Grant Baldwin is a full time speaker and runs TheSpeakerLab.com. He primarily books engagements with high schools and colleges. He helps students not only find a career path, but create a life of doing work they love. He uses different strategies to increase his exposure and seeks speaking opportunities to build his audience.
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- How to book speaking engagements without begging
- How to successfully build relationships in the speaking industry
- The #1 tactic Grant uses to make his speaking career scalable
To See These Tactics In Action:Click Here To See The Top 3 Steps Grant Baldwin Uses To Successfully Books 70 Speaking Engagements Per Year
To See The Transcript:
Tim: Welcome to ConversionCast, the only podcast that gets to the heart of the metrics. Now here’s another data driven case study.
Hello fellow marketer? Thanks so much for joining me today. Today’s guest is a fulltime speaker who gets booked around 70x per year every year. He’s going to share a strategy for doing so. But before we get into that, let me invite you to this week’s fantastic webinar. The webinar is Thursday at 3 p.m. eastern time and it’s going to be all about how you can quickly grow your email list without spending all of your time on marketing. This is one of my favorite presentations ever so I’d love to have you there. To join me, just text, LeadPages all one word LeadPages to 38470, again text LeadPages all one word to 38470 and I’ll see you Thursday at 3 p.m. eastern time.
Today’s guest is my good buddy Grant Baldwin. Grant is a commanding presence on stage, always getting laughs, garnering the full attention of the crowds and engaging in a way that a few speakers are able to be. What’s more, Grant has worked hard to ensure that once the gig is done, the relationships have just begun. He’s been building his business in a way that’s scalable and allows him to continue to grow into the future. Today Grant is going to share some of his most valuable and simple tactics for getting booked to speak more often and what to do when you do get booked. If you’re a hardcore metrics head like I tend to be sometimes, it might take you a second to understand the power of this strategy but dig in and I promise you will love it. I’m Tim page, the conversion educator here at LeadPages. This is ConversionCast and here’s Grant Baldwin.
Hey what’s up Grant, how’s it going today?
Grant: Tim I am doing delightful. It is just a delight to talk to my friend.
Tim: You know what I love this full transparency thing that we all kind of talk about so much and I was just commenting as I hit the beautiful red button why is it that when we start a podcast, when we feel like we have to go hey man how is it going like we haven’t been talking for the first 15 minutes. Do you have any insights there Grant?
Grant: I don’t know that I do but it’s a fun little charade that we play and even whenever I listen to podcasts, I’m like oh they just started talking or even at the end I was like all right man, I’ll talk to you later. Like did they hang up?
Grant: [0:02:22] [Indiscernible] I don’t know what happened there.
Grant: Out of all the stuff that goes on behind the curtain.
Tim: Yeah I don’t know what that’s all about and I think everybody can see right through it but we just ignore it. May be I’m going to make a point going forward. From now on, every discussion that I have I’m going to be like all right cool man well let’s start talking about this now. You know I don’t know. See that’s why there’s no easy segue.
Grant: We can’t fool people. We’ve been talking for what like 20 minutes before and that’s just because we like each other and so that gets us to this point.
Tim: Yeah. There’s no simple segue so I guess that’s why. So I’m really excited. This is going to be cool. I want to hear first off what kind of results have you been able to get from kind of the discussion we’re going to have today?
Grant: Well for the past about eight years or so I’ve been a fulltime speaker. I speak at about 60, 70 events a year. I speak primarily to high school and college students. I’m able to speak to tens of thousands of people every single year. The challenge with my audience and speaking is that whenever you’re talking to a lot of 16, 17, 18 year olds they’re not exactly excited about being on an email list. They’re not generally opting in and they may not actually even check their email. But we have used some different strategies and tactics to only give book to just increase our exposure what we’re doing in terms of our business, with audiences outside of just high school and college students but have been able to use some of our speaking opportunities to continue to build our own audience and to connect with people that has much more impact than you can from may be reading a post or even just listening to a podcast. The in-person connection that you can make with people you’re speaking is incredibly powerful.
Tim: And you’re using this to kind of may be use these abilities and skills that you have to create some kind of products that you can you know, implement on the backend so that it’s not all speaking. Is that right?
Grant: Yeah. I mean the challenge with speaking is it doesn’t scale. You’re one person in one place, on one stage talking to one audience. You know the nice thing about what we’re doing with a podcast is that you know, that you and I are just talking with each other in our homes but you can have thousands and thousands of people literally all around the world that may be listening to us. But whenever you’re in a room talking that doesn’t scale very well. So speaking is a lot of fun and it can be a great, great tool for building your business but you have to think of ways that you can take that offline or it should be online really as well to be able to take that conversation that you’re having with people and be able to scale that better than you could with talking to one group in one room.
