“Gosh, I hate all this ‘sales' stuff… If I could just hire someone to sell for me, life would be so much easier.”
Have you ever found yourself thinking along these lines?
Maybe your dislike of numbers and fees is so strong, you dream longingly of the day you can hire someone who actually specializes in sales. This way, your speaking business will get more leads and earn more revenue.
I totally understand that feeling.
And a salesperson can be a really great addition to your team… but only if the timing’s right. Here are a few guidelines on whether (or not) you should hire a salesperson and (for premium members, a checklist on how to hire a salesperson.)
Why You Might Need a Salesperson (and Why You Might NOT)
Things to Consider Before You Hire a Salesperson
Meet Ryan, My Sales Guy
To start, let me tell you about my own salesperson, Ryan.
(His official title is Director of Speaker Relations. Fancy, right?)
And truly, Ryan is an awesome ally for my business. He’s focused on ensuring I can deliver a great experience to the right prospects every single day.
He helps me maintain my relationships, keeps deals moving forward, and organizes my speaking calendar. On top of that, Ryan puts together every speaker agreement and discussion document we send out. And he’s in charge of negotiating every deal.
But even with this long list of duties, I am personally still involved in every stage of the sales process – which leads us to the first thing you need to know about hiring a salesperson…
#1: No One is Better At Selling Your Speech Than You
I’m going to be totally honest with you...
Ryan is great, but he’s just not as good as me at selling my speeches.
And he’s been doing this for a long time. It’s been six years!
So, if you’re considering a salesperson – and want to actually sell speeches – you’ll still be heavily involved in the sales process.
As nice as it sounds, you can’t actually pass off the entire sales process to someone else. So, set your expectations. No one will be better at selling your speeches than Y-O-U.
Speaking of selling your speeches…
#2: You Already Need to Be Closing Gigs Consistently
A salesperson isn’t going to magically transform your business, okay?
If you aren’t consistently closing gigs yourself, then you’re not ready for a salesperson.
Instead, you’ve got to hone and refine your own sales process before you can train a salesperson to sell on your behalf.
So, you should already be closing gigs on a regular basis before you even consider bringing a salesperson onto your team.
#3: Follow the “Overwhelm” Rule
This is my rule of thumb…
Only hire a salesperson if you already have so many inquiries that you are overwhelmed and can’t keep up with the demand.
In this scenario, you are receiving so many referrals and stageside leads that you’re literally unable to respond to all the inbound inquiries.
Things are falling through the cracks…
You’re forgetting to follow up with people…
You’re not able to create discussion documents fast enough because you’re too busy working on other discussion documents…
Only when you’ve reached this feeling of overwhelm are you actually ready to hire a salesperson.
One of the biggest mistakes speakers make is to hire a salesperson too early without enough leads. People assume that a salesperson will help “sell more.”
But really, if you don’t have enough leads in the pipeline, your new salesperson won’t have anything to work on. They won’t make enough money to focus on your business. Which means they won’t be successful – and neither will you.
So you need to have enough demand to warrant a salesperson before bringing them onboard.
#4: You Need a System in Place
Once onboard, your salesperson needs a clear system to follow.
Honestly, hiring a salesperson without a clear sales system in place is useless. You’ve got to have the tools ready to track and win new gigs.
That means you’ll need a CRM… or spreadsheet… or whatever. But it can’t just be sticky notes and folders. It’s got to be an organized system you can scale with another person.
#5: Don’t Expect More Leads
I alluded to this already, but it’s worth repeating…
A salesperson is not going to increase the number of leads you get.
No matter how confident your salesperson is (and the best sales people are VERY confident), very few will be successful with cold outbound leads and communication.
In other words, the number of inbound referrals and stageside leads you currently have is the same number you’ll have when the salesperson is on your payroll.
Sure, the salesperson may be able to negotiate better, so you might increase your revenue. But you’re not going to get a flood of new inbound leads from sources you never heard of simply because you hired a salesperson.
#6: Shift Your Mindset
Instead of thinking of them as a “salesperson,” maybe just think of them as an extension of you.
We already said that no one is better at selling your speech than you. So, this extra person is just another person who is dedicated to being on top of every potential opportunity.
You’re still going to need to be heavily involved. It’s not like they’ll have a special subset of skills that will drastically change your business.
How to Hire a Salesperson for Your Speaking Business
Now that you’ve seen why you might (or might not) be ready to hire a salesperson, it’s time to talk about how to actually hire them. What do you look for? How do you get them started so they can be successful? How does compensation work?
Well, I made up a little checklist to get you started!
How to Hire a Salesperson for Your Speaking Business
It’s time for you to extend your own reach – through the use of a salesperson!