Category Archives: Marketing

When Is It Time to Join a Speakers Bureau?

This is a question I receive many times a week from Speakers: “When Is It Time to Join a Speakers Bureau?”

I don’t hesitate or blink an eye when I share: “when you are already booking yourself consistently for paid events!”

That answer usually leads to the next question: “what does a Speakers Bureau really do for a Speaker?”

With over 250 different speakers bureaus currently listed in the United States, most are thought of only as a listing service rather than as an extension of a speakers’ marketing plan. The major benefit is that the bureau handles the billing and contract negotiation with the event planner.

This is why it is so important for a speaker to know how a bureau operates before they sign on and enable someone other than themselves to find and book speaking engagements for them.

Once those two questions are answered the next one that always follows is: “what should a speaker ask and have in place before they actually reach out to a speakers bureau?”

Having once been a paid professional speaker myself, and knowing one has to keep current on what is going on in our industry, here are some key things I share with speakers that they need to know and do in choosing a speakers bureau; and also what they need to have in place for a speakers bureau to accept representing them:

  • Realize a speakers bureau does not take start up speakers; have to be consistently booking paid speaking events.
  • Check with other speaker friends to see which ones they are listed with.
  • Ask them if they are happy with their bureau.
  • Determine how the speakers bureau will handle your billing and event contracts.
  • Understand there is no better booking agent than you , however a speakers bureau can give you more traffic and increased bookings.
  • Have a defined business plan where you see a speakers bureau is not a replacement for your marketing plan, it is only an extension of it.
  • Be very cautious about signing with a speakers bureau that wants you to be exclusive with them.  Read everything you are given.
  • Determine how you are going to do business with a speakers bureau.  A lot of bureaus now do not have a signed agreement in place with the speakers they represent; but look at it this way, shouldn’t a speaker want one? As a speaker you have one with your clients, so why shouldn’t you have one with someone you are allowing to represent you to a client?
  • Make sure you have a total package to offer a speakers bureau, which you should already have in place to be able to book yourself. At my bureau my Executive Team reviews all our requests for representation using these quidelines:
    –   Been a paid professional speaker for at least two years.
    –   Have a determined Fee structure range.
    –   Provide evidence of consistent bookings and business plans.
    –   Have a Social Media strategy in place.
    –   Have current up to date Marketing materials which includes:
    One sheet, Professional photos, Professional video clip,
    Recommendations from clients,  List of paid clients,
    Updated website, Have a Social Media Strategy, and Current
    publications such as Books, Blogs, and Articles.
  • There is no guarantee a speakers bureau can get you bookings right away- timing is everything.
  • Event Planners seldom look to a speakers bureau for just one speaker, they usually want 3-6 speakers to look at before making a decision.
  • Choose a speakers bureau that has your best interests at heart, and wants to develop an open relationship of mutual cooperation.

I do my best to be a “Booking Bureau” rather than just a “listing agency”, as I do not want to waste a speaker’s valuable time, nor mine or my staff’s either. I spend the
biggest part of my workday, seeking and working with event planners and decision makers, to match and book the perfect speaker for their events.

I have learned this from our industry: A speaker does not have to compete or compare themselves to another speaker, they just have to be ‘in’ the competition, and know what event planners and decision makers of today are looking for!

Sue Falcone is the CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau. She has come full circle in her experience of being a former Corporate Executive that hired speakers, to becoming a sought-after speaker and author being hired, to now representing some of the most Remarkable speakers on the Planet for clients to hire.  Sue is a well respected thought leader in the industry of the ever changing world of professional speaking!

Don’t Leave Your BIG Goals to Chance! Reliably Achieve BIG Goals Faster

Don’t Leave Your BIG Goals to Chance! Reliably Achieve BIG Goals Faster

By Carl Loop

Do you hear people state a BIG goal that makes you inwardly (or outwardly) just shake your head in disbelief? As in, you have about as much chance of accomplishing that as a New Years resolution (which has about 8% chance of being accomplished on average).
And yet, people do accomplish goals, they even accomplish BIG goals that they (and often everyone else) once thought were impossible!
• 7 and 8 Figure Business Growth at Record Speed
• Owning 200 Investment Property Homes
• 1st Female NFL Coach and Hall of Fame
• Feeding 10’s of Thousands of People
• Winning the Nobel Prize
• Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with No Arms and No Legs (Kyle Maynard)

Leaving your BIG Goals to Chance risks having them downsized or discarded! Reliably Achieve BIG Goals Faster from these 5 Steps!
5 Steps to Reliably Achieve BIG Goals Faster!

