Episode 51 - How to Use Speaking to Generate a Sea of Leads

How to Use Speaking to Generate a Sea of Leads

Public speaking strikes fear in the hearts of many, but it can be an amazing lead generation tactic if you embrace it. That’s why we’ve got a special guest with us, Donna Riccardo from Red Stiletto Get To The Point. We are going to dig into all things public speaking for entrepreneurs and business owners.

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How to Use Speaking to Generate a Sea of Leads



Tim Fitzpatrick
Public speaking strikes fear in the hearts of so many people, but it can be an amazing lead generation tactic if you choose to embrace it. That's why I've got a special guest with me today and we're going to dig into everything public speaking for entrepreneurs and business owners. Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe marketing shouldn't be difficult. All you need is the right plan. I want to thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. I am really excited to have with me today Donna Riccardo from Red Stiletto. Get to the point. Donna, thanks for taking the time. I really appreciate you being here.

Donna Riccardo
Yeah, thanks for having me, Tim.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Absolutely. Yes. I'm excited to talk about this because I have used public speaking for the last two, three years to generate leads. It is one of our main lead generation channels. I love doing it. So I'm excited to talk to somebody that knows a hell of a lot more about it than I do. So before we jump into it, I've just started with kind of an ice breaker question to kind of get things going here. So what's your favorite type of food?

Donna Riccardo
Um, let's say I would say I'm a dyed in the wool cookie monster, but I think my favorite food is probably a mango.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Mango? OK.

Donna Riccardo
I love mangoes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Mangoes are good. Sometimes you got to wait a little bit until they ripen and you've got to get that skin off. But yes, they are good.

Donna Riccardo
It's worth it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What about your favorite? Like, you know, like Mexican. Italian what? Do you have a preference there?

Donna Riccardo
Hmm. I would have to say probably french.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Really French? OK, it looks interesting. Yeah, well, you don't have quite as many opportunities to go find French for you, do you, or it's a little bit harder to find? Easy?

Donna Riccardo
Not easy at all.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. OK, that's what I thought. I guess that's probably why I'm more of a Mexican food type person. You can find one of those on just about every corner. So tell us a little bit more about you, how you got into public speaking and how you're helping people at Red Stiletto.

Donna Riccardo
Let's see. Well, how I got into it. As I said, the other things that I had done as careers in the past was originally I was a hairdresser and I worked in high-end places in New York City. And I was a trainer also as I did that. And then later I became a trainer for a personal development company. I did that for a long time. And then there came a time when I didn't want to do that anymore.

Donna Riccardo
My body said no more hairdressing. And I thought, what do I have? Well, what I had all through all of that was public speaking. And I started out being terrified with no words coming out of my mouth when I had a chance to speak and work through all of that. And I thought that's how I can help people because I know what it's like to be on the other side of that fearful face.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, fear is I think that's the first major hurdle and roadblock for people to public speak is that fear. And we're going to get into that. So I'm excited to kind of get your feedback on that. What types of folks do you find yourself typically working with?

Donna Riccardo
Typically, it's more women entrepreneurs who are more mission-driven, passion-driven. They have a message. They have something that's important to them or even a product or service, something that they're really passionate about. And they want to get out there and share it with as many people as possible.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, but I'm assuming no matter what kind of business owner they are, the fundamentals, the principles of public speaking are the same no matter what, are they not?

Donna Riccardo
Absolutely.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. OK, cool. So let's jump into this. Why do you feel it's so important for entrepreneurs to get out there and speak publicly? Well, it's a great way, the best way, and the fastest way to get seen, heard, and known as an expert in authority in your field, you get to reach more people all at once. And so you get more visibility also and you're making more contacts at one shot instead of that one to one to one to one type of approach.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, there's leverage there. There's I don't know what it is, but when people are speaking, you know, provided they do a good job, you as somebody that watches that you build credibility very, very quickly. But I would also say in order to do it effectively. Right. You can't just speak and not have any you can't just speak and leave and expect it's going to generate leads, correct?

