S. 2 Ep. 30 – Untangling The Web of Speakers, Bureaus & Management Companies

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Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!

Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 2 Ep 30 - Untangling The Web of Speakers Bureaus and Management Companies with SpeakerFlow and Arnold Sand

Ever wonder how the relationships between speakers, bureaus, and speaker managers work? Do we have an episode for you!

Today, we’re talking with Arnold Sand, Chief of Client Relationships for ODE Speaker Management. 

As a senior leader in the corporate events industry, Arnold has extensive experience negotiating, booking, and managing high-profile talent. He’s honed win-win negotiating skills, interfacing with just about every major agency, management company, and speakers bureau.

With over 30 years in the industry, Arnold knows a thing or two about what it really means to work with managers and bureaus and how speakers should properly leverage those relationships.

We unpack how the industry collaborates, when a good time to hire a management company is, and how to properly build a relationship with one.

Let’s dive in!

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Show Notes 📓

✅ Want to learn more about Ode and connect with Arnold? Check ’em out here: Odemanagement.com

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🚀 And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/

Read the Transcription 🤓

Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking. We’re your hosts, Taylorr and Austin, and today we’re untangling the web of speakers, bureaus, and management companies. Now, today we’re talking with Arnold Sand, chief of client relationships for ODE Speaker Management, and as a senior leader in the corporate events industry, Arnold has extensive experience negotiating, booking, and managing high-profile talent. He’s honed win-to-win negotiating skill interfacing with just about every major agency, management company, and speaker’s bureau. 

Now, with over 30 years in the industry, let’s just say, Arnold knows a thing or two about what it really means to work with managers and bureaus and how a speaker should properly leverage those relationships. So, in today’s episode, we unpack how the industry collaborates, when a good time to hire a management company is, and how to properly build a relationship with one. As always stick around until the end to get this episode’s resources and we hope you like this one. And we have lift off. I’m going to try and mix up the intro saying every time just to see how that goes. So, Arnold, anyway, welcome to the show, we are so excited to have you here today. Thank you for joining us.

Arnold: You’re welcome. It’s great to be here.

Austin: Yeah. Great to have you. So, the rest of ODE Management is in Australia, right? But you’re not in Australia, so how did that happen?

Arnold: I am not in Australia. I am in the Los Angeles area, California.

Taylorr: Nice.

Austin: How did you link up with them?

Arnold: How did I link up with ODE? It’s a great story. There’s a very well-known speaker, his name is Peter Sheahan, and I started out, I was 25 years on the bureau side of the business, SME entertainment group. And I had booked Peter to speak for one of my clients in Orlando, we had dinner talked for about two hours about the industry and he went on did his presentation, fast-forward a couple of years to the International Association of Speaker’s Bureaus annual convention. We were in New Orleans at The House of Blues for a social event, I get a little tap on the shoulder, and it was Leanne Christie, the owner of ODE Management and Leanne at the time and still does manages Peter Sheahan in Australia, New Zealand, that part of the world. 

And she said Pete said some nice things about you, if you ever need a job, give me a call. And I was like, Leanne, I’m flattered, but I can’t move to Australia. Well, fast-forward an additional several years and Leanne is coming to the US and she wants to open up a US branch of ODE and we have lunch, and at the time I’d been interested in the management side of the business for a very long time. And we weren’t really set up to do that at SME, so we couldn’t open up that type of division. So, I left SME on really good terms, but after lunch with Leanne, I decided to join up, she was doing it better than anyone else that I’ve seen as far as companies that have a bureau and opened up a separate management company.

Taylorr: Yeah, for sure. Leanne is a powerhouse. What’s up, Leanne? Hope you’re enjoying the episode. I think we had her on last season, season one, it was awesome.

Arnold: Oh, wow.

Taylorr: So, yeah, we’re really excited to have you come in and share your insights too. And 25 years on the bureau side, is that 25 years at SME?

Arnold: It is, 25 years.

Taylorr: Oh my goodness. So, SME, was that more a, so was that a professional speaker-based bureau or was it more entertainment-based? What type of bureau was it?

Arnold: We booked headline entertainment, we booked top-name keynote speakers, and we booked sports personalities for corporate events.

Taylorr: Nice.