The Power of Vision.

“Without Vision the Past Predicts the Future.”
The future is predictable without a Vision. A Vision uses your Belief System to creates new access to something greater. A Vision is your “come from” place and communicates your BOLD Stand. It’s the secret weapon that pulls you through tough times and boosts you to a higher place.
Having only a resource and task focus develops survival/safety concerns which bring survival results and create interactions of force, competition, self-interest and disconnection. Vision focus develops aliveness, power, collaboration, community and connection, all of which reliably drive you higher.

Don’t Go it Alone.

Individually, we are self-limiting, less accountable and less reliable. One of my BIG successful clients says: “we have that little voice in our head that doesn’t want us to be anything.”  When we are aware of others knowing and supporting what we are up to, or being aware that others expect our greatness, it pulls us higher and more reliably forward. The best version of ourselves comes when we contribute to others and others contribute to us.

Performance on Purpose.

“If you’re just performing to lifeless goals, you’ll be lifeless about achieving them.”
The greatest version of you, the version that has and can achieve the impossible, comes from connecting to a purpose (rooted in your Vision) that moves you. Performance on Purpose comes from seeing your life as a movie where you are the hero having victory over undesirable forces, and where you are helping to free others from those undesirable forces.
A goal driven by purpose has a much higher reliability to be achieved.
Also, we must continuously renew ourselves with our purpose so we can maintain performance at our extraordinary personal best.

Planning.

“Businesses that Plan Together Pull Together.”
Create a unified Roadmap of Prioritized Goals, Plan, Action. Clarity catapults results.
It’s only a lofty dream until you know the steps for achieving it.
Often, in the patterns and chaos of daily doing, we miss the BIG pieces unless we have the Vision, Goals, Plan, Action roadmap.

Set “Control Points” So You Maintain Progress.

Communicate frequently at specific, committed times. Committed communication greatly increases Reliably Achieving BIG Goals Faster.
Develop and Commit to an Escalation process when things go off track. Have a “By When” date on when you will complete something.
Define and Accept an accountability process and have discipline to hold yourself -and accept having others- hold you to it.

Don’t leave your BIG Goals to chance.  Schedule a 15 minutes conversation today!

Carl Loop says the most amazing thing about what he does is to help people “See the Unseen” to LEAP opportunities.  His various award-winning corporate, entrepreneurial, creative, technical and leadership background and experiences enable him to bring a new perspective so you see the unseen to “Achieve The LEAP.”

Carl is passionate about helping people “Achieve The LEAP.”  To date, he has helped businesses profit by 10’s of Millions of dollars…and counting!  When Carl was very young, he could jump really far, and became a bit of a celebrity in schoolyard competitions. People started calling Carl “Leaping Loop” and it has stuck ever since! Call 888-766-3155 to book Carl for your next event!

The Strategic Fit – Building Relationships with Speakers’ Bureaus

The Strategic Fit – Building Relationships with Speakers’ Bureaus

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM

This is the final piece in a three-part series recapping a conversation I had with Sue Falcone, Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau on how planners can strategically build relationships with speaker’s bureaus. The Strategic Fit - Building Relationships with Speakers' Bureaus

This is the final piece in a three-part series recapping a conversation I had with Sue Falcone, Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau on how planners can strategically build relationships with speaker’s bureaus. Part one introduces the value of the speakers’ bureau, and part two talks about event speaker trends.

Christy: What do you do about speakers who speak from scripts and are reluctant or unwilling to adapt the message to an audience?

