Survey of How Professional Speakers and Trainers get New Business

Marilynn Mobley

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Here are the responses from the 100+ speakers who responded to my survey on how professional speakers and trainers get new business. You'll notice that not all answers equal 100% because in most cases, speakers were asked to select "all that apply." In other cases, people chose not to answer some questions, or answered them only partially. I simply did a straight numerical calculation, then converted the numbers to percentages, applying simple rounding rules.

How long have you been a professional speaker/trainer?

25%  Less than 3 years
15%  Less than 5 years   
10%  5-7 years 
15%  7-10 years 
10%  More than 10 years 
20%  More than 15 years  
10%  More than 20 years  

How often do you speak or train?

20%  Less than half my time 
20%  Less than 75% of my time
10%  More than 75% of my time 
50%  I am a full time speaker/trainer

What percentage of your gross speaking/training income did you spend on advertising in the past 12 months?

40%  Less than  5%  
30%  Less than 10% 
10%  Less than 20% 
20%  More than 20%

What advertising venues did you use? (Check all that apply)

50%  NSA Directory  
60%  Chapter Directory
10%  Non-speaker professional association journal  
10%  Yearbook of Experts 
10%  Radio and TV Interview Quarterly  
15%  Specific trade show publication  
 0%  Meeting planner journal
60%  Web sites/banner ads  
60%  Other -- venues listed more than once:
        Newspaper ads
        Trade show booth
        ASTD Buyers Guide
        ASTD Membership Directory
        Adult Ed Today Magazine

How did you decide where to place an ad? (Check all that apply)

20%  Recommendation of another speaker  
20%  Demographics provided by the publication  
40%  It seemed reasonably priced and worth taking a risk  
10%  Liked the looks of the publication  
20%  I got to publish an article with the ad  
30%  I sometimes try different journals just to test the water 

If you used direct mail to advertise your services, what format did you use? (Check all that apply)

50%  Letter
25%  Postcard 
25%  Fax 
15%  Video 
 5%  Audio 
 5%  Promotional item 
10%  Other:  e-mail campaign, brochure, press kit, chamber of commerce mailing

Did you follow up all direct mail with phone calls?

10%  Always
50%  Usually
30%  Only on request
10%  Never 

When you followed up on direct mail campaigns did you? (Check all that apply)

50%  Personally call
25%  Use a staff assistant
 0%  Use a telemarketing firm 
 5%  Send another piece of mail

How many times in the past 12 months did you send direct mail?

10%  Didn't sent mail
20%  Only once 
40%  2-3  times
 5%  4-6 times 
 5%  7-10 times
20%  More than 10 times

Do you have a Web site?

70%  Yes 
30%  No 

What percentage of your speaking business was generated from your Web site?

20%  None 
10%  Unknown 
20%  Less than 15% 
 5%  Less than 25% 
 5%  More than 25% 
 5%  More than 50% 

What products do you sell on your Web site?

30%  Nothing 
30%  Book(s) 
25%  Audio tape(s)
15%  Video tape(s)
 0%  Workbook 
15%  Other:
        Special reports
        Other company's products
        Specialty items

How often were articles by you published in commercial or professional journals?

30%  Less than 3 times 
15%  More than 3 times
 5%  Less than 6 times
40%  More than 6 times 

Prioritize the top 5 ways you got NEW business in the past 12 months. (1= greatest impact) (These answers are listed in order, based on the number of mentions because not all responses included 5 answers and some responses were simply marked, rather than numerically prioritized as requested.)

1. References from existing clients 
2. References from other speakers
3. References from friends 
4. Responses to direct mail piece
5. Responses to a call
6. Responses to published articles
7. Responses to advertising
8. Responses to media interview 
9. Other (in order):
        Web site
        Lead group/networking
        Reference from audience members
        Fax campaign

In the NEXT 12 MONTHS, will you? (Check all that apply)

50%  Spend more on advertising
 5%  Spend less on advertising 
40%  Spend more on direct mail
 5%  Spend less on direct mail 
15%  Launch a Web site
50%  Sell products on a Web site
60%  Hotlink to other Web sites
20%  Advertise on other Web sites 
70%  Attempt to publish more articles

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions