How to Sell Without Being Salesy

When I entered into this market a few years ago and attended business events and conferences, I always wondered:

“Why are people so hard-core salesy on stage? Why are they forcing me to run to the back of the room to purchase their program?”

It felt so sleazy, that I felt like I needed a shower after these conferences! When I started speaking, I vowed that I would NEVER make an audience feel that way.

Now – I’m not saying that “selling” is bad or evil. In fact, if you have a product or service that helps people, it’s your job to get it in the hands of your audience. However, there’s a way to do that without being overly salesy. Watch the video for the full framework.

Tip #1: Know The Story Braid Framework

The first step is to use the Story Braid Framework. This should be the structure for each talk you give.

You start with the heart, then give them content by teaching their minds on what to do, give them a call to action (hands), and then close with the heart.

If you do not have access to the Story Braid Framework be sure to click here to download it!

Tip #2: Don’t Tease Them, TEACH Them

The #1 mistake “salesy” speakers make is they tease their audience. They don’t give any content away and teach, they tease how amazing their content is going to be…only if you pay. So their entire talk is just a sales pitch.

The better alternative is to TEACH them, and not tease them. You should teach them the methodology on what it takes for them to get results in their lives and being able to show them how to move a step in the right direction. Teaching them how to move to a more desirable state in their finances, businesses, relationships, wealth, or whichever niche you’re in.

Sooo how do you sell WHILE giving away your content?

Tip #3: Embed Throughout Your Presentation

As you’re teaching your content, EMBED two things throughout your presentation: case studies and stories.

You should embed case studies and stories of people using what you teach, and what their results were – be it in their business, relationships, finances, etc.

Once you embed these stories, the audience will want to go deeper with you, and it will NOT feel forced in any way. Rather than “dangling a carrot,” you will be perceived as offering a hand of help, and it will be up to them to take it or not.

This reminds me of one of our clients…

He didn’t want to be slimy, so he was reluctant to make an offer from stage.

We started working together, and we advised him to embed stories and case studies throughout his presentation. Once he made these changes, he converted an audience at 37% with a $5,500 offer – and he didn’t ONCE feel salesy through the entire process!

There was a quote by Tom Ziglar, who’s the son of Zig Ziglar. He said, “you have a moral obligation to have people go deeper with your products and services because your products and services are what’s going to change their lives.” You can do it from a place of not being salesy and sleazy – and you do this by teaching and not teasing.

You’ll also want to be following the Story Braid Framework to properly structure your presentation, and you’ll want to click here to download it.

So go out, and make it happen!

-Pete Vargas


How to Overcome Stage Fright

Studies tell us that there are people who would rather DIE than get on stage, and speak publicly.

At the start of my career, I may have been one of them…

I can still remember the very first time I spoke on stage in front of a few hundred people.

I was terrified.


Holding the mic with two hands, and sweating.

I was also afraid what everyone would think of me.

In short – I was suffering from crippling stage fright. After that experience, I knew I had to figure out how to overcome this.

Stage fright is by far one of the most universal human fears, and in today’s pos,t I will outline seven tips I personally use to overcome it.

Tip #1: Have Clarity on These 3 Things…

Before you hop on stage, you must know these three things…

1 – The problem you solve.

2 – Who you serve.

3 – Your Signature Talk to that audience.

Clarity must be formed around these three integral aspects before you even hop on stage. Knowing these will boost your confidence as a speaker and is the starting point to overcoming stage fright.

Tip #2: Own Your Story

My story is my story. Your story is your story.

No matter how much competition you feel is in your niche or industry, the one thing no one can duplicate is your personal story.

This is one thing that is unique to you, so make sure to OWN it and don’t be shy about expressing it.

Tip #3: Practice, Practice, Practice

This was crucial. Nothing makes you more confident than preparation.

I practiced in my home. I practiced in front of my kids, I practiced in front of my wife, I practiced in front of my team. I practiced in a one-on-one conversation. I practiced in a small stage with five people, low stakes, high practice.

The more you practice in a low-stakes environment, the more comfortable you’ll feel when it comes to the actual stage.

Tip #4: Have a Pregame Routine

I have a pre-game routine before I get on every stage, and it’s become a ritual ever since I started doing it a few years ago.

