Earlier this week I spoke to the National Speakers Association annual convention about how the recession was impacting the speaking business, and more importantly, how it was changing the needs that our clients have. For example, many companies feel that they don't need "sale training" right now, because after downsizing, their sales force consists of the most productive sales people. However, the customers who are shopping today are not the same as the customers who bought a few years ago. Today's buyer is a value driven customer shopping for bargains. The sales skills that worked for the aspirational buyer in the boom don't work on this buyer. So sales training is needed, but not the same stuff. What companies need is training specific to the changes caused by the recession.
It's not just about sale training. It's harder to lead today's workers, because they are so fearful and stressed about their personal financial risks. Companies won't buy the same old leadership seminars, but they might buy a program that helps their line managers get greater productivity from the stressed-out employees.
Motivational speakers are down in the dumps about weak bookings, but motivation is needed now more than ever. I suggested that they not only motivate their audiences, but also teach how to motivate subordinates, colleagues–and perhaps even bosses.
Here's my PowerPoint deck. NSA members will soon be able to purchase an audio recording of the session.