The Power to Say “NO”

The other day there was a debate on one of the daytime talk shows about Adam Sandler’s new movie. A guest, Cristela Alonzo, had read for a part in the new movie and said she passed because she didn’t want her nephews to see her in such a negative Hispanic stereotype.  Cristela has her own sitcom and can afford to be a bit choosy in her roles.

But don’t we all have the power to say “no”?

Toni Newman, our current CAPS President (Canadian Association of Professional Speakers), is touring the country right now with a message of fee integrity.  If we reinforce some of the default mindsets of our clients (i.e. we don’t need to pay high prices for speakers) by negotiating our fee constantly, we are shooting ourselves in the foot.  And crippling our industry in the process.

With pride, I can tell you honestly that I have only negotiated my fee ONCE in the last 5 YEARS. (And I later fired that client). I admit, my competition (as a coach for speakers) is not the same as yours.  But for me, it comes down to mindset.  I am not open to negotiating my fee, therefore no one (and I mean no one) ever asks.

When you quote your fee, say it, and be quiet.  Example:  I charge $10,000 for a keynote and I travel from Seattle.  BOOM, QUIET.  Mouth closed.  No “if/and/or/but/however”.

And if your client does not have your budget, you have options:

1.  You can say “no”.  I know it takes bravery, and sometimes the ability to pay the bills is at stake.  But practice saying “no”.  Saying “no” to a reduced fee wields power and it puts you back in the drivers seat. CLICK TO TWEET

2.  Explore options to make it work.  Perhaps there is a sponsor who might pay your fee, perhaps you can piggyback on another event, or perhaps they can find the money in another budget.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

My goal for you is that you develop a mindset that says “people don’t negotiate my fee because I am worth every penny and more”.  I want you to believe it.  I want to embody it.

Perhaps you need to adjust your market so you are reaching out to higher paying jobs, or perhaps you need to work on your content.  Do what it takes to move yourself in front of people who can afford you, and when they get there, be willing to say “no” when it’s not a good fit.

Share your stories of “NO” here on our blog….

See you soon Wealthy Speakers!

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PS:  We’re going to cover much more about getting paid what you’re worth in the coming months.  Watch for our upcoming webinar on this topic! And in the meantime, be sure to listen to our podcasts from some of the highest paid speakers in the industry


 

  • Jeanne-Marie Robillard

    Great piece, Jane. I concur. 100%

    In fact, I tell speakers that the opportunity is not gone forever when we stand by a speaker’s fees. It’s kinda like those boots you love in the Holt Renfrew window. A bit more expensive than you would have liked to spend, but you can’t stop thinking about them.

    So … a week later, you buy them. You find a way to make it happen. And you are thrilled.

    Same with speakers. It may not be your time to speak to their audience. It may be next year (or the year after) when the client has the appropriate budget in place to get exactly who they want. (eg You)

    My 2 cents. :)
    Jeanne-Marie

    • I concur, Jane….and Jeanne -Marie. Too many speakers are diluting the ability to be paid by meeting planners because they are willing to be the lowest bidder to get the gig. Between FREE webinars and speakers willing to reduce their fee too often….it makes it difficult to have meeting planners value the speakers’ worth if some negotiate every event. As with most products or services….”you get what you pay for”.