4 Reasons Speakers Say "Yes" When You Pitch Them for Your Virtual Summit

summit speakers Dec 15, 2020

Intimidated by pitching virtual summit speakers? Generally, they’re not interested in the size of your list. Here are the top reasons that speakers say yes!

When it comes time to pitch virtual summit speakers, it's easy to get in your head about how much you are (or aren't) paying them or how big (or small) your audience is. The thing is, those aren't the reasons someone will agree to participate in your summit.

Reasons we think speakers say yes

There is no way I can cover all reasons that any person on earth might say yes, but we’ll go into the primary situations. We get in our heads so much when it comes to pitching speakers, and we tend to think that they say yes for reasons that most of them don't even care about.

  • We think they are going to want to be paid a ton to speak, and if we're not paying them, that they won’t want to be a part of it.
  • We think that they care about how big our audience is, when a lot of them couldn't care less.
  • We think they're in it for huge affiliate commissions.

There are definitely people out there who do care about those things, don't get me wrong. For most of you, and definitely for myself, those aren’t the kind of people we're pitching.

We're pitching people we have relationships with, who really want to serve, who want to get in front of a new audience, things like that. Being paid a ton, having a huge audience, and getting huge affiliate commissions, honestly, doesn't matter to most of the people we are pitching.

Reasons Speakers Actually Say Yes

The Relationship

Their relationship with you is the number one reason that someone will say yes to speak at your event.

If nothing else we're going to talk about resonates with them, this will be the main factor in their decision. I am so much more likely to say yes to a pitch when I know the person, even if the event doesn't sound like I'll benefit a whole lot from it, than I am from a cold pitch, even a pitch that I think I would benefit from. 

I am still more likely to say yes to the person that I know. Maybe that's an issue with me and my ability to say no, but I want to show up for the people I like and have relationships with and who have showed up for me in the past. That's how most people tend to be as well.

Prioritize building relationships in your industry.

Even if your summit is a ways out, that's what you should focus on. I really woke up to how important this was in my September summit. In one panel in particular with my speakers, I had strong relationships with 4 out of 5 panelists.

They showed up for that panel and they were pointing out to me that participating wasn't about the commissions or the money. It was about wanting to show up for me, like I showed up for them in the past, and knowing that it was going to be an incredible event to be a part of.

I was blown away when they told me that!

The Opportunities

People in business want opportunities to get in front of their ideal audience. They want ways to get in front of their audience that does not mean throwing a ton of money at ads all the time.

The audience of your summit being a good fit for your speakers is another big reason someone will say yes. When you are pitching speakers who have the same audience that your summit is reaching, it's a free opportunity for them to talk about their zone of genius, to their ideal crowd.

That is awesome! This means visibility. When you say, “Hey, I have a visibility opportunity for you.” For the most part, if they have a strategy behind their speaking topic, it means list growth right away and income down the road. If they know how to put on a talk that converts for them, it means list growth and income.

It also can mean affiliate commissions, even though that's not the primary concern of most speakers. It's another thing that will work way better when the audience is a good fit.

The audience is everything and so much more important than any numbers you have!

The topic

Your virtual summit topic needs to be based around a topic that your speakers feel is important and that they truly believe in.

For example, if someone pitched me for a summit for designers (who my other business is for) and the topic was something like Ditch Your Design Clients for Good, and pushing passive income, I would say heck no to that. That's not the message I want to put out. That's not something I believe in.

I don't believe that all designers should just ditch their clients and do passive income stuff. Recently I was in a summit that was helping designers add passive income alongside their clients, and that was an easy yes for me. It was the perfect fit audience. I knew it would grow my list, I'd make a decent affiliate income, and how that topic could benefit these people.

Having that audience and believing in the topic is huge!

The Experience

If they know you're hosting an event that will be put together well, and therefore reflect positively on them for being a part of it, they are likely to be a part of that.

If there's something going on for their audience, that's going to be an incredible experience, it is natural that they'll want to be a part of that. They want their face in front of that audience and want to be tied to your event.

However, I want you to keep in mind, the opposite is true too.

A few months ago, I was set up to speak in a summit about summits. That is the perfect fit for me. Sign me up for that! However, with the way speakers were treated, the way the marketing was happening, and the message that started going out to people before that summit happened (even though my presentation was done, I had done all the work for that, I was ready to start scheduling) I tapped out! I didn't want my name anywhere near that. I certainly wasn't going to promote it to my when it was totally the opposite of the kinds of things I teach.

Focus on the experience, both for your speakers and for your attendees. It reflects one way or the other on everyone involved. Make it easy for your speakers, make sure your event looks professional, and make it a true experience for your attendees. Create a people experience through your summit.

Is it nice to make money and get leads through participating in summits as a speaker? Definitely. A lot of people will look at that more closely maybe than I do, but these things matter even more.

Reframe the way you're thinking when you go to pick your speakers. It's not all about making a ton of money. It's not all about how huge your audience is or isn't.

It's about the experience you're creating for everyone and the relationships you have.

Action Step

Review your summit strategy, the speakers you plan to pitch, and look at how you can hit on each of these aspects we talked about today.

The next episode is our 100th episode and I just had to do something extra fun. Be sure to stay tuned for that.



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Intimidated by pitching virtual summit speakers? Generally, they’re not interested in the size of your list. Here are the top reasons that speakers say yes!Intimidated by pitching virtual summit speakers? Generally, they’re not interested in the size of your list. Here are the top reasons that speakers say yes!

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