Attract Clients Without Selling or Marketing

In this episode, Steve Slaunwhite discusses why you should consider integrating some sort of speaking into your marketing activities.

Earlier this week, I presented an afternoon workshop to a group of professional speakers. The topic? How to write marketing copy that sells.

It was a great audience and I had a lot of fun.

But here's the thing . . .

I didn't make a dime doing that workshop. My speaking services were provided for free as my way of supporting the group -- which I was happy to do.

And during the presentation, I never so much as mentioned by coaching, consulting or copywriting services -- and I barely talked about my books.

And yet:

  • I sold almost all the books I brought with me.
  • I got seven (and counting) serious enquiries into my services.

That's the power of teaching.

Of course, this is probably not a big surprise to you. How many times have you attended a workshop or dialed into a teleclass and were subsequently motivated to visit the speaker's website, or find out more about his or her services, or even buy something from that person right there on the spot?

People are naturally drawn to the person "on stage" who shares his or her expertise. They remember that person. They want to work with that person.

So if you haven't integrated some sort of speaking into your marketing activities, you should at least consider doing so. As my friend and copywriting legend Bob Bly once told me, "If you do it right, it's almost impossible NOT to get a new client from a speaking gig."

That has certainly been my experience.

I often tell the story of doing a one hour workshop to about fifty marketing VPs at a conference many years ago. When I finished, several audience members approached me. A short line-up formed. I distinctly remember thinking, "Wow. It doesn't get better than this. Potential clients are actually queuing up to speak with me!"

Why does teaching work so well as a marketing strategy?

Well, it's a little like giving away a free sample of your expertise. The audience is getting a "taste" of what it's like to work with you. They can see you, hear you, talk to you. They're also assuming -- and, in most cases, rightfully so -- that if you teach what you do, then you must be good at what you do .

Think about it. Wouldn't you want the guy who does the deck building seminars at Home Depot to build your deck?

And, by the way, I've been talking here about speaking at live events. But you don't necessarily have to do it that way.

A coaching client of mine recently put together a 40-minute webinar and is offering it to associations and other groups in her target market. The deal is, they sell the seats and keep the money. She delivers the webinar and, at the end of the presentation, is allowed to invite participants to visit her website or contact her about her services.

She has already lined up two of these webinar speaking gigs. And, chances are, she's going to generate a lot of good leads and referrals from her "cross country webinar tour" -- which she'll be able to do from home in her pajamas!

So look closely at the industry or niche market you're targeting. What opportunities are there for you to teach what you know? Are there meetings or conferences? Can you create a speaking opportunity.

It's worth the effort.

The more you teach, the more clients you'll likely attract.



1. Look for speaking opportunities in your target market: association conferences, events, trade shows, monthly chapter meetings, etc.

2. Brainstorm a list of topics. Make sure that they are a) related to the freelance work you do, and b) of high interest to your target audience.

3. Select your best three topic ideas.

4. Contact the appropriate people in your target audieince – typically, event planners and programming volunteers as associations – and pitch your speaking topics to them.

5. If you're nervous about speaking in front of a group - and who isn't? - consider looking for opportunity to speak on a panel with other speakers. The presentations tend to be shorter and, therefore, less intimidating to do.

STEVE SLAUNWHITE helps freelancers land all the great clients they need. To book a free coaching session, contact him at