Donna Riccardo
No, no. You just do what we call to show up and throw up either. I mean, I like to just show I like to just get up there and just speak off the cuff. No, no. That doesn't give value to the audience. And they can tell that you're not prepared.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Yeah. So you have to be prepared. You and somebody told me I keep the quote. I can't remember the exact quote, but it's something like professionals are scripted. Do you know what you're going to say? You need to know what you're going to say. You also have to have a very clear call to action, do you not?

Donna Riccardo
Yes. And one, sometimes people will say, well, I have this and I can offer that and you can do this, and they'll even say, I do this and I do that one, be known, for one thing, make one offer.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, OK. And it needs to be compelling enough for people to want to do it.

Donna Riccardo
Yes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So and I think part of that, what that offer really depends on what your what's your end game is, right.

Donna Riccardo
Yes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
There's different audiences that I speak to. There's audiences that are already on our email list that are in our community or audience, my call to action there tends to be quite different than for a call to action for people that I don't know. But for me, I found that when I'm speaking to an audience that doesn't know me, my call to action, I just want them to get on our email list. So I find that offering tools that I'm talking about the slide decks, if I'm recording it, that's enough of an incentive for people to opt in. And then they're on our email list. And now I can just continue to nurture those people to the point where they're ready to take that next step. So that does tend to work pretty well for me. Have you seen people do other things that have worked pretty well as well?

Donna Riccardo
Yeah, I would like to add something to that. I would say also that depending upon the amount of time that you have to speak that can influence what it is that you offer. Let's say you have 20 a short amount of time, let's say less than 30 minutes or less. Right. You have a product or service that you offer, but you don't really have time to set that up and sell it for short time. So in that case, you would offer your free opt-in or some kind of a giveaway or something that allows people to get something of value and get some on your email list. Longer, at least forty-five, forty-five to 90 minutes, let's say. Then you have the time to both give your talk and outline your course or product or service and really get into it and really so that people can see what it is. And then possibly then you can sell that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So I have a mentor that I follow and I love this guy's philosophy. And one of the things he was talking about before was that when you teach, that's how you're serving and adding value to people. And it's that teaching that helps set up your credibility and your authority within the space. And so he was comparing that to people who give presentations, but they don't give everything. How do you feel about that? Do you fall into one camp or the other?

Donna Riccardo
I think you should give everything. I think you should when you speak, you give your best stuff. I don't think you should hold back. I think you should be generous with it. And just think about it like a silly example. Be like a movie trailer. Right. And they give you the best clips. You see your piece of it. So they're getting a little piece of you. They're getting a little piece of the best of you. And I think it should be given generously and freely and yeah, like that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So don't hold back.

Donna Riccardo
Don't hold back.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Cool. I love it.

Donna Riccardo
And the other thing I have something else I wanted to add to that is that because you spoke about education is it's not a pitch about me, me, me, me, me, me. It's literally educating people based on your expertise and experience, but you're teaching them something that would be useful to them.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes. But by teaching that you establish your credibility.

Donna Riccardo
Yes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes. Because, you know, I was having this conversation with somebody the other day because I agree with you. We just give everything away. I don't care because the people that are going to take that information and run with it and implement great, those people were never going to be our clients anyways. There is so much information on the Internet. Everything you need is out there. So let's just give it away. There's going to be so many people that take that information. They like the information. They're going to they may take that information in and try to implement. But when they try to implement, they hit roadblocks and they go, oh, my gosh, I need Donna's help or I need Tim's help to kind of push through this. Those are the people that are going to be your ideal clients anyway. So, you know, I think people that fall into the trap of I'm scared to give everything away are coming from a place of scarcity rather than abundance.

Donna Riccardo
Right.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So I think the faster we can get to that place of abundance, the easier it's going to be. We can't have a conversation nowadays without getting into the pandemic and how that has shifted so many different things that we do. How are entrepreneurs adapting their public speaking opportunities with the pandemic and how that's changed how we do business?

