The small business landscape has drastically transformed due to COVID-19. In response, here at Grow Disrupt, we have designed an online conference, the Small Business Supercharge, specifically to support the small business community and we are giving away access for free!
We spent weeks recruiting an amazing list of speakers from globally renowned entrepreneurs, including the founder of Priceline, who are showing up not just to give small business owners ideas, but to also provide the training on the application necessary to evolve their business to the next level. Our goal is to help small businesses evolve in the aftermath of the pandemic so they can thrive. (As per usual, this is a no-pitch zone for our speakers.)
Leading up to the Small Business Supercharge, I (Stephanie) wanted to give you a little taste of who we are talking to and why. I had a chance to sit down with one of our speakers, Li Hayes, to discuss what makes her process, as the leading event integration agent, different. (And in the words of Mike Michalowicz, different is better!)
Now, I speak with a lot of agents and I speak with a lot of speakers, and I can truly say that Li’s process is incredibly unique. Her approach makes both the events and the speaker wildly successful. For business owners, speaking is a path to business growth and personal success. If you own a service or product-based business, speaking opens up new doors, creates brand recognition, and generate sales. So after years of working with speakers and event planners, Li created a program for emerging speakers, so they can build the same kind of success big-name speakers with landings.
Here is our discussion:
Tell us a little bit about you. You have been working with speakers for quite a while now. Right?
I have been working with speakers for many years. Very quickly, I realized that I did not want to be a speaker “agent.” I always yell at people when they call me an agent! When event planners go to bureaus or agencies, the agent asks, “What is your budget?” Then, they just find a speaker at the top of your budget, because that maximizes their commission. That is it. But that speaker may not necessarily be the right fit for your event, and sometimes the event is not right for the speaker.
So what I do is, look at what the event planner is trying to do, look at their strategy and how they are growing this event, and how they are going to be successful next year with the next event. I then look at what speakers are going to help make them successful. It is not just, “What is the possible highest rate I can get for every speaker?”
As for speakers, speaking is not just about, “Here is my fee!” Right? What is the speaker's road to success? So when there is an event and there is a speaker, we look at both of their goals and see if they are similar so that they add value for each other. It is important to not only get value from the speaker standing on the stage but maybe they promote it for you, and they send videos, content, product, books or other things that are going to help you fill the seats, right? Conversely, we also look at whether the event has the right target audience for them where they are going to grow and/or get customers.
Put all of those together, and you make magic! That is when we have event planners, like you, who every year come back and go, “Li, we had a great year last year, what can we do this year?” My speakers are the same way! They are like, “We love Stephanie Scheller’s event! It was the right event!” Now, I have not introduced you to all my speakers, because some of them are not the right fit.
I think a lot of small business owners are starting to realize that this is a really cool marketing tool. But people buy a lot easier when they have had the chance to hear you speak. So now everyone is saying, “I should get on stage.” But what I have learned is that so many speakers that are just dry. I think we did two major events without you and you have been part of every major event we have done since because I realized that so many speakers come in just trying to get on a stage and get their fee. Nobody wins in those situations.
So how did you figure out that this magic was what was important?
I figured out that every business needs to play the long game. I do not like dealing with people who are in it for the short game or who are in it for the moment. I do not like to work with event planners who say,
“Who can we get cheaply because I am trying to make a lot of money. I want to cash in on this event!... Can you just get somebody free up on stage just like just to stand there and talk or something? I do not want to waste any of these ticket sales on speakers!”
That is not the long game. The audience will just think,
“Whoa, this is pretty bad!... Who are these people that they put on stage? They are terrible. I am never going back.”
Though the event planner may make a little more money on that event, they are not going to succeed as an event planner or an event owner.
Conversely, I talked to a speaker who wanted to work with me and she said,
“Well, you know when I get on stage, I just start selling. What are they going to do? Pull me off the stage!?”
That is such a short game! Not only will the event planner not hire this speaker again but they will also tell everyone they know to never hire this person! So that is how I realized that the long game matters on both sides, and I like being a part of that!
That is something that a lot of small business owners do not think about when they get into public speaking. How you show up is going to determine whether or not you get rebooked. One of the greatest compliments I get is when I get another booking. I mean, speaking is a huge part of my marketing!
So, how do small business owners get to the point where they are getting booked?
The first thing that matters is your “why.” Why do you want to get on stage and how is it going to help you in the long term? Let us use an accountant as an example. If the accountants “why” is “I just want to be on stage,” they have no why or long game. Instead, if they say, “I am an accountant and I want more business.” Great! The accountant has set a goal!
Then, we need to determine, how speaking will help you. Again, using the accountant as an example, “I can get in front of small businesses who need accountants.” There! They figured out their “why.”
Then, determine how are you going to make speaking work for you? Again with the accountant example: “I am going to teach certain accounting skills on stage so that people go, ‘Wow! I would love to work with this person.’”
Next, determine, how this benefits the audience. if you are not bringing something to the audience, then get off the stage. The whole thing is about what you are giving to them and not saying, “Who wants to hire me?!”
Right! That is not going to get you anywhere! In fact, I have found that the “Who wants to hire me!?” approach actually tends to alienate buyers. The buyers think, “Wow, this person was so pushy on the stage!”
Now, the other thing I have learned… In 2018, when we started working with you to book speakers for the 2019 Grow Retreat, I noticed that the speakers from you brought really good content but they also brought a next-level layer of entertainment! I think that is something many speakers forget about! It is not just about content, people can get content from a book or an article. So, when you are on stage, it needs to be entertaining too. It helps engage with the audience a lot more.
Oh my gosh, you bring up such a good point! Here is a quick story.
I was talking to an association and they wanted to hire Mike Michalowicz. So, I threw the price at them and they responded, “Oh, we can not afford that. Quite frankly, we can get free speakers.” So, I said okay.
Then the next year the association calls me and says, “We would like to have Mike Michalowicz!” I respond with, “Well, now his rate is, (it increased)!” And she screamed, “Ahh! We will pay for it!”
Then I asked her what happened with her free speakers and she said, “We found this woman who is brilliant, right? She is a professor and understands our industry. So we invited her to be our luncheon speaker (the keynote) and when she started speaking on stage I noticed attendees reaching for their forks. So I wondered, ‘Why are they reaching for their forks?’ Then, suddenly I felt my hand going from my fork and I realized I wanted to stick it in my eye because I could not stand it anymore… This woman was so boring. It was painful!”
So, the lesson is, I do not care how great the content is, you have to be able to tell a story! You have to be somewhat entertaining.
That is how you can usually tell the very early stage speakers from the more mature speakers -- they stop at good content, and they turn it into a lecture. That may work in schools, but it does not work on stage and it is definitely not going to convince people to buy from you!
If people are paying to be there because they want to build a business and because they have a choice to be somewhere else… you better off in a little entertainment!
Now that was just a little taste of the Small Business Supercharge! During the event, Li will take you through her Speaker 101 course that will teach the un-sexy, but essential skills it takes to grow a successful speaking business. Li will cover how to use public speaking to grow your current business, what to talk about, and how to get booked!
Jun 11th, 2020 | 9 am CST
Access to the Live Event on June 11th, 2020
Access to Post-Event Mastermind
Access to Post-Event Webinars (as offered by our speakers)
Access to Event Recordings for 12 months
Registration will shut down once the event ends.
If you cannot attend live, but want to receive access to the recordings, register now.
If you know a friend who will want to listen-in, tell them to register now!