The key to success is confidence and pursuing your goal in life no matter what it takes. Jennifer Lier, the President of the country’s premier motivational keynote speaker booking agency, National Keynote Speakers, shares her life story from being a shy girl to blooming into a pageant queen and a successful entertainer. Through her experiences in the entertainment industry, Jennifer teaches invaluable entertainment secrets for entrepreneurs, showing us how to present ourselves in a way that entertains and draws people. As a performer, artist, and musician, she shares what creating a great website and pitching things efficiently can do for you. Jennifer also recounts how she got into keynote speaking and shares some tips on how to become one.
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Entertainment Secrets For Entrepreneurs with Jennifer Lier
Our guest is Jennifer Lier. She has an illustrious 25-year career in the entertainment industry. She’s a highly sought-after vocalist. I personally heard her sing, it’s amazing. She’s a headline entertainer, model emcee, on-camera host and was one of the most requested Marilyn Monroe impersonators in the country, which is quite a story in and of itself because her hair is black. At the age of nineteen, she lost over 100 pounds and also conquered her fear of speaking and singing in front of people. Back in November of 1990, Jennifer realized her childhood dream and debuted on the world’s most famous stages of Vegas as a singer in a popular dance band. She went on to win the coveted title of Miss Nevada 1995 and received a talent award at the Miss America Pageant. She continued on to headline over twenty shows around the world including Legends in Concert, the world-famous Follies Bergere.
Her diverse talents led her to incredible opportunities and experiences performing with celebrity icons and being a spokesperson for some of the country’s most recognized companies. When she transitioned out of the entertainment field, she became a partner in Level 10 Speakers, which is a Las Vegas-based bureau delivering both speakers and entertainment to the Vegas market. While still a partner in Level 10 Speakers, she became the Director of Special Events and Director of Corporate Partnerships for Polaroid Museum, which is a hip meeting and event space where Jennifer built from nothing to consistent and profitable training events, weddings and special events. She is the President of National Keynote Speakers, the country’s premier and motivational keynote speaking and booking agency. She enjoys a wonderful life with her husband, Dan. They have two children and she still finds time to volunteer in her community. Jennifer, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for having me, John. It’s wonderful to be here.
I’m going to let you tell your story of origin. You can go back as far as you want. You can start at nineteen when you had this dramatic weight loss or you can go back further as to what caused it. Whatever you think would be a good place to start where we can flesh out some of those details I touched on.
It’s interesting how life turns out. Sometimes kids grow up and they have a great household, great parents, they’re supported and they want to go to school. They know exactly what they want to do. They want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher or whatever. Even times that people are born lucky with a well laid out plan, sometimes we’re not and I wasn’t. I did know that I loved to sing. I didn’t have any guidance or understanding, I did think it was a pipe dream 100%. I was shy. By reading my bio, you’d never know it. By knowing me now, nobody would ever know, but I was painfully shy. To the point where in school if I had a question, I would not raise my hand because I was shy and embarrassed to bring attention to myself and have to speak out loud to ask the teacher a question. I suffered for it, I did through school and I didn’t have the courage to ask for help when I needed it. I didn’t join into things that I thought would not benefit me. I didn’t have that. I wasn’t born with that.
I spent a lot of time at home after school when I was growing up and I was young. I loved music. I would spend hours in my room singing to albums that my mom had. I was young, too young to buy my own stuff. I’m talking five, six, seven, singing to her albums of Barbara Streisand, The Eagles and all of these great artists in music. I would listen to them over and over again. I wanted to be able to hit those notes, have that phrasing and have the harmony skills of The Eagles and the musicality that they had. I grew up loving this music and wanting to master it. It was my happy place. I wasn’t good at school. I stopped. I was terrible. It didn’t compute with me. I liked some things, art was awesome, but everything else was painful for me to be able to do. The music brought me so much joy.
I had a few friends. I wasn’t a lot of friends’ type of person. I might have one or two. I would go out and do my thing, go outside and back then we were active. There were no video games so we were always outside doing stuff. We’d love to more play with the boys. I loved to bike and I loved to throw a ball around. I was that girl. I wasn’t girly, even though I wanted to be. I didn’t look it and I was always plump. I felt more boyish, unfortunately, even though I did try to be more girly. As time went on, I had no plan for my life. My parents weren’t that type that put you into every class, sports, nurtured you or cultured you into where they thought that your talents lie. They weren’t that.
