[podcast] #1 way to Grow Your Coaching Practice – S2 Ep1

Hey, you guys, Brian Hilliard here, author of the bestselling book, Networking Like a Pro and you are listening to Brand & Grow Your Practice.

Now, today, we are going to talk a little bit about the number one way to grow your coaching or consulting practice in 2017. And it’s something where when I say it, you’ll be like, “Oh, maybe I’ve tried this before” or “Maybe I’ve thought about it.” A lot of service professionals just in general have done this maybe with mixed results. But I got to tell you, when it comes to growing and branding your practice in 2017, I really think public speaking is absolutely the way to go.

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And again, people might be like, “Whoa there, Brian! I’ve tried it before. I’ve been there, done it, and it hasn’t worked” or “I’ve done it and it hasn’t worked for a different reason.” I think one of the things where people miss especially when talking about coaches and things like that, I think the biggest mistake we make when doing this, is we have a tendency to kind of over-teach a little bit. And as a result of that, what happens is we just give away too much information and people don’t buy from us.

And I think a lot of times, when we’re talking about grow your practice through public speaking and all that kind of stuff, really, you want to keep a couple of things in mind:

Number one, you always want to provide a ton of value. That is absolutely crucial when public speaking. A lot of times, I think, as coaches and consultants, we’re natural teachers. I don’t think that’s a state secret. We’re natural teachers. We want to teach. We like teaching. We gain energy from teaching. We like learning ourselves. Generally speaking, most coaches are learners.

But where that gets us into trouble on the public speaking front as it relates to generating business for our practice is we over-teach, as I’ve already told you.

I remember the first time I went public speaking, I had slides. I had 32 or 35 slides, Powerpoint slides, bound together. And I think they cost me $5 a piece. There were 30 people in the room or whatever. It was a real expense. I don’t remember getting any business from that because I over-taught.

Now, the reason why people over-teach is because they don’t want to come across as being this over-the-top salesman. And I totally get that. The other side of the horse is not the people who over-teach, but the people who don’t teach you anything. You ever had that? You go through this 28-minute informercial and you’re like, “My gosh! I don’t think I got one useful point.” That’s also not the direction that you want to go. And I find that a lot of coaches, in their zeal to not be the over-the-top, in-your-face sales guy, they over-teach and give away too much.

Now, I said that there were a few things that you need to keep in mind. I would really encourage you to consider speaking as a way of getting clients.

And by the way, I’m talking about speaking at—it can be at different events. It can be a paid speaking event. But a lot of us, myself included, speak at free events. I speak at conferences and places like that. They’ll take care of my travel. I’ll speak at places where they pick up my whole tab.

I’ve also spoken at ton of places—Chambers of Commerce, business leads groups, service clubs where—where I didn’t get paid a dime. But I was able to generate revenue and business from that.

So, we’re talking about some do’s and don’ts, I guess—not just necessarily do’s and don’ts, but just two or three things to keep in mind when you’re doing this.

And by the way, just FYI, if you’d like we’ve been getting a lot of questions as it relates to monetizing a free speaking event. As a matter of fact, we’re actually going to be having a webinar. It’s going to be a free webinar on monetizing on monetizing a free speaking engagement. If you’d like some more information, by all means, swing on by our website. That is www.PracticeBuilderBlog.com/speaking. PracticeBuilderBlog.com/speaking, you take a look at our free webinar, get all the details and stuff like that.

Anyway, a couple of things that you want to keep in mind when it comes to generating business from these events. First of all, you want to create what Jeffrey Gitomer calls a “buying environment.” You want to create what Jeffrey Gitomer calls a “buying environment,” meaning there is nothing wrong with adding value—that’s actually the second point. We’ve already kind of talked about it, so these are kind of in reverse order I guess.

The buying environment is when you are doing an engagement with people, when you are speaking or whatever in the front of the room, at the end and certainly throughout (not just at the end, but certainly throughout), you want to let people know, hey, listen, you’ve got some stuff available for sale. You’ve got some stuff available for sale.

For me, it’s books and CD’s. For you, it might be something else, maybe CD’s. Maybe if it’s as simple as, “Hey, listen, we’ve got a podcast here for you. Come on and take a listen to that,” that’s fine.

There needs to be something when you’re talking to people when you are speaking where they can pull out their check book and potentially work with you.

Now, sometimes, people are hesitant to do that because they don’t want to have this hard sell. And I totally get that. So what I’ll do is I will say, “Hey, listen,”—I’ll just drop phrases like if somebody asks a question, I might say, “Well, that’s a great question. One of the things I talk about with my clients all the time is x” or I might say, “Boy, you know what? Really good point. I was actually making this point with one of my clients the other day” or I might even say something like, “You know, if you’d like to talk a little bit about maybe working together, if you have some questions or something like that, I’m not going to force you into anything, but if you want to talk a little bit about what it looks like working with somebody like me in the area of marketing, mindset and business success, by all means, swing on by. I’ll be here afterwards.”

So, there are different ways just like that where, in Gitomer’s terminology, you can create a buying environment. None of that, none of that, none of that is like, “YOU GOT TO BUY FROM ME RIGHT NOW!!! Now…”

I’m recording this actually in a parking lot. I got people looking at me.  But am I right?

So, what you want to do is you want to create a buying environment. I’ve given you a few ways you can do that.

And technically, just so we’re clear, that’s my second point. The first point was adding value. I talked a little bit about that, and I think that’s a natural for most people.

My third point as it relates why this is so important and why this is such a great deal in terms of growing your practice and really branding your practice into the New Year is because people respect and apply credibility towards others who are speaking.

I actually was writing an article on this a little while ago. I call it the “credible expert.” There are a few things that are still true in this country today. And one of them is that if you are speaking, people will absolutely give you a level of respect that may or may not be warranted, but they will give you the benefit of the doubt. What they say is, “Boy, you know what? If this guy or this gal is out there speaking, this person is in the front of the room, then they must know what they’re talking about” or somebody feels like they know what they’re talking about and they will give you the benefit of the doubt versus if you just met them, that same person, at a networking event.

So, speaking is so, so important. And when you’re out there, and you’re doing it right, you’re doing it the right way—what I always tell people is when you are monetizing a speaking engagement, when you’re monetizing let’s say a free speaking engagement specifically, you are balancing, striking the balance, between giving good information and also being able to provide what I call a “clear, firm offer.” We’ll talk about that maybe a little bit more.

But the idea is you  want to balance, you want to strike that balance between giving good information where—personally, at a half hour presentation, I like to limit myself to anywhere from three to five points. I have to do that because, otherwise, going back to the over-teaching, I would give like seven or eight, and it was too much.

And then, what happened was, people were like, “Ah, well, I don’t need anything from you. Can I look it up on the website?” That’s the phrase of death, “I’ll look it up on the website.”

So, what you want to do is three things in terms of growing your practice in 2007 as it relates to speaking obviously:

Number one, you want to make sure that you give good value and give good content;

Number two, you want to make sure that as  you’re doing that, you’re creating a buying environment (that’s the words of Jeffrey Gitomer);

And then, number three, when you’re going out there and you’re engaging people and you’re having this conversation, you want to make sure that you’re coming across as a credible expert, you’re coming across as somebody who, “Boy, you know what? This guy knows what he’s talking about. They know what they’re doing. And this makes all kinds of sense.”

Remember, we have got our webinar. It’s a free webinar on how to monetize a free speaking engagement. You can check that out at www.PracticeBuilderBlog.com/speaking. You get all the details, all the good stuff, and we will take a deep dive into that.

But in the meantime, my name is Brian Hilliard saying, “So long, take care. And thank you for your time.”