Your company needs a keynote speaker for the upcoming annual corporate conference. Without hesitation, you step forward during the morning meeting and say “I can do it!” As you walk out of the office (after everyone else is sighing with relief that this task isn’t on their plate), you think to yourself…”what did I just volunteer myself to do?”
As you sit in front of your computer, you ponder, where do I even get a “keynote speaker?” Somewhere in the back of your mind, you remember “Bob”, who is no longer with the company, used something called a ‘speakers bureau.” Okay, so you Google “speakers bureau” … now what? How do you even know which one to choose–obviously, not the one Bob used, since he was relieved of his duties (and you replaced him–but that’s another blog for another time).
What are 6 things to look for when using a speakers bureau to book speakers?
- Prompt Response. Whether you fill out a form, send an email, or place a call, a speakers bureau should respond (during business hours) within the hour (or sooner). Any tardiness on their part tells you that your business isn’t important to them. The truth is, your business should be the most important thing–no matter how big OR small your budget is. My philosophy is that smaller budgets can always get bigger, and trust me, when your budget gets bigger, you’ll remember who returned your call promptly.
- Attention to detail. Is the bureau you’re working with dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s? cliché, yes, but true. If they’re overlooking the small things, then they’ll miss the big things as well. After all, you’re putting trust in them to make sure everything is covered with the speaker from A to Z: the flight, traveling to and from the hotel, if they’re attending the banquet, etc. The whole idea of using a bureau is so you do not have to worry.
- Recommend Speakers Who Fit. A speakers bureau’s number one goal should be providing the most appropriate speaker for your event. If you have clearly identified your needs, the bureau rep should be able to comfortably suggest speakers who will meet your event goals–whether you want to improve teambuilding, understand social media, or understand the global financial climate. A bureau’s hope is to create a long-term relationship, so helping you select the right speaker is key and will keep you coming back again and again.
- Be all ears (Avoid Selective Listening). I totally give my dad credit for this phrase–and now here I am using it…’selective listening.’ If the bureau starts giving you recommendations without taking the time to listen and learn about your event, then politely, but quickly, get off the phone and move on. Chances are, they’re half listening (for key terms like motivational speaker, business speaker, sports star), going on auto-pilot and just filling in the blanks. Frankly, every event is custom made for you–after all, my theory is no two snowflakes are alike…until we can genetically engineer them to be. My point is that a bureau representative must truly listen to your organization’s needs: the make-up of your audience, the goals (long term/short term), your location, what you do as an organization, etc. The more a speakers bureau knows about you and your company, the easier it is to make the right keynote speaker recommendations.
- Actions Speak Louder than Words. I can’t help it–I’m on a role with things my father told me growing up! A person can tell you something until the cows come home (sorry, another cliché), but actions are what they stand behind. Is a company doing what they said they would? If you’re told you would get speaker recommendations on Thursday and you don’t receive it until the following Monday, then they don’t stand behind their word. If you say you can do something, my expectation is then to hold you to your word. If my mechanic tells me that their work is guaranteed, then they better stand behind it!
- Reference of Success. How successful is the speakers bureau you’re working with–or the speakers they’re recommending? You ask for references when you’re hiring, right? Why not do that with a bureau/speaker? Ask the bureau rep if you can contact a few of their clients about how it is working with them. Even further, if they are recommending a speaker, request to talk with someone they know who booked that speaker. How did the speaker impact the audience? What did the audience learn–would they have the speaker back again? Be fearless to inquire what organizations, similar to yours, they have helped. After all, success breeds success.
The above are some key things we provide for our clients at Eagles Talent. If you’re interested in seeing if Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau is a good fit for your organization, call us at 1.800.345.5607, or visit our ‘contact us‘ page.