How To Look Like A Ten Thousand Dollar Speaker

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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How to look like an expensive professional speaker

How to look like an expensive professional speaker

How did I get the big gigs?

We all want the sweet gigs – the ones that pay high fees and have big audiences. Or at least most of us motivational speakers do. I’m happy to get ANY gig. But I will admit that being paid full fee is nice.  And I keep hearing speakers ask me how they can get the big fees. And one way to get the big fees, is to look like you are an expensive speaker.

Even as I say this, I am cringing. Because I want you to use authentic TRUE ways to do this, rather than manipulating your customer into thinking you are better than you really are. There are plenty of slick videos out there representing mediocre speakers. So there is a danger in misrepresenting yourself. But sometimes we are simply not selling ourselves to the world in a way that is congruent with that fee we want. So here are some ways to look worth your fee.

1. Be VERY GOOD at what you do. If you aren’t worth $10,000 then don’t try to make yourself look like you are. How do you know if you’re worth that? If people are consistently paying you that.

2. Have a great website that makes you look and sound like a rock star. Get someone else to do it if you have trouble defining yourself for your buyer in compelling text.

3. Have really cool headshots done. The headshot says a lot about you.  Don’t use your church picture.

4. Use action shots in front of impressive sized groups and impressive venues.  If they see you in a hotel conference room, standing on the same level as the audience, it might say “breakout speaker” instead of “keynote speaker”.

5. Have an impressive body of work that is displayed well on your website.

6. Have a list of impressive clients who sing your praises in detail.

7. Post your calendar if you have more than three gigs a month. It impresses people to see a full calendar. Makes you appear in demand – which you are.

8. Know how to quote your fees and negotiate without looking like a fool.  You should know how much you charge, and what you will negotiate if they don’t have that.

9. Try not to need the job. When we act out of desperation our clients sense it.  I always tell my clients that we must first have a conversation to see if we’re a good fit because I can’t take every job that comes my way, and I want them to have the right speaker as much as I want to be in front of the right group.

10. Treat your clients like rock stars.  Believe it or not, you don’t have to be a diva to get diva fees. In fact, just the opposite. Be easy to work with, accessible, fun, and genuine, and you will command higher fees.

And, last, but not least –  trust the process. There is a natural process in this business of working your way up – paying your dues – raising your fee in small increments as you build a business, a reputation, and a fan base. The most important lesson I learned in this business when it comes to fees, is that it’s not about what you’re worth. It’s about what your market perceives your value to be.

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