Benefits of Using a Trusted Speakers Bureau to Negotiate

After much research and thoughtful deliberation, you’ve finally made a decision to hire one of the top business or motivational speakers in the industry. Now you must iron out the details for a contract. The contract and the negotiations form the basis for your relationship with the presenter. At Eagles Talent, we’re with you every step of the way in the contract process. We want to make sure you feel totally comfortable and satisfied that all of your expectations will be met.

Attention to details and clear communication of your objectives are necessary preventatives to misunderstandings and unpleasant surprises. Therefore, both you and the professional speaker need to be very clear as to what you expect from each other. You don’t want any embarrassing moments, so ask lots of questions beforehand, go over the contracts and riders with a fine tooth comb and spell everything out in writing.

In some cases, when you deal directly with a presenter, the contract is prepared by your company. When you deal through a speakers bureau, the bureau usually provides the contract. At Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau, we do the research, negotiate the speaking fees, and handle the contract on your behalf with the keynote speaker and entertainer.

Let our team of speaker bureau experts guide you through this entire process and answer any questions you have about speaking fees and contracts by clicking here for help or call us at 1-973-313-9800.

Things to Know...

1. The Fee

Most professional presenters have set fees for their speaking services. Reputable corporate presenters will maintain the integrity of their speaking fee regardless of who the client is. Just know that you will not necessarily negotiate lower fees when dealing directly with the speaker than you will when dealing through a speakers bureau. For the most part, speaker bureaus receive their commissions out of the presenter’s fee. Just know that at Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau, we always negotiate the best deal for our clients. In fact, because we have over 3 decades in the industry, we have built a solid reputation and strong, personal relationships with presenters, which makes requesting your needs and negotiating speakers fees easier.

2. Expenses

The expert presenter’s expenses need close scrutiny and serious negotiation. If not, you may pay nearly as much for expenses as you do for fees. As a rule, presenters expect to be reimbursed for their round trip airfare (first-class or coach), ground transportation to and from airports, hotel accommodations, meals while at the meeting site and all gratuities. Some presenters will ask to fly first class and may also request that you pay the expenses for their spouse, traveling companion, or bodyguard. The following areas should be negotiated or they can quickly escalate your cost.

A. Travel

To avoid any misunderstanding, you need to discuss the type of airline ticket to be used, the number of people traveling, and how many you are willing to pay for, then clearly stipulate it in your contract. If you negotiated for coach fare, put that in writing as well.

You’ll also want to stipulate how much you will reimburse your presenter for ground transportation, whether they will be met at the airport; whether ground travel is to be by taxi or limousine; what mileage rate you will pay for travel in the speaker’s own car, etc.

Check to see where your presenter will be right before or right after your engagement. In the event they are booked nearby, ask to have their travel expenses prorated, saving both groups money. Be sure to specify in the contract exactly what portion of the airfare you will pay.

B) Hotel and Meals

If you are providing a hotel room for the presenter, have only the room itself and the tax charged to your master account, specifying the number of nights the presenter will be at the hotel. Presenters should not charge their unauthorized liquor bills, long distance phone, on-demand tv programing or private parties to your account.

C) Pricing and Audio/Visuals

You need to find out if there are going to be any unusual or unexpected expense requirements such as printing of handouts or extravagant digital/audio/video needs. Some speakers have developed elaborate multi-media presentations that require special operators to work with the equipment. The production cost to stage some celebrity entertainers can cost you thousands of dollars above and beyond the initial agreed-upon fee. Make sure you know what’s involved up front.

D) Local Attraction

You may want to think about using a presenter who lives in the same locality as your meeting site. Many professional presenters are more than willing to be flexible with their fees when invited to speak in their hometown. You’ll also save on transportation and accommodations. To find motivaitonal speakers in your area, View this helpful page ‘Find Motivational Speakers in …”

Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau is equipped to recommend the best local presenters. Our database includes professional speakers, entertainers and resource contacts in fifty states and many countries around the globe.

3. Method of Payment

An advance deposit is almost always required to secure a presenter’s services. As a rule, the deposit is 50% of the fee and is due when the contract is signed. Working with a speakers bureau protects you by ensuring that the engagement goes of splendedly, and removes any awkward payment issues that you may not have negotiated (between you and the presenter) had you created the contract yourself. At Eagles Talent, we make sure that all fees, expenses, and method of payment is clear in the contract – which removes all surprises.

