Keys to Conquering the International Speaking Market
Your Business Plan
If you want to work the International Circuit, you need to plan for it. Work out how many days each year you want to speak overseas, the market you want to work and develop an action plan.
Your Unique Market
Choose your unique and specialty market. My market was initially the English speaking International Financial Services market. Over the years this has spread to include the IT, Software and any market involve in sales in any country where people can understand English. Because of my delivery style, I have chosen not to work with translators.
Marketing yourself – the key to success
· Identify clients you have spoken for in the past that have international offices. Get a referral to the decision maker in the overseas office. Email or send a letter and follow up with a phone call.
· Dial and Smile – Pick up the phone and cold call. When I started out, I identified companies and banks that have international offices and phoned the President. One of those calls resulted in a business relationship with a company that spends between $50k - $100k each year sponsoring me to speak to their clients around the world.
· Find five clients that will provide you with 50% of your work each year. I have five large international companies that each book me for between six and thirty talks each year. I also have two or three Companies that I am developing should any of the ‘big five’ drop out.
· Actively prospect when speaking abroad. When speaking overseas, I will scan the local papers, magazines and yellow pages for potential clients. I’ll then phone and establish who the decision makers are and endeavor to set up a meeting and sell my talks. A lot of these Companies are open and receptive to meeting with you.
· Referrals – always ask for referrals. Apart from existing clients who I do repeat business with each year, I have over 200 potential clients that have been given to me as referrals. If you leave the client satisfied, they will always give you referrals – IF YOU ASK!
· Add on an extra day to meet with potential clients – Wherever I speak in the world, I add on an extra day to see potential clients and bureaus. I can normally fit in 5 appointments for the day and this always results in at least one extra booking. On a recent trip to Singapore, I managed to give a keynote speech to a large Insurance Company and in the same day have five meetings with potential clients. One of these meetings was a cocktail party where I met with twenty of the most influential business leaders in Singapore.
This was only achieved because I had developed a center of influence in Singapore who had arranged the talk and all of the meetings. He is rewarded with a percentage of the fee, which makes it a win-win situation for everyone.
· Find the other offices – When speaking internationally, find out where the International client for whom you are speaking has other branches around the world. Find out who you should contact at the other offices to do the same talk. In January I spoke at a large software company in Dubai. The CEO from London was in Dubai at the time and heard me speak. After the talk he asked me to contact him to replicate the talk to their other international offices. They have offices in 33 countries.
· Network and socialize – Before going on an international talk, surf the net to see what social events are happening while you’re there. Then arrange an invitation, as you’ll always meet potential clients at these events
· Have fun and take a tour – If we visit a country for the first time, we’ll always take an extra few days to see the place. This normally includes a half-day bus tour. It’s amazing whom you can meet on these tours. We’ve met and become friends with the Vice-President of one of the largest insurance companies in the USA and a grand old lady who turned out to be the wife of the owner of one of the UK’s biggest supermarket chains.
· Bureaus – find out who the bureaus are internationally and meet with them. When Frank spoke in South Africa last July, he met with the leading bureau. This resulted in bookings in November in Sun City and Mauritius for both Brendan and Frank.
· Web site – Pay a company to generate hits to your site. By doing this we have just secured a talk with a USA bank from the Internet. This has also generated three other enquiries, one with an International Company who needs someone to speak in five different Countries for them.
· Always meet with the decision maker at the event. We were recently booked to speak in Scotland to a company who had just merged with a German telecommunications Company. After the talk we spent some time with the German CEO and now following up to present the same talk to the German counterparts.
Be Aware of Cultural Differences
Middle East - Don’t show soles of your feet when seated, considered an insult.
China & Hong Kong – Hand over and accept business cards with both hands.
Japan – Don’t try to copy the Japanese way of bowing, you will never get it right and make a fool of yourself.
Malaysia & Singapore – Point with your thumb, not your index finger.
Adapting your talk
When speaking to English speaking foreigners, always speak slowly. Remember, English is their second language.
United Kingdom – The British, Scots and Welsh have a different sense of humor to Americans. They are passionate about soccer, rugby and cricket, hardly any knowledge of baseball, American football, ice hockey or basketball. They can appear to be conservative and don’t like too much rah-rah. When you get to know them they are great audiences.
South Africa – sport crazy, especially rugby and cricket with a great sense of humor similar to Americans. Enjoy lots of motivation and excitement.
India – possibly the best audiences in the world. They enjoy lively interactive motivated talks. You are almost guaranteed a standing ovation. They love to be photographed with you.
Chinese & Japanese – They are very formal and serious. They have a great thirst for knowledge. Make your talk less motivation and more education. If they like you they will generate a lot of repeat work. It is very important to learn about their culture.
Singapore – smart and elegant, but want value for their money.
Middle East – Gregarious and outgoing. Very emotional and love stories. If selling tapes or CDs, send them ahead of time. You will be x-rayed when entering the Country and they will take your tapes and watch them, very strict on morals.
Germans, Swiss, Belgium’s – very serious, less motivation, more education and don’t waffle – get straight to the point.
Spanish – easygoing and very laid back. Great love of life and a lot of fun.
Malaysians – Softly spoken, respectful and emotional. Also love stories and lots of humor.
If you’re going to a country for the first time, take an extra two days to sightsee. We have seen and done incredible things while speaking internationally. Why not? It’s one of the perks of the profession.
· If speaking in a country for the first time, ensure you have all the details of the venue and mobile phone numbers of the organizers. If something goes wrong or your limo is not there to pick you up, these are essential.
· Check that you have the correct visas. Very serious immigration officials with machine guns once delayed Frank for four hours in the Czech Republic because of visa problems.
· Back of room sales – ensure you know what they use. The Far East is very advanced. Will only buy VCD, CD or DVD. Most of them don’t own an audiotape machine and consider it old fashioned. When working around the rest of the world, remember that videotapes should be in the PAL format and not NTSC as used in the USA.
· When checking into a hotel, ensure that the organizers have arranged payment. Sometimes they fax booking confirmation and not payment information to the hotel.
· Ensure that you have a rock sold, signed contract and receive payment before the talk. It can be difficult chasing your payments from 10,000 miles away.
· Allow for jet lag. If you have a 13-hour flight and a 10-hour time difference, you will not give your best performance without a rest. Take a natural herb tablet called Melatonin that sorts out the body clock immediately.
· Try to take day flights, you can get a lot of work done and arrive in time for a good night’s sleep
Frank Furness CSP CFP is a professional speaker and trainer specialising in sales and sales management. He has educated, entertained and inspired audiences in 42 countries. His publications and sales CDs have been sold globally. For more information or to sign up for the free ‘Sales Tips & Ideas’ newsletter, email email@example.com or telephone+ 44 (0) 870 240 6505. www.frankfurness.com
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