Three weeks ago I was looking at a relatively empty fall and spring speaking schedule. I had reserved some major blocks of time for trips and writing, but it turns out that those things weren’t happening, and I started to get worried. Would I get speaking engagements to cover the time? Or had I lost it by saying no when people asked last spring?
I’m no longer worried. I’ve received a ton of stuff in my inbox over the last few days, and things are booking up fast.
So here’s what this tells me: Now is the time when churches are starting to think hard about their Christmas and spring events. I can just picture what’s happening: the summer is winding down, and all of those women who head up their ministry committees are starting to think abou the ministry year again. And they’re starting to realize that they had better have some names ready to suggest to people at their next meeting, or they had better have a speaker booked when the committee meets again. So they’re doing their research RIGHT NOW!
But what if you haven’t received anything in your inbox? What if your phone isn’t ringing?
Don’t worry! You can still take these steps to capitalize on this busy time of year:
1. Cold Call Local Churches
It sounds scary, I know, but if you do it right, it minimizes the awkwardness. Here’s the important thing to keep in mind: apparently that “six degree of separation” thing is true. Each of us can get to any other human being on this planet through just six people. So chances are that if you want to get booked into a church, you know someone who already knows the women’s ministry coordinator. Or you know somebody who knows somebody who does. And if you call a specific person, with a referral, that’s much more effective than sending out a block email.
Here’s a post on exactly how to do it, that takes all the fear out of it. Well, most of the fear anyway!
2. Send out Your Newsletter
Have you been collecting email addresses each time you speak? Have you been sending out newsletters fairly regularly, highlighting interesting things you’ve written, and interesting things you’ve read and watched, around the internet?
I know it’s hard to send out a newsletter regularly. I often am late by a few weeks-or even months. But now is the perfect time to send it! Sure, many people are still on vacation, but those are home are starting to think about who to hire.
In this newsletter, highlight very near the top the dates that you are available. Say something like this: I’m booking now for Christmas outreach events in November and December, and retreats in April and May! Let them think of something specific. They can still ask you for something that falls outside of those time periods, but the more specific you are, the more it looks like you’re in demand, and you’re purposeful about what you want to do.
If you want to know more about creating a dynamite newsletter that people read, check this out!
3. Talk about it on Facebook
Never forget the power of social media! Your friends and family can be your best cheerleaders. I know sometimes we take Jesus’ statement that “a prophet has no honour in his own country” rather personally, but if you let all your friends and acquaintances know that you’re gearing up to speak, your chances of someone passing your name on increase dramatically.
Every now and then, post a status update that says something like, “polishing up a Christmas outreach talk”, or “Writing a new weekend retreat package. Do you know a church that needs a women’s speaker?” When you ask directly, people are more likely to help.
4. Contact Places You’ve Already Spoken
Perhaps you have your former speaking contacts on your email newsletter list, but even so, it’s good to send a personalized email to those you have spoken to in the last few years, to remind them of you. Make your email short, so it’s not overwhelming, and try to do these things:
a. Mention that you’re booking up for the speaking season
b. Write down the titles of any new talks that you have that differ from the ones that you’ve already given at that church
c. Ask specifically if they are looking for a speaker this year
d. End the email by saying, “if you know someone in another church who may be looking for a women’s speaker, please forward them this email. I love partnering in ministry!”
There you go: my four tips for taking advantage of the August/September rush. What do you think? Have you tried to contact churches lately? What has been your experience? Let me know in the comments!
And if you want more information on how to get better bookings as you grow your ministry, check out this download that shows you how to uncover even more opportunities!