Would you like to read the last part of the interview by Jerry Banfield with Terry Brock because this blog post is full of useful tips if you want to start a speaking career?
Terry Brock’s Interview -- Part 3
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Read the second part of this interview with Terry Brock.
Jerry: You’ve answered some big questions about how to build a speaking career. Things like networking that you can do through the National Speakers Association and by learning very specific skills and getting out there and teaching them.
My question for this is how do you put it all together into kind of a business? Like I’m thinking of doing my own conferences where I have, you know, a weekend like we talked about.
What are some of the ways you can put together your own speaking business once you’ve done the basics, like you joined the National Speakers Association, you’ve learned some topics that are in demand, you put some products out there?
It’s actually easier to put some products out there and get stuff up online. But how do you translate some of the stuff you might do online into actual people paying to come see you talk?
Yeah, that’s where I’m going with that. How do you host your own event?
Terry: Yeah, I think that’s one of the most important things. I would start by doing it online, do online webinars in today’s world. Years ago, you would have to go out and rent the space, rent the hotel space, pay their high fees, all of that kind of thing.
But what you want to do is you want to channel all of that into webinars. I think right now, try it that way. You can charge for the webinars, you can find out what people are looking for and you can find out the kind of fees that they’ll be willing to pay and I think that’s a whole lot better approach doing it that way.
First building up that list, and then have people asking you if you’re going to hold an event. Because when they’re saying, “Hey, I want to come to an event, would you ever do any live events? Let me know.”
And so what you can do with your webinar, you’ve got that going, you got your regular ongoing blogs, you’ve got your regular ongoing video. I think of the people that do wonderful videos on YouTube, kind of like you’ve been doing, Jerry.
People see that, they like it, they interact and you say, “Hey, many people said they want to do some, so we’re going to do it this coming weekend in this area or this time in advance.”
Then you have people come and you realize, “Okay, we’re going to do it,” and if you don’t have enough by a certain date, then you can cut it off. But I would lean away from trying to do your own event initially cause that takes a lot of time, money and energy, do it first and build up active followers on webinars that people are paying a little bit.
They’re paying something to come in, that way you know they’re willing to pay. They like you, they’ve come back many times, and then you’ve got a base that you can say, “Hey, 10, 15, 20,000 people that really like me and have already paid me money. Would you like to come and attend this physical event here at this place?”
It doesn’t have to be that many. You might have only a hundred people, but they’re raving fans and those hundred are saying, “Yes, we’d be willing to pay money to come and be with you.”
Here’s a thousand dollars and you got a hundred people coming, then you can have a real party!
Jerry: Well Terry, I’m in a process of kind of validating. Do people want me to have an event?
What you’re saying is to make sure to get out there, sell some products and services, share what you’re doing online, and build a following online because even if you know people in person, you can still offer them something online.
I’m interested to know some of your experience because I imagine there are people watching this that at this point are all excited about it, but there’s some belief there.
There’s some part of me that is hesitant, like there’s, you know, “People aren’t gonna pay to come see you in person, think about all those things you failed.”
I’ve tried to host several in-person events before, over the last six years, and no one ever showed up.
I did several different events, promoted them online. Not one person ever came to any of them.
What is your experience getting through that naysayer voice, that part of you that thinks, “Well, you don’t deserve to charge this much to speak” and what are some of your stories where you’ve got through that?
Terry: Well, first of all, we all have a person like that in our head going, “You’re not so great. I don’t remember what you did in third grade with Mrs. Marple. You remember that? What about sixth grade when Mr. Harvey knew, you remember that? And you look at your notes, no good….” and there’s that person inside all of us in our head.
It’s an intra-personal communication, they talk to us about and those that are communicators and what you gotta do is you have to be the one to sit down with that person yourself and slap him and tell them to shut up and put tape over their mouth.
That person, I’m talking about your head that is telling you that, and realize, wait a minute, whatever we say and whatever we believe we’re going to do, we’re going to do that, but you want to get the competence first, get the competence, and then the confidence will come from that.
So you start learning, become an expert at something, you really can’t help. By making a video it’s safer, it’s a YouTube channel and you put people at rest, you help them know that they’re going to feel comfortable and they’re going to be able to learn new tools by learning and working with you.
Then you’re going to have an audience that’s going to build up and as that audience builds up, you can say, we thought about doing some online. Just let us know what you think. Doing something. We also thought about doing an onsite presence, doing a real program and we wanted to find out what your thoughts are on that.
Start getting feedback from people. I think one of the things that a lot of people do, Jerry, you mentioned that you have done some programs or tried to do some programs, and then nobody showed up.
What you want to do is not just grab the flag and run out tooting the horn going, “Hey everybody, I got a mood meeting.” Find out what you can, let people know what you can do, and then let them know.
“We could even do this sometime, right here in St Petersburg or in the Tampa area. We could do this.”