Arnold: I would say as far as the number of engagements that we booked, keynote speaking was most, followed by entertainment, followed by sports personalities. When I first started, sports personalities were number one, matter of fact, the company name was Sports Marketing Group when I first started, then we expanded into business speakers and then into entertainment. The background that I came from was entertainment and the background of the president of the company was entertainment. So, when we had, it was the International Health and Racket Sports Industry Association, I still remember this.

Taylorr: Wow, what a niche.

Arnold: I had booked speakers for them for about two years. And they came to me and said, we’re not booking a speaker this year, we’re more interested in a comedian. And I went to Corey Shapoff owner of SME, and I said, why can’t we do that? What’s the difference? You were with William Morris; I was with Warner Chappell. Let’s do it. And the first comedian we booked was Jim Carey.

Taylorr: Wow, very cool.

Arnold: Right after Ace Ventura: Pet Detective came out.

Taylorr: Wow.

Arnold: And the movie came out and no one was expecting it to do what it did. And as ironic as it is. The studio wanted him to go to Australia and New Zealand to promote the movie and he canceled on us, so our very first entertainment booking and the talent cancels.

Taylorr: Oh. Dang.

Arnold: But we booked a buddy of his though named Richard Jeni, who was an amazing comedian, one of my favorite people to work with, I really miss him, and he was $10,000 less and he wrote about 20 minutes of custom material just for the health and rack sports industry and they loved him. So, it all worked out in the end, but it was like, hi, welcome to booking entertainment.

Taylorr: Yeah. Yeah. Wow.

Austin: Yeah. Such an interesting story, man, I love that. And you’ve really seen the whole spectrum too, and at sort of the peak of it really, it’s obviously such a massive industry that serves really small businesses and huge corporations. And you’ve seen sort of what I think a lot of people consider sort of the sexy end of this industry, which is really cool, I think that’s fascinating.

Arnold: Yeah, most people think the entertainment side is the sexy part, but and when you’re.

Taylorr: Always a but, huh, Arnold.

Arnold: When you’re at the event and you’re meeting the music personality or the comedian, it’s a lot of fun, but there’s a problem with every single entertainment corporate event booking that happens, something’s going to happen. And it’s how you deal with those things that pop up that you’re not expecting that makes you good at it or not good at it.

Austin: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I’m excited to get into the, what makes you good at it and not good at it components here. However, this is a tradition here at Speaker Flow. Anytime we bring on somebody involved in the agent bureau management sort of space, we ask for your definition, it’s almost become a trivia game or something that we’re playing here. And because it seems everybody has a slightly different line in the sand.

Taylorr: Different take, yeah.

Austin: Between these things.

Arnold: Right.

Austin: So, Arnold, from your perspective, step up to the plate here.

Arnold: I can give you a first-hand example of how being a bureau agent is a bit different than being a manager. So, when I was a bureau agent, I booked any speaker or any entertainment in my case, there aren’t very many companies that are like SME, that book entertainment speakers, and sports personalities, and do all three of them very well. So, I have a unique perspective from that, but we could book any speaker, we didn’t have any exclusive speakers. Management side, the bureaus are our customers, they’re our primary customers actually, we do more work with bureaus than we do with direct clients. We still do business with direct clients, but bureaus make up the bulk of our business. 

So, what I do for the speakers on the management side is I make them easier to work with for the bureaus. I also help guide their career and give them advice on topics, books, and any type of content they’re putting out. A great example just happened. We were on four or five content calls with one of my speakers, his name is Mark Schulman. He’s the drummer for P!nk, and his main keynote is hacking the rockstar attitude, how to ignite rockstar performance in uncertain times. So, he’s a lot of fun, he’s a great speaker. 

We were on four or five consecutive content calls with him where either the meeting planner or an executive at the company said something to the effect of, this meeting that we’re having, we’re getting together for the first time in person since the pandemic. So, the idea just hit me for a new topic for Mark, getting the band back together and we’ve just started it and it’s going, we haven’t even announced it officially to all our bureau partners yet. But for the few that we have talked to, it’s been very, very well received because it’s targeting something that’s happening right now.

Taylorr: Right now. Yeah.

Austin: Yeah. Relevancy there.

Taylorr: Super relevant. That’s what matters.

