As a professional speaker, your proposal is one of the most crucial components of your entire sales cycle. It’s also one of your biggest opportunities to lose revenue.
Because, while you might be great at wooing meeting planners in person or on the phone, there’s a good chance you’ll never hear back if your proposal isn’t tailored to their needs.
With that in mind, we spoke with Shawn Rhodes at Speaker Sales Systems about three things to do in your speaker proposal if you absolutely want to lose revenue (or to avoid if you want to increase your income and the impact on your audience!).
Here’s what he had to say.
Revenue Killer #1: Inundating Your Customers With Options
One of the fastest ways to lose revenue in your speaker proposals is to inundate your customers with options.
“For a lot of speakers, their gut instinct is to give their customers ample options,” says Rhodes. “For instance, this could be offering Silver, Gold, and Platinum tiers of their speaking services. The rationale here is that if the customer can’t afford your gold or platinum packages, they’ll at least buy your silver one. But this is a huge mistake.”
Rhodes continues, “The problem is that most speakers don’t ask why the event is happening and as a result, they don’t seize the opportunity to explain why all of the things in their gold and platinum-level packages — such as books, articles, videos, panels, and breakouts — will provide event planners with exactly what they’re looking for. The reality is that if they’re looking for all those things, they’ll be more likely to choose those options. But all too often, customers simply don’t understand how all those extra things can drive the solution they’re hiring you to deliver and will choose to spend their extra money elsewhere.”
Ultimately, Rhodes explains, too many options serve only to confuse your buyers. And when buyers get confused, they generally opt for the cheapest option.
He elaborates, “If your event planner is faced with 18 options and no way to link each of them to the solution they need, they’ll likely choose the cheapest option to just be done with the decision and save the most money.”
It’s only once your customer understand their options that they can make an informed decision.
Rhodes explains, “Once your buyer understands how all of the features of your premium offering will drive the results they want to achieve, they either accept the top-tier package or they say they don’t have the budget for it all. And that’s when the negotiation begins.”
So, if you’re looking for a surefire way to minimize your revenue from a gig, make sure to inundate your customer with a ton of options that confuse them and lengthen the sales process. Or, if you want to maximize revenue, offer a fewer number of hyper-focused value packages based on your customer’s exact needs.
Revenue Killer #2: Foregoing a Sense of Scarcity
Another quick way in which you can ensure your speaker proposal will lose you revenue is by avoiding a sense of scarcity and immediacy.
“Speakers are usually horrendous at driving scarcity and immediacy with their keynote sales,” explains Rhodes. “This is a great way to live in a feast-to-famine business model. Personally, I want to know whether our event dates are locked in or whether I can release them and book another customer for that date — and I like to know sooner rather than later.”
He continues, “Taking this approach also conveys to your prospective customer that you’re in high-demand and that you need to know quickly whether they’re going to book you for a date or if you can open that date up to another customer.”
So, what does that look like in execution?
“To achieve this sense of scarcity and immediacy in the proposal itself, we offer to place a soft hold on those event dates,” explains Rhodes. “We offer to keep that hold until a predetermined date when the customer is expected to make a decision. This accomplishes two things. First, it lets buyers know that I’m a professional and that they should respect my time and that I’ll respect theirs. Second, it gives me a reason to reach out before and on that predetermined date to follow up on the gig.”
The key point here? If you don’t mind sending proposals and never hearing back, avoid incorporating a sense of scarcity and immediacy in your proposal. But if you want to get gigs booked efficiently, let your customers know that you’re in high demand and can’t stay on hold for long.
Revenue Killer #3: Avoid Including a Call-to-Action
The final big way to lose revenue with your speaker proposal is to avoid including a call-to-action and to opt instead for vague and ambiguous language.
“Speaker proposals often don’t have a clearly defined call-to-action that gets payment in the mail,” says Rhodes. “Instead, speakers will use open-ended verbiage like asking the customer to let them know if they have questions and letting them know that they look forward to hearing from them.”
He adds, “That’s a lovely way to write a proposal if you’re running a heavily subsidized non-profit. But if you’re running a business, make the decision simple and obvious: sign on the dotted line and send the money here, in this manner, by X date.”
If you’re ready to wait forever to hear back from your customers, avoid including a call-to-action and make sure you use vague and ambiguous verbiage.
Or, if you’d like to make your speaker proposal process prompt and effective, use clear, concise, and action-driven wording that guides your customer into the next steps of your sales process.
To learn more about how you can optimize your speaking sales process, get in touch with Shawn.
If you’d like to learn how a customer relationship management platform can help optimize your sales process and help you book more gigs, get in touch with our dedicated support team or start a free trial of karmaSpeaker today.