We need to talk about the B2B market. It’s a game changer for solopreneur speakers
If you’re a solopreneur speaker, or you’re considering becoming one, you should seriously consider putting a lot more of your focus on the B2B market.
You’ve probably heard of B2B — but just to make sure we start out on the right foot (and so you don’t have to google it) B2B mean Business-to-Business.
This is different from B2C, or Business-to-Consumer.
The idea is that you focus on selling yourself; your talks, webinars, books and reports to businesses and organizations instead of the general public.
In the past, B2B had a negative connotation, even being seen as “boring-to-boring”: laced with the language of sales collateral, corporate buzzwords, and tradeshow jargon, and brought up images of cold-calling and endless email threads with sales teams.
But this is mostly a myth. The face of businesses has changed in the last few years, so not only is B2B lucrative but it is also just as enjoyable as selling to the general public.
It is a more dynamic place, with many possibilities and a lot of work to be had if you can break into the market. This article will cover why you should consider it, and how to get your foot in the door.
Why should solopreneur speakers think about B2B?
Right out the gate, the ability to add to your bottom line in a significant way is greater with B2B then it is with B2C.
If you are a solopreneur speaker, you’ve got to be on the lookout for where you can easily add to your profit.
Finding a handful of great organizations to work with can set you up financially so that you don’t feel like you have to work around the clock to make ends meet.
The fact is that B2B customers are professionals.
They know what they want and they have the money to buy it. Meaning that if you can meet those needs, you are likely to be able to sell to them and make more money.
Let’s start with 5 differences between B2B and B2C, and why marketing yourself to businesses and organization actually makes very good business sense.
- Bigger budgets
Simply put, you can make more money selling to businesses than individuals because the businesses are made of up more people, and generally they have more money to spend.
Often, bigger business and organizations have it within their budget to invest in training, which includes speakers, training sessions, webinars, and books.
Imagine this example: You have an online training session for which you charge $50. Economically, which would be the best audience to target?
If you sell it to an individual, you will earn $50.
If you sell it to a small company with 10 employees, you will earn $500.
If you sell the session to a larger organization with 100 employees, you earn $5K.
If you are going to invest marketing dollars — look for the audience which will give you the best return on your investment.
Consumers get fed up with advertising quickly. Many will put ad blockers on their browsers because they are so overwhelmed or are simply not interested in being sold to.
Businesses, on the other hand, are more on the lookout for things that will help them build their business, and are more keen to hear about what could help.
While there are significant differences in where and how (like a clever LinkedIn strategy might be better than simply cold calling businesses hoping to catch a break), for the most part your marketing efforts will get more results if you are advertising B2B.
3. Bigger client base
Let’s use the example of selling the online training course.
Say that after the course there is a 50% chance that an attendee will follow you on Twitter, and a 20% chance they recommend you or your course to a friend or colleague.
If there is just the one person, the likelihood of building your audience base or getting referrals is slim.
But if there are 100 people taking the course, suddenly your pool is a lot bigger. That would work out to 50 new followers and 20 referrals, meaning you can grow your audience base and business faster and easier.
Secondly, if you have experience with, and testimonials from working with, a lot of businesses, the likelihood of getting hired by more businesses increases.
If they see that you have worked with a handful of great or popular organizations, this will increase your credibility and help you get more bookings or sell more content. Whereas if you are only selling to individuals, it won’t have the same effect.
4. Sell more
Adding on to your talk is more straightforward with businesses than individual consumers. You can propose selling extras that will add to your bottom line in a significant way.
If you are selling the $50 online training sessions, you could also propose coming to speak to the employees in person, or sell them copies of your book. (Or imagine selling all three!)
You could be looking at thousands of dollars as opposed to just one access fee of $50.
5. Referrals and repeat business
Businesses tend to have recurring needs that can create a lot of opportunity for repeat business, as opposed to individual customers who are satisfied once they have learned your content, and don’t need to repeat it.
If you meet the needs of a business, they have a tendency to be loyal and ask you to come back.
The practice of referring, or asking for referrals, is common in the business world, and less comfortable for private individuals, meaning that you will be able to build your business by word of mouth easier with businesses than with individuals.
How to do it
Here are some ideas on how to establish yourself and find B2B clientele.
1. Position yourself as a thought leader
Reputations are informed by a mix of fact, perception, reporting, instinct, and relationships. You need to consider all of these elements.
Good thought leadership helps secure influence, and influence can you gain more clients and build your business.
We’ve created a lot of resources and articles to help you when it comes to getting a handle on thought leadership. With insights from global experts like Dorie Clark, Neil Patel, Rah Goh, and Stuart Thompson.
Here are a handful of articles to help you take the next step
- How to establish yourself as a credible speaker
- Becoming a thought leader in your niche
- How to build your reputation through influence and thought leadership
- Why we need more “long-tail” speakers
Here are some podcasts to listen to inspire you to find your niche and become a thought-leader in it.
