we have a stage for that. And then you send out a contract, and then they sign it, and then it’s one, but you still haven’t delivered it yet, you still have it pending delivery, in essence, and you still have tasks to get done. So now you can go to the next stage, after you deliver that event and wrap up all your post sale tasks and all those things, then the idea of breaking this down stage by stage by stage is that you often have different tasks or things to do during that process, right? Aside from the data that you’re getting from it, you have different tasks you need to get done, when you send a contract when you close a speaking deal versus a coaching deal versus a consulting deal. And your CRM can keep track of all of that your event details, your program details, whether it’s live virtual or hybrid, your travel information, like it really should be the holistic place where all of that deal information is at. So by having all of those processes, what happens is when you start with a lead, you only know a little bit of information. But by the time you get to the end of the process, that entire record is filled out, you know them backwards, forwards and sideways. And you know how you’re going to provide value to them. So it’s a really simple workflow to make what is normally an intimidating process. Not so intimidating because it shouldn’t be -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 36:40
overcomplicated. So basically, what you’ve got there is like an N 10 solution from marketing, sales operations, or what some other people might say, attract, convert, deliver. And that kind of goes back into that that loop again. And I know some speakers even with their CRMs that even when they do a speech or a keynote or an event, they even mark on the CRM which jokes they taught us right. Because you know if there’s things that I did I did I say that story, I’d say that drove the market down as well. So we’ve spoken about a whole bunch of systems I’ve interested know, something I was we were talking with Maria franzoni. When you I think you came on this weekend events we were talking about it was KPIs. Pretty much every speaker of you mentioned has double comma clubs or seven figure speakers. They know their numbers. They know their KPIs. What are the numbers like when you have a client first comes to your speaker, they want you to help them kind of set these systems up, set them in place. What are the things that they’re always looking to tract? Or you’re suggesting? These are the numbers that you really need to be keeping an eye on? -How To Find Speaking Engagements


Tracking Numbers

Taylorr Payne 37:46
Yeah, for sure. So I think like the ones that matter the most like the ones that come front of mind for speakers when we have that conversation is how much new revenue did I close? But then naturally, the next question is, will like I have deposits, so I often get paid 5050 or I get paid net 30 after the event. So you also might want to know what cash flow is. So the two metrics that you need to know at a bare minimum is new revenue closed and your cash flow, how much cash flow you had come in cash at your bank account, of course, expenses, and then that just tells you your profit, right. So simple stuff there. But you also ideally want to know how your revenue breaks down by your lead sources where those are coming in from a lot of people, they might lean on some bureaus. Well, how productive are your bureaus? Right? How have they been pitching, you often? Have you been converting those deals where you where they pitch you? How much money has bureaus generated you with time, right? So that is often a common thing that people want to know who are often represented by bureaus, or just generally speaking, they just want to know where their revenue is coming from? Are they coming from other speakers or past clients referrals or bureaus? So I think breaking down your closed revenue by lead source is a really important first step, because it’s gonna give you some data on where your high performers are at. Aside from that, often someone’s depending on what the metrics are, that mattered to them is like number of keynotes delivered, this will tell them their average order or their average fee, right? So let’s say you deliver 10 keynotes for $100,000. That means you have an average of a $10,000 fee. So often, people will want to know what their average fee is over a period of time to make sure they have a system telling them that hey, your fee is too low, or you’ve been under quoting lately, so make sure you move it up a notch. And it’s often a way for you to I don’t know step up your sales ability and getting higher higher fee goals because you always have that metric in front of you saying hey, you’re underselling yourself or Good, good job. You’ve oversold yourself recently. So often a mechanism for keeping track of your average order value. -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 39:44
Now, something I always want I’m not sure if you have this as part of speaker flow. I would love it as a feature. I think it’d be a great interesting feature to have is often we get inquiries in that I can’t do all the not the right topic for me or the wrong fee level or whatever. The reason is, and in the past what I often used to do, I used to give it to an individual speaker. Sure. And I just said to them something, listen, if sometimes you say listening turns out well, it all happens. Great, just give me a bit of a reaction at the end of it, that’s fine. But I found that there was some of them through not being they weren’t trying to hide anything. They just, they just weren’t good at collecting data and reporting information. So I ended up moving a little while ago to just working with a couple of bureau partners who I know have really good systems they know when they are the inquiries come in from they’re running their reports all the time. And they can just say to me, yeah, James, we ended up booking this speaker, as a result, this was the fee. This was the commission. And here’s, here’s what we’re going to send you. And I mean, sometimes I’ll just say, listen, it’ll be relatively small amounts, let’s just give it to the local animal shelter. I don’t want to there’s no point is this is a relatively small number. But otherwise they can add up. So is that something, this ability for speakers to refer to other speakers for sure. And make a commission on that? Is that something you’d be able to build into the system? -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Taylorr Payne 41:03
Oh, yeah, certainly. So basically, we have a whole module called speakers. So and this is imagine, you know, this is a place where you can keep do competitive research, complimentary speeches, research, other speakers, keep track of the leads, you’ve sent them to keep track of the leads they’ve sent you. But also on the bureau side, right? Like, you might want to link opportunities, potential opportunities that you’ve referred to a bureau, and then track that commission revenue as a closed deal when that finally comes through if it comes through. But James, you know, if you’re sending a lead to a biro, much like a normal opportunity that you would need to follow up on, you probably want that in the pipeline as a potential opportunity. Maybe your standard is a 10%, commission rate on anything you refer. So that way, you have a mechanism to follow up with the bureau just in case they don’t get back to you, right, just to kind of a safety net, and so very much by using the same mechanisms in the CRM, that you would do a normal opportunity, really, you’re just referring a lead, and we can totally keep track of all of that. So that’s really the most important piece is how does money move on both sides of your spectrum, you sending other people money, other people sending you opportunities? And where’s your business coming from? -How To Find Speaking Engagements

James Taylor 42:09
Fantastic. Well, I think you’ve done you’ve also done an amazing job. I know you have a team as well, a great job on kind of building out speaker flow, starting to make speakers available, aware of the product that you have and the service that you have. If people want to learn more about the product or to learn check out the state of the speaking industry. where’s the best place to go and do that? -How To Find Speaking Engagements

Taylorr Payne 42:30
Yeah, so I would just go to one word no hyphen, speaker, comm slash speakers, that’ll bring you to the state of the industry report for 2021. You can give that a download, give that a read. And if we can be a resource, simply reach out, go ahead and digest all the content we have. But we’re in your neighborhood if you need us.

James Taylor 42:49
Well, thank you. And I’ll let you get back to playing that guitar because your guitar in the background that you’re going to enjoy for the rest of the evening. Thank you so much in great ways to you and Austin to speak as well.

Taylorr Payne 43:00
Thank you talk soon.

James Taylor 43:01
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. -How To Find Speaking Engagements