For many professional speakers, the mere thought of hosting a local live event fills them with a feeling of cold dread. You may think you’re too shy or don’t have the skills to plan and present a local event. However, the truth is that anyone can do it, provided they follow a few essential steps.

If you’ve ever been to a local event that left you buzzing with ideas and enthusiasm, you know how exciting these occasions can be for those able to attend. And, if you’ve ever bought something at a live event — even just a t-shirt — you probably have an idea about how lucrative for-profit local events can be.

If you discovered all new products and services, got excellent bargains, and met with great people you wanted to do business with, you will understand how effective local events can be. It is great to use the social networks online, but there is nothing quite like interacting face to face with others to help you take your business, profits or career to the next level.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting a series of articles that will outline the essentials for hosting a local event to help you plan like a pro, even if you’ve never hosted one before.

In case you’re not sure about the advantages of hosting a local event, let’s discuss these first.

The Benefits of Hosting a Local Event

There are many benefits to local events, both for you as the host and for your participants. In this guide we will be focusing on events that you can earn income from. In terms of your own career, you might decide to offer a public talk on a topic you know will be of interest to the typical person working in your niche or industry.

Know Your Niche

As a professional speaker, hosting a live event can make all the difference between an empty calendar with a few low-paying clients, to a contacts list packed with high-paying clients eager to hire you.

If you’re also an author, you might consider hosting a book signing and talk or one-day seminar. This puts you center stage, showing all you know about a topic you’re passionate about. This kind of event gives you instant expert status, one that can not only give you profits but local press coverage as well, for even more sales.

Knowing your niche — that is, the needs and desires of people interested in what you have to offer — should be your starting point when planning a local event. Targeting the event to an eager audience is sure to get them to respond to your message and any services or products you’re trying to sell.

Back-of-the-Room Sales

Even a free-to-attend event can make you money if you have a number of products you can sell for what are called back-of-the-room sales. If you don’t sell tangible products, you can craft special offers for your speaking services for attendees only. They will not only get to interact with you at the event, but get “insider pricing” as well.

What kind of items are good for back-of-the-room sales? If you are an author, sell relevant books. As an expert in your industry, consider putting together a membership site, course packs, DVDs, thumb drives, and other information products related to the material you will be presenting at your local event. You might even be able to sell a digital recording of the event once it takes place.

Take Your Business to the Next Level

“But wait,” you say, “I don’t know what I’m doing! How can I possibly host a local event?” The truth is, you can’t afford not to if you want to take your business to the next level. Hosting a successful event will boost your confidence, making you eager to host another. Even if your first event doesn’t go perfectly, you’ll learn valuable lessons which will help you do better next time.

There’s nothing as effective for networking and finding new prospects and clients as showing local people who you are, what you excel at, and what it would be like doing business with you.

A local event makes you more visible in the community, which can establish your credibility in the eyes of others. This in turn will boost your reputation. With enhanced reputation, you won’t have to chase so much business. Your live event will serve as a free “sample” of who you are, what you know, and how your experience can help your potential clients and their organizations achieve their goals.

— — — —

As great as all these money-making opportunities sound, you won’t be able to access them unless you start with the essentials. Most of us get so fixated on the logistics of a local event that we neglect the most important part of it: our audience.

Next time, we’ll look at why you should put your target audience front and center when it comes to planning and organizing your local event.

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