Donna Riccardo
Yeah, I think there's a few different things going on. At first, people weren't doing anything. All events got pulled and then little by little events started happening again. There's a lot of opportunities because everything's virtual. You can be in Colorado and speak to something that's happening in California or New Jersey and there's things that are happening that would not have been available before because they're either virtual or they're hybrid, so maybe you showing up in person, but it's being broadcast somewhere across the country. I think there's as much, if not more opportunities, but because of the virtual.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So you don't have to in a lot of cases, you're not traveling, right. You're saving travel time. Well, it's costing the people that are paying you. If you're being paid, it's costing them less because they're not having to pay for travel expenses. So, I mean, frankly, you can actually speak a heck of a lot more.

Donna Riccardo
I think so, yes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
We were talking before we went live about. I view speaking as pretty wide, you know, it's not just I'm speaking at a conference or it can be I'm doing workshops or trainings, you know, webinars. I'm doing a podcast. I mean, to me, this is a form of speaking what we're doing right now, being a guest on other people's podcast. How do you feel about that?

Donna Riccardo
I agree. I like to say it's all public speaking and even networking. Even if you're showing up and networking and then you're getting that one minute, it's one-to-one public speaking. I say networking is one-to-one public speaking. It's all public speaking.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. There's so many opportunities to speak, so I think if there are any people that are listening or watching and you feel like there aren't opportunities because of what's happening. It's absolutely not the case. There are so many different ways to speak publicly, which kind of leads into the next thing that we're going to talk about here, which is. OK, cool. I like what you guys are talking about here. I need to do this. How do I get started?

Donna Riccardo
I think it kind of depends on if somebody has already done some speaking and now they're using it for their business or not. So if you're really just very, very beginner, I'd say start with Toastmasters. That's a great way to get amazing support. Fabulous group of people have been in a number of different clubs over the years and people are always, always willing to help. So I'd say if you're just really very beginner, that's a great place to start.

Donna Riccardo
But let's say either you don't feel like that's a step you need to take or you've done a little or you're ready. You just ready to go for it. I speak at networking groups. Networking groups and service groups are always looking for speakers, especially service groups. Rotary Club, Lions, optimist's service groups, and networking groups are great places to start because you get a shorter amount of time. So it's less pressure to build up the long talk. And you get to go in there and they really want you to be there.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, my experience... I haven't spoken to a lot of groups like that, but I was always told that the and I can't remember what they call the people within those groups that with their title is, but the person that's responsible for managing the agenda and booking people, they're always looking for people.

Donna Riccardo
They are like the speaker coordinators. Sometimes they have all different names that I've seen just as they make it up.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So there are all kinds of opportunities there to get out there and refine that presentation. And one of the things that we were talking about before we went live to was you to get started. You really need to have some type of topic or signature talk that you lead for people that have no idea who the fuck you are, right?

Donna Riccardo
Yes, yes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Any suggestions there about how to think through that? What should I talk about? And obviously, I think you also need to be prepared. This needs to be a talk that you can have in 15 minutes or talk to you can do in forty-five. Tweak it to meet the needs of that specific group, right?

Donna Riccardo
Yes, yes. Yes. So I think there's lots of different kinds of talks. And you kind of pointed to that a few minutes ago by saying there's speaking and workshops and training. But for now, just talk about the two like what you're saying here, like speaking to different groups. Let's say, generally speaking, they would probably be two different kinds of talks that you might select from to develop to speak to those groups. One would be the signature talk, which is designed to connect with your audience, maybe tell a personal story, share your credibility, how you got to be the person you are with what you do, share some experience and expertize and make some kind of an offer.

Donna Riccardo
And that's what sets that kind of talk apart, is that you're making the offer and it's designed to attract leads and build your business. So that would be a top where you're giving what you want to give to the people you want to give it to. And the other kind would be, let's say somebody really just wants to speak. And I meet those people and they just want to speak. They don't necessarily have a product or service or something that they want to speak. They have a message and they want to get out there and share it with people. So in that case, they would design it. I still say share their personal stories, because usually, that message comes out of some life experience that they've had and they want to get out there and make a difference and inspire and motivate and influence people. Then that often is more like a type of a keynote where they're telling a lot of different stories to make their point. And then they would have a call to action rather than making an offer at the end of their call to action would be to inspire them to take action regarding something that they talked about.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Got it. OK, so let's break this down into a real-world example and I'll use my business, and then you can critique this, OK? So our differentiator as a marketing company is we focus on the fundamentals first. So when I do a guest podcast spot, which I view as a speaking opportunity, that's what we're talking about. OK, we're talking about what are the marketing fundamentals? Your target market, your messaging, and having a plan. Depending on how long that conversation is, we may just keep that surface level or we may dig into it. But we're just talking about, hey, what are the fundamentals? Why are people skipping these things? And then we dig into them so that people understand why they're so important.