Tim: Yeah absolutely and one of the reasons why I was excited to have this conversation and you know, a few weeks back we had Patty Keating talking about you know, kind of her results from live events. But one thing I have found really interesting is even as marketers, as you know we have this tendency to focus really hard on like the metrics and the percentage increase in opt-in rate and all that kind of stuff. Those are great. But there is kind of an almost immeasurable metric that we need to be focusing on and that is really the deep level of engagement that you get from live in-person event. So this year was my first year speaking on stage? I spoke at two events actually three events now, the podcast movement, the ascend summit and then unleash live. You know, the thing about these events is that they’re people that I met there. The people that got to see me speak are now like the biggest evangelist not only for my personal brand but also for what we’re doing here at LeadPages and I found that to be the case with all three events. So it really does it does have a lot of I guess benefits that are hard to kind of put an exact ROI on. Would you agree with that?
Grant: Oh totally. I mean the I think a lot of times speaking can be measured in stories and so the stories that you’re hearing from people it’s difficult to quantify that and to put any type of data to that. You know, if I talk to x number of people and I change x number of people’s lives, as a result of that talk, that’s difficult to —
Grant: -measure and put some type of number to. But I have found in my own experience and I think even in the short I mean I’ve been speaking that you found it in your experience as well that speaking has the ability to really convey a message and to connect with people and just a different way than any other medium that you can really be a part of.
Tim: Yeah it’s like I know AWeber just got a mascot AJ, they announced him at the ascend summit and there was a speaker Andy Crestedino who went up on stage and he said you know, there are some things we can’t measure the ROI on like how do you measure the ROI of AJ, right. It’s like sports teams are not getting a mascot to go and go well this is now a huge revenue driver and it’s kind of the same way with this. So although I will say I probably have quite a few ado based apparel for the [0:06:55] [Indiscernible] so anyway.
Tim: With that said, what we’re going to talk about today is really how do you get booked for speaking and then kind of what to do from there? Because I know this is something that a lot of folks would love to do. They’d love to do more speaking. They’d love to get out there and build their brand, build their business. So why don’t we just kind of dive in kind of from the beginning? What are kind of your best pieces of advice for getting booked to speak?
Grant: Yeah great question. So I think one of the first things you want to do is identify the type of audience that you want to speak to and what is it that you want to speak about. So in a perfect world if you could talk to any audience on any subject and you knew if you put me in a room with that group of people talking about this subject, that I’m super passionate about and knowledgeable on I could crush it. So what would that subject be for you?
Once you know what that group is and what the subject is that you want to talk about, at that point it’s important to begin identifying where do those people gather. I think that’s so critical because a lot of times we can just throw up a website or we can put up a demo video. We can tell the world that we’re a speaker and we kind of have that thing in our mind that like if I build it they will come and the bookings will magically appear and it just doesn’t work like that. You have to be really, really proactive in going out and finding the type of engagements that are going to be a great, great fit for you and not only for you but you can provide some massive value for their audience.
So I think one of the simplest and best tools that you can use that’s oftentimes overlooked is simply Google. Knowing what it is that you want to talk about and who it is that you want to talk to and then just start doing some Googling. So for example if you want to – if you are into online marketing there’s a bunch of types of conferences. So start looking at online marketing conferences, add in different state names so look up New York online marketing conferences, look up California online marketing, look up every single state because a lot of them you know, we think are the big sexy conferences that may be a lot of people are familiar with. But then there’s also a lot of smaller conferences that exist that bring in speakers that may not just be on your radar. So figure out whatever the niche is that you want to talk to, what you want to talk about and start doing some googling. From there, you can kind of identify events that bring in speakers because it’s always easier to get booked to speak at something at events where they already bring in speakers.
If you’re like man I would love to go speak at XYZ corporation but they don’t bring in speakers, it’s a massive uphill battle because not only do you have to convince then that you’re the speaker that they should have but in the first place you have to convince them to have a speaker at all. So I know for me when I got started I spent much of my business and much of my time looking for conferences where they already bring in a speaker where I know that I will be a good fit for. So once you identify some of those then you can start making some connections with the decision maker for the conference. You can start reaching out to them, start building that relationship and that rapport again instead of waiting and assuming that they’re going to somehow magically find you.
