There are lots of speakers in this world, but only a few make money doing it.
In this post, I’m going to show you how to build your value as a speaker so you can charge more and get booked more often.
If people think you’re like every other speaker out there then they will ask you to speak for free. And the reason speakers get asked to speak for free is because they haven’t shown that they’re worth paying for.
Would anyone ask Bill Clinton to speak for free?
They wouldn’t ask because they see the value in hiring someone like him for their event.
Not too long ago, I was at the Palms hotel in Vegas and I’m sitting down in a lounge chair. There’s a guy sitting in front of me who seems like he’s waiting on someone, and behind him are a group of 8 other guys having fun.
Then, this short guy walks in to sit with the guy in front of me. They say, “What’s up” to each other, and sit down to have some drinks. And then I noticed something interesting.
The 8 guys were looking over and pointing at one of the two guys.
Then one of them walked over and said, “Hey…you’re [so-and-so] right?”
And the guy said, “Yeah.”
All 8 got excited and asked to take pictures with this guy.
The whole time, I’m thinking,
Is this guy a celebrity or something?
So it got me thinking…
How do you build value? I had no idea who the guy was that took pictures with the group, but he had value. And his value was built by the context around him.
As a speaker, if you know how to build value, you can charge more for speaking and get booked more often. It will be easier to fill up your schedule consistently and your speaking business will grow.
So lets get into detail about how you build your value as a speaker.
Before I get into everything, let me say this…
Building value has NOTHING to do with your content when people don’t know you.
Most speakers think they can have a good presentation and that alone will get them hired but that’s not how it works.
Nobody knows you have a great presentation until AFTER they’ve hired you. But you have to build value BEFORE they hire you, so you can get hired in the first place.
That’s why I cringe when I see the advice of, “Have a great presentation and you’ll get hired.” Bull. That’s not how it works.
If someone said, “Have a great presentation and you’ll get booked…again.” Then that’s more reasonable. But to get hired when someone doesn’t know who you are, you have to build value first…then get hired…then build more value with your presentation.
Here’s how you build your value as a speaker:
1. Offer something other’s don’t/can’t
This is the number one reason why I get hired. It’s because I offer something that very few speakers offer. I offer insane-engagement by using mind reading demonstrations in my presentations. I’m a psychological illusionist, so I might as well use it in my speeches.
For the longest time, I used to think that the top speakers were getting hired because they were better. But then I realized that they were getting hired because they’re different.
We don’t have anything that measures ‘better’ when hiring a speaker. How does someone know if Speaker X is better than Speaker Y if they haven’t seen either one? They don’t.
They can watch the speaker’s video reels, but what if both speakers seem great? What if both speakers have great marketing materials? How do you pick between them?
This is where the differentiation comes into play.
They picked Speaker X because he seemed funnier. They picked him because he seems to….
The more you can differentiate yourself from other speakers, the better.
When a lot of speakers think about differentiation, they think they have to do something crazy…like mind reading. But differentiation can come in different forms.
…You can differentiate yourself by showing how you create custom presentations for each client.
…You can differentiate yourself through technology. Maybe you don’t just have a powerpoint, maybe you have a full-blown experience with your powerpoint.
…You can differentiate yourself by using lots of humor.
…Or you can even differentiate yourself by having an in-depth preparation process.
In some way or another, you have to demonstrate why you’re different. And you have to emphasize it.
There’s no point in saying something like, “Speaker John Doe creates custom presentations.” And only having that one line hidden on your website somewhere.
If that’s your differentiating factor, emphasize it everywhere. Emphasize it in your header, in the pictures, the videos, emphasize it everywhere.
You’ll notice on my website, the differentiation aspect of me doing mind reading and the presentation being interactive is all over the website.
So don’t just think about why you’re different. Emphasize it.
2. Having a high speaking fee
Yes, having a high speaking fee alone can build your value as a speaker.
When someone sees a speaker for $1,000 vs a speaker for $20,000…which one seems to have more value? Obviously the one that charges more.
A lot of speakers think in terms of, “What can I do to charge more to speak?”
But sometimes, charging more to speak, is the thing you can do.
We naturally associate a higher price to being ‘better.’ It’s just a psychological trick our minds play on us.
And the opposite is true as well. We associate a lower price with lower quality. We think it will ‘break’ or won’t be as good as the higher priced one.
In fact, a lot of people buy the higher priced item just because it cost more.
As a speaker, if you’re the low-option, then what are you really saying to a client who wants to hire you? You’re basically saying, “I’m just starting out and I’m all that great. Because if I was, I would be charging more.”
Your speaking fees talk, whether you like it or not.
One test that you can do is to put your speaking fee on your website. Just like how a speaker bureau puts a speaker’s fee-range on their site, you can do the same thing. On your contact page, put a fee-range.
$10,000-$15,000 (or whatever you want that’s above what you charge).
And here’s what will happen.
…You will get offered higher speaking fees than what you’re charging now.
Lets say you’re charging $3,000. And you put on your website that your fee range is $10,000-$15,000. What’s going to happen is someone will contact you and say something like, “Hey, we only have a budget of $5,000….”
How do I know this will happen?
Because it happens to all speakers when they increase their fee.
Before I started charging $10,000, I couldn’t get a $5,000 gig to save my life. Whenever someone contacted me, I would hold my breath and say “$5,000” but it was over budget and they could only pay $2,000.
