Who is Really Responsible for Selling Your Services?

Wish I had a buck for every time I have seen this request on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Also, this is the most common question I’m asked when with speakers.

My reply is, “Of course you do!” It’s just not that easy. There are very few agents working with speakers and they are working with the high fee speakers. For the rest of us mere mortals, we really have few choices.

I also hear “I want to hire someone and will pay them a generous commission!” Of course, you would, anyone would. Problem with this arrangement? Lead times. Rarely (if ever) when you call will someone say they are currently planning a meeting and you would be a perfect fit! When your employee starts seeking out opportunities it may be months before anything materializes. Meanwhile, they are being paid zip. Not fun for the employee. Further, there are certain other administrative tasks associated with outbound marketing. They should be compensated for doing them.

I wrote a two-part post on speaker bureaus earlier. They approach you if interested; few want to be approached by you. The best way to get in with a bureau is to take part in a “Showcase” if they do them, or, have a friend who works with them introduce you in. To work with a bureau you have to have a great positioning, top-notch marketing materials, website, and track record of success with many testimonials and typically a fee of at least $5,000. For finding you a gig the bureau takes 30%.

My best advice when wanting someone to sell for you is to hire someone part-time to do outbound calls. They need to qualify (use my system for success!) and either try to book it or turn the decision maker over to you. It’s not easy finding someone to do this. And they should know your material inside and out. They should read everything you’ve written, see any film, and hopefully have an opportunity to see you present in person. That’s when the employee really feels invested in your business!

Is it hard to find someone? Sometimes. I say look for stay at home moms. They can do phone work while their kids are in school. The best way to find someone is to put the word out. Tell everyone you know you are looking for someone part time and it will involve heavy phone work. Your success in business is a direct result of the number of outbound calls that go out on your behalf. Get that? Many want a magic bullet, anything besides having to do a phone call to connect with a decision maker. The simple fact is this. To do an adequate job of qualifying, you must, must have a conversation, ask questions and get answers. You can move a relationship along with email, social media, etc. but to qualify, to know if you are ever going to work with the prospect, you must ask qualifying questions over the phone. Do I need to repeat it for emphasis? Your employee needs to know this. Be brutally honest about duties. Seek out someone who has been in customer service or sales.

Many speakers are seeking the services of virtual assistants. I think that’s fine. But there are arrangements that must be made in order to make it work. First, you must feel a strong sense of trust in this person. After all, they will be working on their own without your supervision. You must be able to share a database so each can see what the other is doing. I always suggest a weekly report using my qualifying system to tell you how many great leads you got during the week, good news, bad news, anything else you want to include. These reports, however, should be short. You don’t want any employee to spend too much time making reports!

One more question I’m always asked connected to this. Is it better to have someone else call besides me? Does it diminish me in the eyes of the client if I’m doing my own selling? In a word … NO! Regardless of whether you are going to have someone making calls on your behalf you still must be the BEST at selling yourself! You should always be selling yourself along with any employee you hire.

So, you want an agent to do your bidding? So does everyone else! I feel that if you follow my advice, you may have a better shot at making progress with a salesperson. Further, if you have me train them how to sell, they’ll have an even better chance of success! If I can help you, give me a call!

Lois Creamer works with professional speakers who want to book more business, make more money and avoid costly mistakes! She can be reached in the following ways:

Twitter: @loiscreamer
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/loiscreamer
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/loiscreamer
For more information on Lois’ business check out http://www.bookmorebusiness.com as well as http://www.bookmorebusiness.tv!