Question: How do I join Speakers Platform?
Answer: Please go to our "how to join" section for membership procedures.
Question: What commission percentage do you secure for booking a speaker?
Answer: We secure a standard industry commission of 25% at the time of booking. We only quote "gross" fees. Please see our viewpoint below regarding "gross" versus "net" fees.
Question: When does a speaker get paid for their presentation?
Answer: Speakers are paid within two weeks after the presentation date. We cut checks on the 1st and 15th of each month so a check will be mailed within this time frame. If a speaker is paying their own flights, we will pay for the ticket within two weeks of the travel booking. Since our founding in 1994, we have never had a case where a speaker was not paid in full for their presentation, IE: 100% pay rate.
Question: I have been contacted by a client directly. What do I do?
Answer: We view relations with our speakers as close partnerships. To that end, we feel that sharing our client information with you can help close the booking process. Unlike some organizations, we are not secretive about our clients or their contact information because we trust the speakers we work with. We just need to be kept in the loop about all discussions.
Specifically, we expect a speaker to:
1) Notify us immediately when they have contact with a client and supply specific details (preferably by email) about what was discussed.
2) Refer the client back to their agent at Speakers Platform for contracting and booking questions.
3) Never suggest alternate speakers to the client. If you feel you would not be the right person for the presentation, then let us know if you would like to recommend a colleague and we will pass the information along to the client.
In essence, we expect our speakers to respect our relationship with the client. Direct discussions with a client should usually only focus on program details, additional background information on the speaker and any specific event needs of the client and/or speaker. Our goal is to make the booking process smooth and easy for both the speaker and client.
Question: What services does Speakers Platform provide during the booking process?
Answer: After we have spent up-front time and money marketing, following up with leads, scheduling and providing sales services, we finally reach the point of a secured booking, congratulations!
During the booking process, we will:
1) Generate contracting for the speaker (including any stipulations / special arrangements and specific details).
2) Generate contracting for the client (including any stipulations / special arrangements and specific details).
3) Generate a "Speaker Event Summary" form detailing all event logistics.
4) Collect deposit and final balance from client.
5) Generate payment to speaker for the event within two weeks after presentation.
6) Set-up phone conferences and/or interviews.
7) Follow-up with the client and assess satisfaction, answer any post presentation questions.
8) Follow-up with the speaker and assess performance, answer any post presentation questions.
9) Help with program planning and travel arrangements.
Keep in mind that for every solid request a speaker receives from us, we will have submitted his/her name and handled inquiries from (on average) five to ten other leads. Event planners have many options and often another speaker will be chosen, the event planner's budget will be cut and/or they might end up cancelling the event altogether.
Our agents at Speakers Platform spend a lot of time working with clients who do not book a speaker for one reason or another. This is prequalification time we save our speakers. We will only present solid leads for your consideration.
Question: What is expected of a speaker during the presentation? What if a client cancels or does not pay?
Answer: Expectations and specifics are included in a two page addendum in our Speaker Agreement.
Question: What are the expectations following the event? Spin-off policies?
Answer: If someone has seen you at a Speakers Platform booked event and is interested in booking you, we request that you refer that person back to us.
If a speaker has done an excellent job, we would expect there to be some spin-off business. We especially like working with and promoting speakers who send us spin-off business because it means they are doing an excellent job and the client is happy.
For more information about our bureau, please see the following Web address:
Please contact Michael Frick, the President of Speakers Platform, directly with any questions at: Mike (at) Speaking.com. We value all our speakers and look forward to
working with you on many events to come!
Gross Versus Net Speaking Fee
As a bureau, we discourage net fees and "bureau fees" because it creates client pricing confusion and undermines our sales and marketing efforts. Our event planning clients expect to pay the same fee booking a speaker through Speakers Platform as if they went to a speaker directly. We form long-term partnerships with our speakers while providing valuable sales, marketing and customer service assistance. Quoting commissionable gross fees are part of this regard and trust.