I barely graduated high school, like the skin of my teeth. I didn’t know I was graduating until I went to. I missed the day because I used to ditch school all the time. I was never enticed. I hated school. I missed the day where they handed out your slip for graduation. I had to go to the counselor’s office and I’ll never forget there’s a stack of papers. The counselor was not there. They’re like, “Go in the office. There’s a stack of papers, you should be able to find it in the basket.” I was like, “Okay.” I’m looking through the stack of papers and mine was not there. I’m like, “I did not graduate.” Mine was the last paper in the stack and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was like, “Thank God.” As I’m looking at the papers, I’m thinking about what I’m going to tell my parents and everybody else that I hadn’t graduated. I’m like, “I have to do my senior year over or go get my GED.”
I got graduation barely. I think it’s because my teachers liked me and they gave me D’s instead of F’s. That’s how I got out of high school. I think there’s something to be said with that, building rapport, making sure that you have a great attitude. Even though I was shy, I was always nice and helpful. Because I didn’t know how to step out, I knew that if I could help, I would be able to be included. I’m saying that for a reason because that benefited me later on in life. These are a couple of skills that I was able to go, “That worked for me. Note to self. Put that in my filing cabinet.” I’m 100 pounds overweight as I graduated high school. I was home alone because we’re not an active family. We didn’t do stuff. My parents pulled home and watched TV. It was like the ‘70s, early ‘80s family. They didn’t go to the gym. They weren’t active. They didn’t put me in sports. We watched TV and ate and that’s what I did.
I was an eater though. I was an emotional child. I ate when I was sad, when I was happy, when I was bored, when I was angry. I didn’t know how to express it. It was difficult and I was lonely. I didn’t have active parents in my world. What happened was I watched TV and that was my dreamland. I ate while I did it. Needless to say, I ended up having a lot of weight challenges. When that happened and I graduated high school, I was not getting along with my parents. I was told to leave a week before graduation and they said, “As soon as that’s over, you need to get out,” and so I did. At eighteen years old, I had nowhere to go and I was scared to death. I had no ability to figure anything out for myself. At that point, I was like, “I don’t know what to do.”
As the moment I graduated, I called a girlfriend of mine and I asked her if I could sleep on the couch and she said, “Of course.” What I did was I went to her house for as long as I could, slept on her couch. That didn’t last and I slept on some other people’s couches and that didn’t totally last either. I had a car and I ended up sleeping in my car when I need to. At the same time, I’m looking for a job. That was my journey at that time was trying to figure out how to get a job. Through that time, a girlfriend of mine had said, “I know you love to sing.” She was a pageant girl, she was a girl who was small, little skinny blonde with blue eyes. She had that ability and she had people around her. She said, “I know you like to sing. I’m working with this woman. She’s a dance troupe coach. I think you should go and see her. You never know what will happen.” I was like, “All right.”
I meet this woman. She’s like, “Let me hear you sing.” I said, “Okay,” so I sang for her. She said, “What are you doing with that?” I said, “I have no idea. I’ve nowhere to live. I’m looking for a job. I’m trying to figure out how to get to college, even though I barely graduated high school.” She said, “You have unbelievable talent. If you lose this weight, you can do this for a living.” Mind you, I didn’t say that I lived in Las Vegas. My parents moved us from LA to Las Vegas when I was twelve, so I grew up here in the city. For her to say that to me, it was literally making all my dreams come true. I’m like, “What? Nobody ever told me that. I always thought it was a pipe dream.” All the years of singing for myself for hours when my parents were gone after school and pretending that I’m singing to thousands of people.Be likable and coachable. Click To Tweet
I’ll never forget, I was singing Linda Ronstadt. I was a freshman or sophomore. First of all, that was the mid-‘80s about that time. I’m thinking, “Why am I doing this? Nobody knows Linda Ronstadt now. That was several years ago. What am I doing?” Ironically, later on in my life, it came to pass. That’s the reason why I was doing it. Jumping back to where this woman was telling me to lose weight, she said, “Come live with me. You can clean my house for your rent and I will help you on this journey.” I said, “Okay, great.” They literally cleaned out a walk-in closet, put a single bed in there and I slept in there for a year. As I lived with her, she eventually fired me from cleaning her house because I was terrible at it. I did find a job and I was working at a men’s clothing store. My journey progressed and I lost the weight within a year. I was singing karaoke bars and sneaking in because I was only eighteen, nineteen.