Tim: Yes. So you are being proactive and this is something that again I mentioned over and over again it’s like you know as online marketers, a lot of the times we focus everything on inbound right? We try to get people to come to us. We get our SEO going, we get our ads and stuff like that. But a lot of times in business we have to be really proactive. We have to go out there and find our audience. We have to go and target them and yes it takes a little bit more effort than just sitting back and waiting for them money to roll in.
But it is really effective and it’s a great way to especially get started in the beginning. So you know, what might you say if you were going to reach out to somebody who was holding a conference or an event that you wanted to speak at?
Grant: Well I think a couple of good things you can do is one start to build a relationship with them. Do some research on what their conference is about. You don’t want to go to them and ask them a bunch of questions that are already on their website because then it makes you just look like an idiot. So you got to do your homework on them. But a big thing I think is I try to remind myself, I try to tell people that are just getting started is remember this s a relationship a business. People do business with people they know, like, and trust and so that they – you may have an amazing topic and you may be the phenomenal speaker but if you don’t have any rapport or relationship with those, with the people that are making the decisions it’s going to be really, really difficult to get booked.
So there are sometimes where I’ll go speak in an event and I’ll go speak for free strategically so that I can begin to build that relationship with that decision maker. They may not pay me that year but I know in a future year they probably would because I built that relationship with them. You know another thing that I think it’s important to keep in mind is that keep in mind, this have a long term perspective on this. I always tell people go after relationships not gigs. Don’t go after one off events where it’s like oop got the booking, got the gig. Because that doesn’t last at all. So if you want to have any type of long term track record with this business, then you have to think, you have to think beyond today.
I’ll give you a quick example. There’s an event in Colorado that I’ve been reaching out to for about five or six years now just this once a year event this conference that I know would be a great fit for. I have a good relationship with the decision maker and the conference planner. I know I’d be a good fit for it, they do too. So each year I talk to them and so I reached out to them a couple months back and was like hey I know your conference, you’re starting to plan for 2015, would love to be a part of it. So I got an email yesterday and they said hey we really like you but we went with another speaker. It’s like what the crap.
Grant: Again they picked someone else and so I think early on I would have been super discouraged and frustrated and just bent out of shape like why didn’t they pick me. But I have to remember this is a relationship business. So I have to continue to build that relationship that rapport with them. So I know as I do that it’s not a matter of if but when that they’ll think of me to come speak.
Tim: Yeah that’s a great perspective and it’s the same thing with online marketing. We really do have to have that long term perspective. Sure we want to get those you know, quick wins. We want to get those high conversions and all that kind of stuff but it does take time and just like with speaking. So you know you’ve built this relationship, you finally get the gig and you you’ve given us some kind of tactics for doing that. Once you’ve gotten that gig, what can you do to ensure a continued relationship with the folks that you’ve booked that gig with?
Grant: Well I think a few things that you can do. One is just showing up and being super low maintenance. You know, I’m always amazed, I spoke at event a couple of days ago at a university in Arkansas and I get there and I’m ahead of time. It’s like I’m super low maintenance an super easy to work with. It’s not going to be a big deal. We get there and they’re like okay here’s this, here’s this. Do you need anything else? I’m like no, just give me the mic and then the audience, we’re good to go and they’re like man you’re so much easier to work with than any other speakers that we had.
Grant: It’s weird. I don’t know may be it’s just that persona thing that some speakers have that they just I need a green room and I need this French imported water and that needs to be temperature and I need green skittles and just like these all these like weird random things like no, no, be ridiculously easy to work with. When you show up to speak at a conference, as a speaker you may be important to the conference but that conference planner, you are one very small detail of a lot of things that they are chewing on. So the more low maintenance you can be, the easier you can be to work with, the better it will be for them. You want to make their live as easy as possible. So that always builds a relationship and starts to establish that connection but you’re easy to work with. Because I’ve heard from a lot of conference planners and event organizers who would say you know, such and such speaker they are a great speaker but they are a pain in the but to work with.
Grant: And that speaker will not get booked because they have that reputation. There’s conferences that you and I have been at together that we know the conference organizers who told me like we had such and such and they were horrible to work with.
Grant: That gets around. You know, so be really, really easy to work with. Another thing is again at the event just be a human. Like build that relationship with them. So I get Christmas cards from clients. I have conversations with people who will just call it and just catch up or I’ll let them know hey I’m speaking in your area, I would love to say hey to you. Because again you want to do business with people you know, like and trust. Build that relationship with people so that it’s a long term thing and it’s not just these one-off gigs that you’re getting.
