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.