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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  April 01, 2014

New Speaker Selection Trends

Unless you’re living under a rock, speakers everywhere are discussing the latest Meetings and Conventions survey on speaker selection.

Don’t let the small sample size (117 respondents) diminish the findings. These insights are worth paying attention to because of the range of speaking fees covered.

My favorite findings (and color commentary of course):

  • The market is almost evenly split between free/almost free (don’t pay to $5,000) and yep, we do pay ($5,000 to $50,000). This debunks the “there are no more high-fee speaking gigs out there” myth I keep hearing at industry events. There are still high-fee speaking opportunities out there. The global meltdown of 2008 wasn’t fatal.
  • Relevance to audience (91%) trumps presentation style (not even listed). No, this is not permission to bomb at your next speech. Buyers see talented speakers everywhere, even in the free/almost free market. Therefore, your fabulous speaking style isn’t enough to make the final cut.
  • The bottom of the list of selection priorities is scary. Prior experience using the speaker (22%) and quality of demo video (18%) are the things we can control. Relevance to the audience (91%) and recommendations of others (53%) are subjective and based on buyers’ opinions and their other options. The days of depending on repeat business is gone. Our tools help buyers not say “no.” They don’t necessarily seal the deal.

The bottom line: if you are not seen as relevant to the audience, all bets are off. If you can’t justify your fee, you won’t make it past the initial round. This is why market strategy and branding has become critical for getting speaking engagements. High-fee speakers can’t rely on killer presentation skills and “adapting” their topics anymore. Either you are relevant or you are not. And the buyer decides that — not us.

 

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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.