So you’re booking speakers for your event and you find that your budget just won’t stretch as far as it used to. Maybe it’s because of cutbacks related to the economy. Maybe it’s because the speaker you want just had a #1 bestseller which caused a spike in demand and, as a result, keynote fees. Whatever the reason, it can be a frustrating predicament. What do you do?
There are two obvious approaches to your situation:
- Try to negotiate a lower fee with speakers.
- Shift your search to speakers whose fees are already in your budget range.
Both have spotty rates of success, though. As a better alternative, look for speakers who have made either temporary adjustments to their fee schedules in light of the challenges facing meeting planners today. For example, Vince Poscente, a best-selling author and one of the most popular motivational keynote speakers on the event circuit recently reduced his fee from $25,000 to $12,500 for an indefinite term. Also, Dr. Jackie Freiberg and Dr. Kevin Freiberg have offered “limited-time-only” (until May 31, 2009) discounts of 25-44% on their keynote fees. These instances are rare and not always well-publicized, but a speakers bureau partner can help you stay informed. If you are able to take advantage of these special deals, it’s a great way to meet your budget as well as your audience members’ high expectations.
While reducing your speaker expenditure is the most obvious way to address your budget constraints, it is not your only option. The other approach is to build additional value into your speaker engagement rather than just cut dollars off the top. “But I only have $X to spend. I can’t ignore that!” Of course not. But consider this:
Jackie Freiberg, mentioned above, has a keynote coming up with a corporate client and to increase the value of their engagement, she has taped six video segments that are being presented, one per month via internal webcast, to meeting attendees as a preview and teaser of coming attractions. The client finds that this adds to the educational value of the engagement and also helps to boost attendance at the meeting.
In that case, wouldn’t it make sense, then, for some other departments or budget line items to share in the cost of hiring Jackie? Perhaps the education department, or training and development, or HR, or marketing? Jackie didn’t charge any additional fee to tape her video segments, so whatever funds the other department/line item contributes represents a direct savings for you.
Similarly, Dr. Joseph Michelli also goes “beyond the keynote” to add value to his speaking engagements. Among the bonus services he offers:
- Customized marketing support, in the form of audio or video messages produced by Dr. Michelli
- Written customized articles for inclusion in websites, newsletters, etc. to pique interest in the keynote
- Complimentary resources for participants such as free weekly podcasts and quarterly newsletters
- Complimentary post-event webinar hosted by Dr. Michelli
So again, could you get some financial support from your event’s marketing budget for Joseph’s pre-event support? Would your communications department buy into the articles he could provide? Would your training department underwrite his post-event webinar?
Many speakers are capable of doing much more than just delivering a 60-minute keynote at your meeting. When you incorporate some of these value-adds – particularly those that extend beyond the boundaries of your meeting – into your engagement, not only do you get much more “bang for your buck,” but you also uncover multiple opportunities to maximize your buying power by partnering with others in your organization.
If you would like additional insight on how to create these high-value engagements, check out The Speakers Group’s ROI Speakers initiative. You’ll find a fun, five-minute video that demonstrates the power of an “ROI” engagement versus a “regular” engagement, and you can also read a free white paper/special report about how to maximize the value of your speaker bookings.