How companies select the right speaker and the right message for the sales field is critical for the goals of the business and the culture of the company. Companies are becoming more selective and meticulous about partnering with third-party speakers. They’re also finding unique ways to continue the partnership after the events.
Some companies use multiple speakers at a single event, while others incorporate books, online courses or customized content to continue the message. We talked with representatives from three direct selling companies to discover how they get the most out of utilizing speakers. Here’s what they revealed.
What’s your process for selecting event speakers? Is it more about the speaker, the topic, or what the field needs?
Lisa: “There’s always a buzz in the field about who’s next. We use focus groups asking about topics and the needs of the field. If it’s financial, we’ll get a financial person. If it’s motivation, we get a motivation speaker. We try to resonate what we’re hearing from the leaders.”
Danyell: “Something we do well is having a pulse on our field. We engage with them to understand what they need and whom they want to hear from inside or outside of the industry.”
Brittani: “We stay in touch with the heartbeat of the field to ensure that topics that are being covered are currently relevant to what they are experiencing as a whole and in their businesses, then aligning and integrating that with what we are seeing from actual statistical data. To us, it’s not as important to mix up the topics as it is to determine the most necessary topic and integrate additional messaging as appropriate.
Most often, we will hire a keynote to speak on the topic they specialize in and then have a well-loved corporate speaker present on the alternate message that we want to integrate.”
Eric: “The best speakers for us are those who do their homework ahead of time to really understand how our consultants build a business. Many of our speakers will even attend business presentations ahead of time to better understand the audience and meet some field leaders.”
How do speakers add value for the sales field at events?
Danyell: “For our field, a lot of them are self-taught. So, when we add credible speakers, it helps them learn the skills they don’t show up within this business. It’s beneficial to have this well-rounded experience when they grow their business. It’s super-important that we bring someone in with an outside perspective so [the field] can see the bigger picture.”
Eric: “We have more people involved in the selection process, which brings a more diverse level of talent to consider. We have also focused on high-energy speakers who not only deliver a great message but also entertain. We want people to learn and obtain value from the speakers, but we also want them to have fun.”
What trends or changes have you experienced partnering with speakers?
Danyell: “We have some smaller in-house events for our top leaders, and we will engage a guest speaker on an ongoing basis, so we have that continuous learning and development with our leaders. These keynotes find value in our people, too. You might have a John Maxwell or Bob Heilig that have their own events, and they are asking our leaders to speak at their events, which is rare.
“We don’t jump on the bandwagon of having speakers just to have speakers. I think we do a good job of engaging our field and understanding what they need at that moment and picking a speaker who may not be the biggest name, but they’re the one who will work best for our field.”
Eric: “Direct sales is such a unique business mode. One that is becoming more and more popular as people continue to change how they connect with each other and the ways they do business. I think you will start to see more and more speakers craft their messaging and personal development toward the network marketing audience.”
Brittani: “I see more and more using multiple speakers. The big names seem to be where people are navigating rather than topics from time to time. The big name is the draw.
“We are involving external speakers into more of our events. Typically, we would hire external speakers for convention only. We now integrate more speakers into our retreats and incentive trips as a special addition to the perks members receive. Attendees get the excitement of a ‘name’ as well as content to grow and develop. This has been a positive change as we are not needing to leverage our corporate staff as much and have seen a great return on the investment.”
What’s working for gathering feedback from event attendees in helping to select future speakers?
Lisa: “We do focus groups for all different topics such as events and communication. We meet with top Ambassadors to get feedback on what we should have at events. The chatter on Ambassadors’ Facebook pages is huge. Social media is one of the easiest ways to see what their needs are.”
Danyell: “We also survey them, including our keynotes and training topics. We survey what they learned and what they got out of it. So, we do get a lot of feedback that way.”
Eric: “In everything we do, we always ask for feedback from our field leaders. We receive book and speaker recommendations all the time, and when a particular book or topic resonates with us, we dig a little deeper and try to find more about the author and if they are on the speaking circuit.”