I believe speaking is the best leveraged marketing strategy that we could use to grow our business. And I highly recommend it to everybody. – Jen Coffel
Meet Jen Coffel
Jen Coffel is CEO of Engaging Speakers, a successful business coach, a best-selling author with four books, and a philanthropist. She has been featured on Inc.com, ABC News, and the Chicago Tribune. Jen has been mentored by speaking icons like Jack Canfield, Nick Vujicic, and Sandra Yancey, and has spoken on stage to over 10,000 people.
With two decades of business experience, Jen built her first 4 businesses to 6 figures each, all in under a year and all in different industries. She has now helped over a thousand entrepreneurs build their businesses with many reaching 6-figure and 7-figure revenue.
In her previous career, she developed the largest team in Illinois for a billion-dollar direct sales company, personally generating over $25 million in sales and raising over $1 million in donations for non-profits. But she is most proud of founding her own international non-profit “Handing Hope” which brings comfort and smiles to children battling cancer in twelve states and three countries around the world.
Share with our audience a little bit about who you are.
It’s been a fun 20-year journey in being an entrepreneur. And I know that there’s a lot to share as far as the backstory but, my background is an occupational therapist by degree. My first business was teaching people with disabilities how to drive. And so I started a private practice back in 1999. It was an awesome business because I got to do what I love to do, which is give people freedom.
I tried for six years to have kids. And so once we finally had kids, I wanted to be home with them. So I sold my business. I thought that what I sold it for would be enough money to get me through that time. My first baby was adopted, and after like five months into having her we got pregnant with twins through IVF. And then the next year we got pregnant by surprise. All these children came and you know, adoption is expensive, IVF is expensive, kids are expensive. So I went through all the money that I had sold the practice for and was broke. I realized if I didn’t do something, to be able to get us out of that financial situation, we were just going to be sunk because my husband was also an occupational therapist, and he didn’t get any bonuses or things like that. I had to find a way and I didn’t want to go back to working at a business outside of the house. So I started a network marketing business.
In that business, I discovered my love for teaching people about business. I treated my network marketing business like a traditional business in terms of picking a target market and having marketing strategies and focusing on sharing it with friends and family and that sort of thing. I had a lot of success with that business. I built it to the largest in the state of Illinois and won their Presidents Club trips multiple times and had a lot of fun with it.
In that process, I discovered my love for teaching women how to build businesses and so that led me to start a coaching business. I built four businesses at six figures in less than 12 months, all in different industries. And there was a methodology that one of my coaches brought up to me. I was able to, with time, really take a reflected look at what was I doing. How am I doing that and then get it out into a way that I could teach it and so since then I’ve taught it to many people and the results have been amazing.
Please share your story about the first time you spoke, and then now, what you’re able to do when you get in front of an audience. It’s just an incredible journey. So why don’t you share with the audience a little bit about how that first experience was?
In my first experiences with speaking, I remember the front row and looking at specifically one man because he started snoring. And he was in the front row, and I’m sharing and speaking and he’s falling asleep. But I remember thinking at that moment I have a lot to learn about this speaking thing. I started learning more about how to do speaking, but it’s funny when I look back at where I started, and now running an organization that is teaching other entrepreneurs how to use speaking and using that so much in my businesses. When I look back at all my businesses that I’ve had such growth with, it’s really speaking that has been the primary strategy. All of them have resulted in the growth that I’ve experienced and the success I’ve had. And so I believe it’s the best-leveraged marketing strategy that we could use to grow our business. And I highly recommend it to everybody.
There’s so much more to speaking than getting paid on the front end, it’s getting paid on the back end and just giving people a free something or other so you can then help them which could lead to more business. Please share about that whole process.
It is a powerful process. What you’re talking about is a keynote in which you get paid to speak. It’s like a company will hire you to come in and do a keynote and pay you for that. I would say the average professional speaker is probably making 5 to 10 thousand dollars, on average. Of course, there are lots of people that make way more than that. But I would say when you look at the bell curve, that’s what you can expect.
