Speaking Business Success Strategies Part II: The Rising Superstar (or Intermediate Speaker)

By Jane Atkinson

Last week we started our series on speaking business success strategies that will help you weave your way through the more challenging times in a speaking business. Part I of our series focused on the Emerging Speaker. This week we are focusing on the Rising Superstars or Intermediate Speaker, and the challenges they commonly face and strategies to help. And for you who are emerging speakers, take notes for the future.

The Rising Superstar, or Intermediate Speaker, is someone whose speaking business is off the ground and they have some momentum for getting booked. They are likely earning over $5K per speech and have some solid marketing and business systems in place. Sound like you?

If so, let’s dive into what some of the growing pains you may be experiencing and some solid strategies to keep you on track and growing.

Consistent Calendar

Let’s face it; this business can be tricky. Sometimes it’s feast or famine!

One month you might have six bookings and another you might have zero. I have clients who could book into every month, even July and December, but they choose to just take those months off the calendar in order to regroup and spend time on business strategy.

The speaking business is a numbers game. How you get there is by consistently planting seeds through social media, blog posts, podcasts, and outbound marketing.

In our last post, we mentioned Kindra Hall and her strategy for reaching out to find prospects. To continue that, Kindra noticed that after she’d sent out her 600 emails, followed up and booked a lot of business, she didn’t have more in the pipeline. She had to go back to the seed planting game again. Now her marketing machine runs even when she is busy on the road. Now, it’s no more feast or famine for Kindra.

Speaking Business Success Strategy Tip:  While the business is never really going to have any logical ebb and flow, the goal is to get to the point where you can cherry pick your engagements based on what’s perfect for you. I know this might seem crazy foreign to many of you now, but getting your incoming inquiries to the level where you have to say “no” is the goal.

Sticking to Your Fees

One of the biggest problems I see with our Rising Superstar speakers is that they are constantly getting beat up on fees. You get the call; you get all excited about working with the client and then when they say they don’t have a budget, you cave and accept less than your fee.

You justify it to yourself because:

a.) you wanted the business.

b.) you are afraid to pass up this much money

Don’t beat yourself up. This is a common growing pain for Rising Superstar speakers. Your focus needs to be on working past this – and that all starts with changing your mindset.

Speaking Business Success Strategy Tip: Remember that old saying from Alan Weiss: the first sale is to yourself. It is so true! I get a front-row view of how my clients deal with their fees based on where their mindset lies. I have one client who is determined to stick her fee and does so 90% of the time. She knows her value and stands tall in her “ask.” I have someone else with a similar topic who is constantly negotiating and getting beat up on fees. What’s the difference?  Mindset. When you are clear on your value, you are able to stick to the fee more often.

Lack of Systems to Scale

How a speaker can get to over $200K per year while working off of spreadsheets just totally baffles my mind. This is a business. A business requires systems.

When you follow a clients progress within a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), you have everything you need to know about that customer in one place. It answers the questions:

  • When did you first talk to that customer
  • What did you talk about
  • How many people will be at their event
  • Where will it be
  • Who did they have speak last year
  • What is their budget
  • Where is the copy of their contract with you
  • What date is the time of your conference call with them
  • Did you send out the travel expenses

If you use the right tools and have the right systems in place, everything pertaining to this client will be in one location, making it easier to communicate and track the progress of the sales cycle.

A CRM is just one of the systems that are required. Here’s a list of other business tools you should consider having in place:

  • Accounting software
  • CRM – we like Karma for Speakers and Keap (formerly Infusionsoft)
  • Email Marketing (included in both systems mentioned above)
  • Event Manager – we like eSpeakers
  • Project Manager – we like Asana
  • Team Communication – we like Slack

These are the basics and I hope you’ll check into your systems to see where you might be in need of some additions.

Speaking Business Success Strategy Tip: When you are at this level of speaking and looking at putting new systems in place, don’t only think about the needs of your business today, but also where you want to be in three years and five years. By taking your time and ensuring you have systems that can grow with you, you’ll be able to scale at a faster rate without having to reinvest or update systems year after year.

A Rising Star Speaker Spotlight

Rhonda is a Rising Star speaker and a member of our Inner Circle Mastermind program. When she started with us, her business was crazy busy. On the outside looking in you’d think that everything was hunky dory. However, the types of business Rhonda was accepting were often outside of her lane and at low fees. Rhonda was treading water to try and manage it all, but there was no strategy in place.

After a year of thinking about her business more strategically, Rhonda has raised her fees (more than once), dropped some of her low paying clients, developed an online course and several other passive income streams. She’s continuing her momentum, while at the same time doing what it takes to ensure she doesn’t get caught in the “busy” trap anymore.

Can you relate to Rhonda?

Growing pains for the Rising Superstar speaker can sometimes hurt… a lot. I realize it as I’ve gone through them as well. However, when you invest in the right systems, learn the mindset required to stand tall in your fees and create consistency in your marketing, you’ll see that your business can run, and run well, even while you are on the road.

And that’s a beautiful thing.

Next week we’ll talk about speaking success strategies of a seasoned speaker. Because guess what? The pains don’t really stop; they just change and evolve as you grow your business and income.

See you soon Wealthy Speaker!