It would work here in Orlando or wherever, someplace like that and find out the feedback from them first.
You want them saying, “Hey, we’d love to get together with you for a real life meeting.”
Make it easy on them, and then that’s something that people will then more likely show up for. They’ve got to have a real reason to go because think about it, anything that can be said from the platform, we could probably watch it somewhere online today.
I can see that, what we need to do is to build that community.
If you have the community, then you’re going to that location, not just for the people on the stage.
Yeah, that’s good that they’re there and I can say that as a speaker myself, but I think what the real value comes in is where you get together with people, those chance meetings in the hall, you get together for breakfast to talk about some business deals together cause you saw each other here, or you get together on the evening for a dinner or for some drinks at the bar or whatever.
You are getting to know people as human beings, building relationships. You’re ultimately coming back to relationships today. It’s good that we’re alive today. You can start building that online.
People get a chance to know you and they can follow you, and they can feel like they know you a little bit because they’ve seen you in several different videos.
Everything you put out online, and be very careful, you want to make sure that it’s something that people like, something that is going to be valuable to at least some people to a given market, and then you can build from there into the physical presence, seminars and meetings, that will be very good for building that community.
Jerry: Oh Terry, I appreciate your guidance on building that community online today and focus on relationships. What in terms of relationships, it seems like to me there are a lot of ways to kind of waste time. I went to so many networking events before, I was in a chamber of commerce and I didn’t get one lasting relationship out of that.
What do you recommend to focus on versus avoid? Like where? Where’s kind of places where you’re, you know, a lot of people that seem go to all these networking events and don’t get anything like me useful or don’t contribute.
I tried to contribute and present, like where do you recommend to focus versus avoid in terms of networking and relationships?
Terry: Yeah, there’s a lot of good in many places and it really depends on the person. I’ve been to the local meetings in different places here in Orlando and other places and I found too often it’s the stereotypical idea of a whole bunch of people come in all with cards, passing them, get everybody else to buy from them.
Everybody’s trying to sell themselves.
“Hi, I’m wonderful. Buy from me.”
No, I don’t know you. I you haven’t built any relationship. How do I know, you showed up at a meeting and now all of a sudden you want me to give you thousands of dollars to redesign my brochure?
I don’t think so. I’m not going to do that. What we want to do is we want to get to know people in a very helpful way. I would find, you might want to get involved in groups that have a specific focus and go in there learning about that.
Not thinking of it as a way to start selling, but giving value. Giving real value in providing that, and I would say that you want to build those networking relationships with people that are colleagues, and then from there you’re going to be able to have them refer you.
That referral again is really important. If someone, for instance Jerry, you and I know each other, if you told me, Terry, this guy over here really is good in crypto and he’s got a new hardware wallet that’s really good. I’m using it, I recommend it Terry.
Well, that did it. Okay, I’m going to go to that guy because I trust you. I know that you know crypto wallets. I know that those are good and if you tell me this guy over here is a good person to deal with, you got it.
I would go over there versus if I see his ad or I have him come up to me going, “Hi, I’m wonderful.”
Or you know, “My new hardware wallet” and I’d go, “Ooh, I don’t know.”
Because we’ve been, we’ve all bought things or been led down the wrong road at sometime in our life. We’re naturally a little bit cautious about that. We don’t want to waste our money. I don’t want to buy something and it turns out that it doesn’t work or hire somebody that doesn’t really care about me.
What I want is to find a good experience out of it and yes, I’m willing to pay money for that. Well, gladly willing to do it because if I can pay this much money and I get this much value out of it, we’ll do that all the time.
So I think it’s a matter of doing it in that way and going back to those referrals and people that you trust.
Jerry: And that brings back to what you said before, being around your peers and a coach. If you go to things like the National Speakers Association, you can get those referrals. You’ve got a coach, they can also help you get you connected.
I’m imagining with relationships and activities that are worthwhile and also help you say, “Well no, you don’t want to go to that. Everybody there is just trying to sell you something like that, it probably won’t be worth your time.”
Terry: Exactly. One of the ways I got a lot of speeches when I was getting started was I would go to a place like the National Speakers Association and other places, and I would stand up and give them value, well no pay, of course, but value on what I was doing with technology.
I became known as the technology guy. This was back in the early eighties and early nineties or so, but right in there we’re doing a lot with it and people would say, “Hey, Terry is good.”
They would hear about that and they’d go, “Hey Terry, I’ve got a client that needs some help on doing such as like Lotus 123,” and so they would say, “Terry can help you on that. Would you be able to do the work?”
They’d ask me, “Terry, can you work with my client on that?”
And I’d say, “Sure.”
So then they tell their client, “Terry can help you on this. He will do it.”
I got into Coca-Cola because I had done a program for someone who saw me one place, and then he asked me to come out and work with their people, and a very large bank, and then because he knew some people at Coca-Cola, they were all in training companies there in Atlanta.
