A LITTLE HISTORY ABOUT MY SPEAKER AGENCY


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I began consulting to individuals and corporations in 1977. In 1979 I began offering publicity and promotion services to practitioners, experts, authors, and speakers. These were intensive, month-long and year-long campaigns designed to increase the credibility, visibility, recognition and income of my clients. When clients started to effortlessly receive invitations to speak, they asked me to negotiate better contract terms, amenities and fees for them. I was happy to do so, as an extra service, and because they were bringing me the offers to speak I was able to reduce my commission to half the standard commission. This was a good thing.

Problem #1.
Word got around quickly that I could
negotiate higher fees for speakers, and soon speakers who had been speaking for free or small honoraria wanted me not only to negotiate better deals for them, but were also expecting me to seek out and procure lucrative engagements for them, but at my own expense. These speakers didn't want to retain me to provide visibility campaigns for them. They couldn't afford to retain me because they weren't charging for their work.

Or, they had already spent their budget hiring a book publicist who had procured book reviews but very little in the way of books sales, and certainly no paid speaking engagements. For the same amount of money they spent on getting book reviews they could have retained my services that would have brought them not only visibility but
income. By the way, I never wasted my time or client's money trying to get them book reviews orbook signings.

Problem #2.
Another problem arose because these speakers were unknown and weren't in demand and their fees were still very low. If I raised their honoraria from $100 to $500, my commission was only 25% of $500 ($125 for a minimum of 10 hours of work) an enormous reduction in my income. And my public relations work had dried up completely. I was overworked and underpaid.

Problem #3.
And too often speakers would involve themselves in the negotiation process, eliminating me completely and depriving me of my commission. It seems they didn't want to relinquish the 25% commission, so I was left in the cold.

What did I do? I switched from offering advocacy for speakers to offering an online commission-free directory of speakers. Back then, many speakers didn't have websites so this was their online portfolio. But that was a one-way street. I never heard from speakers who posted their info (2 full pages). Rarely did any speakers let me know if their directory profile was working for them. Many would pay the listing fee, but wouldn't give me any of their info to post on the page I provided them. Really. Others wouldn't refer their page link to potential sponsors. Again, there was an expectation that they could sit back passively and wait for a deluge of invitations and inquiries.

I'm not a telemarketer, I don't go out and get speaking engagements for speakers... and professional meeting planners will tell you it's futile to contact them on behalf of an unknown speaker. They want experienced and "celebrity" type speakers who are drawing cards, and when looking for a good speaker they ask each other. They want speakers who have proved they have talent, professionalism, and will attract a large paying audience to the event.

So, while I'd love to have you retain me for my public relations skills to make you a desirable and sought after speaker and media guest, I know that you may want only to try out my
contract negotiation skills for now. That's OK. Perhaps in time you will see the other services I provide that will benefit you.