Great Pro Speakers Community Q&A: Following a Great Speaker, Your Market, Your Brand
Lawrence and Al answer questions from the GPS community. (SUGGESTION: press “play” then “pause” and allow video to fully load before skipping to specific questions.) Questions include:
0:25 What do you do if you have to immediately follow a great speaker?
11:10 Can you be to young or old for a particular market?
15:54 If you are expanding your existing business to include professional speaking, should you establish a new brand?
My First $10,000 Gig
A few years ago in September, I got a phone call.
“Oh my goodness! Is this Al Duncan?”
“I can’t even believe you answered the phone.”
Let’s pause right here and talk about something. Anytime someone says something like that to you it means that she has put you on a certain level and you want to be sure to keep yourself on that level. (As long as it doesn’t require you to be dishonest or over-promise what you can deliver.)
So, I felt the need to let her know why I answered the phone because based the perception she had of me she was expecting to talk to my assistant.
“Well, normally I don’t answer the phone but right now I’m the only one available and since I was about to head out the door I decided to answer it…”
That was the truth. I was the only one availble. The only other person who could have answered the phone was my ex and she was at work. Ha! And I was on my way to the airport.
“…so I only have a few minutes. How can I help you?”
“Oh, I’m just so glad I got you on the phone. We have a youth summit coming up. I know this is last minute but we really need a speaker and I’m having a hard time finding one.”
I was loving it. I already had “$5000 plus first class travel” ready to come flying out of my mouth.
“I’m really hoping you can do this because we’re getting down to the end hear. We’ve contacted quite a few speakers. Tavis Smiley was unavailable. Actually, he was a little out of our budget anyways…”
“Les Brown wasn’t available. We even contacted Judge Mathis, but he can’t make it either. So, please, please, we hope you can make it.”
By now I realized that I almost blew it because $5000 would’ve been too low! It actually may have changed her perception about me. Think about it. If you go to 3 car dealerships and you start getting prices and the fourth one is ridiculously cheap, it’ll make you wonder. Red flags will go up. Why is this one so much cheaper? Is something wrong?
When it comes to your fee, you don’t want to be the most expensive, but you definitely don’t want to be the cheapest. If an event planner really wants you she’ll ask you to come down a little. Or she’ll offer you some other incentives. Then you are perceived to be the best value for the money being spent. That’s a great position.
This is why you have to know the top speakers and what they charge. I knew Tavis was charging around $30,000 plus you had to pay for travel for his assistants. Les Brown: $27,500 plus his entourage. Judge Mathis: $15,000. I wasn’t sure if he traveled with an assistant or not.
“Well, I don’t have a lot of time to talk about this right now, but I know that it can be difficult to get speakers to come out for youth because the fees are too high for youth groups. This is what I am going to do for you. I’ll make this real easy for you. I’ll do it for $10,000. Is that something you can work with?”
“Done! When can I get the contract?”
I felt great on one hand and like an idiot on the other. Remember, everything I just said about not being the cheapest? I didn’t know that then. I should have said $17,500 and I probably would’ve gotten $12,000-$15,000.
But at the end of day, it was a learning experience and at least I got paid $10,000 for the lesson!Read More
Is Being Good, Good Enough?
(This is an excerpt from a training lesson for community-members only – 8 Big Lies, Myths, and Misconceptions About Professional Speaking)
1. If you’re good, you’ll be successful.
That is simply not true. It’s not true in professional speaking or anything else. There are tons of broke, unsuccessful, talented musicians, athletes, actors, actresses, and countless others in just about any profession you can name, who fell for the same lie.
In a super-competitive field like professional speaking, talent is not enough. Talent can give you a big advantage when it’s combined with business know-how. But talent all by itself won’t guarantee you a full calendar of gigs.
Public speaking is an art. Professional speaking is a business.Read More
- Recording our Q&A videocast for the week. You guys ask great questions! 1 year ago
- Curious about how to set speaking fees? Check out Al and Lawrence's Community Q&A http://is.gd/qpQF5i 1 year ago
- Inspirational blog post by Al Duncan talking about his first big $10,000 gig http://t.co/nAfDIrT 1 year ago