When it comes to building a speaking business, the biggest complaint I hear is that speakers aren’t getting as many bookings as they would like. So it makes perfect sense that they might think about approaching bureaus as a part of their marketing plan.
But are bureaus really going to solve your problem?
In most instances, no.
The great irony is that bureaus are not likely to come-a-callin’ until you don’t really need them anymore. There is, of course, the odd exception of a bureau launching a speaker’s career.
Who Are Speaker Bureaus Looking For?
Jeanne Marie Robillard of National Speakers Bureau tells us that they often look for speakers who have an interesting career and speak on the side (a female rocket scientist, or the owner of a rapidly growing healthy fast food chain).
Or perhaps they have left a successful career. One of my clients, Ryan Estis, is blowing up. So much so that he is rarely available for the dates the bureaus are inquiring about. An interesting dilemma.
But for every story of a great relationship being born, there are 10 speakers who have never gotten a call back from the bureaus they pursue.
And I have to say that many speakers, who mistake me for an agent, arrive with the “show up and throw up” approach, which is a complete turn-off.
What Is A Speaker to Do?
So what’s the advice? It’s twofold:
1. Go about your business
Stay focused on building your brand and becoming a speaker that clients start requesting on a regular basis. A client asking a bureau for you is the best way to get noticed by bureaus .
2. Approach the bureaus with a strong fee
When you do have some traction in your direct business, approach the bureaus with a strong fee ($5K or more) and a strong video that represents you on stage. Without either, you simply won’t be ready.
Go about building your business, doing the right things consistently, and start asking your clients if they work with bureaus and if they do, to introduce you. Not relying on bureaus will make you more attractive to them.
Have you had success with bureaus? Please share on our blog here!
See you soon Wealthy Speakers!