Seven Success Strategies and Expectations for a Strategic Partnership working with a Speakers Bureau.
A bureau should be your one stop shop to save you time, increase your efficiency and guarantee you’ve got the right speaker at the right time.
When it comes to planning special events – whether you are a marinated veteran, or you find yourself juggling a myriad of details for the very first time – a speaker’s bureau has the experience and the expertise necessary to contribute to your success. Thanks to the Internet, anyone can find hundreds, if not thousands, of speakers on any given topic.
The questions are;
- are they content rich or just fluff and
- are they the best choice for your group?
1. Bureaus do the legwork – Ask them to be candid with the details – working with a Speakers Bureau
We all believe that it is bad form to be critical of anyone when doing business. Ask your Bureau to be candid.
You may have sat through presentations that made you wish that you were at the dentist having a root canal. There is nothing worse than the realization that you have hired the most dreadfully dull speaker on the circuit, and that the next thirty minutes will seem like the longest in your life. Some boring speakers have spent thousands of dollars on promotional materials to make them look good. How can you know for certain who you are getting?
Bureaus continuously screen the marketplace for the best and brightest new speakers to bring you the top performing experts. Bureaus know their speakers and their qualifications. They have done the research, watched the videos, and checked out multiple references carefully. A bureau should be candid and tell you the presenter’s style and depth of content. However, keep in mind that content is as important as style. A great speaker with nothing to say will still leave your group scratching their collective heads.
The best Bureaus work cooperatively with other Agencies and Bureaus from around the world to ensure that you get the best speakers and not just the ones that they are promoting. If you have a speaker in mind, the Bureau can find them for you through their extensive network.
2 Bureaus save you time & energy – working with a Speakers Bureau
Once a Bureau starts working with you, they should send you a preprogram questionnaire that will give them and the potential speakers all the information that they need to find the best match for you. There is no perfect match and any bureau that uses such terminology is prone to hyperbole.
After the speaker suggestions have been made and you make your choice(s) the bureau will handle all the business details to make certain there are no misunderstandings or glitches. The Bureau should always arrange for you to speak directly with the speaker before you make up your mind. The Bureau will issue a contract, coordinate all communication between you and the speaker to ensure that your specific program requirements are met. The Bureau will work with you on all the logistics – from travel arrangements and accommodations to schedules and itineraries.
The bureau’s job is to know where and how to find the right speaker for your event, send you materials to review, schedule conference calls, secure the speaker and facilitate financial arrangements. Speakers Bureaus smooth the process for securing talent for your event and charge you nothing while saving you enormous amounts of time. Since speakers’ bureaus get paid a percentage fee from the speaker that you book, their service to you is free. Bureaus act as partners for researching speakers and finding the best match for your event. They can assist with determining the appropriate mix of content, personality and entertainment for the presentation. Finding the right speakers who can meet your needs and budget is the bureau’s objective.
Bureaus generally represent a large roster of speakers, ranging from local business experts to worldwide celebrities, and can also book speakers they don’t exclusively represent. That is why it is important that your bureau has an extensive network with other Bureaus and Agencies worldwide.
The bureau’s job with potential speakers is to interview them, check their references, review their performances and determine that they will deliver the best presentation for your event.
Your bureau agent will research the large pool of available speakers to develop a short list of the top candidates for your event. Your agent will then send you all the information that you require electronically if they are a green company or by mail if they are not. Finally, they will confirm availability for the speaker(s) you have chosen and will arrange all contracting, finances and specific presentation and travel requirements.
3. Bureaus Handle Emergencies
The thought of a speaker’s plane being delayed, a traffic jam on the way to the convention center or, even worse, a speaker who cancels at the last minute, haunts meeting planners. Flights do get canceled, roads do get iced and a speaker could get sick.
However, this is when a bureau really shines. All a bureau’s resources, knowledge and contacts are mobilized to find a replacement speaker ASAP. A bureau should provide you with all their emergency contact numbers and those of the speaker’s as well.
4. Double You Opportunity for Success working with a Speakers Bureau
How often do you hire a speaker to come to your organization… monthly, annually, or rarely? You may hire a speaker once every few years, but bureaus may hire that same speaker many times a year. How does this affect you? If you hire a speaker directly, they will work hard to please you. Hire the same speaker through a bureau, and they now have two clients to please. Speakers know that if they are going to earn repeat business from a bureau, they must perform at every event. It makes a difference!
5. Cerebral – I know, fancy word yet your Bureau Should Understand the Topics You Need
The people at the bureau that you deal with need to understand their speaker’s expertise and your topic needs. If you are speaking to a bureau about Personal Security, Global Warming, Corporate Amnesia, Strategic Planning, Big Picture Think Tanks, Urban Development, or a myriad of other topic areas, your bureau contact must be sufficiently informed to discuss these topics with you and recommend the best speakers in the field of choice. If a bureau contact does not understand the scope of your area, or can research and understand it, they will certainly not be able to make an informed recommendation.
However, we have yet to see a speaker who is right for every audience. A bureau will have worked with thousands of clients from virtually every industry, profession and field, in both the private and public sectors. Bureaus have also worked with and seen hundreds of speakers from around the world. Our deeper efficiency is our ability to listen to your needs and objectives, and match those with the best speaker for your event. This takes a solid understanding of the subject area and your needs.
6. Best of All… A Bureau’s Services Cost You Nothing!
Bureaus provide a turn-key service to you at no charge because the speakers pay bureaus. Why would speakers pay us rather than take your call directly? Speakers do it because it’s good business. Bureaus bring them extra business and bureaus handle the details. It is very difficult for a busy speaker to return calls when traveling between speaking engagements. It is even harder for them to promptly email press kits. They know if they are a good speaker, bureaus will recommend them to their valued clients.
7. Maximize Your efficiency working with a Speakers Bureau
Speaker’s fees are a set commodity and all bureaus will or should quote the same price for the same speaker and circumstance. This is not like buying bread that may differ in price between supermarkets. Since speaker bureau services are free, meeting planners will often contact numerous bureaus to help find a speaker. This can lead to confusion and wasted time. Instead of developing a close relationship with your chosen bureau and receiving a few excellent speaker suggestions for your event, you will receive piles of speaker kits, tons of emails, many duplicates, and dozens of calls from various bureau agents and speakers.
By using numerous bureaus, you can quickly diminish the time savings you would gain in the first place. Often, bureaus will not devote much time to these “multiple bureau” projects since they have less chance of closing a deal and the speakers, they work with will be confused by multiple bureau contacts for the same time and date.
This situation will also lead to negative-good will between bureaus, speakers and your organization.
Bureaus have the tools, experience, and networking capabilities to get you any speaker in the world, whether a celebrity, CEO, or best-selling author. If they are unable to book a speaker for you, they will provide you with the name of the agent that can.
Choosing a bureau to work with is easy…interview them. If you don’t like a bureau’s attitude, pick another.
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