If You’re Not Getting Jobs As a Motivational Speaker, Ask Yourself These Questions

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Why Am I Not Getting Any Bookings As A Motivational Speaker?

The business of motivational speaking is very complicated. Or so it seems. I would suggest that it’s actually very simple, just not easy to do. Even though the economic world has shifted, and the way we got business five years ago isn’t the same it is today, or will be tomorrow, I still believe that we take the same steps to get booked. So in a business that is very complicated, let me take this moment to make it very simple. Here are four questions you should ask yourself if you aren’t getting any business as a motivational speaker.

Do I have something they want to buy?

You may have the most life-changing important message in the world, but it doesn’t mean they want to buy it. If what you teach isn’t what that audience is looking for, you won’t get booked.  For example, if you think health is extremely important and they want someone to teach them how to sell, you’re out.

The key is to find the audiences who are looking for what you are selling. And that’s not everybody, or maybe not even anybody. So then your job (if you want to keep this job) becomes finding a way to make your message fit their need – not the other way around.

Does my website sell me?

I believe that your website is your most valuable selling tool. It is your store front. It’s where you send them to get to know you. It’s where they meet you before they ever meet you. It’s where you hook them. And if it doesn’t sell you, they won’t ever call you. It must do much more than show them what you are selling by way of products and features. It must sell the personality of you, the credibility of you, the brand of you, and the message of you. It should make them want to know more. It should show them why YOU should be the one to come speak out of thousands of other choices. And it should make them feel like they KNOW you, not just what you do.

The key is to sell with this website the same way you sell when you’re on the phone. (Assuming you are good at selling yourself on the phone.) Selling is not about reciting facts, it’s about establishing a relationship. It’s about listening and getting to know your buyer. It goes beyond facts to emotions. People buy from people they like. This is your first chance to make them like you.

Do they know I’m here?

This is where I see the most speakers get stuck. They have a terrific marketable message, a wonderful website, and they wonder why their phone doesn’t ring. This business is not about waiting for the phone to ring. And if you haven’t told anybody you’re here, you’re waiting for the phone to ring. If you are wondering why you aren’t getting business, then I want to know who you called today – this week – this month. How many productive contacts did you make? Are you in a constant state of pounding the pavement?

The key is to create a list of qualified leads that you are always adding to. These are the people you contact on a regular basis. And don’t focus on shortcuts – like expecting a bureau to bring all your business. If you’re relentlessly knocking on bureaus’ doors, then you’re not using your time to your advantage. Sell yourself.


So there you have it. My four simple truths. Again, they are most certainly not easy, which is why there are so many speakers not getting booked. But the answer is still simple. Take the steps, and you will get the bookings – assuming you are good at what you do – which is a whole other conversation.