Somebody said to me as they heard me sing at one of the karaoke bars in this contest because I would go and grab $100. I’d win a karaoke contest once a week. I’d cycle around Las Vegas to grab some extra money and $100 was a lot of money back then. They said, “You’re amazing. You should go and audition for this band that needs a singer.” I did. They hired me and they were the dance band that I was talking about. I’m nineteen years old. I lied about my age. I wanted it so bad, I was hungry for that. There’s a reason why I’m telling this story because I know people who are reading your blog, I would have done anything for that job. I would have done it for free. I had been doing it for so long, going up to that point to be able to cut my teeth and learn the craft. The guy saw that I was comfortable, that I was hungry, that I wanted it so bad. He hired me and he knew I was lying about my age. There, my journey began.
From there, I did that. It was the most popular dance band for several years. I was still trying to figure out my college situation. Somebody said, “You should try out for Miss Las Vegas going to Miss America.” Losing 100 pounds, I wasn’t in the best shape. I looked good but not exactly swimsuit. That was my next risk to go do, that I won this Las Vegas one, once in Miss America. I had an amazing, exciting time. I started performing in high-level production shows here in Las Vegas. I traveled the world singing and performing with other producers that had shows around the world. I did remarkable stuff. One side note, when I was 28, 29 years old, Legends in Concert came calling me, which is a popular show here in Las Vegas. They said, “We heard that you’re a great singer.” I had done a couple of little small shows with them as a singer/dancer, not in a starring role. They said, “We have a request for a Linda Ronstadt in one of our shows. Can you do it?” I said, “Yes, I can.” That’s something to be said about following your heart, doing what you know and not knowing where it’s going to lead you.
Moving forward, I was in entertainment for many years. I’ve done many amazing things, work with celebrities. I did television, did high-level productions, spokesperson work. What that did to me is it showed me what vision, dreams, hard work and tenacity. If you want something, you need to go after it and settle for nothing less. It’s about doing the things that you don’t want to do. Now that I see what a lot of speakers and people wanting something in their life that is older, we forget what we had when we were young, when we would do anything for that. Oftentimes, I have speakers in this realm that come to me and they want to build their speaking business. They say, “What do I need to do?” I’m like, “First of all, you need to speak more, speak whenever you can. Whether it’s free or not, you need to do it,” and a lot of people could do that. It’s interesting because I’m thinking, “That’s how you get good.”
If you want this, you go and make it happen. If you don’t do those things and you don’t want it bad enough, you’re not going to do the things that you don’t want to do. Oftentimes, people are successful in their 40s, 50s and 60s. They’ve already risen to a certain level and they go, “What do you mean to do something for free? What do you mean start over? What do you mean to be at the kindergarten level?” A little twist at that point as far as where they are, but they’re not there in the speaking world because in the speaking world, they still have to start over. Oftentimes what happens, somebody who’s great at what they do or in their job or their careers, “We can speak to our group.” It goes well. They get a standing ovation. It feels amazing. They’re like, “I am a speaker and I want to do this,” and they come to me, “I’m ready.”
I’m like, “No, you’re not. There’s a skill. Make sure that you’re learning the skill, learning the craft.” This is a craft and there is time involved and investment. There’s money involved with investments. There’s work, promotional material involved with the investment. It’s the same thing in entertainment. It is similar, which is why I’m good in this business, both on the client side and the talent side. As a performer, artist, singer, musician, you need a great website, a great video, a great one sheet, a great everything that lists what you can do, social speaker. When you’re talking about people who are reading this that need to know how to pitch things, make sure that your stuff looks as good as what you’re pitching yourself and your fee is. If you’re a $10,000 speaker, make sure your materials look $10,000 worth.