He recommended me to her. Her name was Susan, and Susan then called me and said, “Hey, Bob has recommended you and I trust Bob completely. Could you come and talk to us about working for Coca Cola?”
So I did that, and then I started doing work with Coca-Cola. They tried one as a test, they liked it, and then they scheduled many more. So that’s the way you do it. You really build the relationships. It all kind of comes back to, because I built a relationship with a certain person and worked with them, and they had other people that saw me, and then other people came in and saw me, and it built from there.
Jerry: You’re saying relationships especially in speaking are huge to get those referrals? I’m imagining without those, it’s going to be very difficult.
Terry: Very difficult. And really, it’s all businesses, all through relationships. Most business is done through the back door and that just means you’re going to do it with a friend and a neighbor. You’re more likely to do something with somebody you know and trust and you like them, you know, like, and trust them.
That’s the old phrase we’ve heard, and that’s true. We often, that’s, “Oh, I know Bob. Bob is from my group over here. He’s with me in this club or he’s in this area and that area. And so I’m going, if Bob says it’s good, I’m going to go with it.”
But to somebody who comes in and knocks on the front door and goes, “Hi, buy my stuff. It’s going on. It’s really good. I’m wonderful. You should buy. We’ll make you a good deal today.”
You know, we just go, I don’t want that. You get outta here.
Jerry: Terry, I’ve got time for maybe one more question. You’ve had so many successes in your career. You talked about just recently going to Colombia, you read a lot of things like that.
I’m interested to know maybe one or two of your stories where it was really difficult, where you thought about, you know, “I’m never speaking again, this is stupid. I don’t want to do this. I’ll go do something else.”
Will you tell us one or two of those stories or just everything went wrong and you rethought everything?
Terry: Yeah, I think that we all go through that. Every speaker, and I’m using the word every carefully. You know, every speaker has times when they speak and they’re disappointed. It doesn’t go as well. It’s not always a crash and burn.
It’s sometimes, “Oh, this major thing didn’t happen,” and I think of times when I did a program on the East Coast and it was good. They liked a lot of it, but there was a problem with the AB company that was there and the AB company just let it crash and burn.
I had a lot of slides to show on the screen and it looked really bad, but the AB company was really the problem with that. But I look back and I go, “Well Terry, I should have adapted for that and had a plan B ready to go.“
I could’ve said, “Well here I’m going to plug in a USB drive instead of using what they have or better yet, if we can’t use the screen, I’m just going to shift over and be able to communicate everything I’ve got with just my word. Give me a microphone and I’ll do it that way.”
I pulled the blame on me even though it was their fault. It’s on me. I should’ve had that backup. I think the most important thing is to remember, number one, we all are going to have terrible crashes at times.
We’re going to do things that are really, well, I’ve done some Lulus over this stupid thing. I wish I could get in a time machine. Jerry, get that time machine idea going. When you get that perfected, let me know.
Jerry: What’s an example of one of those?
Terry: I’m trying to think right now. Fortunately, they mostly were in the earlier days, where I would show up and I didn’t bring them back up or something would crash, and I just looked like a fool. I would say, what I learned then is to bring lots of backups.
So if I can get that time machine on going back and say, “Terry, always bring a backup. Don’t assume that it’s going to work because it will crash.”
You learn from those things and I think that’s the key.
First of all, realize it’s going to happen.
But secondly, learn from that. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t crawl into a hole and cry and go, “Oh gee, what was me?”
Oh, come on, you’re a human being. We all have these things. What you want to do is go, “Okay, that would hurt. That was tough. But what can I learn from that?”
Key question: What can I learn from that?
Then write it down. Either write it down or pack it into your keyboard or voice, dictate it into the computer. Make sure that you then remember that and learn.
Next time bring two. Or sometimes I’ll bring three, I think of what the military does. They’ll often bring three components of essential equipment that they have to have.
That way one goes down, you’ve got another one and if that one goes down, you still have one more, and if you don’t have another, you still have your other backup plans.
Jerry: You’ve learned and make sure you’re always prepared with a backup and be ready to give your whole talk just without any backdrop. If needed, no slides. Be ready to give the whole presentation without that. If all else fails?
Terry: Yup. Yeah, and be willing to do the presentation standing on a tree stump in the middle of the forest.
Jerry: Things don’t go right to learn something from it. Like I look back, I’ve had several different events and like I tried to do that Steve fast, two and a half on. I’ve had several different events I’ve tried to do and I can, what do I learn out of that?
Well, there’s no, if someone really wants to go to an event, they’ll buy like a presale ticket. Somebody will be so enthusiastic, they’ll pay for it before the details are even set up. If you can’t pre-sale and you’re doing it yourself, if you can’t pre-sell a little bit of it or you don’t have any previous validation, then there’s no point in trying to put something together and charge people for it if nobody’s paid for it.