When you look at the way that you can use speaking to grow a business, you have to have a strategically designed signature talk. I call a signature talk, a talk that’s designed around your core business that highlights your expertise in a classy way and attracts your ideal clients. It does become a revenue-generating machine.
And so if that’s something that interests you, the first step to being able to do that would be to know what your core genius is. You want to build your core business around your core genius. Your core profits should be focused on what you’re good at. When I say core genius, what I mean by that is whatever your job is.
If things are feeling hard, if your business is feeling hard, if you’re wanting to go into the speaking, and that’s feeling hard that element that is missing. You’re not super connected to what your core genius is because everything isn’t quite working well.
There is a lot to sequencing and understanding what is needed to build a successful business around your core genius. I’m not saying that you don’t need support in that, because I would highly recommend that because it’s a lot faster path. That’s the first place I would be asking myself, do I know what my core genius is? Is that clear to me? And if not, I would start there. If you’re interested in speaking or just building your business in general, I would encourage any listener to start looking at that.
Where does one go to get into the speaking world?
We talked about core genius and getting your core message. What is it that you know? What problems do you solve? What results do you bring that’s all wrapped up in your 30-second introduction. I think it’s harder to speak for 30 seconds than it is for 30 minutes. You want to get your core message clear and know the headaches that you solve and the results that you bring in. And that is the first step.
The next step is learning that framework of how do I then take that and put it into a talk? How is it different than a keynote? I know there’s a tendency to want to be very informational. Like when we are going to go out and speak about our service, or our product, or our business, we want to get into a lot of processes. I always encourage people not to focus on it. Yes, you can be educational, but do that inside a story because stories inspire. And stories are what connect emotionally to people. So if you’re going to go out and start speaking, you want to learn how to tell a story because your signature talk should be 50% of it.
So learning how to tell a story, you need to have a character. You might be the character, or when you’re doing your signature talk, and you’re maybe making one of your powerful principal points, it could be a client story. That’s what I recommend using because that’s what’s going to highlight your expertise in a classy way. In that way, you’re not promoting yourself, but the listeners are being inspired by your expertise by hearing the story of how you’ve transformed a client’s life.
Jen’s 6 stages of sharing a story
Stage 1 – Set the stage. Think about what you want when somebody is hearing you tell the story to be able to envision what it was like. What was normal? And what were things like?
Stage 2 – What changed? Everything was normal. And then something occurred. And what was it that occurred, what changed?
Stage 3 – What caused the change? What was the trigger that caused that change?
Stage 4 – Fight the dragon. That’s where the struggle occurs. That’s a really interesting part of the story.
Stage 5 – Who did you have to become, who did the character have to become as a result of the fight, the challenge.
Stage 6 – What’s the new normal?
That’s what you want to take people on in terms of a journey, of a story, and learning how to tell your personal story in that way.
Jen’s story framework
#1 – Working title. This is the overall umbrella results that you bring.
#2 – Identify your origin story, personal story.
#3 – Share who your talk is for. This talk is for you if…whatever the struggles are or the headaches that you solve.
#4 – What are they going to learn in your talk? What are the results that they’re going to receive?
#5 – Share three powerful principles. Each of those principles are things that your ideal client would need to know, believe, do or have, in order to get the ultimate result that you bring.
#6 – Do a review of your points.
#7 – Make an offer or a gift for everybody in the room that would be potentially an ideal client now or in the future.
#8 – End with an offer to have a session with you. Give a limited number. Don’t say how long it is. Name a session which is tied to the result that you bring.
#9 – Close. Closing story or a quote or something.
Mentioned in This Episode
I have devoured a book by Jack Canfield called, “The Success Principles.” There are 67 principles in his book. I have identified 17 principles out of the 67 that I feel have been the founding principles that have helped me to be successful in the businesses that I’ve had. I recorded a video for each one of those principles and have application questions and a digital workbook.
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Engaging Speaker’s Website: https://engagingspeakers.com/
Jen’s Website: https://jencoffel.com/
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