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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  March 06, 2014

The High Price of Persistence

Trusty sidekick, Vicky Likens, had a fascinating conversation with a prospect. The speaking bug bit Billy Bob (not his real name) hard and he was on fire to be a high-fee keynote speaker. Two things jumped out at me as she was recounting their discussion:

  1. Billy Bob based his marketability on two things: (a) encouragement from one veteran speaker; and, (b) feedback from one audience. (You guessed it: he was a hit with both.)
  2. His strategic marketing approach: be persistent and it will pay off.

 

I see this scenario all the time. It’s very easy to make assumptions about our talents based on a couple of wins. It’s much harder to turn those gifts into a sustainable business. That journey — from enthusiastic expert to high-fee leader — requires more than combining raw talent with persistence. We have to pay attention to the marketplace, too. We have to take what we have and create something people are will to pay top dollar for. That’s easier said than done. Especially when you are new to the marketplace. Billy Bob doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

This is why so many folks like him spend years (and six figures) wandering around. They don’t know they are barking up the wrong tree until it’s almost too late. You see, it’s more comfortable spending time selling the wrong thing than it is spending money to figure out the best message to sell. It feels less risky but it’s not. It’s just risk deferred.

The true test of whether an expert is ready for the big leagues is the answer to this question: how uncomfortable are you willing to be? This journey is not for the safety seekers. It’s for those who will bet on their talent.

 

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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.