An invitation is the same as a call to action. Many public speaking presentations fall apart because they don’t have a call to action. I’ve changed the wording to “invitation.” I like to think of it as an invitation to do business, an invitation to take the next step, an invitation to get their problem solved.
Whatever it might be for your particular talk, an invitation is less threatening to your audience, and to you as a speaker if you are not selling to them. That can stop any of us. You’re just inviting them to take the next step.
That next step is on their journey to whatever transformation they want to create. Even if you’ve given a brilliant 30-minute talk, you can’t really help anybody unless they enter your program, enter your coaching or come to your office and work with you– any where from 3 months to a year. That’s when transformation happens which leads to permanent change. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to do invitations, different invitations for different times, and be really strong doing it.
If you find yourself in the situation where you can’t sell your product or service form the stage, what can you do? You have to give an invitation. Every single speech you do, even if it’s 15 minutes long, never leave out the invitation. Here are 5 invitations to use:
1. Invite People to Talk to You.
This is very easy to do. You can do this in a 5-minute or 15-minute speech. I’m not saying, “come talk to me afterwards.” That’s not a true invitation. Don’t forget what is really happening here–this is your call to action. Get your audience to take action.
The way it works is this: At the end of your presentation, ask people to come talk to you if they have any questions. This is the script you want to use:
“I know you have a lot of questions … ” (It’s kind of a pre-frame) “… And I want to answer them.” Now you’re building rapport. Then tell them what action to take. For instance, you might say, “I’m going to be standing right here after the meeting, come talk to me and I’ll be happy to answer your questions” or “I’m going to be standing by the door, come talk to me, and I’ll answer your questions.” You need to be very specific in what you want your audience to do. There are pros and cons to this type of invitation.
The Pros: You’ll get only the people who want to take the next step with you or want to get more information. You are the magnet and you’re drawing out all the needles. You’re pulling out those hot, hot leads.
The Cons: You don’t get everybody. You are only going to get about 5 or 6 people. You won’t be able to gather all the contact information in the room or the warm leads.
(Look for “How to Get Leads” from my previous blog.)
2. Build your Database.
The money is in the database. If you use my business card strategy by collecting cards for a free giveaway, you can put them in your database. You will want to ask people’s permission first using this simple phrase, “I’m going to put you in for the raffle and I would also like to put you in my database. If you don’t want to be in my database but want to be in the raffle, fold your card in half.”
Within 24 hours of collecting the business cards, I send everyone an email. In the title, I put “it was nice meeting you at my event.” By doing this I rarely get people opting out of the list and that way I build rapport with my list. That reduces the time before they’ll forget you. When they get an email they’ll stay on your list. That’s a business card strategy. You can go to YouTube to get my step-by-step process.
3. Free Session.
Invite them for a free session or to try your product. This way they can sample what it is you do. I used to do free coaching sessions. I learned that you have to make it clear that the call is so you can identify what they need so that you can make recommendations. It’s not coaching. I changed the name to strategy sessions.
Think about what you want to call yours. Maybe it’s a discovery meeting, discovering where they are at and what they need. Be creative, be clever, and what fits your business.
You can create a form. A half sheet works well. Make it a different color, like a bright pink or green. When you share with them, say, “I want to invite you to come and ask me any questions” or “I want to invite you to participate in a free strategy session.” You can hand out the form; they fill it out and turn it in. There are pros and cons:
Pros: You’ll get only those who are interested. You’ll have less, but more quality.
Cons: You won’t get 100% to build your database.
Think about what you prefer in your business. You can hand out forms and you’ll get more people. But the problem is it takes more time.
One of my clients failed miserably as a speaker before he came to me. (After working with me, in one speech he made $7500.) The reason he failed was he didn’t know my speaking system, and in his close, he had four different calls to action in a 30-minute speech and tried to sell from the stage. Big mistake. You only want one invitation.
