Two Motivational Speaker Styles – Be Sure You Know Which Style Is Right For Your Audience
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Motivational Speaker, Humorist, Seminar Leader
For you folks who prefer to read, here’s the transcript to the video:
Hey, it’s coffee time with Brad Montgomery and today we’re going to talk about product sales and motivational speakers and what that has to do with you. Well, I think it’s important for you to know when you’re hiring a speaker or a motivational speaker, business speaker, whatever, is what’s their position on selling product because there are two really distinct business models for speakers and you need to know what sort of business your speaker is in before you book them. And then even within that, there’s lots of variations, but let me walk through it.
There’s one type of speaker who’s main goal is not to sell to you, to be in front of your organization. Their main goal is to get in front of your audience to sell to them, which mean for those speakers, working for free is totally normal or a reduced fee or a ridiculously low fee, no problemo because they’re going to sell back of room, it’s called. They’re going to sell back of room stuff to your audience, coaching programs, books, DVD programs, whatever and sometimes the prices are exorbitant and so they can make a huge profit even if they don’t sell to you.
Now, the most common and famous take on this is when professional speakers rent out an arena. So I live in Denver, Colorado and they’ll rent out the Pepsi Center and they’ll bring in astronauts and former star athletes and former presidents and then a few killer ringer speakers and the goal really is to get the audience in there for, I mean they charge them $49 or $29 or $19 or $9 or nothing to get them in there because they know they want to sell that stuff and that’s how they make their money.
Alright, so that’s the most common model, but don’t be fooled. There’s plenty of speakers like this who are very happy to come to your association because they’re going to pitch their product to you guys. So that’s a really good question when you’re hiring a speaker is to say, tell me about product sales. Is that something you’re interested in and how does it work? Ask them what they’re selling. Ask them how much they cost. Alright, that’s going to be a hint.
Then there’s the other model of speaker. The other model of speaker is, by the way, this is my model of being a motivational speaker, my job is to come and deliver value to your audience on stage. That’s it. My job is to make sure that event totally rocks period and then in addition to that, I’ve got some books and I’ve got some CDs and I’ve got some other stuff that I’d love to sell your folks for two reasons.
Follow up Resources (books, for instance) Contribute to Lasting Change in Your Organization
One, of course, my kids need new shoes, but equally as important to that, I’m not really Wal-Mart. That’s not really where I make my income. My income comes from my clients. But I think it’s important that people leave with some sort of resource because in my case, it’s just really hard to make lasting change in 45 minutes or 90 minutes or a half day or even with a full day, it’s really hard to make lasting change without some sort of follow-up resource.
So I’m thrilled if I can get a book in their hands that they’ll refer to later or a CD in their hands that they’ll listen to in the car to reaffirm the deal. It’s not free, but that’s not where my money comes. My money comes because I charge up front for my services.
Alright, here’s another thing that I wanted to mention to you. Many meeting planners have been burned where they book a speaker that they think is that second category, somebody who they pay money to to deliver a program, but then that speaker really pushes hard and does kind of a hard sale from the stage, like you need to buy my stuff.
Well, it’s off-putting for the audience, isn’t it? It’s no good and it’s not what you want. So I think it’s really worth the conversation with your potential speaker to find out first, which business model are they in. They’re probably not going to tell you if they’re in that first category but you’ll be able to figure it out and if they’re in that second category, I would advise you not to say no immediately to product sales because I’ve done it so much, I can tell you, audiences sometimes crave it. They just really want those resources. Some of them want it as a souvenir, to be honest, to remember that event. Some of them want it to follow-up, but they’re really happy to buy it and at my live events, they’re priced really cheaply or at least affordably.
But if that bothers you, what you need to do is have that conversation with your speaker and say, well tell me about how you have mentioned your products on the stage, is there a time limit, how hard do you push and then here’s going to be the hard part. Follow-up, check references.
So then check their references and say, I’d really like to book this speaker, I’d like to honestly make sure the reference or the stuff is available for my people, his books and his CDs, but how is this selling from the stage? Was it pleasant and fun? Was it funny? Was it on target? Was it overdone? Was it heavy-handed? Was it brutal? Or what was it and then check with their folks and you can go forward. Was that helpful? I hope so.
My name is Brad Montgomery. I’m a motivational speaker. I’d love to be booked at your event. I promise, I won’t push hard for selling from the platform, but I think it is a good idea to sell because I think it helps you, it helps your audience and it helps you get that group from point A to point B.
Alright, you want to learn more? Come visit us at bradmontgomery.com.