How Much are You Worth? A Lot More Than You Think!
You hang up the phone with the meeting planner, the engagement is perfect for you, the date is open, and everything feels right. You’re even expecting the engagement to result in additional engagements, based on who will be there for the conference. The great feeling you have suddenly drops when you receive an email from the meeting planner stating how much they enjoyed talking with you, but they’re also looking at several other speakers. The email ends with the line we’ve all seen and heard: “The budget will determine what we can do.” Suddenly, you’re not feeling well. And you start rationalizing how you can make it work regardless of the price they’re willing to pay. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there.
We have to remember, though, that our objective is not simply to get the engagement. Our objective is to get the engagement at the fee we expect and know we deserve! As speakers, the biggest problem we deal with is not stage fright, but fee fright. That’s right… we are afraid of our fee. We’re afraid of telling a meeting planner our fee, for fear they will object. If we believe in ourselves and we believe in the outcomes we can achieve, then why are we afraid of stating our fee? Our problem is we’re not thinking about the outcomes.
The key to getting the fee you know you’re worth is being able to focus on the outcomes expected from your program. Unfortunately, most of us fail to ask the questions upfront to uncover the desired outcomes. As speakers, we gravitate toward asking questions about the venue, size of the audience, dates, etc. Sure, these are relevant questions, but when we put those questions front and center, we wind up making ourselves come across as only a commodity. We become a speaker filling a time slot, rather than a partner in delivering results.
The key is to engage the meeting planner or decision maker immediately with questions that help you understand the outcome or goals of the meeting. When you ask these questions upfront, it sets you apart from everyone else. Let me give you an example regarding focusing the discussion on outcomes. I speak on sales, so as you can imagine my audiences tend to be salespeople. My goal is to get the decision maker to share with me their main points, issues they’re dealing with, and gains they desire. I want to make it absolutely clear to the planner that for them to be successful in dealing with their issues, it is essential for me to be part of their program. When I do this, I’m no longer a speaker. I’m now the solution.
The beautiful thing about framing the conversation in this manner is now, not only is the meeting planner or decision maker gaining confidence in me and what I can provide, but I’m also feeling more confident about what I can do. Following this approach allows me to be firm and deliberate in my fee, because it’s no longer an issue of seeing if they have the budget. It’s now essential for the success of the company to have me there. Discounting the fee is not a strategy we can feel good about. Full fee means full outcome!
Spend some time developing a list of questions you can ask next time you’re on the phone with a meeting planner that will help you uncover “outcomes.” Focus on the main points and opportunities they need help addressing. Knowing those is your ticket to not just a full fee, but an increased fee!