So you’re a speaker and you’re wondering… “What should I charge to speak?”
Most new speakers have no idea what to charge for paid gigs…especially that first paid gig. You know you’re worth it, and you know this is a business…you have to put food on the table somehow. And if you keep doing free gigs, you keep getting free gigs.
So what do you charge to speak?
The advice that most speakers here is… “Charge what you’re worth”
Well that’s pretty stupid!…and let me tell you why.
I personally think I’m worth a million bucks…but for some reason, I can’t see to get paid a million dollars to speak on stage for 60 minutes.
What you think your worth has nothing to do with how much a client will pay you.
If you think you’re worth $20,000 and the client thinks you’re worth $1,000…guess who’s going to win?
There’s no possible way you can determine your worth as a speaker.
Is your worth based on how good you are as a speaker? Well…every speaker thinks they’re Gods gift to the speaking world. Is your worth based on how long you’ve been speaking? I’m sure there are tons of speakers who have been in the industry for over 20 years and still aren’t making over $10,000 as a speaking fee.
So how the heck do you determine your worth?
Another huge problem with this is that the ‘owner’ of something always thinks that ‘something’ is worth more than the ‘buyer.’
This is easy to see with cars. An owner of the car will price that used car at $7,000 and everyone else is thinking, “This doesn’t even look like it’s worth $4,000.” So what happens? People don’t buy.
The same goes for you as a speaker…
You might think, “Ok, I’m going to charge $5,000.” but the client is thinking, “He doesn’t look like a $5,000 speaker.”
Another piece of advice you might have heard is… “Look at what other speakers are charging, who are similar to you, and charge something similar.
Well that’s just as dumb!
First, you have no idea what other speakers are actually doing to get booked. You don’t know their marketing strategy, you don’t know anything about their speaking business other than what you see on the front end. There’s always an ‘invisible side’ to a speaker’s business.
So lets say you know a speaker is charging $10,000 and you think you’re very similar, if not better. And you see all kinds of videos, pictures, etc of this speaker always getting on stages. The problem is what you don’t know is that this speaker is booking his gigs because he’s sponsoring events and as part of that sponsor deal, he says that they have to let him speak on stage.
Now how could you possibly know this unless you personally know that speaker? You can’t!
So when you try to charge a similar rate, you find it hard to get gigs because the way you’re trying to get gigs is by cold calling.
Also, by looking at what other speakers are charging, you’re limiting your self to what they make.
How do you determine what to charge? How do you figure out what your speaking fee is when you’re starting?
The answer is simple…
It doesn’t matter what you think you’re worth, it’s all about what the client is willing to pay.
When the client goes to your website, do they see a speaker who’s worth $10,000 or do they see a speaker who’s worth $500? When the client watches your demo video, do they see a speaker who they really want to bring to their event or do they see a speaker who needs a couple more ‘free gigs’ before they get paid?
Your speaking fee has absolutely nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.
Fortunately, you can control the impression you make on people.
If you have great marketing materials, you can start charging $10,000 as a new speaker. But most speakers don’t start out with great marketing materials. They don’t have a good website, they don’t have video footage, no testimonials….so they look like a beginner speaker to the client.
Take a look at your marketing materials and really ask yourself… “How much would I pay this speaker?”
Then, ask a complete stranger (not your mom)… “From your first impression, how much would you pay?”
…And then cut that number in half. Why? Because they know you’re asking about yourself…and they’re going to be nice to you. So in their mind, they’re going to think, “I wouldn’t even pay $500.” But since they want to be nice, they’re going to say, “Oh….I guess…$1,000”
You can easily ask people at Starbucks.
Whatever other people think you’re worth, that’s an indication of how people see you as a speaker.
Once you know what other people think of your marketing materials, now it’s just a matter of you getting better materials. Do what it takes to get video testimonials, a better site, better video footage. And over time, you will look like a top notch speaker.
And if you have a client, right now, who’s asking how much you charge. Say whatever price you think they’re willing to pay. And then pay close attention to their reaction.
Do they say, “Ok” a little too fast? If so, that means they thought you were worth more. If they say, “Hmm…well let me talk to our committee.” Then that means they think you were worth less and you’re probably not going to get booked to speak.
But whatever you do, you have to realize one thing…
It’s not about what you charge right now, it’s about what you’re going to charge in the future when your speaking business is really up and running.