Tim: Yeah that’s a great point. And so you’ve done a good job and obviously you’re getting booked quite a bit. So I guess the last thing that I wanted to talk about is what is it that you’re doing to kind of make this more scalable? What are you doing when you’re at the events, when you’re speaking, when you’re interacting with folks afterwards? You know, what is it that you’re doing to I guess grow your list, grow your community and take that to the next step?
Grant: Well again like we talked about earlier the challenge of speaking is you’ve got a small window of time to present your material. Realistically though most people listen to this they could go on for hours and hours on their material and a lot of times if you do a great job and you deliver it in that short period of time, the audience wants more information from you. So you have to figure out how can you package your material on stage in a different format. So that may be in the form of a podcast. That may be in the form of a some type of course or online product. It may be in some type of digital training. It may be your own live event where it’s like hey if you like that you’re going to love this three-day event that we do here where you can come and learn all about this subject or top. So figuring out how do I bottle up and I take that information that knowledge that I shared with people and then I’m able to transfer that into some type of different format.
So at an event, you want to as best as possible and it can be you know, there’s different way that you can do it but you want to try to capture those email addresses because people will in the moment that you have them, you’ve built that rapport and that relationship with them from stage but as soon as they walk out of the room, part of the challenge of speaking is they will forget 95% of what it is that you said.
Grant: Which is kind of discouraging as a speaker. It’s like I put all this time and effort and energy and they walk out and it’s just gone. So I want to continue to build that rapport or that relationship. I’ve already built some of it onstage there with my audience but I want to figure out how to do I begin to take that offline. So you can continue to do that through some email sequences. You can continue to provide more value of what it is that you talked about onstage that’s going to be beneficial to them going forward.
Tim: And this is kind of I guess like an extra, you know, an extra credit question but you mentioned that you’ve been trying a little bit of mobile marketing where you’re getting people to opt in through a text message. How has that been going for you?
Grant: It’s been going on right. You know it really depends on the audience and what you have to offer the audience. So obviously the – what it is that they would get on the backside of whatever the reason is for opting in has to be valuable enough for them to take the action. One thing that I found really, really useful is you could whether it be hey you know, you could text me your email right now or text this code to this number and then you’ll get a responder. You know you could explain all that to them. You could even throw it up on a PowerPoint but I‘ve found one of the most valuable things is to walk people through it. After you’ve actually built the rapport with them. Don’t do this at the beginning. They don’t know you, they don’t know who you are. So if you get up and like hey my name is Grant everybody pull out your phone and do this, they’re like well I’m not doing that. I don’t even know who you are. So towards the end if you’ve built that relationship then you can say hey if you want more of what we’ve talked about I put together this PDF or hey we’re doing this webinar next week, I want to give you more information on this. Instead of just saying like here’s how you could do this, most people will nod and smile and not do anything. But I’ve always been amazed if you walk people through it, you’re literally holding their hand like everybody pull out your phone. [0:18:15] [Indiscernible] pull out your phone, pull out your phone, people will do it. People will walk along with the process and then you walk there all right everybody type this in, you got that? You go all right everybody type, send it to this number. So whenever you’re walking people through the process, it’s not like you’re manipulating them or you’re trying to lead these robots or something but it’s just it’s your handholding them through the process. Because so many of us people that are well intentioned will write it down like oh yeah, I need to do that later. But so often if they don’t do it right then, they will never do it. So you have to capture that moment where you have their attention and you have their focus.
Tim: Yeah. My white board is full of things that I’ve written down to do later that will probably just get erased by the time we’re done talking. So —
Grant: Well and so many times like you know, we’ve all been in conference sessions before and you take notice like oh man, that’s good, that’s good but if you don’t have a system to then actually implement what it is that you just learned or what you it is that you just heard, you will not take action on it. So one of the best things you can do is get people to take that little action right there while you’re in the room with them.
Tim: Yeah that’s right and now you can continue the conversation with them via email, via text message or however you do it in the marketing. So yeah Grant this has been awesome. Thanks so much for bringing this stuff here to the show. Most of our audience is going to be excited about this because it is a fantastic way to get your name out there. It’s a way that so few people are actually doing if they’re in the world of marketing and I think it’s part of the reason why it seems like the audiences at the events that I’m speaking at seem to respond so well. Because you know, we can share stuff that so few marketers are sharing from this stage and create that level of engagement and so it really does – it does do great things. So thank again for being here Grant. I appreciate it.
Grant: You bet buddy. It’s my honor.
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Listen To Discover The Step By Step Strategy Grant Baldwin Uses To Repeatedly Book Speaking Engagements