On a recent visit to my family in San Diego, we went to a restaurant for breakfast together. In the bathroom, the sink was emblazoned with a quote that literally made me LOL: “There are two rules for success: 1. Never tell everything you know.”
This sentiment immediately brought to mind the business owners I work with to develop speaking as a strategy to generate new clients. There are a lot of areas we work on together, such as how to get speaking engagements, create titles that draw in your ideal clients, make a sales offer without freaking out, and more. But the one of the biggest obstacles we tackle right away is exactly what that quote referenced.
They want to tell audiences everything they know.
It’s vitally important to structure your talk so that you do not share everything you know.
To be clear, this is not about withholding value! This is not that tacky, bait-and-switch approach to speaking. You’ve probably experienced this unpleasant technique: a speaker gives you 2 great tips, but those tips are totally useless unless you buy their program. Yuck. That’s not what we’re talking about here.
It is critically important that you learn how to provide extreme value without burying an audience in content. When you do bury them, it can lead to a “false close,” which roughly means that someone who hears your talk thinks that they’ve gotten everything they need and that what they heard is all you have to offer.
They feel 100% satisfied. They think they don’t need to hire you.
The problem is, no matter how long the talk, there is always more information, coaching, or guidance that can be given on your topic. If you aren’t clear about that fact, it’s damaging on many levels. Namely, to your reputation.
Let’s say you just delivered a talk overstuffed with content to a receptive audience of your ideal clients. At the end of the talk, your audience applauds and a dozen people tell you how much they loved it and love you. They leave the talk, go out into the world and say, “Wow, Mary really knows her stuff. I’m going to start doing what she taught us.” They start implementing and quickly run into a road block, because remember, no matter how long you spoke for, there is always more they need to know. They get frustrated and say, “Mary’s an idiot,” and your reputation suffers.
How do you fully show up and deliver solid value, but not “tell them everything you know”?
- Decrease your content, increase audience interaction. Interactions allow people to discover their own answers, and when they find those answers, they think you are brilliant.
- Define the next problem. You must inform your audience about the challenges they may encounter after starting to implement what you teach. For instance, if you teach about how to speak up to your family, you must let people know that you’re likely going to get an unwelcome reception from your family when you change the rules.
- Reveal the whole picture. If you’re teaching step one of a five-step system, make sure they know there is more to be had for best results. They won’t know this unless you tell them.
The results of this approach are twofold.
First, it puts your content in context so your audience members are better equipped to utilize your content and understand the potential challenges ahead.
Second, it clearly and respectfully shows you have more to offer, which elegantly lays the groundwork for them to become your client.
Now a disclaimer… please understand that this is a sharp but narrow focus on just one aspect of creating a talk that consistently generates clients. There are many other elements to consider.
My hope is that this perspective will help significantly improve the issue of content so you can start concentrating on the other important aspects of your talk: the credibility elements, planting marketing seeds, and the sales offer.
If you are a speaker and are not getting clients from your speaking engagements, take a look at your content. Use the tips in this article.
And if you’re very serious about building your business without working nights and weekends, and speaking is a part of how you want to build it, get in touch and let’s work together to make it happen!