Public speaking as an effective marketing tool

Many financial advisors and life insurance agents are natural talkers and storytellers. If this is you, public speaking might be an ideal strategy to raise your visibility as a financial and insurance professional, keeping you top of mind when people in the community want an insurance agent or financial advisor.

You may face two challenges though:

  1. Compliance. They only want you to deliver preapproved, “canned” seminars.
  2. Building the audience. Speaking is fun, but filling the room for a seminar is hard work.

An advisor once told me she felt public speaking is the future of prospecting. She distinguished between two similar options:

  1. Seminars. You assemble the audience, book the location and deliver the presentation. You have control over the length of the presentation.
  2. Speaking engagements. A group brings you in as a guest speaker. They assemble the audience and provide the room. They tell you how long you can speak.

She preferred the second approach. When you look for speaking engagements with local community groups, you might find insurance or other financial topics scare people off. They think you are trying to sell to them. (You are!) She is a fan of lifestyle topics based on your personal expertise. Here are three good reasons:

  1. Compliance. If you are talking about a non-business topic with no connection to insurance, the compliance folks should be OK. (Check first.)
  2. Likeability. People sense your passion and they’re interested. They assume if you are this detail oriented with your hobby or special interest, you must be good at your job. People do business with people they like.
  3. Credentials. This brings us back to “selling something.” The organization needs to announce your credentials and background, so the audience knows you are not selling something connected to your hobby.

This advisor mentioned topics like, “How I restored a 1967 Ford Mustang,” which allows you to use lots of pictures. Also, create different length versions of the same talk that are suitable for different timeslots on a program. Then take questions from the audience and speak in terms they understand.

Another advisor explained that if you are good, you’ll be recommended to other groups where you can speak. The advisor also suggested letting groups know, especially if you live nearby, that you are available on short notice to fill in when a different scheduled speaker cancels at the last minute.

Getting started

Build a list of local community organizations featuring speakers at their meetings on a regular basis. Include contact person information. Clients and friends might be able to help. Write up a description of the topic(s) you can address and the time it takes. (Get compliance approval.) Market to them.

Do you enjoy speaking in public? As Mark Twain is rumored to have said, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never work a day in your life.” Can you think of an easier way to get your name and credentials showcased in the community?

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.

For more public speaking tips:

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