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What's to be expected from Speaker Bureaus?

What's to be expected from Speaker Bureaus?

Write-up by Clive Simpkins

What's to be expected from Speaker Bureaus?

1) Make a booking, maintain in touch to confirm or most importantly, cancel that booking. This is the single greatest failure and diary-disrupter in my experience, when dealing with bureaus.

2) Stop being paranoid about speakers stealing 'your' clients. If they do so, have the balls to fire them and then spread the word about why you have accomplished so. Unless of course, you're so mercenary that you don't want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. In which case, live with their lack of professionalism.

three) Have the courtesy to know a little about the client when you call the speaker. I've been given actually dreadfully poor information from time to time.

4) If you have a money-flow issue, tell the speaker. Don't pretend the client hasn't paid when we happen to know they have. That is just tacky.

5) You basically have to go for completely transparent invoicing. i.e. The final invoice to the client is copied to the speaker - as in the cc shown on the page, so the client knows the speaker has noticed it. Why should the speaker not be able to talk about fees if you are really getting up-front and consistent with your commission mark-up? Non-disclosure proves you're not being straightforward. Feel about it. Get rid of this problem, you will be rid of 80% of all the problems.

6) In some circumstances you truly do not know what a speaker can do. You have fallen into a comfort zone of stereotypes, exactly where it's easiest to punt the effortless sell. So you minimize the diversity in your own market.

7) Do far more to grow embryonic speakers. I know of a number of who do truly superb work, but you're merely too up your own bums to give them exposure. Keep in mind: You do not have a organization future with out speakers, if that is your core providing.

8) Give up on the notion that you're doing speakers a favour or that they owe or 'need' you. They don't. And if your industry sector doesn't clean up its act, there might, at some point, be a concerted push-back from the most influential speakers and you could discover your self with out a industry.

9) Don't sabre-rattle about what will occur to individuals who 'cross' you. Just exactly who the hell do you think you are? The mafia? The erstwhile KGB? Grow up for God's sake.

10) Give the speaker any feedback received from the client, good or poor. I've identified that in some instances the great is withheld. Why? Bizarre. Are you afraid the speaker will want to charge a lot more? That they'll create the very same ego that afflicts you?

11) Don't give us the rubbish that you 'only pay twice monthly'. Nowadays with EFT, you're stealing the speaker's cash when you're earning interest on it because you don't pay as soon as it's in your account, or due to the speaker. Now that's unethical behaviour.

12) Do not hold off on paying speakers when you're busy funding events that demand up-front payment and your cash-flow goes pear-shaped. That is your company choice. Do not involve the speaker in your dollars troubles.

13) Quit becoming the vindictive shrews that some of you are. Quit the vendettas. Quit the behind-the-hand 'skindering' (bad-mouthing) about the speakers you hate but are too terrified to ditch. Develop some scruples, some emotional intelligence and function at creating a hint of social sophistication.

14) If your business model isn't financially viable at 20% commission on the speaker's fee, then renegotiate it, but let's see what added value you deliver for the extra dollars.

15) The way some of you behave, it's as though you resent the quite folks who are your revenue generators. There is a straightforward solution - get out of the organization you are in.

16) Lastly, if you do not like the truths becoming written about some in your business, clean it up, self-regulate, do one thing. But do have the spine to confront the writers themselves. Do not just decimate a 'virtual' forest with self-pitying e-mails.

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