Welcome back! In a previous post, I laid out the case for using speaking as a core element of your fame campaign. Nothing works like speaking for increasing your reach, influence, reputation and building an expert position. (You can read a quick overview of why speaking is so effective in Part 1.)
In this post, I’ll share a few success stories from professional service firms who’ve leveraged the power of public speaking.
Proof of concept
Sure, speaking is important for prestige, but does it really bring in the bucks?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Let’s look at three examples from different professionals.
Robert Czachorski, PE, PH, is an engineer with OHM, an engineering/architecture/planning firm, headquartered in Livonia, Michigan. Robert is a modeling guru, who, together with his college roommate, an aerospace engineer/software developer, developed a novel way to model sewer systems. His new modeling method gives the client precise information to right-size the sewer system, meeting regulatory requirements and avoiding ‘overbuilding’. Because the approach is new, Robert has found it effective to present his method, along with project results at conferences. It gives prospects an in-depth view of the idea, and offers proof, in the form of case studies.
Robert says, “I meet new leads at every presentation. There are at least 3-4 at each one. Over the last 5 years, I’ve done between 10 and 15 presentations, so that’s easily 40 to 50 new opportunities.”
“Three people come to mind who I met through presentations – a contact for a large municipal sewer authority, and two partners from other firms. Those relationships are leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars of new business.”
Carl Friesen, a writer, author and management consultant, also testifies to the business-building benefits of speaking. “I’m living proof that speaking engagements work – I received my two biggest clients, one of which I’ve had for ten years, through one speaking engagement in Vancouver in 1999.”
Beck Technology, Ltd., is a Dallas-based developer of specialized macro BIM software, used in preconstruction to create fast and accurate 3D cost models. Andy O’Nan, Beck Tech’s director of business development, is a believer in the power of speaking engagements. He’s devoted a significant portion of his marketing budget to securing and delivering presentations to regional and national audiences, using a consultant to perform much of the work.
Beck Tech uses speaking engagements to get the word out about the company’s software. Because it’s a new and unique offering, presentations give Beck Tech leaders a non-promotional way to introduce their product and its capabilities to their target market. Beck’s presentations are based on customer success stories and industry trends.
“We never give a sales pitch – that’s important to us,” says O’Nan. “Instead we focus on trends and case studies that impact our target market.”
And the results? “It’s powerful. Each time we give a presentation, the visits to our website increase significantly, along with the number of people requesting trials of our software. And now that we’ve focused on developing a speaking program, opportunities come to us.” O’Nan continues, “Stewart Carroll, our COO, was recently invited to be a keynote speaker at a conference organized by Disney, in a room filled with industry leaders.”
Ready to try your hand at developing a speaking program to propel your professional service firm into fame and fortune? Tune in for Part 3 of The Speaking Series. I’ll share the most common mistakes that firms make, derailing their success with speaking.