by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief of Social Media Strategy at xynoMedia
I'm noticing a trend lately and it involves a saying that my Grandmother used to say: "You beg what you need and pay for what you want." What she meant by that is, the things most people NEED to have they're not willing to pay for. The things they WANT, they'll spend every dime they have on them. This type of behavior shows a complete lack of focus and upside down priorities.
Case in point, a couple of years ago - with very few exceptions - I stopped speaking for free. No ego; there just comes a point in your career where you have to take things to the next level. What's more, if you charge one organization a speaker's fee and then don't charge a similar organization (word gets around), you lose cool points and integrity.
In the past few weeks, I've received a couple of speaking requests from organizations that for whatever reason (economy, etc.), have decided they would love to have me speak, but could not do so due to lack of funding. By now, you know that I have not bought into the "economy" talk and Lena's economy is doing just fine, thank you very much. But, I do realize that every organization has a different outlook and a different perspective on the corrective turn the finances in this country have taken. Yep, I get it.
What bugs me most is not that the organizations don't have the moola, but that they don't bother to offer other forms of currency. If you're reading this, and you'd like to bring in a speaker whom you don't think you can afford, here are a few things you can offer a speaker that might make up for your lack of cash flow (it doesn't mean they'll accept it, but you can try):
- BORS (Back of the Room Sales) - this means information product sales and book signings and sales
- Opted-in attendee list complete with email addresses (ethical speakers know better than to spam your list)
- Laser consulting/"hot seat" sessions - this sets the stage for possible new client scenarios
- Key meeting set-up - if your members fit in the target market for the speaker (which they should), why not offer to set up a few one-on-one meetings for them while they're in town? This could also lead to a potential client scenario.
- Arrange for media coverage - if you can't pay me, at least help secure media coverage and a one-on-one interview for the event.
There are many more - and if you think of some that I've missed, chime in with a comment below.
The main point is, there's more than one way to "pay" a qualified speaker and if you know your budget is tight, plan on offering one or more of the above options to help sweeten the pot so you can pay for what you NEED.