Hello and welcome to my blog designed to assist motivational speakers from all backgrounds whether famous or not to increase their speaking engagements. Last time I talked about what I thought 2009 would bring for the UK’s motivational speakers and how they could up their game.
Motivational speakers are in constant demand in the UK and around the world. At Pro-Motivate we can even tell you who is hot at the moment and who is not. We provide ongoing updates on our website of who our Top 10 speakers in demand are at any time for all to see. At present I can say that this is legendary British adventurer and ex-SAS soldier Sir Ranulph Fiennes, by virtue of the fact that he has over 40 years of fascinating stories and is amongst the world’s leading public speakers.
So what happens if you’re not Ranulph Fiennes and you’re looking for opportunities without a natural pipeline of business?
Put simply, you’ve got to work bloody hard to find it. This is where you need the help of speaker bureaus. In the UK the speaker market is fairly mediocre by comparison to the USA where agencies have been churning out speakers since the middle of the last century. In the UK the speaker market didn’t really exist prior to the 1990’s. There are a small number of reputable speaker bureaus and within them, agents who know their stuff and have the contacts that you would like them to have. There are also many web based bureaus that are effectively ‘skims’ of the leading bureaus – you should avoid these and can tell them usually by the poor quality of imagery and incorrect text that the speaker biographies contain.
Speakers rely on bureaus for business. Sure, companies can go directly to a speaker via their website but this is additional hassle and the speaker agent is better placed to negotiate fees, suggest perhaps better alternative speakers and ultimately manage the entire booking to a satisfactory conclusion. The leading speakers will all derive about 90% of their business from the speaker bureau so getting into bed with a speaker bureau is highly recommended. I and Pro-Motivate would also strongly recommend a relationship with more than one agent, ideally 3 – 5, one of which should be in the USA if you have a particularly interesting background. But be aware in order to maximise your opportunities you’ll need to spend time building rapport with your bureau.
A further option when working with a speaker bureau is to sign an exclusive contract with one bureau. This means that only this bureau will represent you in the open market. Unless you are Tony Blair or Bill Clinton who understandably cannot manage their own diary this is total waste of time. In the UK there is simply no need for exclusive speaker representation. Going exclusive means that you kill off gaining opportunities from other bureau and you’ll lose a lot of income at the same time. One speaker bureau doesn’t like booking via another speaker bureau especially if they know the bureau is also adding on a healthy commission. In the USA the speaker bureau’s split the agents commission 50/50 – in the UK this does not happen, the client two sets of commission without realising it. Pro-Motivate would like to see this overcharging by the few exclusive bureaus stopped immediately. Effectively the exclusive bureaus are getting the work from other agents and earning a full commission at the same time. That’s unethical business.
Hopefully these tips are helpful and I wish you good luck in 2009.
If you require any further help feel free to drop me a line at Pro-Motivate.
Founder & Director
Pro-Motivate International Speaker Bureau – London