How I Became a Speakers Bureau “INSIDER”
As president of the Las Vegas Convention Speakers Bureau, I now know what many speakers do wrong in their efforts to get booked. This is because before I founded the speakers bureau, I was an author and a speaker. I hate to admit I’ve made many of those same mistakes myself.
The fact that I have now worked running a speakers bureau AND as a speaker puts me in a unique position to help other speakers. I used to work hard to promote myself to get hired for paid speaking engagements. Now, even though I am still happy to speak, I also work to help my clients find and book the best speakers for their events. I have done both of these jobs successfully. Launching the Las Vegas Convention Speakers Bureau and seeing all the ways speakers go about trying to get booked for paid gigs now makes me laugh at many of the tacts I, myself, used to take! And THIS is what makes me a valuable “INSIDER” and a resource for speakers today.
Speakers Bureau Insights
Some speakers have other jobs and want to speak as “industry experts.” This category includes doctors, professors, engineers, and other professionals from varied fields. The biggest mistake they make is having someone from their office (or worse – their wife or mother!) make calls or send letters on their behalf. I get tons of letters that start out with, “Dear Robin, My name is Jennifer and I work with Dr. Johnson. He is an incredible speaker.”
MORE Mistakes that Speakers Make
Some of the mistakes speakers and their reps make when contacting the speakers bureau include reaching out to promote themselves without first establishing a need. Instead, “the Jennifers” of the world would do better to open with Dr. Johnson’s credentials, keep it brief, and send a short video clip of the doctor wowing an audience.
I often hear from people who want to SIGN UP to be listed. I don’t have a sign up sheet or standard intake form. The Las Vegas Convention Speakers Bureau is a smaller, boutique bureau. I can book nearly ANY speaker working today, but I have a few speakers on each topic that I know will make my clients happy, so my focus lies in promoting them. Even bureaus that list 5,000 speakers have their favorites, too. I have a tip for getting around that at the end of this post.
“Please send us an application for your speakers bureau.” I get this one a lot! As I just wrote, I don’t have an application, per se. I need to hear about you or discover you.
Have a NARROW FOCUS!
“Speaker has a broad range of subjects they speak on.” THIS may sound like a great line, but it’s not. The more a speaker can specialize in any given topic, the more successful they will become. You speak on Sales? What kind of sales? Network marketing, outside sales, real estate sales? See how being extremely specific can be a plus? No one can be all things to all people. I know several speakers who worked for national training companies before striking out on their own. They speak on ALL topics – Sales, Leadership, Overcoming Adversity, Motivation, Creativity, and more. It’s FINE to have those talks in your tool box. But, to get booked more often and for a higher fee, you want to specialize!
Lastly, I hear from speakers who “…are looking for more opportunities to speak.” That’s a big, “No kidding!” ALL speakers want more speaking opportunities.
The key to a successful speaking strategy absolutely includes getting listed with speakers bureaus. More than that, though, the best thing a speaker can do today is to set themselves on fire so they will get noticed not just by the speakers bureau, but by ALL the speakers bureaus and meeting planners in the world! That means they should have a best-selling book, have an attractive and informative Website, they should write blog posts and maintain a strong social media presence, and have captivating video of themselves really connecting with an audience. It takes a multi-pronged approach to attain great speaker success.