The Art of Covert Selling as a Public Speaker

Five strategies you can use to sell your product without pushing for a sale.
The Art of Covert Selling as a Public Speaker
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Familyman. Entrepreneur. Speaker. Author. Tennis enthusiast.
6 min read
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When it comes to speaking about your business, there are many environments when you simply can't go directly for the sale.

So, what should you do? Earn social proof and credibility.

People buy based on what they know, like and trust, and you can help build rapport very quickly.

With trust, the audience will want to buy from you. So, when you get to the offer part of your presentation, covert selling, it is anticipated and welcomed.

"Having a preponderance of proof makes it possible to sell with 100 percent effectiveness, 100 percent of the time. If you want to win with every presentation of every proposition, make sure you have an overwhelming amount of proof that what you are selling is a great deal, have an overwhelming quality of proof, and have proof that is influential." says Dan Kennedy, author of No B.S. Sales Success and No B.S. Guide to Powerful Presentations.

Audiences are much more informed about their options than ever before -- that means you, your services and products are at the whims of other consumers' opinions and reviews unless you take charge. As such, utilizing social proof and credibility as your ultimate tools to generate trust can help you effectively market to your audience. 

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Here are some of my favorite strategies for covert selling:

1. Share the struggle.

People love testimonials. Although textbook testimonials aren't used as much as before, they still work to some degree. You know, those stories where the speaker gets up on stage and tells you about a client of theirs that went from being homeless to becoming a millionaire. Those stories worked for a while, but what is impactful now is telling the story, the whole transformational story.

Prospects feel the need to connect with the story and know the personal struggle phases of the testimonial. Rather than giving snippets or quick transformational side-by-side photos like you see on weight loss programs, you need to facilitate a real emotional connection and get your audience to really relate on a deep level, versus telling a quick one-note result.

Sharing the whole journey is very powerful. We connect with stories of resilience, of how someone started at the same place we did and root for their success as if it is our own. Creating this connection and tying it to the results you get your clients, creates social proof and gives you speaker cred with an audience that otherwise wouldn't know who you are.

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2. Provide metrics to build credibility.

Providing statistics is another strategy that gives you speaker cred with the audience. Facts and data provide authority and signal that you are thorough and analytical -- that there is a solid foundation and methodology to your work.

For example, if I were showing a funnel or a website, I would say that our client has worked with us on some strategies that brought her from a 37 percent to a 55 percent sales increase. Telling the audience about key metrics is specific, measurable and credible. It is much more powerful to incorporate mini metrics and statistics along with the story, versus telling the audience about your student's three-million-dollar business.

People cannot connect or relate to big numbers and dollars; the key is to provide results that are relative and quantifiable, within the grasp of your potential clients.

3. Tell pictures with stories.

Another key to creating social proof among your customers is to show a success story. Telling a story is good, but it gets much better results if you show it. By utilizing pictures and videos, you create a visual, sensory experience. By featuring images of your client from where they started out and what life is like now after using your products and services, you make it personal and relatable.

You are building and providing value as you covertly sell to your audience and potential clients, through demonstrating. A huge tip in presenting a case study is to give people enough specifics that they have enough info to take action on their own. Give just enough information, but not too much, that they no longer need your products or services.

4. Capture live case studies.

One of my favorite and simplest things to do to increase my speaker credentials and create social proof is to capture live testimonials. Everyone has their phones on them at all times now, so you already have a camera and video recorder at the ready.

When I am done speaking, there is often a group of people that will want to come up to me to chat, or I seek out the most engaged person to talk to. I will usually ask the person what they liked best about the presentation. If their answer is beneficial, I will ask them if they mind me recording their answers and pull out my camera on my phone.

Getting a live case study or testimonial is an amazing way to maximize your time at the presentation. Even if the visual quality is terrible, you can always use the audio. If the sound is just as bad, you can always transcribe the review. There is real value in live testimonials because they are captured in the moment, fresh after someone has heard you present, and are genuine and unrehearsed.

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5. Leverage attendees through social media.

Lastly, always encourage attendees to post on social media about your presentation. Make it a part of your presentation to ask participants post on your behalf. You can increase your social proof and exposure exponentially to people outside of the presentation, when you leverage social media posts and get in front of your audience's network. Remind them to use the event hashtags as well as any of your own that you introduce.

Asking your audience to post what they gained out of your presentation is a very powerful tool because social media reaches the rest of the world. You never know how big of a following someone in your audience may have. Plus, their post packs a double punch, serving as a warm introduction to you and an endorsement at the same time.

By leveraging social proof and building speaker cred, you can boost outreach to more audiences and potential clients like never before! You not only market better, but can use covert selling to grow your bottom line.

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