Notice how a cheetah gets his dinner: He carefully approaches a herd of gazells, zebras, or some other yummy herbivors… he approaches super carefully… then he picks his target – only one target out of the hundreds or thousands of dinner pottentials in front of him (or her, to stay politically correct). Then he attacks! And BAMM!!! …well, he either succeeds or not; but this
strategy is key not only to a gourmet dinner once in a while, but to teh species survival. This FOCUS is what allows cheetahs – and many other predetors – survive.
Or think of a runner…
I recently interviewed Croix Sather, who set out to ran across the United States of America – from Los Angeles to New York – in 100 days… AND! Every day stop by a school, college, or business and give a motivational speech on How to Set and Accomplish Audacious Goals.
Listen to the interview here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/disc/2010/11/18/setting-and-achieving-audacious-goals
Wow! What a goal! What focus does it take to prepare for such a quest… But just like any other runner, in any other running race, Croix focuses on one outcome and he goes for it (if you want to support him OR want to keep up with his progress, visit his site/blog at http://www.dreambigactbig.com/ )
Most truly successful speakers are just as focused as a cheetah or a runner: they carefully pick a target (market) and go for it. When you pick a specific target market, it becomes much easier to market to them as you can find out exactly what are their pain/challenge areas and how you can EXACTLY help them.
I know speakers who speak mostly to colleges, or to financial institutions, others to insurance agents; and even a few who target only dentists or chiropractors (or other “small” niches) and they go around the country speaking at their events teaching them how to market their practices.
I underlined the word “mostly” above,” as it is the “law” of speaking that if you keep on speaking – no matter to what niche – by being seen and liked, you’ll be invited to neighboring (or totally foreign) niches. That is why I started this post with the mantra “Market narrowly – deliver broadly.”
When I started, in 2003, I marketed myself primarily to hospitals and social services organizations (I was a naughty boy – I attacked two niches at once — if the cheetah tried that, he’d die of hunger); and while I had some success speaking to these organizations, I got “kidnapped” from these niches. The more I spoke, the more I got invited to speak at events not related to these niches, so I ended up speaking also to management teams of resorts, Chamber of Commerce retreats, youth conferences and other events, and many other businesses, including a few keynotes (one of them at an international event, at the IRTA annual conference).
So… bottom line: Focus on one market! A market that will appreciate your background and you can easily gain credibility with them (see http://paidspeaker101.com/secrets-to-paid-public-speaking-success-10-of-101-position-yourself-as-an-expert/ on how to position yourself as an expert in any niche). Then market to this niche, showing understanding of their challenges.
If you have to, volunteer at a few of your niche’s events – or offer to create an event for them (such as a workshop that addresses a key pain/challenge they have). In exchange for providing the free workshop, ask to allow you to video your event and take photos (or you can create photos off the video footage), AND have them fill our a feedback form (contact me if you need a sample feedback form). This way it becomes a win-win: they get some valuable info, and you get to start becoming visible in your niche. You can also use snippets of the video on your blog or website as well as use the pictures on your marketing materials. You can use the feedback as well on your marketing material and your site/blog. After you do a few (2 to 5) free ones, you now are ready to start charging for your services.
Do you have to do free presentations to get started? Definitely NOT! If you cn position yourself properly right from the start, go for it! But if it doesn’t work, success beggets success; which means that if you present a few times at no charge and they like you, you can build upon that and grow it into a cash cow… and once you start speaking to your niche, it will be only a matter of a few presentations that you’ll start getting invites to neighboring niches as well (and, of course, no one will stop you from filling out RFPs – Requests for Proposals – in other niches, but focus most of your efforts on that one Zebra – I mean, that one niche, and I can almost guaranty your success (well, if you are good and provide some real solutions to your niche’s problems, I can guarantee your success – and of course you are good, right?).
Post some comments! Let me know what you think… Ask some follow-up questions – I’ll answer them all…
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