Some speakers quote "net" fees because they feel bureaus do not add any value to their sales, marketing, booking and customer service efforts and/or feel that bureaus simply intercept leads via the Internet via search engine results.
Speakers Platform enhances all our speaker's marketing and booking efforts, while only asking to be compensated via results based commissions.
The Speakers Platform Web site is one of the most popular speaker sites on the Web. Each individual member site receives an average of over 5,000 distinct visitors per year. We also direct thousands of our event planning clients to the Web site to preview speakers.
In addition, many meeting planners simply use our site as a research tool and then look up speaker Web sites and/or contact information directly. We estimate that for each booking Speakers Platform' secures, we contribute two bookings that go directly to each speaker.
Besides the fact that visitors to the Speakers Platform Web site can easily look up speakers directly after finding them on our site, clients who contact us sometimes end up booking directly also.
On average, we promote a speaker to seven different clients to every confirmed booking. Many times clients will forget who suggested a speaker and end up contacting a speaker directly or through another bureau (sometimes years later). This is especially true when the decision maker is not part of the research process and also when working with committees. It's almost impossible to track all clients and committees all the time. Speakers gain invaluable exposure and bookings from Speakers Platform that is mostly unquantifiable due to the fluid nature of speaker marketing.
When a speaker gives an incredible presentation that matches audience and client expectations, it's almost a guarantee the speaker will generate more business either in spin-off engagements, consulting and training work and/or product sales. Even though our Speaker Agreement stipulates that spin-off engagements should be commissionable to Speakers Platform, frankly we rarely see these referrals. Mostly, it's just too difficult to track future leads. Many spin-off bookings take place months or years down the line and the client won't even know where they first heard of the speaker.
We can detail many more situations where Speakers Platform generates bookings that go directly to a speaker, but suffice to say that Speakers Platform generates more interest and income for our speakers then just the confirmed bookings we secure.
We've summarized some of the services our speaker members enjoy below. Please keep in mind, these are free services and we only get paid once a booking is finally secured.
We provide the following services for our speakers
===> Sales / marketing: Speakers Platform promotes speakers in a variety of ways, including: Web site promotions (with streaming video clips if applicable), paper catalogs/brochures, postal mailings, e-mailings, trade shows, etc.
Speakers Platform agents will also directly promote our speakers to appropriate clients and for specific events. Some clients will also end up hiring the speakers we match them with for additional lucrative consulting and training contracts.
===> Contribute to a speaker's "bookable" reputation and general marketing exposure. Our clients turn to us for pre-qualified talent and being listed with Speakers Platform is a stamp of approval.
===> Customer service:
- Answering a myriad of client pre-booking and post-booking questions.
- Following up on leads that never result in a booking (for every seven event inquiries, only about one ever reaches fruition).
- Priority mailing videos and press kits (almost always overnight or two-day).
- Setting up conference calls.
- Providing the client with speaker event evaluations, promotional materials, travel itineraries, etc.
===> Facilitate a smooth booking/negotiation process:
- Creating contracts for both the speaker and client, including any special needs.
- Accounting: tracking payments, purchase orders, wiring funds, etc. Many times we will pay a speaker before a tardy client or government institution pays us. We have had to take some clients to collections after we had already paid a speaker. We have always paid our speakers and have never had an unpaid speaker in our entire ten years of business - 100% pay rate (not many speakers or bureaus can say that!), even when a client had cancelled an event. Speakers really appreciate this security.
- Setting-up conference calls / direct contacts with clients to discuss program information.
- Providing the speaker and client with extra insurance and support leading up to the event and post-event follow-up.
Again, our speakers reimburse us for these services through our commission - only when a booking is secured.
Working with a marketing, sales and customer service team that works on a commissionable basis is a valuable asset. This is why most speakers develop strong, long-term partnerships with speaker bureaus and quote them "commissionable" fees.