Aug. 23, 2012
Vol. 10, Issue 16
In today’s economic climate I am particularly mindful and respectful of how limitations on clients’ budgets affect speaker selection. At the same time, I am also aware that choosing the right speaker can go a long way toward determining the success of your events. So when I talk with clients, it’s always with those two sides of the coin in mind — investment and return. When you talk with me as you plan your event, we’ll focus on making a good match that fits all of your criteria. The last thing I want to do is match you up with a speaker you love but whose fee is out of your budget range. My goal is always to connect you with the perfect speaker at the perfect fee . . . and sometimes that takes some doing. Which, please note, I enjoy — it’s very satisfying.
In this issue, I’m going to share some of the things I do to facilitate that, including some of the fee flexibility factors that I enumerate, in my free report, “Demystifying Speaker Fees.” In case you missed it, you can get the report by sending me an email and writing FEES in the subject line.
Taking Care of Business
with Creative Solutions
In the 14 years that I’ve been assisting clients with speakers for women’s health and wellness and community healthcare-related events, I’ve learned a few things. One thing I do to take care of my clients is to constantly seek out speakers at various fee levels. Most speakers’ bureaus don’t even work with speakers whose fees are under $5,000. When I started The Speak Well Being Group in 1998, the speakers I was working with had fees in the $1,500 – $3,500 range and that was the budget that my clients at that time could afford. Over the years, those speakers have gained expertise and experience — some have become real stars — and their fees have gone up accordingly. Meantime, I have worked hard to discover new speakers in that fee category so that I can continue to take care of those original clients as well as new clients with moderate budgets.
And I love nurturing speaker talent.
In fact, as an example, I’m working with a client right now who is planning a challenging series of multiple engagements, but on a limited budget. As so often happens, I was at a conference this spring and had connected — synchronistically, of course — with a speaker whom I spotted as a rising star — she has a story, an important message, and she has the talent. But at this early stage in her professional speaking career — following a corporate job — she hasn’t yet produced a demo video, and she lacks a traditional track record for me to share with the client. On the other hand she is also geographically close to them, a factor in keeping costs down. What do we do in this case? Well, as I suggested to the client, we do three things. We get references. We set up a conference call with the speaker. And I ask them to trust me. I’ve steered them well in the past, so they have confidence in my recommendations. My reputation is on the line, so I don’t take this responsibility lightly. And I want to go on working with my clients in years to come. So they know I will recommend only a speaker I am confident will thrill their audiences and bring them back next year.
Discovering new speakers is a fun part of my business. Meeting planners may be deluged by what I call, “wanna-be speakers,” and don’t have the time to check out queries or promotional claims. But that’s what I do. And I hear so many speakers that I can tell fairly quickly who is ready for prime time and who is not. Plus I can categorize, based on their subject matter and delivery style, the type of events that would be a good fit. So I use my experience and expertise to bring my clients wonderful speakers they would never have heard of otherwise, and that increases their potential range of talent while saving them time and money. This is expertise that won’t be found in a Google search — unless it’s a Google search that finds me!
Fee Flexibility Factors
You can find a lot of information on your own on the web about a given speaker’s message, topic, style and credentials. You may be able to view a video clip to see how she comes across to an audience. It may be what you don’t know, however, that makes the difference between getting the speaker you really want at a fee that fits your budget. One difference is what I have just mentioned – that I know how speakers have performed at other events and have talked with the event planners who booked them. But a second and equally important difference may lie in “fee flexibility factors” — unpublished until now. In my Free Report have compiled a list of the special factors that I have encountered that might lead a given speaker to agree to your budget parameters. These are the special situations and rates I know I can ask a speaker about – because they have come up in real life. I’ll share a couple of them here.
Geography, as mentioned in the above example, can be a factor. It’s better known (by speakers) as the “Sleep-in-your own-bed” rate. For many motivational speakers — who sometimes feel like they live on airplanes — there is great appeal in doing a program close to home and driving back and forth to the event in one morning or one day. And even when it involves a sleepover for an evening program, the appeal of no airport hassle may affect their fees in the client’s favor.
Another geographical factor that works well for client and speaker, is the Granny Rate — or Family Rate as one of my speakers who is not a grandmother noted. The motivator here is that the speaker has grandchildren or other family in your city — all the way across the country — and for obvious reasons, they may be willing to negotiate their fee to get to see their loved ones while doing what they love — as speakers, motivators, educators.
So, you may say, that’s great, but how would I know that? (Ahem, well, that’s my point.) I do my best to know what’s going on with my speakers, and how I can connect them with you (and you with them) and come up with a win, win, win within your budget. In my free report, I list a dozen fee flexibility factors. Keep in mind that most speakers set the fees they deserve and get them – no questions asked. Now and then, however, a speaker may be willing to work for less than she usually commands because there are savings or advantages on her end, as well. These are considerations you won’t hear about unless you are in the business. So, I say, don’t be shy. I’m here to create a win-win-win for everyone. What I know that you don’t know could help you get what you really want. The call is free to you; I’m compensated by the speaker.
If you have a challenge, call me at 503-699-5031 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Happiness is Friends Who Come from Afar
My husband often quotes a Chinese phrase, “When friends come from afar, is this not happiness?” Having friends come from afar brings the joy of reconnection, while reminiscing and creating new memories. Since I moved across the country from Michigan to Oregon, it always feels extra special “when friends come from afar.”
Richard and Sherry, friends I knew originally in Lansing, Michigan, visited us last week. Although they had been to the Northwest previously, they had not been to Timberline Lodge, half-way to the top of glacier-capped Mt. Hood, and in the sunny, warm days while they were here, it beckoned us with compelling allure. Actually as we left Portland, the morning was cloudy and cool. But once we broke through the clouds it was an absolutely gorgeous day up there.
Arriving before noon, we surprised to find the parking lot full — the snowboarding schools were in full swing. Teens in baggy pants and jackets and clunky boots were slouching from busses and cars across the parking lot and up to the chair lift to seek out the glacier and glide down. In August? Wow! Who knew?
The photo on the right is of Mt. Jefferson (to the south) from Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood — just a little taste of the view at 6,000 feet.
Glorious views, sunshine, purple wildflowers decking the slopes, and a hike up and along the edge of the awesome White River Canyon with old friends — “Is that not happiness?” Oh and a guided tour of the lodge by a park ranger — very informational — plus a delicious gourmet buffet lunch topped it all off.
Until next time, I hope your summer is bringing you the joy of friends from afar, making new memories. Take care of yourself for your well being and those you love.
For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!
The Speak Well Being Group is a specialized speakers bureau, focusing on speakers for hospital-sponsored community events, healthcare organizations, conferences and women’s groups. Our speakers are hand-selected. They are not only experts in their fields, they know how to connect with women and give them life-changing information served on a silver platter of joy, camaraderie, with a side of sauce (spicy, of course).
Finding the perfect keynote speaker for your special event or conference is my personal passion, not just once, but year after year. It brings me endless joy to know that your audience was delighted and moved by the speaker we selected together. I’m committed to making the process easy, pleasant and fun.