If you’re a keynote speaker and you’ve worked with speaker bureaus then you’ve probably wondered how much they’re really charging a client for your speaking fee.

You’ve even heard stories about speakers who quote a fee and later they find out that they charged the client double what the speaking fee was…wow! Is that unethical? How much should speaker bureaus make off the keynote speakers they hire?

The answer…

As much as they can!!!

Most keynote speakers are so caught up in what the other guy is making that they don’t pay attention to their own business.

Setting your speaking fee isn’t up to the speaker bureau, it’s up to you. Negotiating your speaking fee isn’t up to the bureau, it’s your choice. So when a speaker bureau asks you how much you would charge for an event and you quote a price, whatever the charge the client is up to them.

Now lets say your speaking fee is $10,000 and the speaker bureau and one day you find out that they’re charging $20,000 for your keynote presentations…that should tell you something. You should immediately realize that you were under-valuing yourself because if they can get double your speaking fee then the clients obviously think you’re worth it.

Not too long ago, there was a post on Facebook where a speaker was asking for advice. He said that a bureau contacted him about an event, he quoted his price, and the bureau asked him to discount it. He asked what they budget was and the bureau didn’t want to tell him…hmm…should he take the gig? The speaker discounted his price (almost half) and took the gig…but then he started complaining about shady the bureau was acting.

What would you have done?

Should the speaker bureau be obligated to tell him the budget? (Keep in mind, nobody was holding a gun to his head to accept the gig)

You’re about to read a piece of business advice that can generate more revenue for your speaking business than most people realize. It’s a piece of advice that most speakers forget to implement but something that seems so simple because bureaus will love working with you. What’s the advice?

Let speaker bureaus make as much money off you as possible.

Think about that from the standpoint of a speaker bureau. You have two speakers who do a great job but one speaker wants to make sure they’re getting most of the profit since they’re the one on stage, and the other speaker doesn’t mind how much profit you make as long as he gets what he asks for. Which speaker would you recommend more?

Speaker bureaus recommend the speakers they make the most money from.

Have you ever wondered why speaker bureaus don’t really work with speakers who charge below $1,000? It’s because they can’t run a serious business when they’re only making $200 from a speaker. Have you ever wondered why all the top speaker bureaus constantly feature celebrity speakers on their site? It’s because they can make a lot of money by booking that celebrity speaker versus a normal speaker.

The more money you can make a speaker bureau, the more they’re going to recommend you.

This doesn’t mean that you should discount your speaking fee but it does mean that you should only focus on what your fee is, not what they’re making. If you want $20,000 then ask for it but don’t get mad at them if you lower your value as a speaker.

You decide how you run your business and if you don’t like the terms then you can walk away. Not too long ago, a speaker bureau wanted me for an event and I told them I need a 50% deposit. The speaker bureau said the way they work is that they give the full fee after I speak at the event. What did I say?

I said, “Thanks but no thanks. Either I get the 50% deposit or it’s a no-go.” It’s important to understand that you set the rules of your speaking business. With my business, I don’t even walk out of the house without a 50% deposit.

As a professional speaker, you need to determine your speaking fee and how you run your business…then let the speaker bureaus run theirs.