Back of the Room Sales


For those speakers and authors who haven’t developed a product yet, the easiest way to start is to record every talk, every article you write and even interviews can be a product.

When it comes to gaining experience in selling back of the room products, belonging to organizations such as the National Speakers Association is seeing how others do it and what styles suit your personality the best. The education of being a member of these types of organizations is priceless.

A couple of my favorite speakers who is was able to pick up great tips are Brian Tracy and Harv Ecker. Brian has the best techniques of referring to his material. He’ll pick up his book, open it to a specific page and refer to a very important point. Then mention that if only that one detail was to be applied, imagine what impact that would have on their income. Harv is a master of delivering educational tidbits and then involving his audience in the next step: buy product or sign up for a program!

Often event planners won’t allow you to sell your materials, but another national speaker that has a great technique is Tom Antion. He was told that he wouldn’t be able to sell his books to an audience of 400 people. So he placed a book on every chair and told the event planner that he needed to refer to his book throughout his presentation. After he was done more than half of the audience insisted on purchasing his book, what was he to do? The event planner relinquished and he nearly doubled his fee for the day!

When you want to create multiple products you can start with an audio program. It could be an interview from a peer, reading your material using your computer’s media equipment or a recording of a speaking presentation. Then after several presentations and personal stories from speaking engagements there is more than enough material to create to a book. Interviewing other professionals is a great way to create multiple CD’s. Depending on the industry someone is in, there are probably 10-15 specific experts that could be selected to participate. That would make a great package for anyone interested in that industry.

We know that books are the best selling item at speaking engagements, but if you don’t have your own book you can start small. Think in terms of a booklet then expand it as you go along. After speaking for 6 months to a year, it is easy to generate more than enough material for a book. The stories speakers develop from being out in the field make for great reading material.
It only takes 4 to 6 weeks to write a book if you take one hour a day to write it. It takes about 2 ½ hours to write each chapter. I think the editing should initially be done by friends, family and anyone who is willing to read the book. Then when the book flows well, have a professional editor go over it.

There are other methods I have found to encourage people to come back and purchase additional products. Some of the major speakers refer to their material every 30 minutes.
I’m not sure that the audience doesn’t begin to take offense to be sold to. I prefer to make my presentations strong enough that the value of my books are obvious. The most effective method I have found is using the example of reading specific areas of the book which prove the value.

You also want to make sure to collect email addresses at your speaking events. Every speaker knows that their email database controls their income to a great extent. When speaking in a specific city, advance notice and special offers can be sent to the database members in that area.

One of the concepts you want to become good at is Podcasts. They are extremely popular because people can download them to their iPods and listen when it’s convenient. Many speakers generate a rapport through their blogs and ezines and both are great ways to generate more interest in their perspectives.

Membership sites are more and more popular and the larger your database, the more income you speaker can count on. The general rule of thump is that every name in your database is worth $1 a month (10% will spend $10/month).

The easiest method of gathering the emails is to offer a door prize of their choice. I’ll usually pick up business cards from at least 80% of the audience. Then the first email I send to them is to offer them something of value for free and ask that they sign up on my website capture box to receive information in the future.

No matter how good the speaker is or how great their information, not everyone is great at selling their products. Remember why you are speaking and what you initially wanted to accomplish with your material and be authentic. Your audience will feel it from you.

The best technique I have seen however was the speaker asked every to stand up if they would be willing to pay $20 for his CD. Then he asked those who would pay $40 to remain standing and so on until one person was left who agreed she would pay $1,000. Then the speaker said he had a very limited number of CD’s, but for the first few who went to the back of the room, he’d sell the $79 CD for $20. At least half of the 500 member audience rushed back to get their copy!