4 Mistakes to Avoid When Pitching Virtual Summit Speakers

summit speakers Mar 09, 2021

We all know a bad pitch when we see it, but do you feel confident in your pitches? Let’s cover 4 mistakes to avoid when pitching virtual summit speakers.

Bad speaker pitches are giving virtual summits a gross vibe. As long as bad speaker pitches keep going out, we'll have more and more people thinking poorly about virtual summits. 

We all know how amazing a summit can be!

I really want to help turn this mindset around, so let's cover the 4 mistakes to avoid when pitching virtual summit speakers and turn a "gross, heck no" into a "heck yes!"

4 mistakes to avoid when pitching virtual summit speakers

This topic is important to me because I don't want people thinking that impactful events with caring hosts don’t exist and that all hosts are out there just to take advantage of them. 

I hope to stop at least a handful of what would be bad pitches and make them into “heck yes!” pitches instead, so let's dive into the 4 mistakes I tend to see when pitching summit speakers.

Mistake #1: Basing their qualification on their audience size

The number one most horrifying pitching technique I see out there involves telling someone how great they are, inviting them to your event, and then telling them that they have to have a certain number of subscribers to participate.

If you don’t value a person for who they are as a person and for the value they’ll deliver, don’t pitch them.

The most common subscriber requirement I see is an email list of 5,000 people. Before I met this requirement, getting a pitch like this made me feel like garbage about myself and feel sour toward the person pitching me. Even though I would meet that subscriber requirement now, I will still never say yes to this type of pitch simply because of what it’s saying about the value the host has.

This type of requirement shows that you value numbers over people. This will turn people away instantly. Instead, use what you can see on social media and decide from there.

I will say, it’s okay to ask for email size after they are onboarded and with a clear explanation that it is for estimating your reach. Make it optional and never remove someone from the event because they had a smaller list than you expected.

Mistake #2: Requiring a call to get details

The second mistake I’ve run into several times is requiring each speaker to get on a call with you if they’re interested in participating. Honestly, this will always lead to a “no” from me.

What this tells your speakers

Requiring a call to get details is telling your speakers that you haven’t done your job researching them and that you are using this call as a vetting opportunity. It shows you don’t have your act together enough to put the information they need in a more accessible and reusable format.

If getting information about your event took this much work, they will worry that the rest of your event will require too much work.

So what can you do instead?

The best thing to do instead of requiring a call is to create a Speaker Information Page. This page should outline everything from:

  • Who this event is for – Who is your ideal audience, your niche?
  • What the goal is – What pain points do you plan to solve?
  • Speaker benefits – Why should they be a speaker? Will they gain email addresses? Will they earn an affiliate commission?
  • What you’ll need from them - What type of presentation is required? How long should it be? Can they do an interview instead?
  • Outline due dates – When do you need a committed “yes” from them? When are presentations due? When is the summit? When do they promote?
  • Promotional resources – When is the promo period? Where can they find promo material? Do you expect any promo requirements from them?
  • How to reach you – Do you answer emails? Is it quicker to reach you by Slack? Do you have a speaker community set up?

Not only will having the Speaker Information page save you time, but it’s also one place they can go to get all the information they need about participating in the summit. If you want to get to know a new-to-you speaker, invite them to an optional and causal coffee chat instead.

Mistake #3: Too many requirements

The third mistake is something I’ve heard complaints about in the past few months, and I almost fell into the trap myself: having too many speaker requirements.

When you send a pitch, your “What I’ll Need From You” list should be short and sweet. I’ve seen some long lists of requirements. Some things I've seen that you should not require would be:

  • Getting on an intro call – Create that Speaker Information Page instead.
  • Getting on speaker or affiliate training call
  • Recording an intro with the host separate from the presentation 
  • Doing a bonus interview for the all-access pass.
  • A presentation and some kind of live talk (Facebook Live, panel, etc) 
  • Including a bonus in your all-access pass 
  • Sending multiple solo emails – Save time and energy by sending scheduled emails with all the information they will need (refer to your Speaker Information Page, too!)

None of these things are bad on their own, but they are when they become a requirement.

For example, if you want to provide your speakers with a training for making money by being an effective affiliate, that’s great! Make it optional. 

It's always a great idea to add extra interaction by hosting live panels in addition to regular presentations, but invite your speakers as an optional way to interact with each other and attendees. 

And the last example is requiring speakers to contribute to your all-access pass. In most cases, this shouldn't be a requirement, but rather an option.

*If you want to hear more about my thoughts on requiring speaker promotion, check out episode 69.

Mistake #4: Asking for more than you can promise in return

The last mistake I’ll bring up is just, in general, requiring more from your speakers than you can give them in return.

For example, I've been pitched for events that want me to send multiple emails to my email list, but the host has a tiny audience and no prior connection with me in promoting this summit.

If I promote, I'm spending time and energy on something that will probably not get me a whole lot of return. Since I don’t know the host, I can’t feel confident about promoting to my audience because I don’t know anything about their values or the quality of the event they’ll put on.

So before you outline your speaker benefits, take time to figure out what you can confidently promise them. For your first event, that might mean you don’t have a promotion requirement..and that’s okay! You’ll have a bigger starting platform next time.

Be Confident

Remember that you’re pitching real people. My goal is to help you feel more confident in your pitches. To take this all a little further, check out how to pitch virtual speakers and hear “yes” more than “no”.


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