Speaking To Attract Clients

David Lecours Speaking to International Management Consultants USA

I have yet to find a bet­ter way to at­tract great clients than po­si­tion­ing my­self as an ex­pert with­in the AEC In­dus­try. The two best ways to demon­strate ex­per­tise are speak­ing and writ­ing. With speak­ing, you can make a deep­er con­nec­tion be­cause your au­di­ence can see and hear your think­ing in re­al time. This is akin to the in­creased emo­tion­al im­pact of see­ing your fa­vorite band in con­cert ver­sus sim­ply read­ing their lyrics.

Speak­ing is hard­er than writ­ing so few­er peo­ple trav­el this path. This is an op­por­tu­ni­ty for you to stand out. I em­pathize that stand­ing alone on stage may freak you out. I still get ner­vous every time I speak. It’s a pri­mal fear hard wired in­to our col­lec­tive con­scious­ness. We re­late stand­ing alone on a podi­um with hun­dreds of eyes look­ing at us to stand­ing alone on the sa­van­nah with saber tooth tigers eye­ing us for their next meal. To shield you from harm, I’ve out­lined how to get start­ed, what to speak about and where to speak. De­vel­op this skill of pub­lic speak­ing and you will at­tract clients that val­ue your brilliance.

How To Get Started
Speak­ing is a learned skill. In the eight years I’ve been in­volved with Toast­mas­ters, I’ve con­sis­tent­ly seen guests at­tend their first meet­ing and sheep­ish­ly stand up to say their name while star­ing at their toes. With­in a few months, the very same peo­ple are de­liv­er­ing 5 – 7 minute speech­es to great applause.

Find and join a Toast­mas­ters club. I’m a mem­ber of two clubs. There is no bet­ter re­turn on in­vest­ment for your ca­reer. You’ll im­prove your speak­ing, lis­ten­ing, self-es­teem and lead­er­ship skills in a fun and sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment. I rec­om­mend vis­it­ing a few clubs in your area to “date be­fore you mar­ry.” Each club has it’s own cul­ture and traditions.

What To Speak About
As an ex­cuse to avoid speak­ing, I fre­quent­ly hear peo­ple say “I don’t have ma­te­r­i­al that peo­ple want to hear” or “don’t I need to be a book au­thor or PhD to be a speak­er?” Non­sense. We all un­der­es­ti­mate how much ex­per­tise we al­ready have. You can speak about a prob­lem that you re­cent­ly solved for a client. If you want to get fan­cy, call this a case study. Speak about pat­terns or trends in your client’s in­dus­try. Then take a step fur­ther and of­fer some sug­ges­tions on how to re­spond to these trends. Give a “how-to” speech on some­thing you know clients are strug­gling with. You could al­so cre­ate a hu­mor­ous speech about com­mon mis­takes that clients make when work­ing with a firm like yours.

Where To Speak
You are not go­ing to be in­vit­ed to speak at the TED Con­fer­ence right away. But there are many venues to prac­tice your craft. Speak­ing is like a mus­cle that you need to ex­er­cise reg­u­lar­ly. Find as much stage time as you can. I’ve spo­ken at tal­ent shows, con­fer­ences, lun­cheons, break­fast meet­ings, wed­dings and fu­ner­als. A great place to start is on a pan­el. Not all eyes are on you and you can dis­trib­ute the work­load among the oth­er pan­elists. Good pan­els feel like a can­did con­ver­sa­tion (with the au­di­ence lis­ten­ing in).

Speak­ing Works
Peo­ple don’t buy your ser­vices, they buy what you be­lieve. Speak­ing works as a mar­ket­ing tool be­cause it is an op­por­tu­ni­ty for you to share what you be­lieve in a non-sales en­vi­ron­ment. Peo­ple don’t like to be sold to. So use speak­ing as a tool to build trust with your au­di­ence, and then en­joy po­ten­tial clients hand­ing you their busi­ness card.

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One Response to “Speaking To Attract Clients”

  1. Dave Carey July 20, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

    Nice­ly done!!

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