My pregame routine has me looking at my one signature talk and going through it and imagining it, the crowd in it, and just really focusing on delivering something powerful.

I then pray. I spend a lot of time visualizing the impact that I’m going to make on that crowd. I make sure to focus on the crowd because it’s about them, not me.

I then dance. I dance a little bit before I get onstage, I loosen up and I get excited.

And then, it’s go time!

My pregame routine does not have to be your pregame routine. The important thing is that you should have one that works for you!

Tip #5: Find the SMILES 🙂

Once I’m on stage, I find someone on the left side of the crowd with a smiling face. I then find someone in the middle on the right who also are smiling.

From there, whenever I look in that direction, I look at that specific person in the crowd and talk as though I’m having a one-on-one conversation with them. I talk to them like I’m talking to my wife or my best friend.

I find the people who are radiant. Those who are “leaning in” and have great body language, and I make sure to focus on them the entire time.

Tip #6: Just Breathe

I am so grateful for one of my coaches who taught me this, which is to BREATHE.

It sounds simple, it sounds like common knowledge, but it’s something a lot of us forget to do. One of the reasons you get shaky and your knees get shaky is because you’re not breathing, you stop breathing.

Remember to always breathe on stage.

Tip #7: Own the Stage

The last thing I do is own the physicality of the stage. When I step on that stage and I look right, I look left or I look in the middle my physicality is confident.

Whatever you feel, your audience will feel.

If your physicality is confident, then they’ll be confident in what you’re saying.

Bonus Tip: The Root of Stage Fright

Since stepping out on stages myself I’ve realized, that ultimately the root of stage fright is that we’re in our own heads thinking about ourselves and what other people are going to think about us – INSTEAD of focusing on how we are going to serve the audience.

If you want to overcome stage fright, get out of your own head and start thinking about those who you serve!

Now, you might be thinking – this is all GREAT Pete, but what do I say when I’m on stage?

You need a Signature Talk.

If you don’t have one yet (or wish to improve your current one), click here to download our Story Braid Framework, and find out how you can get my team to help map yours out for you – FREE!


-Pete Vargas


The #1 Marketing Tool in Your Toolbox: You ONLY need ONE Signature Talk

Your Signature Talk.

The greatest marketing tool in your toolbox. Why?

You can use this SAME talk on ALL platforms – including online and offline stages.

It was just ONE great Signature Talk that helped us go from zero to seven figures at AYR. And we STILL use this Talk.

A while ago, I was talking with a pretty well-known entrepreneur (you would probably recognize her name). She was sharing how she LOVED speaking–that she loved connecting with people in person, but she didn’t do it often.

“Pete, the reason why I don’t speak is because of the creative energy that I have to do every single time that I get invited to a new stage, I have to come up with another talk.”

A new talk is a lot of work. My friend Todd Herman said he thought it was 40 – 50 hours of work.

If you want to use stages as a consistent, reliable customer acquisition channel, you need more time ON stages and less type prepping for stages.

Having ONE great Signature Talk using the Story Braid Framework.

Back to my friend… I shared our Story Braid Framework with her and how ONE great Signature Talk is all she needs. And it’s all you need as well.

She said, “Wow, I’ve never done it that way. And you’re absolutely right.”

What about you?

Do you have ONE Great Signature Talk dialed in?

Watch our video above for the complete 4-part Story Braid Framework (and CLICK HERE to download it).

AND… I have a gift for you…

My team is on standby to help you map out your Signature Talk. FREE.

Click here to schedule a Signature Talk Design Session with my team.


-Pete Vargas


3 Steps to Connect with ANYONE

Back when we started to Advance Your Reach a few years ago, I attended a conference and knew absolutely nobody.

I decided that I was going to host a little mastermind in my hotel room, and I invited about 15 people who I wanted to meet.

The result?

A few of those people are some of my closest friends today – and I’m still connected to everyone who came! This snowballed into countless introductions and connections made, as well as many partners we’ve made for our business.

My team pushed me to share HOW I’ve done this, and so I spent time reflecting…and realized there are 3 Key things we do – the WIN Framework.

Next week is the anniversary of that first gathering in my hotel room and it HAS snowballed. A friend I met at that event 4 years ago and I are hosting our 3rd annual party at that same event – over 100 of the top influencers are going to be there. So this was the PERFECT time to share our WIN Framework with you.