That there’s consistency in the brand across the video production, it’s for sure all of that is what you’re saying. You don’t suddenly get to Carnegie Hall or performing at the Hollywood Bowl just because you’ve sung a couple of times. Yet some people think, “I should be able to be on this big stage without any experience.” You said something that I want to tap into because it’s near and dear to me as well. I rarely talk about this because it doesn’t usually come up. When I was ten years old, I remember my mom took me to buy clothes for school. They said, “Sorry, but you’re going to have to wear the husky size,” and I was devastated. I wasn’t a particularly athletic kid and I was doing a lot of emotional eating that you described as well. When I was bored it was, “You want to eat something? You didn’t get an A, let’s eat for that. You’re lonely after school, let’s eat comfort food.”
For me, I started swimming and then got on the swim team. That’s when the weight started to come off and I ended up becoming a lifeguard. That journey of husky pants, a chubby little ten-year-old boy to suddenly you’re wearing a Speedo like you’re wearing the swimsuits in the Miss America pageant. It’s a journey that unless you’ve been there, people don’t understand how challenging it is to let go of your image of yourself at ten years old, in your case at nineteen. I think that gives us a lot of empathy for people who maybe don’t fit in right away. It’s because you look a certain way now, doesn’t mean you’ve always felt like you fit in. I wanted to acknowledge your courage and thank you for sharing that vulnerable part of yourself. I think that’s how we all relate to each other. It invites people in to know that. This likeability factor you talked about, is that everything, whether it’s a teacher liking students or doctors liking your patients.
There’s something to be said about that. I knew I was deficient in certain ways. I’ve seen people who are highly-skilled and they’re amazing at everything and a little cocky. They don’t have the graciousness or the heart to go along with that. In every situation, maybe they know they’re skilled and they know how to do it in most situations, but if they’re anything less than either tired, hungry or whatever, they’re not as nice as they typically are or can be. I always knew that. I wasn’t great in everything. I was a little deficient. I was good in a lot of things. I wasn’t great at anything. I knew that I could make up for that in my heart, with my heart, my personality and be able to take that a long way and I did. I wasn’t the best singer in Las Vegas. I wasn’t the thinnest, which was a big thing. I didn’t have the best body. I wasn’t the best dancer, but I was solid and good at everything. On top of that, I had the best attitude and that was everything. People’s association with me is, “Jennifer’s the best. She’s willing to show up and do anything. She’s willing to come.” I was the fourth in everybody’s mind when somebody needed someone or something. It’s about being your best always, whatever that is for you.
I was up for a speaking engagement with a couple of other speakers they were looking at. The speaking girl came back to me and said, “They picked you because they like your energy.” People go, “What?” It’s not because of your video. It’s not because of your book. It’s not because of the testimonials. Likeability factor is synonymous, in my opinion, with, “They liked your energy. They want that energy in the room. They want to work with you.” Before and after the talk, all that stuff could never be underestimated. A lot of people unfortunately think, “If I have all this information about how great I am, that people will hire me and they miss the whole likability factor.”
It’s the intangible that sets you apart from everybody else. I’m working on figuring out a way to teach that to people. I’m working on dissecting that because people come to me like, “How can I be more like you?” I’m like, “Let me think about that.” I want to be able to teach that because I do think that gives an advantage to a lot of people in every single industry no matter what you’re doing. Obviously in sales when your clients love you, in leadership when your team loves you and to be able to understand that. It’s not about being everybody’s friend.
It’s about being able to have the hard, difficult conversations and do it with kindness and care. It truly is about caring about other people. I think that that’s the foundation of it, which is probably what happens with you too because I’ve watched you speak and you care about the attendees that you’re speaking to you. You want them to succeed. It’s not about you being up on stage delivering this and getting a fee. It’s about you giving your valuable content of, “This is what I experienced. I want you to be able to do this. I want you to take this back to your industry to do that.”What more can I be doing to grow my business? Click To Tweet
I wanted to add to that. You were kind enough to come to hear me speak and then you went the extra mile and this is where your likability factor goes off the chart is you said, “I have some feedback for you.” That goes back to what you were saying about how coachable are you no matter how old or successful you are in any career?
You are receptive.
I’m always looking for any little nuance I can do to improve. I can’t wait to implement what you gave me when I’m speaking on that engagement I just got for being like my energy. That coachability factor, I think for the readers the big takeaway is likability and coachability are what’s going to set you apart of why anybody wants to work with you.
