5 Keys to Scaling Your Speaking Business

By Jane Atkinson

Getting your speaking business off the ground is one thing. You’ve worked hard to pick your lane and develop systems for getting booked—it likely hasn’t been easy. But the reality of scaling your speaking business is that what got you to your first $100K is NOT going to get you to $500K or beyond.

We have a question on our intake forms that ask about revenue goals, and many of my clients have a goal to earn between $150,000 and $500,000 per year. That’s an excellent goal and entirely doable with the right formula. And today I’m going to let you in on some of the crucial elements of that formula.

5 Keys to Scaling Your Speaking Business

Here are 5 strategies that will allow you to map out your path to that elusive next level.

1. Engage in Consistent Outbound Lead Generation

For the purpose of this post, let’s talk about lead generation as building your email list for marketing purposes. Having a strong list of emails of people who have raised their hand and said, “I’m interested in what you have to say” will be important. It leaves you in the driver’s seat, landing right in their inbox rather than hoping that your message gets through on social media or other mediums.

A part of your strategy as your business grows will be to collect names and emails using a “text to this number” system. This will allow you to get capture leads right from the audience you are speaking to.

For example, Neen James uses Lead Digits which is connected to LeadPages (which houses the giveaway she’s offering and is connected to her MailChimp newsletter list). When people text the word ATTENTION to 66-866, they enter in their email address and then they are automatically entered to receive Neen’s newsletter, and maybe one day will lead to future business.

When she shares this from the stage, she explains the process so that people understand they will hear from her. She explains that you would never want to ‘spam’ someone, or add them to your list without permission.

(Note: if you speak in both Canada and the US, make sure your platform works in both countries!)

2. Level-Up Your Marketing

When you’re just getting started, your website and video need to good. But to move past $100K, you now need your front line marketing tools to be AWESOME. This is an area that you won’t want to scrimp on. Taking a do-it-yourself approach is not an option.

One of my clients was considering one company to create his new logo, branded website, and video. And certainly, you get some consistency from a one-stop-shop. But if I’m going to spend $10-$15K on a video, I want the best in the business. Not someone who does it “on the side.”  Same goes for websites: you want people who do websites all day long.

(Check out my podcast with Chris West on what to look for in a demo reel.)

Remember, what got you to that first $100K will not get you to $500K, so think bigger and better with your marketing materials.

3. Create an Epic Presentation 

Your presentation should never be “done.” When scaling your speaking business, you’re taking everything to the next level. It’s difficult to want to work on your presentation when you have people telling you how great you are all day long. But I often “gift” my clients with hard truths—the things that nobody else is going to tell you but you need to hear. Find someone who will give you the hard truth about your presentation, and get to work on making your presentation EPIC if you want to achieve those higher levels of income.

Remember, “there is no better form of marketing than a great speech.”

there is no better form of marketing than a great speech.”

Often the thing to check in on (with keynotes) is your balance of storytelling and teaching. Many of my clients start out with 90 percent teaching and 10 percent story. We try to push them towards 60-40, as stories are so much more memorable than bullet points. And, a keynote doesn’t need quite as much content as most people think. Less is indeed more.  

Check out my podcasts with Kelly Swanson on this topic: Crafting Stories that Connect and Engage, and Spontaneity, Stories, and Humor.

4. Create a Healthy Sales Pipeline with Tracking

Getting to the next level means creating consistent outbound marketing strategies. I’ve talked before about how Kindra Hall sent out 600 emails to launch her speaking business. But when all of those speaking engagements had been delivered, Kindra realized that her pipeline was dry.  

She discovered that she had to consistently reach out to clients in order to keep the sales pumping. Today, Kindra has a terrific system for keeping her calendar busy, and although she’s hot hot hot on the circuit, she will not stop her outreach programs.

We’ve talked about CRM’s before in this blog, and I just can’t emphasize enough how important keeping track of everything related to one customer in one place can be.

Imagine tracking:

  • Which of your emails a client has opened
  • When you spoke to them and what was said
  • The moment you agreed on a date and fee for an engagement
  • The speaking agreement and all of its contents attached to their file, along with all communication
  • The details of all prospects in searchable fields in your database (for example, want to know what month they plan their event in? Put it in a searchable field and know everyone who’s planning in any given month.)
  • What industry all of your prospects are in – again so that you can search and market to specific industries

You can talk to all of the people that you want but making sure that those prospective buyers don’t fall through the cracks is the most important piece of the pipeline puzzle. 

5. Build a Small but Mighty Team

Build a Small but Mighty Team

Sure, there are people who get to into some great revenue models without any help from anyone. But removing all of the tasks from your plate that you shouldn’t be doing frees you up to do what you do best. Imagine your day when all you do are the jobs that you love – creating content, prepping for prezzies, talking to clients, and delivering speeches. How does that sound?  

I believe the reason why my team – a small but mighty team of 5 – works well is because I have everyone on the team working within their strengths (or genius zones). I have consciously attempted (not always successfully) to be a better leader to this small but mighty team, and I believe we can move mountains because of them.  

Rather than trying to hire one person for everything, consider hiring people for their core competency. When people get bogged down doing tasks that are not their strengths, they fizzle out and lose passion for the job more quickly.

Thinking like a leader, rather than a speaker, is helpful when scaling your speaking business.

These 5 keys are not the only elements required for scaling your speaking business, but if you master these, you’ll have a very strong foundation and be on the path to that half-million per year in revenue.

See you soon, Wealthy Speaker!