Tag Archives: speakers bureau

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!

Looking for a Quality Speaker? Put Your Money Where THEIR Mouth Is!

Looking for a Quality Speaker? Put Your Money Where THEIR Mouth Is!

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM

All event strategists know that content is king, so when we bring in outside speakers we need to do our homework and recommend wisely. As is the case with all things event strategists do, their actions yield the highest quality results that align with the event’s goal. In this instance, an accredited speakers bureauAll event strategists know that content is king, so when we bring in outside speakers we need to do our homework and recommend wisely. As is, the case with all things event strategists do, their actions yield the highest quality results that align with the event’s goal. In this instance, that means reaching out to an accredited speakers bureau and leveraging their expertise.

For those who are not as calibrated in their process, an internet search for ‘motivational’ or ‘professional’ speakers may start the process. Perhaps a visit to YouTube for clips of speakers is the preferred route, with an obligatory click on cute puppy videos along the way. For some a query to colleagues gets the ball rolling.

While both methodologies may result in booking the same speaker, not all paths are equal. For those who opt to do the legwork and cut out the middleman, the road is longer, uphill and full of bumps. Speakers’ bureaus are like Convention and Visitors’ Bureaus; at your disposal, designed to make your job easier, staffed by professionals and not fully utilized or understood.

It is critical to remember how we are offended when other people think they can do our jobs. Let’s not be guilty of that same mistake by imagining that if we can search the internet we can find a speaker just as well as a professional can.

To better understand why a professional speakers’ bureau really is the way to go, I interviewed Sue Falcone, founder and CEO of, “Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau.” Here’s the first of three excerpts from our in-depth and enlightening conversation.

Christy: Why should I use a speakers’ bureau rather than find a speaker via Google or references?

Sue: I believe that communicating what speakers’ bureaus really are, and the value they bring is key to being able to be the “go to” resource for securing the best speaker for an event. Here are three questions we ask perspective clients:

  1. Do you want to save time, money and resources?
  2. Do you want peace of mind with less stress knowing your speaker is going to be remarkable and you will be a rock star for choosing to work with a speakers’ bureau?
  3. Did you know that speakers’ bureau fees are paid by the speaker – not you – so therefore all the time and services a speakers’ bureau provides is free to you?

Christy: Is it more expensive to use a speakers’ bureau?

Sue: Cost is the biggest concern about the perception of using a speakers’ bureau. Many bureaus structure the pricing so their commission comes out of the speaker’s fee. Speakers are willing to pay the bureau out of their speaker’s fee to cover the representation, negotiations and follow up work.

To note: some bureaus do charge a fee, so ask up front whose responsibility it is to cover booking fees.

Christy: What is the difference between one speakers’ bureau and another? Are you all selling the same thing?

Sue: Many speakers’ bureaus have become “speaker listing bureaus” rather than ones who actively work to secure events for all speakers they represent.

Christy: What should an event planner – or a speaker – look for as differentiation in a bureau?

Sue: I have a screening process and require the speakers I represent to sign an agreement as to how I will represent them, and what we agree to do. Knowing they are marketable and are booked through my bureau they not only represent themselves, but also my company.

Did you enjoy Looking for a Quality Speaker? Put Your Money Where THEIR Mouth Is!? Check back in on Thursday, May 10th for part 2.

CEO, Sue Falcone, recognized the need for a speakers bureau that would represent professional speakers, and provide the perfect speaker for clients who sought the best for their events with a personal “hands on” custom touch.

From a former corporate executive, to becoming a professional speaker and author being hired, and creating a distinctive and unique speakers bureau representing speakers for hire, she gained the experience and expertise needed to give a full service experience.

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.

 

 

 

Just Ask! by guest: Kelly Swanson

askI don’t know about you, but I come from a long line of women who hate to ask for help. We’d rather stand proudly in the pool of martyrdom, even if we are drowning – but at least we did it on our own, with good hair, fine china, and a purse that matched our shoes. Asking translated to weakness. Asking meant you weren’t polite. Asking was rude. What we didn’t realize, was that sometimes (and maybe most times) in order to get what we want, we have to ASK for it. Yet many of us, me included, are disappointed at all the things we didn’t get that we never asked for.

Today was a good example for me. I want likes on my Facebook page – not to feel needed, but because it gives me more exposure to clients looking for motivational speakers. And yet every time I open my Facebook page and see that place where it gives me the option to ask my friends to like me – I ignore it. It just feels too needy. What if they say no? What if that makes me promiscuous?

But today I said, “What the heck. I’m always happy to like their pages. And they can always say no. I’ll never know unless I ask.”  So I asked.  And not even an hour later I got 80 likes – make that 81, I just got another while typing this. And I would bet by end of the day that number will be higher.

Lesson to me: ASK.

Lesson to you: ASK.

They can always say no. But your chances are always better than if you said nothing at all.

So now that I’ve climbed out of the pool of martyrdom and into the pool of asking for what I want – does anybody have any diamonds they want to give me?

(P.S.  In case you now want to go find me on Facebook, go to www.facebook.com/funnymotivationalspeaker.  I’ll be the one with all the likes.)

kellyswansonAbout 

Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson – called one of North Carolina’s funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow – Kelly’s make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience’s imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market. To book motivational speaker Kelly Swanson: see her Speaker page at http://www.simplysuespeaks.com/speaker/17/Kelly_Swanson