Sue: It’s essential to make sure every client gets a unique and custom experience. Audiences will not accept “canned” presentations, although once that was the norm.  Every speaker search I do starts with a thorough questionnaire for the speaker and the planner so that I know exactly what is expected from and needed from both sides.  It doesn’t matter how many times I have worked with a client; every piece of business must be earned.  Fresh, relevant material is a must and that means adapting to the audience.

Christy: What do you say to those who think they can’t afford to hire a speaker or to those who would prefer to simply book directly?

Sue: I focus on creating an experience from the initial contact, so fees are not the first thing we discuss. I want to know what the client is looking for and what the goal is for bringing in the speaker. From there, it’s my job to find solutions and secure a speaker they like and need.

As for being able to afford my services, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Always ask if the bureau’s fees are paid for by the client or the speaker as it varies by organization. At Remarkable Speakers! the speaker pays for the booking, so there is no cost to the client for utilizing my services. It is also important to know that the speaker fees we quote are not marked up to cover the fees the speaker pays us.

The additional thing to keep in mind is the expertise offered by the bureau. After listening to what the client wants, I make initial recommendations, factoring in not just the speaker’s content but their style. It has to be a good fit at every level. No one has time to waste, so working with a pro means only seeing speakers who meet your needs, style and budget. Watching clips on You Tube and searching the net for speakers can take hours and may not lead you anywhere.

Christy:  Planners are so often in ‘go’ mode that they forget to stop and consult the experts. It’s a good reminder that help is available and that the service providers will likely do a better job than we could. Thanks for that quick reality check!

Sue: I think we can all fall into that trap sometimes! To continue: as for budget: I never apologize or shy away from the cost to book a speaker. Some of the best advice ever given to me that I live by was: “when quoting fees you should be able to do it without blinking an eye. Do it with confidence, facts, and commitments.”

That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for negotiation.  Both sides need to walk away feeling good about the partnership. I can work with both parties to create mutually agreeable terms.  I love the “thrill of the hunt” and closing deals. After booking thousands of speakers I have tons of creative ways clients and speakers can find middle ground.

Christy: My friend is a speaker. Why do I need one of yours?

Sue:  Now, more than ever, everyone thinks they are a speaker, or knows someone who is! I always thank my clients for the opportunity to “earn their business.” Often, when looking for a speaker, initially, people do not know what they want. Even if they have a friend or colleague in mind, it’s a good possibility they still are looking for suggestions. I find that many times after a few questions, the client is not quite as sold on their friend as it might have first appeared.

Knowing the speaker has advantages but does not guarantee it’s the right fit. I ask questions about what they are looking for in their speaker, and does their friend have all need to have a successful event. I share key things to look at; great video clips, an active and engaged social media presence where you can see reviews and testimonials, and what their marketing materials look like to see how fresh, current, and relevant their speaker is. I make sure they think through the ‘why’ around choosing their friend as the speaker.  It’s important to remember that the impact of choosing the best speaker reflects on them.  I want my clients and potential clients to be seen as “rock stars” for choosing the perfect speaker and having a successful event. Sometimes their friend may be their speaker of choice.

To me it’s about helping people make good decisions so even if we don’t book a speaker, I am still thankful for creating a relationship that can be developed for future business. The other opportunity is for me to add a new speaker to my roster as we are always looking for Remarkable Speakers!

A huge thanks to Sue for her time, expertise, buoyant personality and wisdom. I speak to many people each day and few have Sue’s remarkable spirit, candor and enthusiasm. I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I had speaking to her. To continue the conversation, leave a note in the comments section below, find me on Twitter: @SMEChristy or email me: Christy.lamagna@strategic.events.

CEO, Sue Falcone, recognized the need for a speakers bureau that would represent professional speakers, and provide the perfect speaker for clients who sought the best for their events with a personal “hands on” custom touch.

From a former corporate executive, to becoming a professional speaker and author being hired, and creating a distinctive and unique speakers bureau representing speakers for hire, she gained the experience and expertise needed to give a full service experience.

 

What’s Trending in the Speaking World?

What’s Trending in the Speaking World?

