Pet Sitting, Public Speaking, & Promotion
Boost your business to the next level through public speaking seminars.
Listener Melinda writes:
I recently listened to your speech-making guide but I am still having trouble. I would like to promote my pet sitting business to local community groups by volunteering to be a speaker. I am having trouble coming up with ideas on what to speak about. Obviously, I can't do a 15 minute commercial for my services. I would like to be informative and fun. Any suggestions?
Thanks for listening Melinda and thanks for your question.
Promote Your Business With Public Speaking
Melinda, promoting your business through public speaking is a great idea! Free public seminars are a fabulous way to expand your customer base. They allow you to build stronger relationships with your current customers and with potential customers; plus they're an inexpensive and easy to get started.
By delivering in-person presentations you'll show the audience your passion for your work. They’ll experience first hand your enthusiasm for pet sitting and your love for animals. This in itself will set you apart from your competition and create word-of-mouth buzz.
The bottom line is this; when you present yourself publicly and you make a good impression, you’re developing trust. And for many businesses, like yours and mine, we have to earn the trust of our clients before they hire us.
You are exactly right when you say you can’t stand up and sell your services for 15 minutes. As you know, people won’t give up their valuable time to listen to a sales pitch.
Give Them Valuable Information Not A Sales Pitch
However, people are interested in receiving valuable information. Be a resource. Teach them something. Think about what information you could share that’s very closely related to your services and that your target market would be interested in. As a pet sitter you should be looking for topics that would be of interest to cat lovers, dog lovers, fish lovers, bird lovers, or any animal lover.
Top Ten Lists Work Well
For businesses, “top ten list” talks work well. Provide practical, relevant information that is organized in the form of a list of questions, secrets, or tips. Melinda, since you want a program that is both informative and fun perhaps you might try something like, “Popular Pet Questions: Things you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask."
You could include ordinary questions like…
How do you teach your pet tricks?
Why is using a pet sitter better than using a kennel?
And more unusual questions like…
Can you get homeowners insurance for exotic pets?
Is there a way to find out if the vet has any formal complaints logged against him?
Or perhaps practical questions that might create some laughter, like…
How to meet a single pet love at the dog park?
How to pick up dog poop in a pinch?
The idea is to do your homework to find popular or funny questions regarding pets, research the responses and put together a short talk that answers these questions. I’d only spend 1 to 2 minutes on each question and subtract or add questions depending on how much time you have. So for a 5-minute talk, do 3 to 5 questions. If you have 10 minutes you could do 5 questions at 2 minutes each or maybe 8 questions at a minute each.
People Love Quizzes
You could even use a multiple-choice quiz as a teaser. People love quizzes. Tell them you’ll grade the quiz during the presentation, but if they’re unable to attend, you’ll send them the answers to the complete exam. This gives you an opportunity to reach out to an even broader audience and the opportunity to send additional information. For example, on your “exam answer sheet” you can include not only the questions you cover in the talk, but also additional commonly asked questions about your business. Of course, you’ll have contact information on every page as well.
Secrets A Pet Sitter Won’t Tell You
But, getting back to your speaking program, the questions you address in your talk could be more directly related to your area of expertise. For example, you could do a program called “Questions you should ask before hiring a pet sitter.” Along similar lines, I recently noticed that Reader’s Digest has a new regular column: ”Things your X won’t tell you.” I remember the first one I read was “7 Things Your Computer Person Won’t Tell You.” You could create your speech along the same lines, “10 Secrets a Pet Sitter Won’t Tell You.” Again, vary the number of secrets depending on your time.
Stories From Your Experience Are Important
Ultimately, no matter what you choose as your specific program, you’ll need to also include stories. For each of your main points, that is for each question, secret, or tip, you’ll need to be sure to include a story that is an example of the idea you’re discussing. Try to include real examples from your experience as a pet sitter. For example, when you are talking about picking up doggy doodoo, you might share an embarrassing or funny story that involves improper poop pick-up, or when talking about exotic pet insurance, give a specific example of a client who has insurance.
[[AdMiddle]This is important for a few reasons. First, it makes the presentation far more interesting and fun. Second, in an informal and indirect way, it lets your customers and prospective clients hear about your professional experiences and it shows that you already have clients that pay for your expertise. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, people remember stories. People not only easily remember stories, but they retell them to other people—which can only help your business!
So Melinda, there you have it. Several ideas that I hope will get you started with your public speaking marketing program. The most important thing is to think about topic areas that you think your target audience would be interested in. Then, organize your talk by providing several tips, secrets, or responses to questions. This way, you can always easily adjust to the amount of time you have by adding or subtracting material. Finally, be sure to incorporate stories to make the talk interesting and memorable. An effective talk will have your attendees talking about you and your business; it will bring you recognition and eventual business. Melinda, after you deliver your first program, be sure to write and tell us how it went.
This is Lisa B. Marshall. Passionate about communication, your success is my business.