Ah… the elusive Speakers’ Bureau.
Why aren’t they calling? Why aren’t they sitting up and taking notice of the fabulous work you are doing in your field?
Well, let me explain why and give you a little insight into their world by sharing a few facts that you may not be aware of:
- Most bureaus get between 20-50 emails a day from speakers. One bureau estimated that over the course of a year his agency received over 10,000 inquiries and requests for representation.
- It used to be that you could be referred into a bureau by a fellow speaker. Every agency has its own opinions about this practice, some going as far as to say “don’t send anyone” due to sheer volumes and others saying “send a referral, but only if you have witnessed them in action.”
- Some bureaus may only seek out topic experts on a specific trend. I heard one bureau mention cybersecurity or blockchain, very timely and specialized topics that they may research and book.
So, if you are not an expert on one of those searched out trend topics, or a topic that’s always in demand with bureaus (i.e. leadership, change, motivation) what do you do to get noticed?
Let me share three ideas that might help you.
3 Tips for Getting Noticed by Speakers’ Bureaus
If you truly think you are ready to start working with a Speakers’ Bureau and it is what you need to do to catapult your speaking business, then here are three tips you can use to get onto their radar.
Get the Gigs
When it comes to getting booked, expecting that any agency is going to do all of the heavy lifting for you is a flawed strategy. You are in charge, and you need to make it happen. My client Ryan Estis started out with zero bureau bookings, but the minute he started to gain traction, the bureaus came calling.
One bureau said, “The #1 way of noticing a speaker, by far, is if a client requests them, or a client books a speaker instead of our suggestions.”
When a bureau loses a piece of business to you booking it directly more than once, they will take notice!
Bottom line, do great work, and eventually, you will get noticed.
Refer Business to Them
When you are doing a direct deal with a client, ask whether or not they ever work with a bureau. If they do, you can say, “why don’t we run this thru the bureau?” It does not cost the client any additional money, and they get the security of having a bureau on board if anything goes sideways (if you get sick or cannot get there, the bureau can replace you). It is a win-win.
Bottom line, a 25% commission on that first booking may go a long way to starting and building a long-term relationship with a bureau.
Make Sure They ‘Get’ You
Many speakers often get overlooked because a bureau does not understand exactly what they do. Why? Typically, because of the lack of picking a lane, which leads to unclear marketing.
However, once a bureau does notice you, it is important that you stay top of mind. Let bureaus know when you are in town and invite them to come and see you speak. Be sure to keep them up to date on your fees or any other relative changes in your business. (Note if you are charging less than $10K many bureaus will not work with you as the commissions will be too small, but there are a few bureaus who work with lower-priced speakers).
If you have a relationship with a bureau, they will often agree to a meeting (it is usually lunch) in their office. You buy them all lunch, and they learn more about the great work that you are doing. Hopefully, when you see them, you are showing them how your clients are booking you. The more you can clearly show them how clients value and use your services, the better.
Speakers Bureau owner Andrea Gold says, “You can be the greatest, most talented speaker – however, that is just one piece of the puzzle. Unless you position yourself well for a viable and sustainable market, can identify the audience you are trying to reach, effectively communicate what content and value you offer, and let prospects know you exist, you will most likely fail.”
“You can be the greatest, most talented speaker – however, that is just one piece of the puzzle. Unless you position yourself well for a viable and sustainable market, can identify the audience you are trying to reach, effectively communicate what content and value you offer, and let prospects know you exist, you will most likely fail.”
The bottom line is that you need to be good, you need to be booking business yourself, and you need to be in it for the long term and stay top of mind.
See you soon Wealthy Speakers!
PS: We will be covering a lot more regarding working with bureaus and building your direct book of business during our Accelerate LIVE 2017 event November 17-19 in Minneapolis. Seats are selling quickly, so register today to secure your spot!