Tim Fitzpatrick
And then at the end, they're always saying, hey, where can people learn more about you? We're creating a page on our website specifically for their listeners free resources there to support what we've just discussed. But then there's get a free consultation. That's how we start that initial conversation with people that are interested in taking that next step. Based on what I've just told you, is that how you would typically work with somebody or would you tweak that slightly depending on the venue?

Donna Riccardo
I think the only tweak that I would make would be in the beginning. So you're still going to teach them some things, still share something that they can learn that they can take for themselves and apply. Right offer that you make at the end to take it further if they want that. But before all that would be, I would say, telling some story or stories about how you became that person, this person that you're doing what you do, you accept the education, what led up to that? And then I think a really important piece of your talk, as we say, before you get into the points that you want to talk about, you say this is for you. If. And then why this would be for them so that they know that they're in the right place, listening to the right person on the right topic.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Got it. I like it. So this is for you if...

Donna Riccardo
You have maybe three or four of those.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. The other thing that I find, too, if you have, you know, so for people like us, coaches, consultants, professional service providers, I think that signature talk needs to be you're educating, but you're also educating people on the value that you provide and what makes you different. And if you have two or three different elements to that discussion. That's how you can start to break this apart, right, so I can have I have a presentation on all three of the marketing strategy trilogy elements, those fundamentals I can do a workshop on just target market. I can do a workshop on just messaging. I can do a workshop on just creating a plan. That can be broken apart into all kinds of different elements of different links. I just took one presentation and I now have a gazillion different presentations if I need them.

Donna Riccardo
Yeah, or you can put them all together for a longer semester, talk and maybe read any three of those. Could be three talking points in a talk and a longer talk.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, got it. So you can help people take what we just talked about. You can talk to them about their business and help them create what we just talked about.

Donna Riccardo
Absolutely.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Got it. Cool. So if people are like in what we're talking about. Most people are going to have some fear around public speaking. How do we get over that fear? Do you have any tips to help people through that?

Donna Riccardo
I do. So three three things mainly come to mind. And really there are a gazillion different tips and thoughts and ideas that people have out there. These are some of some of the many things that I did that I think these were the most powerful ones. One is, I think, a lot of deep breathing, you know, before, during, after when you're practicing, when you're preparing. I think that really it gets you out of your head and into your body.

Donna Riccardo
And like the fear is all happening in your head, like the noise that things that you say to yourself. So it gets you out of that. So I have found that some really deep breathing, intentionally done makes a huge difference. And let's see, another thing I thought was really great was getting around a community of people that can support you. So Toastmasters or any kind of other public speaking community of people that are supportive because everybody thinks they're doing the worst job, the most terrible job.

Donna Riccardo
And it's just not true, you know, in the community of people that are supporting, you will tell you what's working and what you need to work on. And if they're not doing that in a way that feels good, then they're not then find another group. And the third thing is I'm just going to share like a shortened version of a simple little practice. But it's like a silly little practice. But it makes a difference because it can interrupt where you're going, because, as I said, it's all happening in your head.

Donna Riccardo
You're thinking, thinking, thinking, well, what if you took a moment and said, well, where's that voice coming from? It's coming from over here. Is it out in front of me? Is it like where like location-wise, where is this voice coming from? And then you try to locate it. Right. And then you try to listen to. Well, what is the quality of that voice? Is it loud? Is it soft? How is it expressing itself? It isn't even really matter what it's saying. It's more about what, how it's showing up, how is it expressing itself. And then you can look to see, well, is it my voice? Is it someone else's voice? Is it a voice from the past? Is it just an anonymous voice? Like what? What is the nature of this voice? You try to give it as many characteristics as possible and then once you've got a pretty good handle on that, you can change it.