Identify Who You Want to Connect With

Identify who you want to connect with. Write down a list of 5 to 10 people you’d like to connect with.

Identify their “win.”

What does that mean?

What helps them win in life?

What helps them win in their business?

What helps them win in their marriage?

What helps them win with their families?

Do they want to be on a stage?

Do they want to be connected to somebody?

Do they need help with something?

Do they need help with something?


What is their win? That’s what connection boils down to.

Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

N – Nurture

The initial “investment” is easy. It’s a great start, but you can’t stop there. How can you nurture this relationship?

Nurture them by checking in on them, sending them gifts during special occasions, or just simply pinging them.

Doing this on a consistent basis is really the secret to building long-term relationships that stick!

Download this week’s worksheet (no opt-in required). Watch this week’s video for the complete WIN framework and put it into action! I can’t wait to see what you experience. Let me know in the comments below.

10 Steps To Book Your First 10 Stages This Month

Your first 10 stages are crucial for building your speaking career. Whether you want to become a motivational speaker or use speaking to grow your business, landing stages is the way to make it happen. There will be extra challenges landing stages when you first start out because you need to learn how to work with meeting planners, and you need to build up some social proof and promotional materials with these first stages.

We use the Unstoppable Stage Campaign as our main tool for landing stages. But this campaign is highly detailed and can be challenging to set up if you’re just starting out speaking. Plus, some of the biggest and most valuable stages that you want to get onto may take several years to happen, so it’s important to get some quick wins and momentum early in your speaking career.

In this post, we’ll share some quick action steps you can take to land your first speaking gigs, test out your talk and build out some social proof.

Step 1 – Define your target

Before you start anything else, you need to be clear on who you want to reach with your talk — who your ideal audience is that would be interested in your story as well as your product or service.

There are thousands of stages out there, and if you don’t take the time to understand what to look for, then you’ll waste time on stages that don’t benefit you. Worse yet, if you speak on the wrong stages you probably won’t resonate with the audience or the meeting planners, which works against you.

Here are a few questions to help you define what the best stages are for you:

  • Who is my ideal customer?
  • What makes me different and interesting to them?
  • What kind of events would they attend?
  • How can I relate what I do the core themes of these events?
  • Who are some of the people they follow, and what events are they attending?

Step 2 – Prepare a signature talk

If you want to start landing stages, you’ll need to have a talk ready to deliver. Now that you understand who you want to speak in front of, you need to develop a talk that’s going to touch their hearts and inspire them to work with you. Plus, having your talk prepared will give you some excitement and energy to get it out in front of people.

You should be prepared to speak for 5 to 30 minutes for your first talk. Since these are your first 10 stages, it’s likely that you’ll be getting a lot of breakouts and smaller time slots. These will give you some time to practice and refine your talk as well. If you can master delivering a good talk in 5 minutes, then it’s easy to build out around it.

Step 3 – Ask around

Now that you have a talk ready, you can start searching for speaking opportunities.

The lowest hanging fruit for stages is in your current network.

Take some time to sit down and think up friends, clients, mentors, colleagues and anyone else that both trusts you and may be able to connect you with some events and stages.

Sit down for an hour and brainstorm people that might be able to connect you with some stages, and then reach out (by phone if possible, but email is okay, too).

Here’s a basic script for what to say:

Hi [NAME],

First off, I just wanted to thank you for believing in me and my message. These last few [MONTHS/YEARS] have been so fulfilling for me as I have seen [AUDIENCE] respond to my message of [MY CORE MESSAGE]. You’ve always been so supportive of me, and it means a lot.

Now, I’m ready to take it to the next level. Since I’ve been getting such a great response, I know I can reach even more people with my message. I’m looking for more stages in my area of expertise, which is [NICHE]. These might be podcasts, webinars, online seminars or summits, or actual physical stages.

You’ve been in the industry for a while now, and I wanted to see if you had any recommendations of stages where my message would resonate?

Would you be interested in hopping on the phone (or just replying to this email) with your recommendations?  

Thanks again for your support and belief in me; it means more than you know.



Step 4 – Search for local stages

If you live in or near any large cities, look for local events that you can participate in. Local stages can be more accessible since you don’t need to travel long distances or spend money on hotels to participate. Plus, it’s more likely that you’ll have contact or champion who could connect you with a local stage.