Don’t be the one that thinks that they know everything.
No matter what you’ve done or whatever accolades you already have. I do want to ask you because I know there’s a great story here about your wonderful husband, Dan, who is also a speaker. I’d love to hear how you two met and then how that led to you running your own bureau, the National Keynote Speakers. How did that all transpire from you saying, “I have this expertise. I may not want to be working nights. If you’re speaking during the day, we’re never going to see each other.” Tell us a little bit about that story of the origin of becoming an entrepreneur and a founder of such a successful speaking bureau.
I met my husband on Southwest Airlines, so it’s the other love app, which is funny because I’ve flown as a performer. I flew for a living because I was always flying to events and shows. He was a speaker, so same for him. We were both flying back from Phoenix, so he was also a peak performance coach as well as a speaker. He was coaching Terry Porter, who was the head coach of the Phoenix Suns at that time. I was taking a master voice class in Phoenix. We were both on our way back to Vegas. I sat next to him on Southwest Airlines because you can sit anywhere. He always sat at the exit row, I always sat in the exit row. It was a no-brainer and then the plane was empty.
I went and sat on the aisle seat in the exit row and he was sitting in the window. There’s a long story there, but the short story is we met on the plane. I was interested. I wasn’t looking to date him. I wanted to hire him because I wanted to take my career to the next level. I was like, “Give me your card.” The funny thing was, and he tells a story because he’s like, “I wasn’t attracted to her.” I got on that flight and I looked like hell. I had no makeup on. I was exhausted. I didn’t feel good because something happened to my shirt so I bought this funky shirt in the Phoenix airport that had these horrible cactuses on there. I still even had the sticker that had M all the way down on the thing. It was just not my best day. My hair was all wacky and it was just not good.
I saw this guy and I was like, “I think I could fake a better impression.” I was headlining at the Rio Hotel and Casino at that time. I said, “Come see me there and let’s talk in between shows of like, ‘I need to redeem what I just did.’” Here I am in full makeup and costume and everything. He sees me perform and I knew I had him. He was like, “I see now what you are.” The short story is we became friends and we literally talked every day. He lived down the street, which we didn’t know. We went to the same gym he lived down the street. We were destined to meet somehow, some way. I think God was like, “If you guys can’t figure out the gym, I’m going to sit you next to each other on this airplane and go from there.” We started dating a few months later and got engaged a year later. We got married a year after that. A couple of years into it we got married. He was speaking, I was still performing. I learned about the business.
What was interesting is that I had already been doing corporate entertaining, meaning that for you speakers, a company comes to Vegas or an event city and they hire speakers for their conference and stuff. They also hire entertainment, so I would sing at their cocktail receptions or their galas or I would emcee. I already understood that world. I was like, “Who hires you? How do you get hired?” He told me about something called a speakers bureau. I got it and learned it. I worked with agencies and so it made sense to me. I understood what he was doing for promotion. He was great at his website, his social media when it was just starting then in 2008. I saw how he built his business and I saw how he ran his business. For a few years while I was still in entertainment in the corporate market, selling myself to entertainment companies and corporations that would come hire me through my website, I saw what he did and how he built his business. I also saw what bureaus did with him, where they lacked, where their holes were. I saw other speakers that we knew where their frustrations were, how they needed to build their business.It’s the intangible that sets you apart from everybody else. Click To Tweet
I always kept that in the back of my brain because I wasn’t in shows anymore. I did stop doing shows. I want to be home at night with a family. We had two kids and I want to be home at night every night. Corporate work was easy. I only had to do it a couple of nights a week if I did and it wasn’t late usually, but I wanted to get out of entertaining because I was tired. It’s a lot of work and I thought I wanted to do something new. I wanted to do more. I had more to offer. While I was making that transition, the Polaroid Company came calling and they were opening a museum here in Las Vegas. They needed somebody to consult with them and so I helped them open their museum because they wanted to use it as an event space.