You can combine a couple of these techniques. Do the business card strategy and collect everyone’s card in the room. But before you do, say, “there is only one winner who can win this CD, but you’re all winners so I want to offer you a 30-minute free strategy session. All you have to do is put an “s” at the top of your card. That’s a way to combine techniques. But it’s one call to action with an extra.
I was speaking at an event (with over 200 people) but didn’t have time to collect business cards. I wanted a call to action, so I verbally said, “if any one wants a 30-minute strategy session with me, come and see me at the end of the meeting.” I got 5 or 6 people. But I said it all in one invitation.
How do you get referrals from the stage? This can be tricky. If you ask for referrals, it makes people disconnect from you and go into their mind to think of whom they know. The other reason it’s tricky is you don’t have permission from these referrals. In other words, you can’t put them in your database because it will be spam.
When you invite people to give referrals, you’re not just looking for names. You’re looking for people who are quality who can really use your services.
5. Creative Invitation.
When I was in corporate America, Y2K was a big concern. At the time, I used it as a launching pad to get new business. I created an article as an invitation. After my talk, I gave an invitation to give me their card and I would give them an article on tips of things to watch out for regarding Y2K. I had 100% of the room get that article.
Do it as part of your speech. Have people get up. Oftentimes, when we have an invitation after the speech, people won’t take action. We’ll get some, but the majority won’t do it afterwards. Do it when it’s live.
You can put together an article. A few weeks ago I had 15 minutes to speak, and I gave away a public speaking toolkit. I had them go to my booth, give me a business card and receive my toolkit. I was the only one (and I was on the last day) who got the audience up to take action.
The point is anyone can do this when you have something of value. If you have 10 tips on vibrant health, 10 things your audience might want, you can create an article. Limit it to a small number and they will get up and get it. Have it as part of your presentation. Without you leaving the stage, tell them where to go to get them.
It is a joy to watch when you see people responding to your invitation and call to action. I urge you to try this. It is a great feeling to see that you’re commanding your audience and have something of value that they want. It’s all in how you say it.
Non-profits often use public speaking to get donations. Their success is from being deliberate and asking for donations, but most of them have a heart the size of Texas and have a hard time asking for the money. They have to be creative.
For instance, the woman wanted to raise money for school children. She had little busses on the table, and during her call to action, she asked her audience to pick up a bus, put in money and pass it around. People put in money and passed them around. You must create an easy way for people to donate.
Invitations Not Recommended.
Don’t say, “go to my website at www. blah blah blah. People are not going to do that. They forget about you as soon as they leave the room–unless you give them some compelling reason or something in their hand to take with them so they remember.
Don’t do too many invitations at once or combine the wrong ones. If you’re raising money and you did the business card strategy, then the envelopes to raise money. It won’t work. It’s got to be smooth and seamless. Remember it’s an invitation to do business with you.
Don’t just invite them to do business with you. Like “I provide coaching workshops, if you want coaching, come see me or go to my website.” That doesn’t work. Because you’re selling. When you say, “if you have questions, I would love to talk to you.” That’s a different spin. Because you care about them. Remember the saying, people won’t care about you unless you show them you care about them. We never want to get there and sell unless you’re directly selling. That’s another ball game.
As you’ve probably noticed with these five invitations, selling isn’t one of them. First, practice these invitations– then you can always do sell later.
These five invitations will get people to take action so they can’t turn you down.
Arvee Robinson is a Master speaker trainer, international speaker, and author. She teaches business owners, service professionals, and entrepreneurs how to use public speaking as a marketing strategy so they can attract more clients, generate unlimited leads and grow their businesses, effortlessly. She teaches a proven speaker system for delivering persuasive presentations, and easy formulas for creating killer elevator speeches and magnetic self-introductions. Arvee has helped hundreds of individuals to win clients and close more sales every time they speak. As a high-energy motivational speaker, Arvee has shared the stage with speaking giants such as Mark Victor Hansen, Joel Bauer, Loral Langemeier, Chris Howard, Dave Lakhani, and many more. Arvee offers private coaching, workshops, home study courses and weekly teleclasses. Her persuasive speaker training programs transform ordinary business owners into superstars in their industry.