A great corporate keynote speaker can transform an ordinary seminar or conference into a catalyst for increased sales, but only if you choose the right one. We have all experienced what a poor speaker does to us – it’s a snooze fest and our minds drift to lunch or our cell phones. Not exactly a great ROI on the speaker’s fee. So, event planners need to perform a bit of legwork to ensure a good match and get the biggest sales-boosting bang for the buck.
Here is a roundup of tips compiled from sources across the business world. They offer some food for thought when it comes time for you to book your next corporate keynote speakers.
Align content with your goals
Have you ever attended a conference where it seems they plucked some random speaker from a “I give speeches” directory somewhere, as their material has little to do with the rest of the subject matter presented at the conference? Some planners hire celebrities or sports figures which might evoke a few “wows!” and they deliver canned speeches that fail to tie into the theme of the event.
As relayed in Forbes, “Your speakers have to be able to connect the content of their speeches to your goals for the event because aligning your goals and tactics is what will make your event successful.” Some planners only want motivation. Others want entertainment. But for readers of this blog, you probably want some actionable tips on sales. Corporate keynote speakers should know what your end game is, and adjust their material accordingly.
Encourage a Q&A
The Eventbrite UK blog states, “Ask any delegate what they value most from a keynote speech, more often than not it comes from the questions they get to ask in the end, as this is the content that relates directly to them.”
Every corporate keynote speaker (and their bookers) should allow time for a Q&A session because this is what makes keynote material relevant to the audience. The engagement and interaction fostered by the Q&A aids in retention and application once the attendees return to the office as well. Depending on the conference format and speaker preferences, questions can be asked live via microphone, or filtered by a member of the event staff by requiring questions be written on note cards. Questions could even be tweeted to a specific account or using a special #hashtag.
Choose a speaker willing to take questions from the audience to boost your sales.
The best reviews are personal ones, rather than testimonials appearing on corporate keynote speakers’ websites, which are always going to portray them in the best light possible. Consult with your network for references, or check online reviews. Yelp also features reviews on certain speakers, believe it or not!
You can always ask professional planners for a recommendation in the event you don’t have another source. “Talk to your friends in the event planning industry before making your final selections for speakers to get the nitty-gritty on who you can rely on,” says Business2Community. Sage advice.
The better the speaker, the greater the chances are of boosting sales, so don’t skip this part.
Negotiate the fee
A post on Speaking.com offers this: “Work preferences of the speaker may give you some opportunity to negotiate…If your meeting is close to the speaker’s home…If speaking for your group serves as a good showcase of speaker’s talent to others who hire speakers, he or she may negotiate the fee. The speaker may negotiate if you pre-purchase for your attendees, books, or audio and videotapes.”
The point is, there is almost always a way to get a better deal for your events and make it a win for the corporate keynote speakers you contract with as well. Get creative – perhaps you can get a break on the fee if you allow the speaker to have a table or booth with their books for sale. If the books relate to selling, then this value-add could lead to boosting your own sales.
Keynote speaker Nina Spencer says, “Always insist on having the chance to talk directly with the speaker…not merely their representative! At least some of your decision may be based on a visceral intuition that this person is the right speaker for your event. The best way to confirm that for yourself is some form of real-time, direct contact.” In most cases, this means a phone call or Skype session.
By speaking directly to the person who will actually stand on stage and address your audience, you can gauge their energy level, charisma, and other intangibles which can either make or break the emotional connection with your attendees. Emotional connection leads to greater influence and a better chance for boosted sales after the conference is over.
Involve speakers beyond the keynote
One tip from Marketing Insider Group advises, “As the main feature of your event, you’ll squeeze a lot more orange juice out of your keynote speaker if they participate in the lead-up and the after effect … Pre-event social posts and video interviews, answering questions at a special conference luncheon or networking dinner, doing a podcast interview after the event.”
Pre-event interaction from corporate keynote speakers will build rapport with the audience and heighten anticipation for the keynote and event itself. This is also an excellent opportunity to gather questions for a Q&A at the end of the keynote. Questions left outstanding present another opportunity for further engagement via email, a personalized video, special luncheon or other follow up.
These activities will likely incur a higher fee, but the payoff will be worth it if the speaker truly makes the effort to connect with your employees.
Choose your corporate keynote speakers well, and you and your attendees will reap the benefits of a dynamic, engaging, and motivating experience which helps them win on the job and life. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?