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM

Event strategists always start with the end in mind. They know the core principle in strategic planning is that all actions and decisions must support the event goal. When it comes to choosing speakers, it can be easy to get distracted by celebrity status or choose topics that may be personally interesting but not right for your target audience. Engaging the professional skills of a speaker’s bureau allows you to add an expert to your team at no cost to you, saves time and will potentially introduce you to people and topics you may not have otherwise found.

When it comes to choosing speakers, it can be easy to get distracted by celebrity status or choose topics that may be personally interesting but not right for your target audience. Read on to discover, what’s trending in the speaking world?This is the second in a three-part series recapping a conversation I had with Sue Falcone, Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau (you can see Sue’s smiling face in the photo shown above). Our goal was to explore how planners can strategically build relationships with speaker’s bureaus. If you missed the first installment and want to see the first article, please click here.

Christy: What changes are you noticing when planners call to book a speaker?

Sue: At one time, my relationship was exclusively with planners operating in a silo, meaning there were no other people for them to run ideas by or to get suggestions from. Now planners are part of a much larger team. Having more people making the decision translates to needing to provide more options as each person has an opinion or vision on the topic and/or presenter needed. I once shared three potential speakers for consideration before someone was selected. Now I find myself presenting up to eight candidates before a decision is made. As a bureau that is focused on helping clients meet their goal, it’s crucial to adapt to their changing needs and timeline to provide the best service possible.

Christy: What is one thing everyone should know when booking a speaker to get the best fit?

Sue: As is the case with all things strategic, the goal is the key. First, I need to know what the speaker is expected to accomplish. Then I find out what the necessary audience takeaways and outcomes are. Not everyone can put their goals into words, so I created a detailed questionnaire to help the process. Sometimes people know how they want the audience to feel after hearing the message but can’t articulate what the message itself should be. We specialize in finding and delivering what you ask for and sometimes even what you don’t know how to ask for!

Christy: I’ve noticed lead times to plan are getting significantly smaller. Are you seeing that too?

Sue: Absolutely! We are getting requests with very short time frames for the search to be done yet the same level of quality is expected.

Christy: In an ideal world, how far in advance should planners start looking for a speaker?

Sue: After the event goal is established and a budget is confirmed, the speaker search should begin. The speaker is often the main draw, so the process shouldn’t be rushed. To do the job correctly, it takes a lot of time to search the options before we can propose the perfect match. We need to find speakers who match not just the topic’s parameters but are also a good fit for the audience/corporate culture, have the right personality, attitude, and of course, price. We need it to be the right fit on all counts or it doesn’t work.

Christy: Are you finding speakers are becoming more flexible in tailoring their topics to the audience?

Sue: I’ve booked over 3000 events and work to make each experience custom to the client’s needs. That includes making sure speakers are willing to adjust their content based on who will be listening to them. Today’s audiences consume tremendous amounts of content daily and are incredibly savvy. They will not accept “canned” presentation. One size does not fit all.

Christy: It seems that this is part fact-based and part intuition in terms of pairing speakers to audiences. Is that right and if so, how do you make that work?

Sue: When first contacted to provide a speaker, I gather detailed information from the client, so I have the background I need. Like I said, it’s not just the topic, the personality and style have to be a good fit. I do my homework in advance and get a sense of who the hiring organization is. I get a sense of their culture, their expectations, what has and hasn’t worked for them in the past and what their goal is. That way when I pick up the phone, I know who I’m looking for and what we need to achieve.

Additionally, my speakers must complete a comprehensive questionnaire before signing with me. This gives me a wealth of information at my fingertips, which saves time, avoids confusion or miscommunication and allows me to be the best at what I do.

Thursday, Sue and Christy finish their conversation, during which they discuss, among other things, how to build a partnership with a bureau.

CEO, Sue Falcone, recognized the need for a speakers bureau that would represent professional speakers, and provide the perfect speaker for clients who sought the best for their events with a personal “hands on” custom touch.

From a former corporate executive, to becoming a professional speaker and author being hired, and creating a distinctive and unique speakers bureau representing speakers for hire, she gained the experience and expertise needed to give a full service experience.

Time to Join a Speakers Bureau?