Terry: Absolutely, and you know another shortcut. I just realized also we do a lot today. We’ve got the tools to do it. You could set up a Google form.
A Google form that is a survey and say, “Hey, let us know if you’re interested in a program, where would you like it? What kind of topics would you want covered? What kind of price ranges? Therefore, would you want on one day? Would you want a three day?”
You have people that are your raving fans, complete that form, so then you can take it to the next step. You’re doing that for free. You don’t have to buy the hotel. You’re not paying all of this up on preparation, everything in a nonrefundable fees that they have.
What you’re doing is you’re just doing a survey and if you get two people that say, “Yeah, we’re thinking we might come if it’s free.” That’s good information that lets you know you’d better not go there.
But if you get a sufficient number, whatever that number is, 100, 200 or 500 people, they’re saying, “Yes, we would be very willing to do that. If you could cover this and this and this topic, we’d be willing to pay this large sum of money.”
Well, that’s good. Now keep in mind that didn’t cost them anything to actually do it, but what you want to do then is come back next time and you say, “Wow, so many of you wanted it. Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re planning to do it at this hotel. We’re going to do it on this weekend. These are the topics we’re going to cover, and if you pay right now, you get an early bird discount.”
So then what you do is you’re collecting some actual money there.
If they pay their money on an early bird discount before the rates go up, that’s letting you know that people are there, but this is from your raving fans. If, however, only two or three people do it, you might say, “Well, we didn’t have the interest.”
You’ll need to return the funds. Then just return the funds to those people. You will lose some with PayPal, but you’re going to have to pay it back to them, and you’re going to have the PayPal fees, but that’s market research.
You’re paying for a little bit of good solid market research. Remember that what people say and what they’re actually willing to buy and pay for, can sometimes be two different things.
Jerry: Well, thank you, Terry. That was extremely valuable information. What you’ve just said, if to practice my learning, it’s to give a little quiz on it. Essentially you said if you want to host your own event, especially if you’ve already built following online, first do market research for free.
Give people a survey, a lead form, and collect like names, email, phone numbers, so you can contact these people if you’ve actually got an event idea that you’re ready to kind of go presale.
So step one, do some market research, see what people want, see how much you’re willing to pay, get some leads. Then, if that’s successful, step two, find more of the details, but don’t go forward with it yet.
For example, find a hotel or find a location to host it. Then, do a pre-sale, maybe a big early bird discount to the people who already did the market research, plus whoever else interested.
Then, if the pre-sale goes well enough to merit booking the venue and promoting the event. Additionally, then after the pre-sale, you actually book the venue and work on promoting the whole event.
Terry: Yup. Notice what we’re doing there. We’re doing a little step-by-step process incrementally doing it. You don’t just jump over and say, “Oh, I’ve got two people that watched that video. Let me go out and spend a bazillion renting a hotel, getting the food, getting all that, doing the advertising.”
No, no, no, no, no, no. Don’t do that.
Gradually build into it. Build the list first. Get raving fans that love you, that online is the way to do it today. We couldn’t do this 10, 20, 30 years ago and it was a lot tougher. Now we can, so make yourself familiar with, work with these tools and get to know how to use them.
Jerry: All right. Thank you, Terry. That is absolutely outstanding and we’ve done almost an hour here, so I think this is time to wrap up.
Thank you, this interview is filled with absolutely outstanding information and if you’d like to work with Terry Brock as your coach, go to https://terrybrock.com.
You can click on “Learn more” and you can consider working with Terry to coach you in your speaking career.
And yes, thank you very much Terry for giving us all this information.
Anything you want to say to close the interview out?
Terry: Well, for those of you that are watching this, I would say the public speaking is one of the most important and personal ways that you can connect with people. Use that carefully. It’s a wonderful gift through the centuries rhetoric as it used to be called more back then is a way for you to connect with people and always think of ways to solve their problems.
How can you help them?
Often people get nervous when they’re speaking. Well, that’s because you’re thinking about yourself. What would I do this right? Am I saying, am I presenting right or does that person over there like me?
What you want to do is we want to connect with people that are in your audience. Find out what you can do to solve their problems, solve their pain, and as you do that, you’ll find that communication, speaking with the oral word, talking or even writing.
Also using video like we are doing now really can help you enormously as it helps others. Remember that quote I mentioned from Zig Ziglar, “You can get anything in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
That’s the key, and if I can help you out on something, please let me know at TerryBrock.com.
Jerry: Well, thank you very much, Terry. We appreciate, thank you for your time here today and I’m looking forward to talking to you again soon.
Terry: Great to be with you, Jerry. Thank you.
I love you.
I appreciate the chance to serve you today and I will see you again soon.
Edits from video transcript by Michel Gerard at www.michelgerardonline.com.