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Put your business on trial

Standing oration
Put your business on trial
By Kristian from Speakers Loft • Issue #36 • View online
Make a list of all the reasons customers could have against hiring you. Then write down why they are wrong.

Many things can make customers hesitant about doing business with you. Most of them have nothing to do with you.
Nobody remembers that one gig that failed miserably.
Maybe the client saw a disappointing speaker once, and this colors their perception of your chosen line of work? Perhaps they’d instead that the company hired their cousin’s gospel band for the next company event, and you are a threat to this goal.
People are different, and even with the best preparation, you can never be entirely sure what you walk into when you negotiate.
You can (and should) iron out the most apparent wrinkles, though. Then prepare for the rest.
Sometimes things do not go as planned.
Sometimes things do not go as planned.
Sometimes, other peoples, incessant hesitations, are frustrating. They can make Hamlet seem like a resolute decision-maker. They may seem unable to make a decision even after several calls, many emails and tons of testimonials, sizzle-reels, and what have yous.
When this happens, stop thinking what you are (likely) thinking and tease out their concerns to add them to your accusation list. They may still hesitate (although I doubt it), but at least you will have something to show for all the time you spent.
If they ‘don’t get it,’ then you didn’t sell it. It is a bitter pill to swallow, I know. Sometimes it even feels like we’re on a diet of these bitter little things.
The thing is that we’re not a single one of us is as sober in professional matters as we like to believe. Your business is likely to be on your mind most of your waking hours. That will distort your ability to see your business from the outside. One classic error is not to realize that people have no idea what you are selling, because your value-statement has become too abstract.
I have done this more times than I like to admit. And still do from time to time.
If you don’t believe me, take a stroll down the newsfeed on LinkedIn, you’ll see many abstract value-proposition and considerably fewer specific value-adds from speakers. The abstract value-propositions require cognitive work by the reader, who is busy doing other stuff.
It will probably not happen.
Do your business a favor and suspend your judgment of other people’s reasons for disbelieving you. Only your pride cares if they are being fair or not. And pride should never be in the driver’s seat.
Only your pride cares whether the criticism is fair. Rise beyond it.
Only your pride cares whether the criticism is fair. Rise beyond it.
If an accusation list is putting your work on trial, then addressing them will be the defendant’s final plea to the jury.
We are not in Hollywood (individual readers could be, but most of us are not). We do suggest being more subtle and definitively less emotional. You can handle the truth.
 You got to understand the mindset in which the accusation makes sense and mirror this world back to your negotiation partner.
Show them that you get what they say.
That is all.
Keep speaking and keep supporting your colleagues in speaking.
Also, since last week our TravelToSpeak-network has grown to (or expanded in):
Brighton (United Kingdom)
Paris (France)
Victoria (British Columbia, Canada)
Chicago (United States)
New Jersey (United States)
Boulder, Colorado (United States)
If you also believe in cooperation for speakers, then consider it. We’re at
Did you enjoy this issue?
Kristian from Speakers Loft

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