Recently I was asked by a well known marketing person, “when should a speaker think about joining a Speakers Bureau?”

I didn’t hesitate or blink an eye and said: “when they are already booking themselves consistently for paid events!”

That led to the next question: “what does a Speakers Bureau really do for a Speaker?”

With over 250 different speakers bureaus currently listed in the United States,  most are thought of only as a listing service rather than as an extension of a speakers’ marketing plan. The major benefit is that the bureau handles the billing and contract negotiation with the event planner.

This is why it is so important for a speaker to know how a bureau operates before they sign on and enable someone other than themselves to find and book speaking engagements for them.

Our interview continued with the question: “what should a speaker ask and have in place before they actually reach out to a speakers bureau?”

I agreed to share what we feel is key to a speakers’ success in choosing a speakers bureau.

  • Realize a speakers bureau does not take start up speakers, they have to be consistently booking themselves for paid speaking events.
  • Check with their speaker friends to see which ones they are listed with.
  • Ask them if they are happy with their bureau.
  • Determine how the speakers bureau will handle the billing and event contracts for them.
  • Understand there is no better booking agent than themselves, however a speakers bureau can give them more traffic and increased bookings.
  • Have a business plan where they see a speakers bureau is not a replacement for their marketing plan, it is only an extension of it.
  • Be very cautious about signing with a speakers bureau that wants a speaker  to be exclusive with them.
  • Determine how they are going to do business with a speakers bureau.  A lot of bureaus now do not have a signed agreement in place with the speakers they represent; but look at it this way, shouldn’t a speaker want one? As a speaker they have one with their clients, so why shouldn’t they have one with someone who is representing them to a client?
  • Make sure they have a total package to offer a speakers bureau, which they should already have in place, and includes:
    –   Being a paid professional speaker for at least two years
    –   Fee structure range
    –   Evidence of consistent bookings
    –   Social Media strategy in place
    –   Marketing materials- one sheet, professional photos, professional video clip,
    recommendations from clients,  list of paid clients, updated website, anything that would help a speakers bureau market them to event planners.
  • There is no guarantee a speakers bureau can get them bookings right away- timing is everything.
  • Know event planners seldom look to a speakers bureau for just one speaker, they usually want 3-5 speakers to look at before making a decision.
  • Choose a speakers bureau that has their best interests at heart, and wants to develop an open relationship of mutual cooperation.

This was a valuable interview experience for both of us.  We came away knowing most professional speakers and event planners still see the value of a speakers bureau, and want to work with those they “know, like, and trust.”   It is a great way to add increased bookings and marketing to a speakers’ business model.

Sue Falcone is the CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau. She has come full circle in her experience of being a former Corporate Executive that hired speakers, to becoming a sought-after speaker and author being hired, to now representing some of the most Remarkable speakers on the Planet for you to hire.  Sue is a well respected thought leader in the industry of professional speaking.

 

 

 

When Was the Last Time You “Unplugged?”

unpluggedNever thought I would be asking such a question! Not sure I even knew how to spell it, let alone be among the 89% of Americans, according to a new study by Bank of America, that check their devices at least 3-4 times a day- 24/7!

I am not in the 54% of Americans who are continually checking their devices, even when they are supposed to be asleep, however looking at my patterns I could be!

Isn’t our technology supposed to serve us and not the other way around?  I have been told to succeed as a business owner I have to be connected at all times or my business will fail! Have you heard that too?

Just like most Americans are sleep deprived, don’t take vacations, we are becoming addicted to being constantly “plugged in!”

When I looked recently at taking a “Road Trip” and not being continually “plugged in” I admit it was a little scary!

I have a social media person on my company team, and it still concerned me that I could take off and not blog, enjoy the scenery without taking a picture of it to share, read a book without feeling guilty, look at a magazine with no reason in mind, think without having a deadline to meet, enjoy conversation with my family without videoing it, and not answer all my emails on a regular schedule!

I realized I was tired and needed a break from my everyday routine, and how could I get it if I felt I needed to be tied to my devices!

I set about deciding how this could work! Like everything it is a choice and action that we can make happen!