Once that was open, they needed somebody to run it and I was like, “I’ll do it.” I stopped entertaining. I went into the corporate world. I went into sales and marketing and building that business for them as corporate events, a place for meetings, weddings, cocktail receptions and such. I had a great time and loved it, but their partnership dissolved for their company around the country so I was losing my job. Dan said, “Stop pussyfooting around. You know this business. There is no bureau in Las Vegas, you need to open one.” I was scared because I really understood it, but I didn’t know it. I knew I had to learn all the speakers, all the clients, all the industries and all the topics too. I needed to understand, “People in technology or innovation, what do they speak on? What do you mean innovate what?” I saw I had to get well-versed in that and understand it.
Back in the day when I was doing a lot of entertaining, I used to do a lot of spokesperson work too. Companies would hire me in to learn their product and I would learn it in one day or two. I would become an expert in the product and be able to talk about that for a few days. That was my superpower. I think I was lucky in this business because I was able to learn the business quickly, learn the topics, understand it, get into the deep level and be able to talk about it and be able to sell that to clients. We opened Las Vegas Keynote Speakers, it started as, and it became successful in a heartbeat. We started opening around the country.
I had a presence in twelve other cities and it was phenomenal. I was like, “I need a national name,” and that’s when I came up with National Keynote Speakers to house everything that I had. It’s been wonderful ever since. It’s been growing steadily and in a place where people are having difficulty finding market share and getting new clients. I’ve had major bureaus come to me and say, “How do you get new business?” They’ve been in business for many years, so they have their clients that they’ve done great customer service with that they’ve kept. How do they get new stuff? I was like, “I’m not telling you,” but I said, “That was my ability to go in there. I’m looking in places you’re not looking because of my core background.” To people who are looking for business and looking for speakers, who are looking for something, look where you’re not thinking.Paint a picture of what is possible. Click To Tweet
Look in your own backyard. Are you in an event town, like a major city? Are you going to the Convention and Visitors Bureau and networking with them and saying, “How do you book? Who comes to you? Are you looking at any sales teams or any meeting planners? Are you networking in their networking groups? Are you reaching out to them? Are you giving value? Are you making your presence known?” There are all these different ways that I was able to build. I came from entertainment and I was used to that on the ground level, like boots on the ground world, rather than going, “I’m going to open my website and hope that everybody comes.” It’s different and so I was able to do that.
The concept that there wasn’t a bureau based in Vegas fascinates me because that’s where you heard me speak. There are many companies that are not based in Las Vegas and yet they bring all their people there because they have so many places that have conventions. I would think that there’s always every day a keynote speaker speaking in Vegas. It’s almost like Amazon going, “Let’s do books first and then we’ll do everything.” You went, “Let’s do Vegas, my backyard. I know it and now I’ve got that model down. I can do what Amazon did and scale that across the country.” I also want our audience to take away what you said, which is you asked yourself, “What is my superpower?” In your case, it was learning information quickly and becoming a subject matter expert. That’s what a good speaker has to do too.
When you’re brought in to a new client, you have to learn that industry, their niche, their competitive advantages. When you can speak to them, it’s customized and not seeing, talk to everybody. I’ll never forget when I spoke to a healthcare company and I got off the stage and somebody asked me, “How long have you worked in healthcare?” It’s all of that stuff and not everybody can do it. I think that if someone’s saying, “I don’t know what my superpower is or how do I find it? I’d love your opinion on this,” is your superpower sometimes is something that comes relatively easy to you. Because it comes easy to you, you assume everyone else can do with that too. People point out and go, “I can’t do that. How do you do that?” Look for those feedback comments. What are your thoughts on helping people find their superpower with those criteria?
I think you’re 100% right. I love how you just dialed that down. Your superpower is something that comes easy. You think that everybody else can do it too and you realize, “No, they can’t.” I also think on top of that, being open, willing to learn and do something new. Getting out of your comfort zone and going, “I’m going to really see my creatives also.” This is how I start my day and every business interaction is, “How can I help? Not what can I give you?”
It’s that concept of coming from a place of service. Sometimes it can be something so simple like, “Would you mind buying my book and writing a review on Amazon?” It’s a little ask, some little thing sometimes, I’m looking for this kind of customer or here’s my ideal client, what tips do you have for my website or if you wouldn’t mind re-tweeting something I posted? It’s amazing. How can I help? Some people are hesitant to ask that because they feel like it’s too much of an imposition. I think if you realize that sometimes the help can just be, “I just need to call you when I’m having a bad day.”
