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How They Treat You and Your Success

One of our specialties is teaching people how to build their businesses by speaking.

Here’s how it works. Contact an organization whose members are in your target market and arrange to speak. Provide real value in your speech. Toward the end of the talk, offer attendees a complimentary coaching session or consultation with you.

Many of the folks who sign up for your complimentary sessions will become clients if you’re able to help them during the session and they see how you can continue to help them.

You typically don’t get paid to speak. You get “paid” on the back end as new clients sign up for your services. I’ve generated 3, 5, 7 … up to 13 new clients from a single presentation!

It’s a great model. I’ve been following it for 15 years now, speaking around the country to 15-20 groups a year, and I want to share something I’ve learned with you.

How a group treats you during the booking process is a really good indicator of how well you’ll do in terms of the new clients you’ll attract and the revenue you’ll generate from that engagement.

I’ve seen it play out many times over the years, and I want to alert you to the indicators that things might not work out as well as you’d hoped.

Are you getting the kind of support you need from them, so you can give their members what they need?

Do they return phone calls or answer emails in a timely fashion?

Are they easy to work with, or does it feel as if your requests for their time and attention are an imposition?

Do they want you as much as you want to speak to their group?

Do they seem indifferent, or are they really happy you’re coming and eager to work with you?

Are they open to helping you offset some of your expenses?

Do they clue you in on where to stay? Will someone drive you to the venue? Will they have someone there to help you take care of things on the day of the presentation?

Here’s the biggie: Will your talk be the main attraction … the central focus of the meeting … or is it basically a network event / business meeting … with you just an afterthought?

“We also have a speaker today…” That’s the kiss of death.

I spoke at an ICF chapter meeting in Nashville in mid-July. They really know how to take care of their speakers! It felt like a real partnership throughout. They looked out for me and took care of everything, so I could be at my very best for their members. Much appreciated.

Another coaching chapter wasn’t so great to me. Short of firing off red flares, I’m not sure how they could have given me a clearer warning of trouble ahead.

They made me jump through multiple hoops. Nothing really unreasonable. These were things I was happy to do, but they took quite a bit of time. They didn’t make it easy, but we reached an agreement and were at the point of contracting for a specific date when they had a change of leadership.

They wanted me to reapply and submit everything again, including a detailed, point-by-point outline of everything I’d talk about in my speech. Most unusual. There was no consideration given for the agreement we’d already reached or any acknowledgment of all the work we’d already put in.

I gave them what they requested … and they sent me a rejection notice in a standard, templated email.

I’m just glad to say they’re an outlier. Most groups are either good or great to work with. Just keep an eye out for groups that seem indifferent or where the speaker is more of an afterthought than the central focus.

I consider their rejection a gift.

Why? Simple. I’m not sure I could have served their members to the best of my ability, given their lack of respect and integrity. And my experience tells me I wouldn’t have found the kind of people who are a match for me in a group like that.

But let’s say you run into issues with a group. What do you do? Wait six months for the people in charge to change and see if you don’t get a better reception! It works.

The good news? It takes time to get a presentation scheduled, giving you plenty of time to size up who you’re dealing with … and decide if you really want to proceed.

Best Wishes,


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Meet Denise: Denise Hedges is a Business Development Coach and Speaker Coach for small business owners who want to be more comfortable, confident, and successful with their sales and marketing efforts. She specializes in helping them use speaking as a way to dramatically improve their results!