by Kerry Heaps | Featured Contributor
The process of applying for speaking engagements can be tedious, and frustrating because it does have a long turnaround time for a response. I’ve compiled a few tips on how to create a follow-up system after you’ve had a conversation with a meeting planner. Keep in mind after you apply for an open call for speakers, it can take a month or two before you hear back. Sometimes the email will be a “thanks but no thanks” email or they’re interested in your topic and would like to talk to you further. After that initial conversation it’s good to apply some of the techniques listed below, these are especially useful when you apply to colleges, universities, and private companies.
- Send a handwritten Thank You note. Sending a handwritten thank-you note in the mail is a lost art, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference and help you standing out. You can buy thank you notes in bulk, so sending a note in the mail should be costing you less than a dollar per card including postage. It takes just a few minutes to say thank you for taking the time to speak with me, I look forward to establishing a relationship with you and your company. Then drop it in the mail. Meeting Planners get so few sentiments, especially in the mail so this is always a nice touch and it’s not forgotten.
- Send a copy of your book. If you have not written a book, I recommend that you do so, as we are asked 95% of the time if a potential speaker has written a book, more so than a request for video. Sending a copy of your book, not an electronic copy but an actual copy in the mail is a great way for you to establish a relationship with the meeting planner and it gives them the opportunity to learn more about what you do.
- Connect with them on LinkedIn. Another step to take is to connect with them on LinkedIn, do a quick search and see if they are listed and send them an invite to connect along with a personalized note.
- Pick up the phone. This last one seems to be a task that most speakers don’t want to do, however you will find out more when you pick up the phone and talk to the meeting planner then you ever could from an email or text. Having a conversation with them, just finding out more about their event, what’s going on, do they need additional information, etc. If you can’t reach them definitely leave a voicemail, I would recommend reaching out once a week until you get them on the phone, you don’t need to leave a voicemail every time, just once.
- Keep track of your results. Keeping track of your results is crucial, that way you know the date and time when you sent a thank-you note, when you connected with them on LinkedIn, and each time that you’ve reached out via phone. A follow-up system can be as simple as pen and paper or Excel, your choice. This will also give you an idea of the timeline for each event that you are pursuing.
An Entrepreneur of 16 years, Kerry is the President of Book.Speak.Repeat. She is a sought-after Speaker on topics such as Leveraging your Publicity to Close More Deals, Bodies Don’t Lie-Body Language Basics, The Significance of Color in Wardrobe and the Psychology Behind It, The Network Game – Making Networking “Work” for Your Business, and The Fortune is in the Follow-up.
Kerry owns Kerry’s Studio an online boutique for women who like classic elegance. She currently works with professionals who wish to add speaking as a paid marketing tool for their businesses.