In this adventure I realized 3 valuable things:
●    I had not clearly checked out all the mechanization that I should have in place to prevent me from thinking I had to be “plugged in all the time!”
●    Not trusting my business and its’ operation to those I had in place, thinking I had to do it all!
●    Making decisions on what I needed to be “plugged into” and what I could just let go and not join in.

I returned with a new look on life! Did I go completely off-line and disappear? No, it takes practice to close and have regular business hours and be a part of helping others without being “plugged in!”

Am I perfect at it? NO!  I have learned I don’t have to be perfect at everything, only striving for excellence and helping others do the same!

Ready to take the plunge and be “unplugged” even if only for a little while?

-Sue Falcone
Founder and CEO
Simply Sue Speaks
Global Booking Agency

Surprise Marketing Sources for Your Business Success!

yesmarketingIt is amazing that as advanced as we are here in the United States, our businesses are not doing as well as they could be! Why is that? Leading researchers share that marketing is the key; and business owners do not take full advantage of what is available for them, both FREE and at reasonable fees!

Business owners think in the beginning, and then going forward, that they have to do it all, including marketing!  They attempt to do things they are not skilled at, and end up eventually having no life, and failure becomes a reality. I learned early on that I can’t do everything, but I got into the trap and gave it my best shot! I learned the hard way what every successful business owner knows, you have to be working “on” your business doing the things that you are best at, and you need to outsource many of those “in” business things that others are better at doing than you are!

Marketing was always one of my skill sets, and I was astonished to learn that 55% of businesses still do not have a website! That seems strange since 80% of Americans and a 1/3 of the world population is online. How does a business intend to reach their target markets or grow without an online presence? I have interviewed many consumers and our own clients, and they have shared that they do not consider doing business with a company that does not have a website! “Just sayin!”

Why would a company choose not to have a website? Most studies show they don’t feel they have the “right” skill sets to get one up and running and then maintain it; nor do they feel the fees for websites are worth the time and resources.

I want to share a secret with you! I know the value of a website, and I recently decided I needed to update my website to one where I could maintain it myself.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would seek a TV station to create my “new look!”  After doing my homework and securing many quotes, I was surprised to find that my local TV affiliate offered many marketing services for local businesses besides TV ads, and at a rate I could afford!

Thanks to an outstanding sales representative, Hayley Curry, of ABC45 WXLV (owned by parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group), we will soon launch a new site. It was a joy working with Hayley because she took the time to understand my business, and could translate that to the project manager, John Wertz, and webmaster, Beth Tuzi.  It has been a great experience working with this team. I feel they really take their jobs seriously: one of working for me, and wanting my business to succeed!

Besides having a good website, your marketing should include a great Social Media strategy. LinkedIn studies show that 81% of businesses use some form of Social Media to market. But I wonder how many are using all the capabilities of what Social Media can do for them? I love all aspects of Social Media, which not only includes the sites everyone is tapped into, but also newsletters, email blasts, and written publications, such as this blog!

But studies show most business owners are not tapping into the resources that are available to them, and seeking help in getting the “in” things of Social Media handled on a consistent basis!  I found a great virtual Social Media Guru, Tracy Taylor of TNT Marketing, who helps keep our Social Media sites looking good, and the posting of some things. I still feel my sites needs my “personal touch”, but I have limited time, so together we have a strategy, with less stress and time involved for me! Again I found Hayley and her staff can do some major marketing pieces for my business at an affordable rate, which we will soon be putting into place.  Then I can be even more focused “on” my business!  Keep following us here and see the new changes coming!

Have I taken out a large Small Business Loan to cover what I have shared with you?  I assure you I have not! I “bootstrap” my own business, and we remain debt free in it! I look forward to a great rest of our business year, and now that I have given you some awesome ideas, I would love to hear what you plan on doing with them!

Since many have helped me succeed, I love helping others in turn. To contact Tracy Taylor, email her at tracytaylor5312@gmail.com or call her at (865) 809-5989.  To contact Hayley Curry, email her at hccurry@sbgtv.com or call her at 336-499-1704.  Let them know how you heard about them!

Sue Falcone

Sue Falcone