But when I started charging $10,000…I can’t tell you how many times someone said something like, “We can only give you $5,000” or “We only have $7,500 max.”
You can think of your speaking fee as just ‘how much you make’ or you can think of your speaking fee as a ‘tool to build value.’
So you have to ask yourself, what are your speaking fees saying about you?
3. Everyone wants to book you to speak
Scarcity increase value.
As a speaker, you can demonstrate your value by showing how valuable you are to others. And one way to do that is to show that you’re constantly booked.
Some speakers will have their calendar posted on their website which shows how they’re booked up 8 months in advanced. And what do you think happens to a meeting planner when they see the speaker’s schedule?
The meeting planner is thinking…
“This speaker must be good. We can’t book him for 8 months.”
Demand is a demonstration of value.
If you want to get hired more often, demonstrate how often you get hired.
One big way to do this is the change how you communicate with people, on your website, and when they contact you.
When most speakers get contacted for a gig, they come from the standpoint of, “Please hire me to speak at your event.” And it’s a weak position.
Instead, you need to come from the standpoint of, “Oh man. I’ve got so much going on that I need to check if we can fit you in.”
There’s a huge difference.
You can demonstrate that you’re busy by having your schedule online.
Even if you’re not booked with live events, maybe you do webinars. So you can post those webinars online.
You can change the text on your contact page to say, “For availability” instead of, “Hire John.”
When someone calls you and asks for your rates, you need to immediately say,
First, I need the date of your event so I can check to see if I’m available.
These are little things that you have to do as a speaker to demonstrate that you’re getting hired by other people because if you don’t demonstrate it, then you will lose value as a speaker.
Videos are a huge deciding factor in whether or not you get hired as a speaker.
And videos alone can build up enough value to get hired.
How do I know?
Because several clients have mentioned that they hired me strictly because of my videos.
They talk about how they like the interaction, and they talk about how they showed the committee (if there is one) my videos so they can increase the budget to bring me out to their event.
Videos persuade people to hire you because it shows them what they’re getting.
Your marketing materials need to demonstrate so much value in you that when you do quote them your fee, they should be relieved because they thought you were going to charge a lot more.
If you don’t have a lot of video footage as a speaker then your number one priority should be to get it. Forget everything else and go get video footage.
Don’t create your one-sheet
Don’t create products
Don’t do anything…except get video footage.
5. Speaker website
I’ve written a lot about speaker websites so I won’t go into too much detail here.
But if you want to increase your value as a speaker then you better have a great website.
I’m talking about a website that’s so good that it instantly conveys your value without them having to read a single thing on your site.
The best websites pass a scan-test.
A scan-test is when someone can just look at your website, without reading anything, and know that you’re a top-notch pro. If you said, “I charge $10,000 then they would believe you.”
But a speaker-website that doesn’t pass this test will have a hard time getting any type of gig.
If your website looks like it’s from 1998 then you need to do something about it.
Have some pride in your image as a speaker.
Everything you represent is in your website. Your message, yourself, everything. So put your best foot forward.
Reviews are invisible persuaders.
What do I mean?
Reviews persuade people without people noticing the huge affect it has on them.
And the more reviews something has, the bigger the effect.
Having just one or two reviews doesn’t do anything. But having hundreds will persuade even the most skeptical. Why? Because not everyone could be lying. There has to be a little bit of truth in it if so many people are raving about this ‘thing.’
If you want to build your value as a speaker then you need to have tons of great reviews.
The best reviews are the ones that express emotions and are from very well-known companies. The more well-known, the better.
Pictures will increase your value as a speaker because they demonstrate the experience you create and they demonstrate how in-demand you are.
There are mainly two types of pictures you should have.
The first type is the crowd picture. These types of pictures show you on stage, speaking, and the big crowd can be seen.
You want to have these pictures because it shows that this isn’t your first rodeo.
And the second type of picture are the ‘distinction’ shots. These types of pictures come back to ‘why you’re different’ as a speaker.
Remember #1 in this post? I talked about how you need to figure out why you’re different?
The pictures that build your value as a speaker should demonstrate why you’re different.
In my case, I talk about interaction/engagement/mind reading so those are the types of pictures I post on my website.
If my reason for being different was ‘humor’ then I would show pictures of people laughing really hard.
Pictures should compliment the words on your website.
And of course…publicity.
If you have any type of publicity then you instantly increase your value as a speaker because publicity is associated with celebrity-status. And celebrities demonstrate massive value.
To get publicity, you have to focus on the producers (assuming you want to get on TV). And the producers are thinking about their viewers. They’re thinking, “Will this segment keep people’s attention?”
So if you want publicity then you have to sell your segment by showing them how you’re going to keep the attention of their viewers.
But once you get publicity as a speaker, your value increases dramatically.
Ultimately, building your value as a speaker comes down to knowing how to sell yourself. It comes down to creating the right marketing materials so you convince people that you’re worth hiring.
Don’t assume that just because you’re a great speaker that people are going to instantly recognize your value. They won’t. You have to know how to sell yourself.
You have to let people come to their own conclusions about your value as a speaker, by influencing them in the right way. And if you do this right, they will think you didn’t sell them at all…they will just naturally want to hire you.