Speaker’s Secrets = More Value (Part One)

by Dale Collie

Get more than the keynote the next time you hire a professional speaker—lots more. Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth by asking for no-extra-cost, high-value products such as recordings, books, articles, and travel expenses.

You might be able to negotiate lower fees with some speakers, but most speakers maintain fee integrity for credibility with current clients and speaker’s bureaus. The secret you need to know is that your chances of getting added value are much greater than your chances of reducing fees.

Just as you negotiate for other purchases, use this straightforward five-step approach to get more value from speakers. The whole idea is to offer enough to get what you want, and in part two of this article you’ll find a list of items you can ask for as well as a number of items you can offer in your negotiations.

Step 1—Added Value for You—Savvy meeting planners know how to added value instead of paying additional fees when they ask for special services beyond the keynote. Before they even talk with their speaker, they make a list of added services they want. During the negotiations, they simply tell their speaker that they want these special items included in the basic fee (see part 2 of this article for a list of 18 high value items to ask for).

Step 2—Added Value for the Speaker—During preliminary discussions with the speaker, ask questions to find out which of your resources are of value to them, just as they ask you questions about the meeting and your company. Observe the speaker’s level of emotion and enthusiasm to gauge the value of what you can offer if they later resist your requests for added value items.

Step 3—Make the Request—Don’t hesitate in asking that the basic fee include all travel expenses, two presentations for the price of one, or any of the other high value items the speaker can provide. This is a business deal, and savvy speakers know how to put their real costs into their fees. For example, they know their average travel expenses, and they’re probably glad to incorporate this into the fee rather than invoicing you for expenses after the meeting.

Step 4—Overcoming Resistance—Speakers might readily agree to your every request at no extra fee, but you should be ready to counter any resistance with specific resources that you know they find valuable (refer to step 2). For your own benefit, write out your request and negotiating responses before you ask for anything. Practice the conversation with someone before getting on the phone with your speaker. Be ready for objections. Meet with the speaker more than once if you run into resistance and need more time to prioritize your negotiations.

Step 5—Put It in Writing—Avoid future misunderstandings by putting everything in the written agreement, all of the items the speaker agrees to provide as part of the basic fee and all of the resources you’ve offered.

Part two of this article appears in the next issue of Success by Association giving you a list of high-value items to request from speakers and a second list of low-cost, high-value resources you can use in negotiating with speakers.

Author and speaker Dale Collie uses the leadership skills of US Army Rangers to help emerging leaders succeed in tough times. His experience includes a career as a US Army Ranger, Fortune 500 executive, CEO and leader of a wildly successful international charity. E-Mail Dale to get your free e-book “101 Ways to Cut Meeting Costs” Collie@CourageBuilders.com