As a speaker I often get speaking gigs out of town, simply based on references from others – or I have to say that at times simply on basis of trust: they like my topic, my topic description, the audio/video sample I send, etc….
However, when I started out – not as a speaker, but as a business coach – back in 2003, I found that most business that I was getting was local, and mostly from people I met in person. In fact, I got into public speaking simply to get more clients for my coaching practice…
As I started noticing the truth behind “People do business with people they know and trust,” I thought that the best way to get visibility in my community is through workshops and seminars. When people meet you face to face as a workshop-presenter, you position yourself as an expert on the topic and you start developing a relationship with your prospect – a trust relationship.
So, what are some ways to develop a relationship and trust with your prospects?
- Public speaking – put on workshops, or volunteer to speak at local groups such as Rotary club, Kiwanis; or at businesses that bring in speakers to address their employees. Many businesses bring in outside speakers to speak on different topics; and, guess what? some will even pay for your time. — Make sure to present topics that are in line with your expertise and share some valuable information, without selling the whole “cow.” (YOu can join your local Toastmasters club to improve your public speaking skills, as well as to gain new prospects through networking with your fellow toastmasters — you can make several of your speeches on the topics of your business)
- Volunteer to serve on organizations around you.
- Join your Chamber of Commerce and volunteer to serve on different commitees (as well as to present workshops to their members on the topic of your “expertise”)
- volunteer a few hours a month at your local Habitat for Humanity
- find out what other organizatins are there in your community and regularly contribute some time (without over-doing it) to the cause that’s closest to your heartThrough regular “serving your community” you get more and more expossure and get to develop relationships and trust with other leaders in the community… Through these relationships you often end up getting business directly from the people you meet and/or referrals from these people.
- Write articles and publish them online and whenever possible in your own community. Look for small papers, newsletters, etc. that are in your niche and try to publish your articles in their publication. Your articles don’t have to be long – they can be “Top Ten Ways to…” kind of articles, or other short “tips” articles.
- Publish a book! Start with a bookle – or booklets – and with time grow that booklet(s) into a book. The title “author” is a great way to improve your credibility and expert status.
Bottom line is, stay visible and build relationships. By applying one or several of the above suggestions it is almost guarranteed to increase your sales.
How will you use this information to the fullest?
* Image courtesy of Reynermedia