Start to build out a spreadsheet where you can record the names of events, locations, dates and contact information for the meeting planners.

  • Conferences in [your city] – A few simple searches in Google can turn up dozens of conferences and events that could be a good fit for you. Try searching “conferences for [your niche/industry/customer] in [your city]”
  • Event Centers – Search for event centers in your city, and then look up their calendars. See if you can find any events coming up that could be a good fit for you.
  • Associations – Look for associations that serve your target customer. It’s likely they have some local chapters in your city or region that are often looking for fresh speakers and ideas for their audience.
  • Meetups – Go to meetup.com and search for meetups related to your audience. Meetup hosts are usually very easy to contact and may be open to having you speak.
  • 1 Million Cups – 1Million Cups is an organization for entrepreneurs to present and share their ideas. They have meetups in most cities across the U.S. and are always looking for more speakers.

If you want to land 10 stages, you’re going to need to research at least 30 or 40.

Step 5 – Look for online stages

Remember that stages don’t have to be physical locations. There’s a wealth of opportunity for getting on online stages. You can speak on an online stage from the comfort of your own home while reaching thousands of your ideal customers. There’s also usually a much lower barrier to entry to get onto online stages.

Podcasts – Podcasts are constantly looking for new guests who can speak to their audience. To find good podcasts for you, go to iTunes and search for podcasts related to your niche. iTunes won’t directly link to their website, but once you find the name of the podcast you can search it online and usually find the contact information for the host in a few simple clicks.

Webinars – Many associations, businesses, and online communities host regular webinars for their audiences. Check for opportunities on websites of the associations you researched in the previous step. Also, look for businesses or brands that serve your audience and reach out to see if they would be interested in co-hosting a webinar with you.

Online Summits – Online summits are powerful “digital conferences” that give many people an opportunity to speak. Sometimes summits take an interview format where one host speaks to many different people, while others act more like a collection of webinars.

Try to find another 30 or 40 online stages in this process.

Step 6 – Prepare your pitch

Once you have a big list of stages ready, it’s time to start preparing your pitch for them. This is where many people go wrong. Most just point-blank ask meeting planners for a stage or talk about how much a stage will help their business. This is the opposite of what you want to do.

Your pitch needs to address the wants and needs of the meeting planner and the audience they serve.

Create a signature sentence

A signature sentence is your entire story and signature talk distilled into one crisp sentence. It makes for a perfect opener that explains what you do and catches the attention of the meeting planner from the beginning.

Here’s the basic formula for a signature sentence:

I [action] [who] to experience [what] so they can get [result].

Here are a few examples of signature sentences put together by attendees of Reach Academy Live.

How can you solve the meeting planner’s problems?

Be sensitive to the meeting planner’s situation. They have to sift through hundreds of different speakers interested in what they are doing to put together something that’s a big hit for their audience. Their biggest fears are inviting someone who is a “dud,” difficult to work with or tries to sell a bad product to their audience. Make sure you can address these fears in your pitch.

How can you solve the audience’s problem?

Make sure you can clearly articulate the problems that your audience faces and the value you can add to them.

Collect social proof

Even if you’ve never spoken before, you can get some social proof together to help build trust with the meeting planner.

  • Business stats – How many customers have you helped? What kind of results can you get?
  • Credentials – What have you studied or achieved that makes you an expert?
  • As seen on – Have you been featured on any big websites, media outlets or events that could lend to your credibility?

Set up a speaker page/website

You’ll want to have a speaker page set up so that, when you start your outreach, people will begin to research you. Make sure you have a page to send them to that will present you well.

If you want to learn more about what makes a great speaker page, check out: The Anatomy Of A Great Speaker Page

Step 7 – Introduce yourself

It’s time to reach out to meeting planners and start landing your stages. Most people go straight for the stage with the first contact. That’s like asking someone you just met to marry you. For this introduction, you just want to make a good first impression and open up the doors for more conversation. There are two ways you can do this: with video email or a speaker box.

Video email

Video email is our favorite form of outreach. Using video in your emails is the next best thing to a face-to-face conversation. It gives you the power to convey that extra meaning and emotion in the messages you send and to put a face to your name.

