As I traveled the world speaking and attending more events, I discovered that there were a lot of new experts coming on the scene. They used speaking as a way to sell their expert services. They were not professional speakers; in fact, many of them were not even good speakers. But what they did have was a message and an expertise that could help others solve problems, make more money, improve their lifestyle, get more clients and so on. I saw them selling from the stage like crazy and they were all making a lot more money that I was at the time. I was already a highly paid and skilled speaker who had been speaking professionally for over a decade, yet I didn’t have the skill of selling well from the stage.
I needed to learn this new model of selling from the stage and learn it fast. The days of getting booked solid with my paid speaking business began to dry up with the economy crisis in the U.S. I saved my business income by going international but, for the most part, I was still going from one speech and one country to the next. I was always chasing the next speaking engagement; it was exhausting and not a good entrepreneurial model to grow my company. I knew it was time for me to learn a new skill that would help me gain more income that I had earned as an expert in the past.
At first, I went it alone trying to sell from the stage. I was always good at sales; in fact, I had been selling my entire life. One of my first jobs was selling used rental cars when I was just 20 years old. And if I could sell used rental cars in a tough area of Gary, Indiana, I could sell just about anything. Or so I thought.
Sometimes I would sell okay from the stage, but most of the time I was BOMBING and walking away with only a handful of sales. It was frustrating trying to learn this skill on my own and it was costing me dearly in mistakes and my own mental health. I knew there must be a formula or system that other experts were following to sell from the stage. What was I missing out on?
That’s when I started looking for an expert who could teach me these new selling skills. After being on stage with another speaker/expert who was knocking it out of the park with sales, I asked her how she learned to sell from the stage. She said, “I hired an expert for $25,000 to personally teach me his ’speak and sell’ formula. And once I got the system down, my sales took off like a rocket.” I instantly offered her the same amount of money to teach me what she had learned, but she turned me down. I was shocked! She said, “I would love to take your money, but I would rather turn that investment around by partnering with you in business. You have expert skills that I need to learn – becoming a better speaker, marketing my business more effectively and putting on my own events.”
The investment from that brief conversation alone paid off many times over for both of us rather quickly. I instantly got her booked on a few stages where I was already scheduled to speak. We started doing events together that reaped us both a huge return. I learned how to effectively sell from the stage by using a formula that made a huge difference in my sales practically overnight.
Ask yourself these important questions:
- What areas of your business do you need to learn from other experts that can help you grow and/or expand into new areas?
- How can you implement their ideas by adding more value to your own client programs?
Responsibility comes with being an expert
Becoming an expert takes on a certain amount of responsibility – the responsibility for you to offer a successful program or service and the responsibility to support others with real, lasting results. To thrive in this business for the long haul, you must be willing to take on this responsibility for yourself and for others.
Being ethical in business is also critical to long-term success as an expert. It’s a small world in the expert business, and if you don’t treat people right, the word gets out fast. Growing up I was taught to always be honest and fair in business. This has served me well, and it has always been a top priority for me. Being honest and ethical in business should be a given, but unfortunately it’s not. That’s why I must mention it here. You’ve probably already discovered this for yourself by being burned by some of these “so-called” experts.
During the big internet boom, hundreds of these “so-called” experts came out of the woodwork like cockroaches. When social media marketing launched, every other person was calling themselves a social media expert, yet few of them were real experts who created real value for their clients. Some offered a “magic pill” to getting rich online. They promised that you could make so much money using their system that you could be sitting on a beach and just watch the money pile up in your bank account. Not only is this unethical, it’s illegal; when you make a claim you had better be able to back it up with solid results!
Being an expert comes with a certain level of responsibility to be ethical and to give your clients real value. Anyone who chooses to do business with any expert should do some extensive research to check out their reputation and background online before investing, and that means they are going to check you out as well. The last thing you want is a tarnished reputation as an expert.
Set yourself apart as an expert who ALWAYS delivers real value and someone who follows up with clients and business associates. It drives me absolutely crazy when people don’t follow up or do what they say they are going to do. This is also an unprofessional business practice that will kill an expert’s opportunities fast. It is your responsibility to not only become a respected expert, but to align yourself with other highly respected and ethical experts. Experts with a quality reputation are valued for their services, and that will always keep them in high demand.