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Bypass the Gatekeepers

by Sudheer Banoth

Association and society gatekeepers, as you already know, do a great job of keeping speakers out. Make your life easy and be more effective by calling the association editor. It works like this:

1. Write articles based on your expertise and/or book(s). Be sure they are quality work at the level that editors will publish the article.

2. Skip the gatekeeper, call the association publications editor, sometimes the title is director of communications, and give your articles to the association publication. Be generous; make plenty of relationship bank deposits, as it will pay off quickly.

3. After your conversation with the editor, use the “Colombo Close” to leverage the relationship by asking, just before you hang up, who decides on speakers for the organization’s events. Generally they will say something like, our meeting planner is Suzie. Then you thank them and ask, does Suzie actually make the decisions on speakers or is she mostly the logistics person. If they say yes, she decides. Bridge relationship to Suzie by asking to be connected. If they say no, actually Jane makes the decisions, she is our executive director. You say thanks and ask to be connected. An internal transfer gets through far more frequently than an outside call.

4. Last, you ask the decision maker about their speaker selection process. Sometimes they are currently selection, or selected last week, or will be doing so in four months. From this point on traditional effective selling is necessary. It generally takes 5-10 call backs to seal the deal. So…sell, sell, and sell, your speaking services.

Attend one of Ed Rigsbee’s upcoming Selling to Associations Intensives in Las Vegas

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