Tag Archives: professional speakers

When Is It Time to Join a Speakers Bureau?

This is a question I receive many times a week from Speakers: “When Is It Time to Join a Speakers Bureau?”

I don’t hesitate or blink an eye when I share: “when you are already booking yourself consistently for paid events!”

That answer usually leads to the next question: “what does a Speakers Bureau really do for a Speaker?”

With over 250 different speakers bureaus currently listed in the United States, most are thought of only as a listing service rather than as an extension of a speakers’ marketing plan. The major benefit is that the bureau handles the billing and contract negotiation with the event planner.

This is why it is so important for a speaker to know how a bureau operates before they sign on and enable someone other than themselves to find and book speaking engagements for them.

Once those two questions are answered the next one that always follows is: “what should a speaker ask and have in place before they actually reach out to a speakers bureau?”

Having once been a paid professional speaker myself, and knowing one has to keep current on what is going on in our industry, here are some key things I share with speakers that they need to know and do in choosing a speakers bureau; and also what they need to have in place for a speakers bureau to accept representing them:

  • Realize a speakers bureau does not take start up speakers; have to be consistently booking paid speaking events.
  • Check with other speaker friends to see which ones they are listed with.
  • Ask them if they are happy with their bureau.
  • Determine how the speakers bureau will handle your billing and event contracts.
  • Understand there is no better booking agent than you , however a speakers bureau can give you more traffic and increased bookings.
  • Have a defined business plan where you see a speakers bureau is not a replacement for your marketing plan, it is only an extension of it.
  • Be very cautious about signing with a speakers bureau that wants you to be exclusive with them.  Read everything you are given.
  • Determine how you are going to do business with a speakers bureau.  A lot of bureaus now do not have a signed agreement in place with the speakers they represent; but look at it this way, shouldn’t a speaker want one? As a speaker you have one with your clients, so why shouldn’t you have one with someone you are allowing to represent you to a client?
  • Make sure you have a total package to offer a speakers bureau, which you should already have in place to be able to book yourself. At my bureau my Executive Team reviews all our requests for representation using these quidelines:
    –   Been a paid professional speaker for at least two years.
    –   Have a determined Fee structure range.
    –   Provide evidence of consistent bookings and business plans.
    –   Have a Social Media strategy in place.
    –   Have current up to date Marketing materials which includes:
    One sheet, Professional photos, Professional video clip,
    Recommendations from clients,  List of paid clients,
    Updated website, Have a Social Media Strategy, and Current
    publications such as Books, Blogs, and Articles.
  • There is no guarantee a speakers bureau can get you bookings right away- timing is everything.
  • Event Planners seldom look to a speakers bureau for just one speaker, they usually want 3-6 speakers to look at before making a decision.
  • Choose a speakers bureau that has your best interests at heart, and wants to develop an open relationship of mutual cooperation.

I do my best to be a “Booking Bureau” rather than just a “listing agency”, as I do not want to waste a speaker’s valuable time, nor mine or my staff’s either. I spend the
biggest part of my workday, seeking and working with event planners and decision makers, to match and book the perfect speaker for their events.

I have learned this from our industry: A speaker does not have to compete or compare themselves to another speaker, they just have to be ‘in’ the competition, and know what event planners and decision makers of today are looking for!

Sue Falcone is the CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau. She has come full circle in her experience of being a former Corporate Executive that hired speakers, to becoming a sought-after speaker and author being hired, to now representing some of the most Remarkable speakers on the Planet for clients to hire.  Sue is a well respected thought leader in the industry of the ever changing world of professional speaking!

Speakers; Those Days are Gone! by Julie Austin

You’ve heard the stories. Seasoned speakers will tell you about how they used to do one canned keynote speech and make insane amounts of money on the “circuit”.

I know one well known speaker who was in the $10-15,000 range who got that amount consistently with no problem. But that was years ago. This same speaker has been asked to speak for free and has never recovered those glory days. Sure, she gets some paid jobs now and then, but things are quite different.

She, like many other speakers, are learning new ways to cope with a changing industry. Now she does free seminars and upsells a paid seminar, plus she sells her books and other services. She can still make $10,000 in a weekend, but it takes much more work, and she has to hustle for every penny.

Several other things have affected the speaking business, like the enormous amount of competition that’s entered the field. Every day I talk to former CEOs and celebrities who have sold businesses or simply want to try something different in their life. These are people who have name recognition.

That doesn’t even count the number of people who have been laid off from their corporate jobs or people who want to buy a lottery ticket into the business. Just like Hollywood, the field is extremely crowded with few good paying jobs. Certainly not enough good paid jobs for every speaker.

Okay, so that is the bad news. The good news is that with every disruption in an industry, there are opportunities to make money.

Since half of the speaking jobs out there are free ones, I realized I couldn’t work for free, so I decided to use my background in sponsorship to monetize those jobs. I started in the sponsorship business about 20 years ago when I was working on a TV pilot. My boss came in and asked me to find sponsors for the show, and then left.

I had no idea what to do. I had to figure it out on my own. I ended up going door to door pitching small businesses, and my naiveté worked in my favor because I funded the whole show with those sponsors.

This is why I’ve never spoken for free as a speaker. From day one I always had a sponsor paying the bills if a meeting planner didn’t have a budget to pay. The really good news is that there are tons of free speaking jobs everywhere. And meeting planners need good speakers, even if they can’t pay them. So most will allow you to have your own sponsor as long as it’s not selling from the stage, which this isn’t.

The reason I do small business sponsorship is because it’s much easier than contacting big corporations. Also, there are roughly 18,000 big corporations and over 25 million small businesses just in the US alone.