Arnold: So, that’s one way a management company is different. I helped Mark create that topic and develop it.

Taylorr: Wow. That’s actually a perfect analogy, a perfect story to sum all that up, huh, Austin?

Austin: Yeah. That’s something that I actually never have expected a speaker manager to do too. I think.

Taylorr: Yeah, for sure.

Austin: A lot of people connect speaker management to logistics more than they would connect it to content and message. So, that’s interesting, is that a you thing or is that a common speaker management thing?

Arnold: That I actually don’t know the answer to. I do know that in general, a speaker manager is there to guide the speaker.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Arnold: Through their career. My opinion is the biggest thing speaker management does is make the speaker easier to work with for speaker bureaus. That’s number one. But as far as coming up with creative, I can’t, I can’t say what other people do, but.

Austin: Yeah, for sure.

Taylorr: So, is it exclusive to bureaus only that speaker managers will work with? Or is it also one-off clients that’ll come or do managers also book?

Arnold: No, we do work with direct as well. We don’t market to direct as much as we market to bureaus, but speakers have websites, clients come to their website, they come.

Taylorr: They’ll pass it off.

Arnold: That comes to me, for example, if someone goes to markschulman.com and clicks on his form, it comes to me.

Taylorr: Nice. Okay.

Austin: Got it. That makes sense.

Taylorr: That makes a lot of sense.

Arnold: So, we do that as well, but as I said, the bread and butter for us are our bureau partnerships.

Austin: Okay. That makes sense. So, it’s not an active sales organization kind of what a bureau might behave like you.

Arnold: Correct.

Austin: You’re kind of, yeah, it’s more facilitating with bureaus than what comes inbound and then helping them manage beyond that point.

Arnold: Yep.

Austin: Okay. Nice.

Arnold: We consider bureaus our partners in the business.

Austin: Yeah, for sure.

Taylorr: Yeah, definitely.

Austin: So, I want this conversation to do a couple of things. Obviously, I want it to shed light on the type of work that you do, but I also sort of want to humanize you because I think a lot of speakers think of, well, I’m just going to go get a speaker manager, and I think that we forget the fact that that’s a person behind that. And so, can you just tell us a little bit about you and your job and your day-to-day? What does a typical day look like for you, a speaker manager?

Arnold: Well, I do talk to a lot of bureaus during my day, either by email or by phone. It depends on the day and what I’m focusing on. If it’s speaker development, then it’s things like getting the band back together and working on those ideas. But most of the time it’s about getting the word out about my speakers to bureaus and handling any other incoming requests.

Taylorr: Yeah. Kind of just facilitating between the speaker and the bureaus and business basically, a bridge is what it really sounds like.

Arnold: Yeah. That’s a good way to describe it.

Taylorr: Okay, nice.

Austin: So, what makes you really good at doing that? What makes a really great speaker manager?

Arnold: I’ll tell you.

Taylorr: And what makes a really bad one?

Austin: Sure.

Arnold: I think my secret sauce on this is that I have a background from a bureau agency. So, I know the psychology of being a bureau agent. So, I know everything that I would want from a management company if I were the bureau agent, so we try and do that. One of the biggest things, I think one thing that separates ODE from other management companies in particular, and from other speakers directly even, is I am, and Leanne is the same way because she owns a bureau in Australia. We are obsessed with spin-off and getting spinoffs back to the bureaus because it never happens. 

I could count on one hand how many times another speaker’s bureau in a co-broker situation sent back a spinoff engagement and we’ve done; I think the count is over 400 of them at this point.

Taylor: Wow.

Arnold: It’s a lot, we’ve done a lot. I might even be understating that number, but it’s a lot.

Taylorr: Wow. That’s incredible. So, can you define that for our folks? Maybe not be so eloquent with language. So, spin-off.

Arnold: Sure.

Taylorr: In the context of a bureau and then giving it back to a bureau, can you break that relationship down?

Arnold: Absolutely. And I have a good example of it too. A speaker goes and delivers a keynote to say an industry association of accountants. And there’s somebody there in the audience from KPMG and they decide, wow, he’s great. We’re going to bring that speaker in to speak to our company as well. That would be a spinoff, an example of one. We had one where a client, just recently, client called and wanted to book, it’s Mark Schulman again, actually, wanted to book Mark for an engagement. We asked the meeting-planner, how they found Mark and the meeting planner said, we went to his website. 