There are two things: How can I get help? Also how can I help? How can I serve? My first underlying thing is how I can serve? This thing you were telling me that people want to learn how to pitch themselves better, their products, themselves. When you come from a place of how can I serve you that it opens your mind to a different place. It allows you to ask different questions, get the answers, and then you can speak into what they need. When you’re trying to figure out how can I pitch myself better? Ask what people need. Ask how you can serve. When you can talk about how you can serve somebody, it changes the conversation. It changes the copy on your material. It changes everything.
When you’re having the conversation with the client and you’re asking them more questions, because I’m on a call with a speaker a lot when they’re talking to a client. Sometimes it’s my first call with a particular speaker and they are talking way too much. I’m like, “Ask more questions.” They want to talk, people want to talk, they want to tell you about their problems and tell you about their company. Stop talking and listen. The valuable thing there is that they tell you what they’re looking for. When they tell you what they’re looking for or you can go, “Great.” You allow the client to talk and they really get into it in the beginning, but after a minute they get into it and they say, “John is having trouble here over in this capacity with this team because the team is really struggling with the production and the warehouses. Over here, we’re struggling with morale and this is happening.”
If you let the client talk and do their thing and then you come back at the end and go, “Great, it’s so wonderful to hear. Thank you for talking and telling me about what you’re looking for. What I do is I speak to the fact that a change in overcoming adversity and we’ll talk about attitude and building morale.” You can speak into what they were saying and whatever your topic is at that point, whether it’s innovation or motivation, you can quickly formulate your information and your topic into what they need. This is the disconnect that a lot of people have. I saw this with entertainment. I know what I can do. I know my whole background. I know every scope. I know the scope of every single thing that I can do. The person who is hiring me, meeting for the first time, has no idea. If I don’t speak, describe and give them the pictures and the image of what’s possible, they’re never going to know. If they tell me what they’re looking for and I can say, “I can do this and this for you to create that and to have that objective.” They’re going to go, “You’re the perfect fit.” All of a sudden, I’ve got that job.
Give a picture of what is possible. You’re such a great storyteller, Jennifer, even describing what you were wearing when you met your husband, Dan, with all the medium size M’s on that sticker, that such a visual. It’s memorable. It’s funny and that detail. When someone says, “We need a singer of Linda Ronstadt,” you tell the story of, “I used to sing her songs in my bedroom when I was this year-old, young.” You get two great examples of painting pictures, telling stories that pull people in. That’s the secret of becoming memorable, and as I like to say, irresistible. You are certainly irresistible. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your wisdom, your passion and your story with us. If people want to find you, they can go to NationalKeynoteSpeakers.com. Do you have any final thoughts or inspiration you want to leave us with?Follow your heart and do what you know without knowing where it leads you. Click To Tweet
I feel this, and I say this every single day. If there’s something that you want to do, go and do it and do whatever you can to get there. Don’t let anything hold you back. Definitely remember how you were as a kindergartener. You wanted to try everything. Go and try everything to be successful. Whatever you’re doing, if it’s speaking, if it’s a product that you’re launching or you’re being an entrepreneur or starting a business, go and do it. We can always start over. We can always decide to turn around and go somewhere else, but if you don’t give it everything that you have as a kid, as that excitement that we had as a child, you’re never going to go where you want to go.
Don’t give up. It’s always too soon to give up. Rudy Ruettiger is one of my favorites ever. His saying from the movie, Rudy, “It’s always too soon to give up,” and I agree. Always ask yourself, “What more can I be doing?” That’s my favorite question. What more could I be doing to build my business? Your mind is going to answer you and you might not like some of the answers. It’s going to give you the answers that you need. Sometimes it takes us looking at ourselves like that, and so keep moving forward. Be like that kid that wants to go and live a dream and do whatever you can to get there. You’re going to do it. It’s going to get you where you want to go.
It’s wonderful, inspiring and tactical at the same time. What a great question. What more can I be doing to grow my business? You have given us a lot to think about and you’ve certainly inspired all of us. Thanks again, Jennifer.
You’re welcome. Thanks for having me, John.
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