My first small business sponsor came from Europe and I got a $60,000 sponsorship from them. That was years ago, so that would be worth even more today. Most people think small businesses don’t have enough money to pay speakers, but you would be surprised. It all depends on the value you’re bringing them and how much they’re willing to spend.

The sponsorship business itself has changed in the past few years too. It’s become much more of a customized industry, and the players are changing. This is good for speakers since you have a lot of choices out there. And small business sponsorship is still in its infancy.

There are 2 ways to get sponsorship. You can either get a free job and find a sponsor for it or create your own speaking opportunities and find sponsors for them.

Either way, you won’t be waiting around for a meeting planner or anyone else to give you a job. You create your own speaking career. But there is a lot to learn. I am willing to share my knowledge to help you along the way!

Julie Austin is an award-winning author, speaker, and CEO of Speaker Sponsor, the only online directory for speakers seeking small business sponsorship. She’s been a keynote speaker for corporations such as Procter & Gamble, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Northrop Grumman, and Cognizant Technology Solutions.

Her patented product, Swiggies, wrist water bottles, have been a NASDAQ product of the year semi finalist and are currently sold in 24 countries. Julie and her products have appeared on The Today Show, The Queen Latifa Show, HGTV, Lifetime, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX News, Inc. magazine, Fast Company, and the Wall Street Journal, along with dozens of TV shows, magazines and radio shows around the world.

Her new book “The Money Garden: How to Plant the Seeds for a Lifetime of Income” is currently available on Amazon.  To learn more and find out how Julie can help you with sponsorships; call 888-766-3155 today.

Time to Join a Speakers Bureau?

Recently I was asked by a well known marketing person, “when should a speaker think about joining a Speakers Bureau?”

I didn’t hesitate or blink an eye and said: “when they are already booking themselves consistently for paid events!”

That led to the next question: “what does a Speakers Bureau really do for a Speaker?”

With over 250 different speakers bureaus currently listed in the United States,  most are thought of only as a listing service rather than as an extension of a speakers’ marketing plan. The major benefit is that the bureau handles the billing and contract negotiation with the event planner.

This is why it is so important for a speaker to know how a bureau operates before they sign on and enable someone other than themselves to find and book speaking engagements for them.

Our interview continued with the question: “what should a speaker ask and have in place before they actually reach out to a speakers bureau?”

I agreed to share what we feel is key to a speakers’ success in choosing a speakers bureau.

  • Realize a speakers bureau does not take start up speakers, they have to be consistently booking themselves for paid speaking events.
  • Check with their speaker friends to see which ones they are listed with.
  • Ask them if they are happy with their bureau.
  • Determine how the speakers bureau will handle the billing and event contracts for them.
  • Understand there is no better booking agent than themselves, however a speakers bureau can give them more traffic and increased bookings.
  • Have a business plan where they see a speakers bureau is not a replacement for their marketing plan, it is only an extension of it.
  • Be very cautious about signing with a speakers bureau that wants a speaker  to be exclusive with them.
  • Determine how they are going to do business with a speakers bureau.  A lot of bureaus now do not have a signed agreement in place with the speakers they represent; but look at it this way, shouldn’t a speaker want one? As a speaker they have one with their clients, so why shouldn’t they have one with someone who is representing them to a client?
  • Make sure they have a total package to offer a speakers bureau, which they should already have in place, and includes:
    –   Being a paid professional speaker for at least two years
    –   Fee structure range
    –   Evidence of consistent bookings
    –   Social Media strategy in place
    –   Marketing materials- one sheet, professional photos, professional video clip,
    recommendations from clients,  list of paid clients, updated website, anything that would help a speakers bureau market them to event planners.
  • There is no guarantee a speakers bureau can get them bookings right away- timing is everything.
  • Know event planners seldom look to a speakers bureau for just one speaker, they usually want 3-5 speakers to look at before making a decision.
  • Choose a speakers bureau that has their best interests at heart, and wants to develop an open relationship of mutual cooperation.

This was a valuable interview experience for both of us.  We came away knowing most professional speakers and event planners still see the value of a speakers bureau, and want to work with those they “know, like, and trust.”   It is a great way to add increased bookings and marketing to a speakers’ business model.

Sue Falcone is the CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau. She has come full circle in her experience of being a former Corporate Executive that hired speakers, to becoming a sought-after speaker and author being hired, to now representing some of the most Remarkable speakers on the Planet for you to hire.  Sue is a well respected thought leader in the industry of professional speaking.

 

 

 

“Get What You Pay For?”

yougetwhatyoupayfor

How many times have you heard: “you get what you pay for?”  I can remember my Grandmother saying that over and over again.

We are not sure where the quote actually came from, but I am finding more and more people want value, a positive experience, and service. Isn’t that what everyone in business promises to provide and deliver in a cost effective, excellent and timely manner?

I encounter this at times: “Sue, I love your company and the speakers you represent, but we can’t afford you!”  Ever heard that, or said it to a someone else, maybe even me? When I hear it, I have to first think, “what are they really saying” before I respond. I have found in my many years of sales and marketing that usually it is not about the money at all!

People and companies can always find the money when their deepest desires are met! However, when hearing that statement how many of us will take the time to ask, “tell me more about why you feel that way?” to see if we have even uncovered their deepest desire, or addressed it clearly enough? Or do we just smile, feel rejected or even say: “you get what you pay for” and walk away?

Building a business is all about relationships, knowing your target markets, and being willing and confident enough to do the best you can, overcome objections, and handle rejections well so you can move on no matter the choice of others!

Challenge for you: how do you handle objections and the feeling of rejection? It’s key to your success!

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Sue Falcone
Owner: Simply Sue Speaks Global Booking Agency