Are you ready to dramatically increase your return on investment with the very next motivational speaker you hire? With these three simple (and universally applicable) strategies in your back pocket, you’ll be able to leverage your motivational speaker’s time and expertise in several valuable ways. Remember, as the Huffington Post recently pointed out, hiring the wrong speaker can get you into a heap of trouble.
Each strategy is an ‘insider insight’ – Specifically chosen to bring extra benefit to your attendees and / or sponsors without requiring any additional money from you (or much extra effort from your speaker).
Important: For these strategies to work you must overcome any natural reticence and be willing to ask motivational speakers for these concessions. To help you, I’ve given verbiage that will hit the speaker’s psychological hot buttons and make it difficult for them to say no. (I can attest to the effectiveness of these scripts because they’ve been used by savvy decision makers to persuade me!)
Strategy 1: Travel Expenses
One way to increase your speaker ROI is to ask him to cover his own expenses. Here is a “street-smart” psychological trick for getting a motivational speaker to agree to this request. This idea came from the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers…
Answer this question: What can you offer a speaker to compensate them for this extra cost? I’ll tell you: The offer of a quick agreement.
You can say something like: “Great news! We’re ready to hire you as one of our motivational leadership speakers. I can fax back a signed contract today and organize to have your deposit invoice processed immediately. All I ask is that you cover your travel expenses.”
Why is this such a powerful tactic? Simply because a quick agreement is such a huge deal to a motivational speaker. The interval between sending a contract and receiving it back sometimes drags on over months, during which time deals can fall apart. What’s more, when a speaker’s calendar is cluttered with unconfirmed dates, it’s difficult for him to manage his time and book airline tickets. Should the speaker’s assistant book tickets to Orlando from Dallas or Las Vegas? Until the client in Las Vegas returns the speaker’s contract, it’s hard to say.
Once a booking has been confirmed, everything’s much more straightforward. Incidentally, asking a keynote speaker to cover his travel expenses also makes your job easier. Firstly, it caps your speaker budget. You know exactly what your investment will be.
Secondly, it’s a post-meeting time saver. You avoid having to deal with the extra paperwork generated by additional speaker invoices at a time when you’re trying to focus on your next event.
Strategy 2: Trade Show Appearance
If this can be done on the same day as the speaker’s keynote, it’s a tremendous way to generate huge amounts of traffic to your sponsor’s booth without inconveniencing the speaker.
A great way to present this request to your possible inspirational speaker is to ask: “The only way we’ve been able to afford to hire you is the kind contribution from organization XYZ. Would you mind making an appearance at their trade show booth, it would be a great way to thank them for their generosity.” Trust me, it’s very hard to decline that request!
Here’s a related tip: Ask your potential speakers if they have photos of previous trade show appearances. These can be powerfully persuasive to a sponsor. Imagine how much easier it is to ask for sponsorship contributions when you have photos of attendees packed into trade show booths and overflowing into the aisles.
Strategy 3: Book Your Motivational Speaker Directly
I want to be very clear: A speakers bureaus’ commission generally comes directly from a motivational speaker’s fee. Booking a speaker through a bureau doesn’t incur you any additional direct costs. However, it’s common sense that, if you ask a speaker to pay her own travel expenses, do a breakout session, etc, she’s more likely to agree if a third of her regular fee isn’t already going into the pockets of a bureau salesperson.
What’s more, speakers don’t like to set a precedent. If they accommodate your request, they’re going to be asked by that speakers bureau to do the same for other clients. Most importantly – and this is huge – booking a speaker directly gives you a massively powerful bargaining chip for increasing your return on investment.
You can say: “Rather than use a motivational speaker’s bureau I’ve booked you directly so you’re getting 100% of your fee. In return I need you to work with me and [ENTER REQUEST HERE].” Trust me (and I speak from personal experience) this approach works like a dream!
Focus on making one or two well-placed requests of your speaker. Ask for these concessions before the agreement is made. Don’t assume a speaker will be willing to agree to extra demands (even simple requests) after the contract has been signed.
Remember your two most powerful bargaining chips…
- The offer of a quick agreement
- The leverage that comes from booking a speaker directly (rather than using a bureau)
My guess is that you are reading this article because you’re looking for a motivational or leadership speaker. Close your eyes for a moment. Now imagine going back to your boss and saying: “Not only have I booked an amazing motivational speaker, I’ve persuaded him to pay his own expenses and make an appearance at our platinum sponsor’s booth…You’ll look like a rock-star!
Well, now you have all the tools you need to go and make your imagining a concrete reality. Good luck!