There are hundreds of meeting planners, speaker bureaus, agencies, and corporate event producers out there, and there are hundreds of acts that want to work with them. All of these producers have their stable of acts that they’ve been using for a long time, and really why would they want to try something new?
Do you ever try something new at a grocery store or restaurant? Why? Why don’t you stick with what you like? What is it that hooks you and forces you to pick it up off the shelf or order it from the menu?
Is it the packaging? The promise? The reputation? Or is it your state of mind at the moment? There are a lot of things that go into the decisions we make to buy something or someone.
Producers and meeting planners are regular people and they respond to the same stimulus as everyone else.
No one in this business is all the time 100% happy with who they are currently booking, and to survive they have to be on the prowl for new talent. They exist on repeat business from their clients, and they can’t keep submitting the same ideas. A huge disservice they would be doing if they did!
Their job is to keep an eye out for who’s up and coming, who offers more to their clients, and who has an irresistible marketing package that well make the sell really easy. Your job is to make yourself look as good as a new cereal on the shelf or a special on that menu.
At its core, this comes down to building a rapport. Listen to the interview with Shamus Brown under the Interviews section on this website. He delivers the scoop on building rapport like no one I’ve ever heard!
What you need in order to deliver this on a phone call or through some sort of communication is to have an excellent elevator speech.
What’s an elevator speech? The old saying is that it is a speech you give to somebody between floors on an elevator that tells them what you do and gets them hooked on your business.
I like to look at elevator speeches as a 3-part program.
- The first part is to make it so good that the prospect can’t do anything except say, “Tell me more!”
- The second part is the nuts of it. She has given you permission to go deeper into who you are and why they would want to have you on their team. In marketing terms, that’s called an opt in. You have been given permission to send more emails or information, and that is a great place to be.
- The third part is where you get their contact info and follow up with either a press kit or website link.
Ok, there is a lot of stuff going on here. Take a breath!
How do you deliver those things on the phone with a prospective meeting planner or corporate event producer?
It’s an elevator pitch, so let’s break this down.
You have to make it effective. To do that, you want it to sound effortless, conversational, and very natural. It should open a window to your personality. Work on sharpening it, getting the focus tight, and eliminating unnecessary words or confusing passages.
- Make sure it doesn’t end with the prospect saying, “So what?” or “and?”
- Consider including a compelling “hook,” an intriguing aspect that will engage the listener, prompt him or her to ask questions, and keep the conversation going.
- Make your pitch warm, friendly, confident, passionate, and enthusiastic. Memorize it, but don’t ever let it sound like it’s memorized. Make each sentence a benefit! Go listen to Day 4 of the training course if you aren’t clear on what that means. Take all your features, and turn them into benefits, and always end it with an open-ended question.
- What are your clients asking for right now?
- What is the biggest problem you’ve had with entertainment at events?
- What is your philosophy regarding hiring entertainers for corporate events?
- What are some of the ways you have effectively used <insert your specialty!> in corporate events in the past?
Here are some things not to do:
- Don’t say your speech to any prospect if it sounds canned or like you’re reading it. Don’t ramble on or use a bunch of jargon. If the words “rider, stage-manager, or rear-projection” are in there, you’re not done refining it!
- Never rush – this isn’t a sprint. You are trying to build rapport. Judge how they are accepting you and adapt. Don’t be afraid to leave your elevator pitch on voicemail if that’s where you land. You might even get a better response if they call you back. If they don’t, at least you’ll have an opening when you call them back. You will call them back in about three days.
- Don’t make it all about you – think benefits, benefits, benefits!
If this kind of thing makes you squirm, take one morning or night a week and join Toastmasters. You can give 10 speeches and every one of them can be speeches you can use in your business. At the end of your certification you’ll be so comfortable talking to new prospects on the phone you’ll wonder why you waited so long.
I have done Toastmasters, and I love it! I really recommend it for getting in touch with prospects and being able to effectively communicate your elevator speech and anything else about your business.
Here are some examples of elevator speeches I found by Googling elevator speeches. They are really cool!
“I crunch bits and bytes for breakfast. I’m a software engineer who designs applications that don’t go snap, crackle or pop. I’m Tony “the Tiger” Pignoli, a consultant with fifteen years experience as a software engineer and an insatiable appetite for new projects. What projects are on your plate at this time?”
“Hi, I harness the forces of Mother Nature and put them to work for you. I’m Arnold Karman; I’m an architectural consultant with a civil engineering background, specializing in building bridges, roads and other thoroughfares. I help you get where you’re going safely and expediently! So… where are you heading?”
After building some rapport and they end it, ask them to take action: give you an email, accept your package in the mail, or take a look at your website and accept the follow up call you’ll make in 3 days.
Getting in is all about building rapport. The best way to do that is to have a tight, concise elevator speech that just nails your benefits and makes you sound like a good person which which to do business.
- They need new acts to pitch, so build that rapport.
- Memorize, work on, and refine that elevator speech.
- Have a call to action, and if all that makes you nervous, jump into a local Toastmasters meeting.
They are actually a lot of fun, and they are free. Practice with your friends or master mind group. Hey, give me a call and practice on me!
This is Barry, and I will see you on the road.