The business of speaking

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In the last few days I have been featured on Linkedin by two speaker bureaus that I have the pleasure to be represented by, so that triggered me to write this post to help other speakers get more work with bureaus too.

Many fellow professional speakers ask me how to work with bureaus, and if you have read this blog over the years you have seen me give advise on different ways to work with bureaus.

Today I want to talk about how to handle leads in connection to bureaus.

1) If you get a booking through a bureau and a person comes up to you after your speech and says “That was a great speech, I would like to book you for our upcoming convention” what do you do?

Right answer: Take the persons business card and follow up with the client and CC the bureau that got you that gig.

2) A person emails you 6 months after you did the speech and says: ““That was a great speech, I would like to book you for our upcoming convention” what do you do?

Right answer: Reply to the potential client and CC the bureau that got you that gig.

3) You have just done a public speech in a country where you have not spoken for a long time (or never) and you get an email inviting to back to the same country from another organisers. What do you do?

Right answer: Reply to the potential client and CC the bureau that got you the first public booking (as most likely the second person reached out to you after seeing the public advertising for you for the first conference.). (Something I just did today actually for a speech request in Ukraine that I got on email today.)

4) A person contacts you about a speech (say in Sri Lanka) and then a few days later you get a request from a speaker bureau for the same speech, what do you do?

Right answer: Offer the bureau to take over the discussion with the client even if the client first went to you.

Speaker bureaus exist to help their clients find the right speakers. They do not exist to help the speakers find more work. That means speakers need to be VERY thankful for all the work they get from the bureaus, and it also means that the speakers should be very generous with giving leads to the bureaus they work with.

This might sound obvious, but I hear so many bureaus complain about how common it is for speakers to take leads that they got from work that was given to them from a bureau and try to get follow up work by bypassing the bureau.

Bad idea.

So tag all your leads in your CRM system as “Bureau Clients/Bureau Lead” so that you KNOW if that lead came from a bureau gig even if that person emails you years later.

A bureau who feels that you will give follow up leads to them will also give follow up work to you. A bureau who feels that you do not will stop working with you…

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It’s 11 PM and I am standing in the Ballroom of the Fullerton Hotel the night before the global conference I have been booked to speak at will start. Tomorrow there will be people from all over Asia and Europe in the room, but right now the room is still in chaos. (As so many times before the client did not get access to the room until late the day before and people are scrambling to make it look perfect for the next morning.)

Earlier I had been invited to a “rehearsal” at 9.30 PM. The rehearsals started at 5 PM and went all through until 11 PM.)

I emailed the client and said: “I am ok to take the last slot at 11 PM  instead so that your other speakers can get done earlier and go back to their hotel and get a good nights rest.”

The other speakers where internal.

By offering to take the “worst” rehearsal spot I was helping the other speakers out and also the event manager.

Event Managers and internal speakers have so much other things to think about at a client event. As the external speaker you are there to support the other speakers, and the event manager.

So as the external speaker: Do not just be “easy to work with” – instead “work on making it easy” for the client.

ps. Bonus tip: When I did get my rehearsal slot I did not use it to go through MY slides (I knew them already) instead I clicked through all the OTHER speakers slides to update me on what they would be speaking on before and after me.