020: Pitch Your Speakers And Hear "Yes" More Than "No"

summit speakers Oct 15, 2019

Want to hear "yes" more than "no" when pitching speakers? I know I do!

In this episode, we'll cover pitching your speakers in a way that will accomplish that.

We’re going to cover:
- What you should have prepared before pitching
- Why I pitch in 3 rounds and what that looks like
- What to include in your pitch to get a positive response more often than not


Today we’ll cover the second topic in our ‘How to Plan An Online Summit’ series! If you are checking out this content, more than likely you have read part one, ‘Niche, Topic, And Offer,’ but if you haven’t already - read that post here!

In this post, we’ll dive into how to find, pitch, and organize your summit speakers. Speakers are the main part of your summit, so this step is an important one. However, it's more work than originally meets the eye. You may be surprised once you dive in and get going, which is why we’re going to cover it all today.

Not only do you have to find these people, but then pitch them, track responses, and collect a whole lot of material and information for each of them. Before I get ahead of myself, we should start with what to prepare before sending any pitches out of that email inbox!

How to prepare before pitching speakers

Once you figure out your summit topic and goals, you may be revved up and ready to send pitches right away. Not so fast! You’ll get better results, plus hear “yes” more often if you cross off a few more tasks before hitting send.

Prepare your website

This doesn’t have to be perfect, but you’ll need to get a working version of your registration page up so speakers can get an idea of what your summit is all about. This also gives the impression that you know what you’re doing and will have an organized, professional event. Include details about the topic that will also appeal to the niche you’re wanting to target! 

Outline your expectations

Take time to think about what you’ll need from speakers during the planning process. When will materials be due? Are they required to promote the summit?

Make sure you cover all of this to include within your pitch. Provide your potential speaker a realistic picture of what all is involved.

Share your speaker benefits

What are your speakers going to get out of all of this? Let them know how they’ll benefit from participating in your summit and what they can expect from you.

Gather the details

It’s helpful to put all of the above information on a speaker information page on your website. Provide your speakers with a spot where they can schedule their presentation time as well. Use this page as a hub for speakers to get all the resources they'll need to promote the summit and create their presentation easily.

Brainstorm potential summit speakers

Creating a powerhouse speaker lineup can be intimidating, no matter how many summits you’ve hosted before! However, there are a few ways to make brainstorming speakers easy! You don’t have to spend days upon days searching for people to pitch. Think smarter, not harder about this one. This previous blog post has great tips and more details for you to check out on this topic.

 Where to find speakers:

  • People you already know
  • Ask your audience
  • Look at who other industry experts are following on social media
  • Check out speaker directories
  • Use Google, Pinterest, or YouTube

Pitch your speakers

Now that you have your speaker information page on your site, registration page ready, and your list of go-to speakers - it’s time to send those pitches!

I like to pitch speakers in 3 rounds.

Round 1 includes the people I really want to include in my lineup that I know will say yes. It’s great for a confidence boost when it comes to your responses. You can use the names of people you get through Round 1 as social proof for the rest of your pitches.

During Round 2, reach out to the rest of the people you’d really like to participate in the summit. Don’t be afraid to name drop speakers who said “yes” during Round 1 to help encourage them to commit.

Last, Round 3 is there to fill any spots that you have remaining in your lineup. This may or not have to be necessary for your workflow depending if you have a few people pass in the previous rounds.

The way you pitch is extremely important and will determine whether you get positive responses or get turned down more often. With each pitch include:

  • a personal connection
  • background about your summit
  • the invitation to speak
  • what you'll need from them
  • how they'll benefit
  • next steps 

Include enough information to look organized and on top of it, but not so much that it's overwhelming. Link to your speaker information page to help explain and outline it all.

Looking for more of a swipe copy type thing for those pitch emails? Check out my full script in the Summit Host Vault.

Collect your speaker content

Once you have your speakers lined up, there’s a LOT of material to collect from them.

There are two phases to this presentation collection period. Phase one includes gathering their basic information such as their name, headshot, bio, and website link and phase two is all about their actual presentation material.

You must make this part easy to eliminate any bumps that may come up otherwise. I use Content Snare (affiliate link) to basically send a worksheet to my speakers that they can fill out with everything that’s needed. Alternatively, you could use Airtable and send a form to get all of the info you need.

Give your speakers plenty of time to prepare to submit their items - at least 3 weeks! Just know that no matter how much time you give your speakers, many will be late. To help eliminate late turn ins, send several reminders leading up to the due date.

Keep your speakers organized

It can be hard to keep track of 20+ people, who has done what, and what is left to turn in. You have to stay organized! Use a spreadsheet to track your pitches, confirmed speakers, speaker information, and where you are in the process for each person. (To let you in on some insider info, my template for this is live Summit Host Vault! Join in on the Vault to download this resource ASAP!)  

Finding summit speakers may seem simple on the surface, but there is a LOT that goes into the process. Get yourself prepared ahead of time to make this part of your summit prep as easy as possible. Now, go find your speakers!



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