Secrets to Paid/Public Speaking Success – #3 (of 101) – How to Set Your Speaking Fees

I regularly meet speakers who’ve been speaking for years – mostly speaking occasionally – but never got paid.  Several of these speakers, spoke at annual conferences to rather large crowds, yet never got a penny for their efforts.

What I found in my years of speaking is that some organizations – especially federal funded social service related programs – have little to no funding for their events, and they rely on volunteer speakers.  Usually, however, they do have some money for the main speaker – the keynote speaker (at times paying thousands of $$$s to this lucky guy).  When speaking for these organizations, however, you usually get your hotel and food covered, and at times they even pay your mileage (though a handful of organizations will not provide any of these perks).

So… should you speak for the above mentioned organizations?  As long as you don’t have to travel too far, definitely YES.  It’s a great way to get exposure, you are practicing your skills, and if you have a product, they’ll often allow you to set up a table at the back of the room and say a few words at the end of your presentation about your product (organizers are always afraid of speakers who’ll spend their 90-minutes trying to sell their product).

With that out of the way, most organizations out there view paying a speaker a normal and regular expense.

So how do you set your fees?

I know many beginner speakers who’d be happy to make $100 per speech; but be careful – if you quote your $100 fee, most event planners will not take you seriously (of course, when you speak locally to some charitable organization, or small company, that could be a reasonable fee)

!!! First make sure that you have a great program – a great keynote or great break0ut session/workshop…  Once you have that in place, you are ready to charge the big bucks.  And here’s how you do it:

Always ask “How many people will attend? What type of event is it? And how much do you have in your budget?” (then shut up and listen ).  I’d say that’s a pretty safe formula that will give you what you want to hear 60% of the time (my percentage is not based on thorough research, so don’t ask about that :} )

More often then not, they’ll tell you exactly how much they have in the budget for the speaker… and if they say $3500 and you had $1500 in your mind, now what?

Some companies will not even consider you if your fee is less than a certain amount; so if someone has in the budget $3500 for the speaker for this event, try not to faint, mumble, or otherwise act surprised….  Maintain your professional tone and say, Oh, that’s wonderful! For that fee I can provide you with the training, and I can also include a bonus of 100 of my books – a value of $1999.00 (or CDs or whatever product you have).  Your books should print at about $3 to $5 per piece, hence your expense is no more than $500, but you create the perception of Added Value, since your book sells for $19.95, for example).

The above paragraph is the ideal scenario; and it happens all the time, if you meet the right people.

At times, they’ll tell you the type of the even and the number of attendees, but they will not provide you with their available $$$s in the budget.  In this case, use “common sense” (if there’s such a thing when it comes to setting fees).  For example, I had a group of 11 managers to train on Improving Management Skills; and this company was a successful company with close to 1000 employees, so I had no problem quoting a $1500 fee + they boight my DISC PPSS assessment for each manager …  And this was in driving distance from my home.  In other instances, when the company is small, or it is a non-profit, or a social services type organization, or a school, I’ll quote a somewhere in between $250 to $500 and some of these organizations will lough at me and say they can’t afford me… while about half of them will pay the fee I quoted.

The question that pops up in many people’s minds is “Is this ethical?  Is it ethical to charge one group $1000 to $3000+ and charge the other group a fraction of that….?  Keep in mind the WIFM that each group gets.  The group that pays the high fees, usually will get far greater benefit from your presentation, then your local small groups. As in my above example, when training the 11 managers of the large organization, they’ll be able to go back to their jobs and be more effective communicators with their employees, will be  more productive, will know how to successfully handle conflict, etc. and as a result generate a few million extra dollars…  I’d say their investment of $1500 was a “steal.”  However, your small business and the non-profits, not only that they can’t afford those higher fees, their return on investment is often not measurable in dollars [except the small business, but again, they can’t afford the higher fees… but if you do help them make more money, they’ll bring you back again and again…]

Ok, let’s take it a niche up…

There are companies out there who will not consider you if you charge a meager $1500 and there are companies who won’t consider you if you are a speaker that charges less than $5000…

So should you charge $5000 per speech?

There’s a “system to the madness”… Those who charge $5000 and above have several things in place:

  • they’ve published a best seller (they can charge $10,000 and above) OR
  • they have special degrees on the topic and have been speaking intensively on this topic for years OR
  • they (self) published a book, wrote a ton of articles (online and offline), have videos out there -both training videos and video snippets of them presenting… and position themselves as an expert through diverse means (including creating products on the topic, booklets, training courses, etc.)
  • celebrity speakers – actors, reality show participants, or any other way you create yourself a celebrity status….
  • they might have a niche-blog with millions o visitors per month
  • they might run a website that’s considered an Authority Site, due to the quality and amount of inched information that it contains
  • or a combination of some of the above

With all that said, every event has a specific amount of money in their budget that they are prepared to pay for a speaker. And some don’t have a budget at all.  The key is to ALWAYS ask “How much do you have in the budget for this event for the speaker?” and 7 times out of 10, you’ll get paid.

Do you want to join E.G.’s next group coaching 6-weeks teleclass series, entitled “How to Generate Additional Income and Get More Clients with Workshops & Keynotes?

Who should attend?

  • coaches
  • consultants
  • information marketers
  • sale professionals (insurance, real estate, etc.)
  • accountants
  • attorneys
  • and anyone who can benefit from more money in their pocket and more clients for their private practice.

See more info at this link: Yes, E.G., I want to make more $$$s and want more clients for my practice!