From Front To Back-Strategies For Back Of Room Sales Part 2- List Building

Creating a financially sound speaking business is about more than just the fees that you generate through a gig. With smaller speaker budgets, increased competition in the market place and fewer good paying gigs available we have to look at other ways to thrive in this business. Back of the room sales helps you to grow your business and grow your audience. In part one of this series we talked about the most important strategy to any business growth – Be Amazing. When you perform at your best, give your audience a true and authentic experience to remember, they will want to buy your products and take the experience home.

In part two we are looking at List Building as a back of room sales strategy. While we typically think of a back of room sale as a tangible product to take away today, we’re going to look at it in a more holistic way with an eye toward long term customer engagement and lifetime value of a customer. Not everything you sell in that room will result in cash today.

Ways list building generates long term revenue


  • Membership programs can include access to exclusive materials, coaching, community groups, online training and more. Introduce your memberships throughout your speech. Share how members experience your services, use examples from member experience in your talk and share success stories of members.  Be very careful to incorporate these references into your speech without coming off in an over “salesy” manner. Remember first and foremost – Be Amazing. By referencing memberships and the experiences of members you are setting the stage for a very simple pitch at the end. Your language might include statements like, “one of our gold level members recently shared…”, or “today’s speech is just one part of a series that I’ve recorded live for our members to access online, in the next part of the series we cover…”
  • Getting them on the list – make membership sign-up available at your table after the program. Collect business cards from people interested in membership – have them write the word MEMBER on the back of the card and pass it to the isle to be collected. Writing on the cards gives them a mental sense of commitment and creates excitement. Have an assistant collect the cards and send out email links immediately for sign up.
  • Offer a special for joining today. Create urgency and incentive for them to join before leaving.
  • Create buzz at the sign up table. People see others joining and they begin to think that it’s “the thing to do”, so they are more likely to get caught up in the excitement.

Follow up sales

  • Always track lists from specific events so you can personalize messages to that audience after the event. You may use the list from an event to introduce a new product that is related to the program you delivered. Or to market upcoming events that might be of interest to this group.
  • Not everyone is going to buy from you the day of the event. You can offer a special after the event to those who attended. It might sound like, “we know that the lines were long and not everyone who attended the _____ event had a chance to purchase/talk to us/join that day so we are providing this exclusive offer for anyone from ____ purchasing before x/x/xx.”

Referral product sales

  • Let’s not forget one of the greatest benefits to having a solid mailing list – referrals. If you create a tempting offer and present it in a way that captures the attention of your audience, they will share it.
  • Give them incentive to share. Offer those on your list a gift for sharing with their network. You’ll need a means for identifying who referred a new list member.

Referral engagements

  • There are often people in your audience who plan events themselves or know people who do. Getting these people on your list will allow you to keep in contact and offer special incentives for future booking. In the case of an association event for example, offer a special rate to anyone scheduling a booking within the next 30 days.

Other great tips for list building at events:

1. Offer specials to the audience – today only – “if you sign up on our mailing list we’ll give you xxx”.

2. Give away additional resources to the audience – make your slide deck available through a special sign in that requires email opt-in.

3. Offer a preview copy of an upcoming product. If you have a book or product that is not yet ready for release, offer a pre-sale of the product to anyone signing today. Or provide a download of the first 1-4 chapters for them to access now.

4. Invite audiences to “like” your facebook fan page for a special opt-in offer.

5. Have an assistant take photos or video during the event and provide audience members with a link to view after the event or put them on your Facebook page to promote “likes”.

6. Start a client referral club. Audience members can get a free product by sharing an organization or association who would benefit from your service.

7. Set up a space to capture video testimonials after the program. Gather email addresses for those participating so you can share the video with them later.

In part three of this series From Front To Back: Strategies For Back Of Room Sales we’ll look at product sales, and how to generate excitement from the stage to get people to act immediately.

Please share with us other tactics that have worked well for you to generate revenue outside of your speaking fee.

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