1. What is it about me and my work
that makes you think I might be the
right fit for your event?
2. Who are the speakers your
audience has enjoyed in the past?
3. How much experience do
you have working with a paid
4. Where does my session fit within
the overall agenda of the event?
5. How important is this session in
the entire program?
6. When are you looking to confirm/
promote the agenda?
7. If there were only one thing that
you wanted your audience to do,
think, or see di;erently as a result
of my session, what would it be?
8. Outside of the speech, how else
could I support the event?
9. What is your decision-making
process from here?
9 QUESTIONS TO
To do so, remember these three
1. Sometimes the di;erence between
you and people like you is your ability to
know exactly what to say, exactly when
to say it, and how to make it count.
2. The worst time to think about the
thing you are going to say is in the
moment when you are saying it.
3. It is the person asking the questions
who is in control of the conversation.
Although you are no doubt in agreement with these facts, too often an
inquiry arrives for an event and asks
the exact same two questions. These
questions are asked, and you may find
yourself either lost for words or with a
distinct inability to stop yourself from
over-communicating your brilliance.
In the medical industry, they say
that “prescription before diagnosis is
malpractice.” The speaking business
is no di;erent. Our role in selling
ourselves is to earn the right to
recommend that we are the right fit
for the event. We can only do this by
asking great questions.
Two questions typically form the
basis of nearly every inbound inquiry
and are versions of:
Are you available?
What is your fee?
If you remember the three facts
listed above, you should be equipped
and able to handle this with the right
words, at the right time, and delivered
in the right way. This means not having “answers” to their questions, but
instead having “questions” for their
Decisions are almost always made with
emotion before logic. We have far more
influence on helping our clients “feel”
that we are the correct choice for them
by engaging ourselves in a meaningful
conversation to demonstrate that we
understand their objectives and pro-
vide confidence in our ability to deliver
in the moment.
This means that the next time
you are asked if you are available and
what your fee is, you don’t reply by
saying, “Yes” and “What’s your bud-
get?” Instead, you immediately pick
up the phone and lead the discussion.
Five steps to closing the deal
that have been essential in the past,
are effective today, and are becom-
ing increasingly important in the
Everything starts with a ques-
tion, and your ability to ask the right
questions, steer your future conversa-
tions, and help your potential clients
choose you could be the primary
factor that influences the quality and
quantity of your bookings.
Choose your words and you can
change your world. ■
JONES is a
author of Exactly
What to Say,
Exactly How to
Sell and Exactly
Where to Start.