Donna Riccardo
Well, what if I moved it? What if it's been over here and I move it over here so I can move it? What if I change it? What if I can make it like a gruff voice? Or what if I can make it sound like Minnie Mouse? So make it somehow different because then you have control of it and it's not controlling you. So it's just a fun little exercise that comes from NLP. I'm also a trained practitioner, so, bring in some of those exercises, sometimes do things with people and that can be really super helpful too. Is working with an NLP person. I don't practice that, but finding someone who does would be. That's another good thing. Good way to go.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love the deep breathing. I heard somebody recommend that a while back, cause even if you can just take three deep breaths before you start, it can make a huge difference. And that's something so easy for people to do. Right. I also find when I think about public speaking, it's for most people. We're getting into the water and we're getting to that place in the water where we can't touch anymore. We're starting to tread water and the more we can push ourselves and get outside of our comfort zone, the more we do that, the faster our comfort zone is going to expand.

Tim Fitzpatrick
And it's not going to become that big of a deal. And look, in the beginning, we're going to suck, OK? I mean, I guarantee you, if you look at go to some of the most popular people out there, influencers, huge podcasts. You know, the guy I keep hearing about. Have you ever heard of the Beast? No. He is a YouTube sensation. He is killing it. Millions and millions of views.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I guarantee you, if you go watch one of his first 10 videos, they probably suck. We all suck in the beginning. And so, I don't know, maybe watching and listening to some of that will help you as well. But I also think if we can get to a place where we don't care what other people think, that also makes it so much easier.

Donna Riccardo
Yeah, yeah. And I think the more in touch a person is with why they do what they do and what's so important to them about it, it makes it a lot easier to not care what other people think. And then you can't forget them. People hate this and I hate this. Practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Yeah, I love that because if your why is strong enough, it will help you push through that fear and it will help you push through. Because, look, there's always going to be haters. I mean, we run into haters every day. And, you know, my mantra that I always tell my wife and my kids is hurt people hurt people. So I just look at that and I go, you know what? I feel bad for you that you have enough time in the day to hate on me for trying to help people.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I'm sorry. And then I move on. So but if that why is strong enough, it's going to help you push through that because it does look even the best of us. Like when, you know, nobody likes to have people hate on them. But if your why is strong enough, it'll help. You know what not they're not my ideal person. That's OK. So I love that. Any last minute words of of wisdom that you want to leave us with?

Donna Riccardo
One thing that I always like to say is all we really have is each other. Like, oh, there really is, is other people. Everything we have, everything we are, everything we do, everything, everything we have. It's all other people. So why not love and accept people and get along with them and learn to communicate effectively and make the most of our connections with others.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. Where can people learn more about you? They like what we're talking about. They want your help to put that signature presentation together and make sure they've got this dialed in. Where do we want to send them?

Donna Riccardo
My website is a perfect place. donnariccardo.com.

Tim Fitzpatrick
OK, awesome. I love it. If you have thought about getting into public speaking, using it as a way to generate leads for your business, you owe it to yourself to reach out to Donna. I know she can help you. We've had a great conversation. I think after listening to this, you know, she knows what she's doing. So head on over to donnariccardo.com and reach out. I know she can help you. So, Donna, thank you so much for being here and sharing your expertize and wisdom with us.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Again, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing. If you want to gain clarity on where to focus your marketing efforts right now, head on over to our website at rialtomarketing.com. That's R-I-A-L-T-O marketing.com. Click on the get a free console button. I guarantee you will get a ton of value from that call and walk away having some clarity on where you need to focus your efforts right now. Thank you so much for tuning in. Till next time, take care.


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About the Author Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help service businesses simplify marketing so they can grow with less stress. We do this by creating and implementing a plan to communicate the right message to the right people. Marketing shouldn't be difficult. All you need is the RIGHT plan.

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