- Becoming a thought leader, with Dorie Clark
- Build a thought leading blog, with Neil Patel
- Level-up your speaking business, with Josh Linkner
- From local to global, with Rah Gor
- Learning to drive your talk, with Cathey Armillas
2. Learn how to sell your content
Here is a simple truth: the person who is hiring you to speak, or train, or is buying your online course or books, wants a few simple things:
- They want to improve their business or organization
- They want to look good in front of their boss
- They don’t want to make mistakes.
You have to sell your talk to meet these needs.
You need to figure out:
- What will help them improve their business, and how you, specifically, can help.
Offer them a premium solution. The bigger the problem you can solve for them the more they’re willing to pay you for those services.
2. What will make them (the buyer) look good.
This could be statistics or testimonials of improvements other organizations have had since your talk, some sort of guarantees, or a list of other top-level organizations you have worked with.
Imagine them standing in front of their executive explaining why they want to hire you. You’ve got to make their job easy by making the reasons crystal clear.
3. Ease their anxiety: have your credentials ready.
They are looking for a safe bet. Most do not want to risk their job or reputation in the business.
They want to feel certain that by hiring you; their business will improve, their team will be more motivated, they will get some sort of kudos for bringing you in. Sell to these needs. Be very clear about what you can deliver, and how.
Take the risk factor out of the equation by having your videos, statistics, testimonials, accolades, and work experience ready and available.
They need to be certain that paying you thousands of dollars is going to end up being a payoff for them.
Read these articles about how to pitch your talk in a way that will make businesses want to hire you
- What conference organizers wish speakers knew
- How to create your elevator pitch and defining your “Why choose me” statement
- Do presentation titles matter? How to grab attention and get booked
Then listen to these 3 podcasts to really up your game
- World of Speakers E.23: Sell your talk with Kim Orlesky
- World of Speakers E.47: Creating value and connections with your talks with Drew Dudley
- World of Speakers E.24: Build sales leads with your talk with Jabez LeBret
3. Look good online
Today, 50% of B2B buyers use social media when making purchase decisions.
Cultivating your online presence can help you by building your credibility in the eyes of the buyers.
There are 6 core things you need, to have a strong presence online:
- A website that’s really good and clear.
- Professionally shot photography.
- Tightly written speech descriptions and a very well-written bio.
- A high-quality video so they can see you in action.
- A fee schedule that is coherent and clear.
Once you’ve got these, start building your follower base.
There are no cheap or easy ways (unless you are going to buy them, but we do not recommend this) to instantly gain 20k followers, but getting active on social media, posting great content, and communicating with your audience on a regular basis will help you to build a following.
See more resources for boosting your online presence below.
Learn how to use social media to build your audience with these articles:
- 40 ways to use social media before, during and after the event to engage your audience
- Social networking: what to talk about on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
- Live Video for Professional Speakers
- YouTube, Canva and SlideShare: How to repurpose your presentation as marketing material
These 4 podcasts will help you figure out how to master your online presence
- E.05: Impactful speaking in a digital age with Brian Fanzo
- E.11: Effective speaker websites with Lauren Pibworth
- E.14: Get over your fear of cameras with Dorien Morin-van Dam
- E.21: Body language in a digital world with Dr.Nick Morgan
4. Network, get referrals, and reach out
You have to get your name out there. You could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on Facebook advertising, but this can be a risky approach for a solopreneur speaker who has to manage their budget carefully.
While having an online presence is essential to building B2B connections, word of mouth is still the best foot in the door: meaning getting personal recommendations is the best way to make connections with businesses.
Go to networking events and meet people, check back in with past clients and ask for referrals, reach out to businesses who are similar to businesses you’ve worked with in the past, and get your name out there.
We’ve talked a lot about networking and building offline connections in previous articles, see some of our best tips here:
- The quick guide to networking
- 3 must-haves for getting repeat bookings and cultivating long-term clients
- Build confidence & get hired: use testimonials to get more speaking opportunities
- Offline networking in the digital age
- Turning business cards into leads: maximizing connections after an event
Plus three podcast interviews on how to use your network to build your business
- World of Speakers E.04: Who you surround yourself with matters with Leo Bottary
- World of Speakers E.36: Influence as a currency with Teresa de Grosbois
- World of Speakers E.18: Marketing mentality with Shakira Brown
What have you found that works when it comes to finding and maintaining B2B clients? We would love to hear your advice. Please contact us here, or share ideas with thousands of speakers around the world in our LinkedIn Group “Need a speaker / Be a speaker”
This series on solopreneur speaking is aimed at helping you build your speaking business. We look at which tools and markets can help you start adding to your bottom line.
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This was originally posted on SpeakerHub Skillcamp.