Every speaker needs to read this because it’s a simple solution to charging higher speaking fees. 

[Pay attention to the thinking behind this post]

Not too long ago, I got this email…

I run a private event band & DJ combination…we’ve been tossing around a bunch of ideas now on how to get more higher paying corporate gigs as opposed to just booking the regular $5,000 wedding gigs that we’ve been doing. —I wanted to know how we can use sites like EventBrite (or other avenues) to reach more corporate event planners. If you can give any advice on how we as a band can change our context as well that will def help as well.

The email was a little longer but he clearly understands a similarity between speaking and entertainment when it comes to getting hired in the corporate world.

This is something I’ve been trying to tell speakers for a long time. If you want to get hired in the corporate world, then you can also see what entertainers are doing and model the same actions to get high paying corporate gigs.

But lets get to the answer of his question…

To get hired in the corporate world, you will definitely have to change your brand/context.

There aren’t too many company events that hire a DJ. Yes, they have music at the events, but they don’t hire a DJ.

What do they hire?

Audio/Visual guys.

Every event I speak at, they always have the audio guys in the back of the room. And they’re always in charge of the mics for the event…plus the music. Whenever there’s dead time, because they’re switching to a new speaker, etc…the audio guys play music.

See where I’m going?

There’s a HUGE link between how much you make at corporate events by calling yourself the AV Tech guys versus calling yourself a DJ. So it’s crucial that you make change your image from ‘DJ’ to ‘Audio/Visual.’

[Speakers…do you see how crucial your image is? A simple change can catapult your speaking fee]

DJs do weddings and parties (and make a ton of money in Vegas, but that’s a whole new story). But Audio Guys do corporate events.

When you make this image-change, you will be able to easily charge $25,000 and more for corporate events.

The same situation you’re in is the exact situation I was in when I used to call myself a ‘magician.’ First, I called myself a ‘magician’ but people would think ‘kid parties.’ And that has a limit on how much one can charge.

Then I called myself a ‘mentalist’ and since most people weren’t sure what a mentalist is, they couldn’t put a dollar amount to it.

And finally, I called myself a speaker because speakers are perceived to have a higher value.

It’s common for a speaker to charge $10,000 or $15,000 but it’s not common for an ‘entertainer’ to charge that much unless you’re extremely well known.

By shifting the context in which companies saw me, I was able to easily increase my rates.

You have to do the same thing.

From now on, you’re not a DJ. You’re the Audio Guy for company events. And you don’t just do the audio, you provide a full-blown experience…because you also have the band that you can offer.

Companies not only need the audio guys for their events, but after they find the audio guys, they usually want entertainment. So this puts you in a unique position…

You can create a ‘conference experience.’

What do I mean?

Whenever companies have events and bring in the audio guys, you can ask them if they would like the full ‘conference experience’ that you offer. And this ‘experience’ includes the band as entertainment.

First, you have to sell the company on the audio part (because that’s the easy sell since EVERY company event needs it) and then you mention the fact that you have a band for a little extra.

Does that make sense?

Now lets get to the second part of your question about EventBrite and other sites.

The best way to connect with corporate meeting planners is to find an event and contact the person in charge of the event…asking them about whether or not they have AV Techs for the event.

More often than not, they will say yes. Because by the time an event is posted online, they already have the details for the AV guys all set.

But, you still want to network with them because they’re a buyer, they just didn’t get a chance to buy from you…yet.

This is similar to what I do to find events by paying attention to other speaker’s successes. When I see that another speaker is hired for an event, I make note of it because it tells me that the business hires speakers at X amount…so next year, I can contact them to hire me.

You want to do the same in the AV world.

Even if they say that they have their AV Techs all set, keep their info and contact them next year (way before the event) to see if they’re interested in bringing you in.

The purpose of EventBrite and other websites that have events isn’t to get hired that very second…because they usually have everything planned out by then. The purpose is to find the people who hire, and then contact them when they have another event in the future.

In the corporate world, the person hiring you can be anybody in the company. It can be someone from the sales department, HR, VP, a manager, etc.

And because of this, you have to think more like a networker. A networker doesn’t expect to get business right there and then. Instead, he keeps in touch with people and when the time is right, he gets the business.

That’s how you’re going to use sites like EventBrite.

You’re going to build up your network of people who have connections in companies.

(I really recommend you listen to the interview with Robert Strong because you can hear how he builds relationships with people who hire him and by doing this, he stays booked)

And once you get a company event, you need to maximize the opportunity as much as possible.

Since most companies have more than one event a year, you want to get into talks about doing a contract for multiple events (and they get a discount if they hire you for multiple events).

Ultimately, the way you’re going to use sites like EventBrite is to come from the standpoint of networking, not expecting to send an email and get hired for a gig right there on the spot.

The hardest part about getting hired in the corporate world is connecting with the right person who can hire you. So you have to use websites to network like a madman.

And that’s the answer to your question.

  1. Change your context/image by becoming the Audio/Visual Guys at the event
  2. Use sites to network with people