There are a lot of different apps and services out there that can help you add a video to your emails. Our favorite is BombBomb. It’s an incredible tool that makes recording a video from your computer or phone a snap.

Send them a video email introducing yourself, praising the event and asking about opportunities to help out with the event (sponsorship, help with promotion, etc.). Keep the key elements of your pitch in mind with how you can help the meeting planner and the audience in your messaging.

Speaker Box

Instead of doing what 99% of people are doing and trying to reach out via email to meeting planners, you can target the least crowded inbox of your meeting planners: their mailbox.

The speaker box is one of the signature elements of our Unstoppable Stage Campaign. We send it to meeting planners who we want to build relationships with. It includes a few different materials to introduce who we are and what we’re about.

Here are a few things to include in your speaker box:

  • A problem solving letter – This letter is all about how you can add value to the meeting planner and solve their problems.
  • A promo sheet – This is essentially a printable version of your speaker page. (Pro tip: Make the sheet fit the dimensions of the box you use so you don’t need to fold it.)
  • A small gift – Add a small gift that will delight the meeting planner and make a good impression.
  • A USB drive – Include video footage of you speaking, and any other information that is better presented digitally.
  • A book or other materials – If you have a book or any other materials to share, be sure to include them.

The speaker box can be expensive to send, especially early on in your speaking career, so you may want to be selective in who you send a speaker box to. If you can’t afford to send a box to every person you reach out to, at least send out a problem-solving letter. Don’t ignore the power direct mail can have on getting you noticed.

For more outreach strategies and details on our speaker box, check out: Unstoppable outreach strategies that cut through the noise.

Step 8 – Get on the phone

Once you’re sure your video email or speaker box has arrived, reach out to the meeting planner and try to book a call. Getting the meeting planner on the phone to talk to you will be crucial to landing their stage.

We developed the “Win-win script” as part of The Unstoppable Stage Campaign to make this call a breeze. You don’t just talk about speaking, but opportunities for exhibiting, breakouts or sponsorships that will help the meeting planner be more successful. The core idea of the script is to always be positioning what you do and what you want as a win for the meeting planner.

Immediately after your phone call, make sure to follow up via email and thank the meeting planner for their time. In this email, include the next steps, like your booking process.

Step 9 – Send them a small gift

Also after the call, immediately send them a personalized note in the mail with a small gift or a treat. We recommend Send Out Cards for this. Thank them for their time and reiterate how excited you are to be collaborating with them. Include a small treat like popcorn to make it more memorable for them.

If you want to learn more about the art and power of gift giving, check out Giftology by John Ruhlin.

Step 10 – Deliver your talk and get feedback

With enough outreach, you’ll be landing stages in no time.

With these first 10, you need to be sure you’re collecting good feedback from the audience and the meeting planners so you can not only improve your talk but also collect better social proof to help you land more stages in the future.

Meeting planner testimonials – Ask the meeting planner to do a testimonial for you. You can collect some written testimonials but, if possible, get a good video of the meeting planner enthusing about you and your talk.

Video from your talk – You’re going to want to collect a lot of footage of you speaking for your promotional videos.

Audience ratings – Many events will have surveys where their audience can rate the different speakers and give feedback on their presentations. Most speakers never ask for this information, but it can be a gold mine for social proof and ideas for how to improve your talk.

Bonus Step – Rebound the ones who said “no”

You’re not going to land every stage you reach out to, but you should not lose hope at the first “no” you get. Most people, after getting a “no,” will go quiet and never reach out again, even if it was just a matter of timing that kept them from landing that stage.

Instead, attend the event and introduce yourself in person. This will help the meeting planner to put a face to your name and will show that you support what they are doing. By attending the event you can get a better feel for it and how to position yourself as a good fit for the next one.

Mark the dates of the events even if they say “no,” and follow up once the event is over with a gift and some encouragement. Send them an email or mail them a small treat and acknowledge the hard work they put into the event. This will make a big impression on the meeting planner, and they’ll be more open to letting you speak at the next event.


Stages are everywhere, and they’re easier to win than you think. By following these simple action steps, you should be able to get some quick wins in 30 days or less. This will jumpstart your speaking career and get you on track to landing your dream stages.

If you’re ready to take your stage outreach to the next level check out the Unstoppable Stage Campaign.