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The Wealthy Speaker Gets Their Fee

I have two types of clients.

Client A – The speaker who will take every piece of business that comes towards them at any fee. And Client B – The speaker who “interviews” each piece of business to check for a good fit in terms of content, expectations, fee, and budget.

Which one are you?

Now, let me be clear, Client A might be happy because they are busy. To them busy means successful. But from the outside looking in, you wonder how long they can sustain this somewhat frantic pace of business. Is being run off your feet really worth it?

And I do have to ask what they are doing to their brand when one client pays $5,000 for a keynote and another client pays $12,500. That’s a pretty big discrepancy and, aside from diluting your brand, it also may be wreaking havoc on your “Wealthy Speaker Mindset”.

The Wealthy Speaker Mindset

Your Wealthy Speaker Mindset, that internal voice that allows you to succeed, gives you several advantages.

1. It doesn’t “expect” the client to negotiate or allow their little green monster to think “the client will never have the budget for me!”

3. It’s not open for negotiating your fee (I know this one is tough).

4. It feels there is plenty of business to go around.

5. It knows that if a client goes away, that they may circle back at another time.

6. It trusts that there will always be enough work.

As much as I have studied the Laws of Attraction, I’m also a realist. Sometimes you just got to pay the bills, right? I understand, and I hope that the minute you start feeling that you and your family are safe, you can start to shift into the mode of The Wealthy Speaker Mindset where you are attracting rather than chasing the business.

Detach From The Outcome

If you have ever been a follower of Wayne Dyer and his ideas around manifesting, this might resonate. You need to take action to tee up the conversation, state your fee and then (this is the important part) detach from the outcome. This is not easy to do especially when Fortune 100 companies are dangling speaking engagements in front of you, sometimes multi-city tours. Your posture can either be one that is chasing the business (I’ve got to have this), or one where you stand tall and state your fee while being fully willing to walk away.

Check In With Your Fee

Ask yourself – is my fee the right fee? Have I set my fee in the market in a way that has me confident that I’m worth it? If you answer yes to this, then I want you to stand tall in your fee, knowing you are worth it.

Remember that old saying from Alan Weiss, “the first sale is to yourself”. You’ve got to believe in the value you are delivering in order for any of this to work.

Supply And Demand

You’d like to stand tall in your fee, but the phone isn’t ringing. So, what do you do? You move into the mode where you take massive action to start making that phone ring.

Kindra Hall did it when she sent out 600 emails over the course of six weeks to launch her speaking career. She didn’t stop marketing there, but that initial action got the ball rolling.

Negotiating Your Fee

Let’s say that the phone is ringing; perhaps people have heard about you from speaking engagements that have already happened. That’s awesome! Being good on the platform is the first key to all of this working.

But they don’t have your budget – what do you do? Well, here’s a line that I think might help lob the ball back into their court.

You say: “I see we are $2,000 apart in my fee and your budget. What might we do to close that gap?”


It’s a beautiful wide-open question that might spur them to think:

1. We can find the money somewhere.

2. We can get a sponsor.

3. We can send a letter with a testimonial to all of our state counterparts (association).

4. We can introduce you to all of the other departments in our company (corporate).

5. We can find you another gig while you are in our town.

Even if you do negotiate, I think you should have a bottom line and Coach Lois Creamer agrees; she says this…

“I’m a believer that you must have your ‘drop dead fee’, meaning the fee from which no negotiation would make sense. It’s so low, you couldn’t and shouldn’t try and make it work!”

Well said Lois. By taking fees that are too low, you will wreak havoc in your self-esteem and undermine your Wealthy Speaker Mindset. Saying “no” will feel like a win if you let it. Sometimes our “no” muscle could use some exercise.

Industry Expectations

The bottom line for this entire conversation is that every time a speaker negotiates their fee, they are teaching another client what to expect and how to treat them. That client then expects that all speakers will negotiate their fees and that trend just isn’t helpful for our industry.

Food for thought.

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