Have you tried speaking to groups as a marketing strategy?

In last week's column on using tip sheets I mentioned the value of sharing helpful ideas with potential clients in a written format.
The good news is that the same information in a tip sheet can also work well if you share it by speaking to a group of people.

Here's an example to start you thinking...

Many years ago I had a sales training business and met regularly with a number of sales managers. One of these sales managers asked me if I would mind speaking to his local Rotary club on customer service.


I agreed to do it, even though at this point I had never spoken to any group on customer service. (In fact I had hardly spoken to many groups at all.)

I asked how long I had to speak and was told I had about 15-20 minutes.

I decided to call my talk 'Three ways to use customer service for an unfair business advantage'.

Now all I had to do was come up with three useful ideas about customer service and spend about five minutes talking on each idea.

I chose three very simple ideas on customer service.

The first idea was 'In customer service everything you do either helps you or hurts you'. The second idea was 'There are two things every customer really wants'. The third idea was 'Good customer service is actually very bad for your business.' (This last idea was deliberately controversial because I wanted people to remember it.)

I then made sure I could speak for a few minutes on each of these three ideas and explain how to use them in any business. I picked one relevant story or example for each of these three ideas and I was ready to give my talk.

I believe the secret to giving a good group talk is this:

Always give your audience some useful ideas that will help them to either solve a problem they have or will help them to improve their lives in some way.

When I gave my talk on customer service to a Rotary Group I spoke to about 35 people. One of the people in the audience came up to me at after my talk and gave me his business card. He was the director of a large automotive wholesale company and wanted to talk to me about training his sales people to make more sales. A few weeks later this person gave me an order for a large sales training programme for his people. He became a very good long term client and it all started with a short talk to his Rotary Group.

You can give a good group talk even if you don't think you are good at public speaking. The key is to focus on helping your audience with useful tips and ideas rather than worrying about how well you are speaking.

I was talking with the owner of a retail store that sold men's suits and he told me that he had given a short presentation to a number of key people in a legal firm.

He shared some simple ideas and tips on how to pick the right suit and tie that makes you look good. As well as some common suit mistakes to avoid. His audience loved his ideas and he picked up several new clients within the next few days.

Talking to groups can be a useful marketing tool for many businesses.

And is worth considering.

"Great minds talk about ideas, Average minds talk about things, Small minds talk about other people."
Action Exercise:
Create a short 10-15 minute talk that has useful tips and ideas related to your products and services. Offer to give this talk to several local groups that have people who could be potential clients for your business.