So, that’s a direct client, we’re going to deal with it. But then on the content call with the CEO of the company, he says, I’m a big fan of Mark, and I say, well, wait a minute, how can you be a big fan of Mark? And I said did you see him speak? And he said, yes, I saw him at this event. Well, that event was booked by a bureau in Mexico and the client didn’t know any of this, but I called the bureau in Mexico and said, hey, I have a surprise for you. And it already had been booked, it’s already been contracted, it’s already done. 

There’s no way the bureau’s ever going to know about this, but I called and let them know, hey, we found out that this was a spinoff on the content call, we didn’t know it before, otherwise we would’ve sent it to you right away, but here’s a commission check for $3,600.

Taylorr: Wow. That’s how it’s done.

Arnold: The owner of that speaker’s bureau in Mexico said nobody has ever done that for me before. And when we were at the ISB meeting last year in Miami he brought me a very nice bottle of tequila to say, thank you.

Taylorr: Oh, that’s all about relationships.

Austin: That feels good.

Taylorr: Yeah. Heck, yeah. Well, we hear that all the time too.

Arnold: Do you think that speaker’s bureau was going to call us back and put our speakers.

Taylorr: Of course.

Arnold: At the top of their list?

Taylorr: That’s exactly right.

Arnold: Absolutely.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Arnold: I told him though, he was so thankful, and I said, you know I love you, but honestly, I’d do that for any bureau. You don’t have to bring me a gift.

Taylorr: Yeah. Bring me more clients.

Arnold: He did anyway.

Taylorr: Oh, that’s super cool.

Austin: That’s pretty good.

Taylorr: Oh, yeah. It’s just partnerships, we hear even with speakers who work with bureaus, sometimes we even hear people complain about, yeah, but if I get a bureau gig, if I get spin-off, I’m going to have to, and it just perpetuates, and then I’m going to have to continuously give commission checks. And people will diligently not track that information or won’t even ask the question because they want to keep as much of the money as possible, but it’s such a short-sighted way of looking at that relationship, telling the bureau that, Hey, we have this because of an event that you helped me book in the first place, thank you. It’s only going to solidify the relationship between you as a speaker.

Arnold: Taylorr, you’ve just brought up another really good point that differentiates a speaker management company from a bureau. So, say, for example, you’re a smaller independent speaker’s bureau and you want to book a particular speaker that’s exclusive with another speaker’s bureau. Generally, that’s called a co-broker situation, and you have to split the commission with that bureau, usually, it’s either half of 20% or half of 25%, so you’re either getting 10% or 12.5% commission on it. With a speaker management company, or most, I should say, they’ll pay the full commission. So, it’s going to the speaker directly. If you’re not getting a reduced commission by booking a speaker who’s managed by a speaker management company.

Taylorr: And so, just for the financial logistics of people who are considering, well, do I get a speaker manager one day? How does that process work? Do you pay for that? Do I just do commission? What’s the financial relationship between a speaker and a speaker management company?

Arnold: Generally, a speaker management company will get a smaller percentage of the engagement. I’ll tell you when the pandemic hit, it kind of flipped our business model. It just flipped it, it really impacted it. So, there were, obviously, we switched to virtual keynotes, but there were fewer virtual keynotes and the dollar value of each of those fewer keynotes was less. So, a lot of bureaus were really, really, really struggling then, and we tried something with the virtual keynotes, but we basically started charging a net fee. 

And this is not common in management companies, most management companies are quoting the gross fee and telling the bureau what their commission’s going to be, in our case with our net fee, we said, and this was only to bureaus that we trusted and enjoy working with, we didn’t offer this to every bureau. But the ones that we liked working with, the ones that we trust, we said, look, this is a net fee, this is what our speaker wants to net. You have the freedom and the flexibility to charge whatever commission you’d like on there.

Taylorr: Nice.

Arnold: And there was one time when a bureau called and wanted to book one of our speakers for a virtual keynote, and it was $5,000 net to us in this situation. And he charged the client $10,000, however, the normal fee for an in-person keynote for that speaker was $15,000. So, the event planner got a good deal on the presentation. The bureau was able to make a little bit more than he would’ve otherwise and the speaker got an amount that he was happy with. So, it depends, that was the most extreme case we had, most of the bureaus out there, our fee structure is designed so that if you add 25% commission on top of the net fee, it’s going to equal the same gross fee that we’re going to charge to a direct client. 

So, there’s price, consistency that way, bureaus are very concerned about that, they want to make sure that if their client calls me directly, that they’re going to be quoted the same price.

Taylorr: Yeah, of course.

Arnold: And that’s how we do that.

Taylorr: Yeah, otherwise, you get under-cut.

Arnold: Most bureaus are going to be charging a 25% commission in that situation. We structured the net fee to accommodate that.

Taylorr: Nice.

Austin: Yeah. Wow. Well, I know that’s something a lot of people have questions about too, so you probably just shed light on something that a lot of people have wondered about, which is great. So, thank you for that. Your perspective has been helpful.

Arnold: Yeah. And look, we’re probably one of the only management companies doing that right now. And we’ve extended that now to the in-person engagements because we’ve gotten such great feedback from bureaus, Sean Hanks, the CEO of Premier Speaker’s Bureau, we were on an ISB call. He actually brought it to everybody’s attention and used me as an example of just trying to do something different and creative and innovative. I really appreciated that because he didn’t have to do that.

Austin: Yeah, that feels good.

Arnold: But the fact that the president of one of the top speaker’s bureaus in the country is recognizing it and liking it was very reaffirming. Hey, maybe we’re on something here.

Austin: For sure.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: You’re a trendsetter, Arnold.

Arnold: A little bit.

Austin: So, we talked about a few ways that you can make a bureau really happy. Let’s talk about the other side of it, what’s a horror story you can tell us about not delivering the results that maybe a bureau wanted or a botched relationship? Give us an example of something not to do.

Arnold: Well, I can give you an example from what happened to me and how I handled it afterward. Once again, it’s our friend Mark Schulman, he was on tour with P!nk.

Taylorr: Poor Mark, you’re going to have to send him this episode, Arnold.

Arnold: He was on tour with P!nk and he had booked a keynote in Mexico City during one of the off-days. And we had it planned out, travel was no problem, and it was booked for a long time. Well, just before that event, we got word that the tour manager didn’t want him to do that keynote in Mexico City and the reason was the next tour stop was Chicago and they were having really bad weather and he was concerned that Mark wouldn’t be able to get from Mexico City to Chicago. And we had to cancel.

Taylorr: Oh.

Arnold: And it was the only engagement that we had to cancel on short notice, right at the last second, how do you deal with that, right?

Taylorr: Yeah.

Arnold: My goal in that situation is to make the client happy that it happened. So, what we did in that situation was we got on the phone, we found another speaker, a buddy of Mark’s, to do that keynote at his fee. And then Mark agreed to do a future keynote for that company at no cost and at a future date. Actually.

Taylorr: Wow, nice.

Arnold: No cost, they paid 2,500 travel and drum rental buyout, but that’s it. No speaking fee. And they liked the replacement speaker. They did a great job, so they were happy there. And then Mark came and did an event for them in Cancun, and they were thrilled at the end of it, but canceling last minute is tough.

Taylorr: That must have just made your heart sink, that’s just a gut-drop type of moment, huh?

Arnold: It was not fun at the moment, no.

Taylorr: Yeah, for sure.

Arnold: I was freaking out. I was freaking out about that.

Taylorr: Totally.

Austin: Well, he handled it like a champion, that’s amazing.

Taylorr: Yeah. I like the way you frame that too. Make them happy that it happened, what a simple way to break that down.

Austin: Sure. Creative problem-solving.

Arnold: Yeah. If something bad happens like that, I want to over-deliver the solution.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Arnold: And that’s my goal is to make them thrilled that this horrible thing happened.

Taylorr: Well, hey, sometimes you just need a good reframing.

Arnold: Fortunately, it has not happened very often.

Taylorr: That’s good. Yeah. Well, as you said earlier, you just have to be prepared for what can happen because chances are something’s going to happen. So, it’s about how you handle it.

Arnold: For all of the people out there who book entertainment, I have just a really, really horrible thing that happened, a story. This was when I was at SME and I’d been there a long time, I was one of the senior members, one of our junior members booked the band, Collective Soul to perform for an insurance company at The Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana on the beach.

Taylorr: Wow.

Arnold: So, I went with him just to be a fly on the wall, just to offer guidance if he needed it, but it was his event, he was in charge. So, I was actually in my room sleeping and then got a call from him at seven in the morning saying, hey, Arnold, you better get down to the beach. I go, why, what’s the matter? And he’s like, just get down here. They had a freak high tide that washed away half our stage. This is the day of the show.

Taylorr: I just got goosebumps. Oh my goodness. I felt that pain. Holy cow.

Arnold: So I went there. I was like, all right, Eddie, I’ll take over from here.

Austin: As you do.

Arnold: We had to make some really, really hard decisions. And a little bit later in the day after we had assessed that situation, the group was out on a group activity, they were in Dune Buggies down on the beach, somewhere out there, we got the president of the company on the phone and said, look, here are your options. The hotel had a big patio on the right, adjacent to the beach, doing it on the beach was not an option, we could not get it done, there was no way to do it. But we could build a new stage on that concrete patio adjacent to the beach. So, that was option one. 

Option two was they had another group in their ballroom the night before, and they hadn’t struck any of the sound or lighting, it was all there already, as well as decorations, they had a giant guitar over the entrance to the ballroom, it was very well themed. That was an option, the hotel agreed to give it to us at no cost. So, Eddie was on talking with his client and asking what he wants to do, and the president picked concrete patio by the beach, he really wanted that beach engagement. And a really hard thing to do is get on the phone or meet with the CEO of a company and have to say, you’re wrong. You’re making a wrong decision. 

And I asked Eddie afterward, he, I said, what would you have done in that situation? He said, I would’ve done what he said and put the stage on the beach. And did the best we can. So, I got on the phone with him, and I said, look, we can do it, but it’s going to look like we threw it together at the last second because we’re throwing it together at the last second.

Taylorr: At the last second. Yeah.

Arnold: And we’re going to have a very stressful day the entire day. However, if we move it into the ballroom, everything’s set, it looks gorgeous; we’re going to have an easier day than we would’ve had if this never happened. And it’s going to look like we planned to have it in the ballroom the entire time; you should have it in the ballroom. And he listened; we moved it to the ballroom and had a great show.

Austin: Wow.

Taylorr: Wow.

Austin: That’s amazing.

Taylorr: Quick thinking, holy cow.

Austin: Yeah.

Taylorr: What a journey.

Austin: Quick thinking is right, there are so many things there, there are observational skills, you being able to communicate across all these different people. The logistics involved there to make that decision and move everybody over and get everything prepared. What a project, I’m not envious; I think that is what I’m trying to say here.

Arnold: No, but they’re awesome. It’s a really stressful environment.

Taylorr: I’m really grateful to go solve the problems I have right now, so thank you for the perspective.

Arnold: I’ll tell you, but the way to look at this, that stage was going to get washed out whether we were there or not.

Taylorr: That’s right. Yeah.

Arnold: But how we handled it, not every company’s going to handle it that way, not every company is going to tell a company you’re making the wrong decision. You should have it in the ballroom. I think that’s where you really get a chance to shine and show your value.

Taylorr: That’s right. Yeah. You get some respect built too.

Austin: Yep. So, we’re getting close to wrapping here, which is really sad, there’s so much.

Taylorr: I can’t believe that, that really just went by quick.

Austin: I know, right?

Taylorr: I think we say that every episode.

Austin: I know.

Taylorr: We should do something with that.

Austin: Our listeners are sitting here going, oh my gosh, licking their chops like, I just have to hire, Arnold. Not everybody.

Arnold: Leanne’s not going to like hearing that.

Austin: Well, yeah, you have to be at the right stage probably to benefit from you, not everybody’s at Mark’s level. From your perspective, the person doing this, who is the right fit for a speaker management company.

Arnold: I really don’t think that someone just starting out should seek out a management company unless it’s a brand-new management company, they’re starting out too. I think that works well. I think we do our best work by enhancing what a speaker already has. So, the speaker already has a pretty good business, we’re there to make it better, I think one of the strongest things that we offer is our relationships to the speaker’s bureaus and the strongest thing we offer to the speakers is our relationships with the speaker’s bureaus, both Leanne and myself have been part of ISB for, I don’t know how, a very long time, let’s leave it at that. 

So, we know just about every speaker’s bureau in the world, I’d say, every major one anyway, and that’s valuable. And that would be valuable to a speaker just starting out too, but I think that a speaker just starting out should concentrate on getting engagements, setting up relationships with as many speaker’s bureaus as they can. But sometimes the speaker’s bureau is reluctant to take on those speakers as well; there are a couple of bureaus out there that will not book a speaker if they’re less than $10,000.

Taylorr: That’s right.

Arnold: Look, it’s not worth their time, they won’t bother with it.

Taylorr: Especially when you’re working on commission all the time, 25% is $2,500 a gig, that’s a lot of work to do for $2,500 a gig. You have to make your money somehow. Yeah. Wow. Well, thanks for breaking that down, that’s awesome. So, just in addition to this, I think some people, a lot of speakers, just pulling from my own experience here. People who are starting out, let’s say people may be sub-six-figures, these are the types of businesses that maybe aren’t ready yet for a speaker management company, I think. 

Once you maybe get, and correct me if I’m wrong, Arnold, maybe $200,000 or so a year, your own bookings, then it’s maybe time to consider it, based on what we’ve heard from other managers and things.

Arnold: Yeah, I think that’s pretty close.

Taylorr: But I think people under that threshold are often like, well, I’m just going to get a bureau first, I want to focus on getting as many bureaus as possible, maybe not realizing that bureaus don’t really serve speakers, they serve clients and then source speakers, they’re more of a product. Do you recommend that people source bureaus first or managers?

Arnold: That’s a tricky question, which comes first, right?

Taylorr: Yeah.

Arnold: My opinion is to focus on your content first, get your content solid, speak in front of as many audiences as you can, do a Ted Talk. Ted Talks are great. TEDx talks, I should say. You’re not going to get on the main stage at Ted. Do a TEDx talk because you now instantly have a demo video too, that’s a good length, it instantly gives credibility to the speaker and it’s recognizable and it’s going to be high-quality. So, if you don’t have a demo video and you’re looking to get started, do a TEDx talk, that’s a great way to do it. 

Go speak for hospitals or organizations, do events, YPOs do events where they’re looking for speakers that are low cost. Get as many of those as you can, and then the speaker’s bureaus are going to be more interested in you as well.

Taylorr: Yeah. Nice. That’s perfect advice.

Austin: Good advice.

Taylorr: Thank you. Very tactical, super easy to follow, you heard it here straight from the source you guys, so don’t ask us about bureaus unless you’re ready for them. Oh, I’m just kidding, I kid. Okay. Arnold, we could talk for hours and hours and hours, of course, we have to call it at some point. So, thank you so much for joining us today, this has been incredibly impactful, I’ve just learned a ton and I think you’ve painted some really great stories and analogies to how this industry shapes up. 

And I know so many of our clients just don’t really have a box for how all of these relationships kind of combine into a web, and I think you’ve done a really great job breaking that down, so thank you for doing that. If people want to learn more or connect with you, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Arnold: You can email me directly, [email protected], that’s O D E management.com. And that’s also a website as well. You can see all the speakers that we manage there, it’s www.odemanagement.com.

Taylorr: Heck yeah. Well, rest in peace your inbox, and thank you so much. I’ll make sure that the link to ODE is of course in the show notes, so you guys definitely go check ODD out, an incredible company supported by some incredible people. Hey, if you like this episode, don’t forget to rate it, like it, subscribe to it and if you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources. 

Thank you so much for chiming in. I just wanted to take a second to thank our sponsor Auxbus. Auxbus is the all-in-one suite of tools you need to run your podcast, and it’s actually what we run here at Speaker Flow for Technically Speaking, it makes planning podcasts simple, it makes recording podcasts simple, it even makes publishing podcasts to the masses simple. And quite honestly, Technically Speaking wouldn’t be up as soon as it is without Auxbus. Thank you so much Auxbus and if you are interested in checking Auxbus out, whether you’re starting a podcast or you have one currently, get our special offer, auxbus.com/speakerflow, or click the link below in our show notes.

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