The title of today’s blog might sound like a paradox. How will speaking for free help you book more paid speaking opportunities?
It’s all about adjusting your mindset about what “free” means. For insight on this topic, we turned to Darren LaCroix, CSP, a multi-talented keynote speaker, coach and course creator (he’s created 82 to date!).
The tips he shares are sink-your-teeth-into actionable for learning how to use free webinars to get paid speaking opportunities on big stages. And even better — LaCroix shares the sources of much of his wisdom, so if you want to go deeper into some of the concepts mentioned here, names and links are provided.
Don’t Try to Reinvent the Wheel — Follow What is Known to Work
If you don’t know the first thing about creating a webinar or online course, this part of the article is for you.
LaCroix recommends “Expert Secrets” by Russell Brunson (he is not an affiliate, he simply uses the system and it works for him) which has a chapter called “The Perfect Webinar.”
In that chapter, you learn step-by-step how to lay out your slides and why.
For example, right up front, with whatever you’re teaching, you will want to acknowledge the problem your audience has, and that if they’re not where they want to be — that it’s not their fault. This relieves any guilt and opens them up to what you have to say.
Then, it’s recommended you follow that up with a slide about “Why” and “What they need.” The “Why,” should be something external. Most often it’s that there is bad or outdated information out there. The “What they need” is the right people with the right experience helping them. And yes, that is YOU.
If you want to use your webinar to get more paid speaking opportunities, you are using this approach to teach the audience the deeper “why” for their problem.
And “how” do they solve it? Ideally you have a process to help them get there, and during your webinar you may give them some insights, but you don’t give them the entire “how.” They’ll feel “full,” and they won’t see a need for anything else.
You want to sell them the “how” at the end of your webinar. It’s up to you what that will be, whether it’s a service (keynote speaking, emcee hosting, coaching) or a product (books, courses, subscriptions), or both.
And it will be much easier to sell your audience something following an insightful, valuable webinar. Speaking for free via a webinar is a wonderful way to build rapport. You’re giving content away and letting people get to know you for an hour, and then following the meat of the webinar, you can follow the natural path into a sales pitch. With the audience right there with you, you get to handle objections on an interactive level. This can be much more influential and impactful than a static sales page.
Which brings us to a final tip on the webinar: be sure to write out all the objections to your sale beforehand. That way, you are prepared to handle each one as quickly, clearly and succinctly as possible, when you’re put “on the spot.”
Now that you have the structure of how to create a webinar course where you essentially speak for free — we have to acknowledge the #1 challenge facing all business owners. Even if you create an amazing online course or a relevant webinar, if you don’t have a sufficient audience to market to, then what’s the point?
Creating Rapport: Build Your List & Deliver Content
In his interview with Thom Singer on Speakernomics, LaCroix harkened back to something Dan Kennedy, a marketing guru, shared at a NSA chapter meeting early on in his career: “Speaking is a way to build a list, collect names, and then sell them stuff later on.”
Now, that might seem like a very simplified view of your life’s passion, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t some truth to it. And that bit of truth is about approaching your speaking business with a sales mindset. Because if we approach “speaking for free” as a way to build your list so that you have a bigger audience to sell your services to, then perhaps it doesn’t sound so unapproachable.
Because the most profitable thing you can do is launch a new program, book, or a service to an email list you have rapport with.
How do you accomplish that? The philosophy of LaCroix is: “You must build it, touch it, serve it!”
First, you have to build that email list. If you have a website, do you have a lead magnet or giveaway? Essentially, you must give people a reason to give you their email. Everytime you present on stage or virtually, paid or for free, is an opportunity to build your list.
But it’s not just the size of your list that matters — you must also have some level of rapport with your list in order for it to be profitable. And you solidify that rapport by serving your list and delivering valuable content, like free webinars.
We’ll leave you with this tip. If you never taught before, you might not be fantastic right off the bat. But with all skills, you will improve with time and you will learn as you go, so don’t be discouraged by any initial efforts that might not live up to your expectations.
We also recommend you listen to the entirety of the Speakernomics episode, Speaking for Free with Darren LaCroix, to glean all the gold about speaking for free to get more paid speaking opportunities.
Want more tips on growing your speaking business from veteran members of the National Speakers Association? We have the resources you need! Check out these articles below: