As far as careers go, working as a professional speaker can be incredibly rewarding for countless reasons. It allows you to share a message you’re passionate about, you get to travel, and you have much greater control over your schedule than you would at a regular 9-5 job. However, managing a speaking business can also be demanding, both when it comes to time and money. That’s why, in this guide, we’re going to focus on how you can maximize both of these by working towards one simple goal: increasing your speaking fees.
Admittedly, it’s not exactly breaking news that charging higher speaking fees is the goal of most speakers. It means more resources for you and your team and fewer gigs required to meet your revenue goals. Additionally, once you’re able to successfully increase your speaking fees, you create a positive feedback loop. To put this cycle in the most succinct terms, potential clients see your fees and list of past gigs. They then take them as evidence of your skills and value as a speaker. After all, if you were hired for double-digit speaking fees multiple times, you must be well worth the cost. From there, they hire you themselves, joining that list of clients that future clients take as testimonials. In light of this snowball effect, let’s take a look at seven high-impact steps you can take to justify increasing your speaking fees as soon as possible. 👍
1. Modernize your website.
First and foremost, if you haven’t updated your website within the last two or three years, now’s the time. Previously, communicating your value as a speaker was accomplished in many ways including phone conversations or speaker one-sheets. Today, in addition to those methods, more and more event organizers are looking for digital proof of your speaking prowess. This proof can include social media posts or appearances on podcasts in your focus industry, for example. Nevertheless, the most efficient and effective way to show that you’re worth hiring is through a kicka*s website.
In total, the definition of a “good website” varies immensely. Depending on your personal brand, what constitutes a high-quality website for another speaker may not work for your speaking business. That said, regardless of branding, there are several components you should definitely add to your site, if you haven’t already.
Website Update Checklist
- Make sure your website is secure. Even if it won’t be used for payments, a secure site shows attention to detail and security, and digital know-how. All of these things will win you brownie points with any event organizer.
- Refresh your brand colors and overall design, if you haven’t done so within the last five years or so. This is especially important if your message has changed or if your existing brand looks out of style. If you’re unsure what’s “in style” right now, 99 Designs’ 2020 style guide is a great place to start.
- Strike a balance between simplicity and information. One-page sites definitely don’t cut it anymore, but don’t build more pages than you really need. The goal is to provide site visitors with everything they need to know before scheduling a call with you. However, at the same time, you don’t want to overwhelm them with unnecessary information. Kindra Hall’s website is a perfect example of finding this balance as well as the two previous points.
- Lastly, include a clear and consistent call-to-action. For many speakers, this is “Schedule a free discovery call” or “Talk to [speaker’s name here]”. On your own website, feel free to use either of these or a call-to-action that better fits your brand. Just remember to keep the wording consistent across your site and keep it soft. The call-to-action isn’t supposed to convince the site visitor to hire you. Its job is to lead them into a deeper conversation about your programs.
In the end, your website acts as a resume, displaying testimonials and lists of past clients, and showcasing your attention to industry trends. Combined, these show the level of care you put into your work and, by extension, justify charging higher speaking fees.
2. Update your sizzle reel.
In addition to your website, another sign of a double-digit speaking business is an updated sizzle reel. Like your website, your sizzle reel is a key component of your sales process. It shows your speaking skills, communicates your message and your personality, and immerses the viewer in your presentation, giving them an idea of what it will be like for them or their audience if they hire you for their event. Because of this, a strong sizzle reel is almost guaranteed to get event organizers’ attention when they land on your website. Plus, it allows them to get a sense, right out of the gate, of whether or not you’re a good fit for their event. That way, if they watch it before scheduling a conversation, you know they’re pre-qualified, and, if they watch it and bounce, you know they probably weren’t a great fit anyway.
The Four ‘C’s of a Good Sizzle Reel
When crafting a new and improved sizzle reel, I like to say “Aim for the four ‘C”s”. In other words, a high-quality sizzle reel should be:
- Concise. Like a commercial, a good sizzle reel grabs your attention without expecting you to give up a ton of time. In most cases, this optimum time span is anywhere from 3-5 minutes.
- Clear. When watching your sizzle reel, event organizers should be able to easily see who you are, what you do, and why they should talk to you. They should also have a clear next action to end the video, such as “Schedule a Call to Learn More About Custom Programs for Your Next Event!”.
- Compelling. The music, the wording, and the clips from your past speeches should all be motivational. In essence, you want to not only engage the viewer but also compel them to act (i.e. answer that call-to-action).
- Clean. Above all, your sizzle reel needs to look professional. From the production quality to the graphics and clips used, choose a video production company that knows the speaking industry and won’t cut corners. Video Narrative is a great example, if you’re looking for a place to start.
Once you have your new sizzle reel, you’ll be able to add it to your website, include it on your social profiles, and add a link to it to your email signature. Remember, justifying your speaking fees might be a lot of work up front but the benefits turn into a monetary snowball in the long run.
3. Craft a strong promise statement and value proposition.
Third, when it comes to building higher speaking fees, is your promise statement. Even if you’ve never heard the term before, you’re likely already using a promise statement in one way or another in your sales pitch. Essentially, your promise statement is a snapshot of the benefits event organizers gain from hiring you and sums up your clients’ outcomes in a few words. This makes it especially useful at the top of your website’s homepage, as it not only communicates how awesome you are, justifying your speaking fees. It’s also eye-catching, from the moment the page loads, making the site visitor less likely to leave your website without scheduling a call.
In addition to your promise statement, make sure to have a strong value proposition. Like your promise statement, your value proposition communicates the benefits hiring you. However, because a value proposition can be longer (and in full sentences), it should also communicate who you serve. Looking back at Kindra’s website, for example, we see her promise statement at the very top of the page: “Capture Attention, Close Sales, Increase Influence Through The Art Of Strategic Storytelling”. Scrolling down, we also see that her value proposition expands upon this to provide more detail, saying, “Kindra Hall helps individuals and companies capture attention, close more sales and blow up their brands through the fine art of strategic storytelling. Each presentation is a meta-learning experience with powerful research, engaging storytelling, and actionable strategies for measurable results.”
In the same way, when crafting your own promise statement and value proposition, aim to be memorable, concise, and clear in regards to the benefits of hiring you. For more information, check out our guide to the perfect promise statement, or, for more examples, visit the websites of Brittany Hodak or Jacob Green. 👌
4. Organize the backend of your speaking business.
After updating the front end of your speaking business, the next component of increasing your speaking fees is shoring up the back end of it. Basically, if it’s a technological tool or a day-to-day process in your speaking business, you need to (a) make sure it’s worth the price (if you are paying for it) and (b) make sure you’re using it to the fullest extent that it can be used. Additionally, spring cleaning in your speaking business also means identifying parts that are broken. Ask yourself, “What are the biggest pain points in my speaking business?” Then, look for changes to your existing systems or entirely new systems altogether that directly address these pain points. It might sound like a chore, but solving these problems will inevitably make your sales process smoother and, as a result, make closing deals easier for you and your team.
For many speakers, the most prevalent problem in their speaking business is their customer relationship management system (CRM). This is partly due to the lack of speaker-specific options but also because of how overwhelming it can be to choose one. However, regardless of the CRM you choose, using one will not only keep you more organized. It will also streamline collaboration within your team, meaning smoother operations, more sales, and a stress-free experience for each of your clients. All of these, combined with the components we’ve already covered, cement your presence as a true professional, making higher speaking fees all the more reasonable.
For more information, regarding choosing a CRM, visit our beginner’s guide to CRMs for speakers. Additionally, for more insights into the technology needed to build the back end of your speaking business, besides CRMs, check out our guide, “Building A Speaking Business? 7 Systems You Absolutely Need”.
5. Offer different pricing packages.
On top of refreshing the collateral and systems you already have, another way to garner higher speaking fees is to introduce new and varied options. One place to do this is the content of your presentations, themselves. Another place to adjust your offerings is how you conduct your presentations, such as adding “Virtual Events” as an option for your keynotes. However, more importantly, if you want to adjust your fees, the first place you’ll need to add more options is your pricing tiers.
Putting aside what you speak about and what your ideal client looks like, every event organizer that considers you is looking for value. Because of this, if you want to charge higher speaking fees, you have to be sure to also communicate higher value. If you don’t already offer different tiers for your speaking fees, this means adding options in the first place. On the other hand, if you do have options available, this means ensuring the price tag on each one is warranted and offering add-ons for each tier that actually have value.
Pricing Package Add-On Ideas
Among speakers with double-digit speaking fees, there are tons of ways to justify higher speaking fees with this value-adding tactic. Below are a few of the most common and the most creative we’ve seen from our clients.
- Host an additional “mastermind” or a private coaching session after the event itself is over.
- Offer discounts on your book for event organizers that hire you for their keynote address or include signed copies of your book as part of a pricing package.
- Distribute pre and post-event surveys to audience members. Then, provide the event organizer with a report of your findings from the survey (and how you could help them continue to improve).
- Include a free membership to your online courses or free print training material.
- Join event attendees pre or post-event for less formal networking events or dinners.
Ultimately, these are just a few add-on ideas for your pricing packages, taken originally from “The SpeakerFlow Sales Script Guide” on our Resources page. As you increase your speaking fees, the key is to take the things you already do to impress your clients and bundle them to provide more value. That way, your clients feel that they’ve gotten their money’s worth and you don’t have to argue for your speaking fees. I mean, no one likes having to do that, am I right?
6. Master the “money conversation”.
That brings me to the sixth piece of justifying increased speaking fees: learning to master the “money conversation”. If you’re like me, this conversation can be incredibly uncomfortable, even if you know your value. Luckily, there are a few tried-and-true tactics that can make it much more bearable and more likely to swing in your favor. A few of my personal favorites include listening more than you talk, being personal (i.e. treating them like an individual, not just a potential sale), and coming to the conversation prepared with research about the event and the company hosting it.
That said, above all, remember to focus on delivering value for the event planner you’re talking to. After the initial small talk that opens the conversation, dig into what they’re trying to accomplish through their event, specifically. Ask questions like, “What was the driving force behind organizing this event?” and “What outcome are you looking for, once this event is over” From there, mention your programs and offerings through the lens of these questions. Ideally, you want to show that you hear their concerns and the challenges they’re trying to overcome. Then, you want to show that you’re already set up to help them tackle those challenges.
In the end, if you focus on delivering value specifically for the event planner you’re meeting with, they will find money. Even if they have to settle for a smaller pricing package this time around or even they have to say “no” entirely, they’ll remember how great a fit you were for their event. Then, when they have a bigger budget for a future event, they’ll come calling again, already primed to hire you for your higher speaking fees.
7. Never stop adjusting your sales process.
Finally, if you want to increase your speaking fees, remember that you’re not going to get everything perfect the first time. Even if you knock out everything on this list and get your digital materials and sales process up-to-date, there are always going to be things you learn along the way. Maybe one of your pricing packages doesn’t really register with your ideal client. Maybe you’re missing out on an entire industry that can benefit from your message. Whatever the slip-ups may be, the most important thing to remember is to never stop making adjustments.
Ultimately, everything in this list is a key component of a good sales process. Consequently, as the speaking industry and your focus industry change, your sales process and all its components must also change. So, as you adjust your speaking fees, keep in mind the changes happening around your ideal clients and track as much data as you can, when selling to them. It’s like the old saying, “knowledge is power”. The more data you have, the more you can iterate on your sales process, collateral, and tactics and adjust your speaking fees to fit the bill. From there, it’s just a matter of reaching out to event organizers and waiting for them to say, “Where do I sign?”
For more information about professional speaker sales, check out our ultimate guide to booking speaking gigs. Additionally, for more hands-on sales training, join us at SpeakerFlow University! Created specifically for speakers, it’s a community of speakers working together to grow their businesses with the help of our team. Visit our SFU page or shoot us an email at [email protected] to learn more. 🎉