4. Cancellation – By the Booking Party

Once a specific engagement is confirmed, that date and the surrounding time necessary to get the presenter to and from the engagement, is blocked off the presenter’s calendar. That block of time is considered “sold” and thus removed from the marketplace. It is therefore understandable that a late cancellation can cost the presenter money, not only from your cancelled engagement but also from other possible engagements they might have turned down because the date was already sold. Chances are, the professional speakers will not be able to re-book the date(s) on short notice. It is for this reason that guest presenters insist on a percentage of their fee in the event of a cancellation, and in some cases may want their entire fee paid. Since there is not a current industry policy regarding cancellations, this is a negotiable item. You will find, however, that the more popular and independent the presenter, the more stringent the cancellation clause. Again, working with Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau, we guide you through this, leaaving nothing to chance.

It is our advice that if you’re not 100% committed to using a particular presenter or you suspect that your meeting might be cancelled, don’t sign the contract. On the other hand, remember that by waiting too long to sign the contract you run the risk of losing the presenter to another party. In any case, you may want to negotiate the number of days after the date should not be cancelled.

5. Cancellations – By the Presenter

If a presenter cancels the contract, due to inability on their part to comply, all advance payments are returned to the booking party. Most presenters have an “Act of God” clause written into their contract, which protects them from any other penalty if the reason for cancelling is beyond their control. Some may even have a clause allowing them to cancel for any reason at all up to 30 days (or less) prior to the meeting without penalty. Be sure you are aware if such a clause exists and try to negotiate it away.

Although last minute cancellations by professional presenters are rare, they can happen and they do give a meeting planner nightmares. One of the many advantages of working with Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau is we protect you from instances like this that might occur. Working with a speaker directly, you may be removing an insurrance plan for cases like these. With us, when a presenter cancels for any reason, a replacement of equal caliber can be found in time.

6. Program

A) Content

Because many presenters offer several different programs, your contract needs to clearly state the specific program you have negotiated. Be sure to delineate the topic, subject matter and title of the presenter’s program.

B) Length

Your contract also needs to clearly state the length of time allocated for the program. Some examples are:

  • A Keynote Address:
    • 40 mins to 1 hr (standard)
    • 15 minute question and answer following (optional)
  • A 2-hour Seminar
  • A half-day Workshop.
  • Monitor/MC: a 1-hour gifts and awards presentations etc…

C) Schedule

Be sure to include the day of the week as well as the month, date and year of the engagement. You don’t want your presenter arriving a day late because he looked at last month’s or last year’s calendar. Also be exact, if you can, about the start time and end time of the program, for example, when you want your presenter to arrive at the meeting site. If it is a morning program for example, you will want your presenter to arrive the evening before. If you check to see exactly where the presenter will be the day before your engagement, you an make sure they will arrive at your site with time to spare. In fact, you should insist that the presenter arrive enough in advance to go over last-minute details, do a sound, light check and get a feel of the place. If this includes a rehearsal, put that into the contract.

7. Special Events

Be sure your contract includes all social functions and press conferences which your presenter has agreed to attend. Early arrival to attend a reception or late departure for a social event or autograph signing session should be stated with the agreed-upon times in the contract. If the presenter is expected to sit at the head table or dais prior to his program, that too, should be included. Remember, the more clearly you define your agreement in the contract, the more secure everyone feels.

8. Production Requirements

There is no such thing as “standard” production requirements. Each presenter is different with their own quirks and production needs. Be sure to inquire as to those needs beforehand and make sure they are included in the contract.

Production requirements include staging, lighting, sound, visual equipment and lecture-aids (such as laptop, digital projectors, lectern, table, stool, flip chart, water, etc.). The production costs to stage some celebrity entertainers can be thousands of dollars above and beyond the initial agreed-upon-fee. Be very specific about these needs in your contract.

If the presenter requires handouts, be sure to set out beforehand who is responsible for the printing, shipping, and storage costs. If your contract space is limited, add an addendum.

9. Video Recording Rights

Many presenters have spent years researching, compiling, organizing and honing their material. Because it’s their livelihood, most presenters include a clause forbidding the engaging party to record, via audio video, and post on video sites (such as YouTube) of their programs without express written permission from them. Depending on the presenter’s policy, reproduction privileges may be extended, sometimes at an additional cost. Ask for permission and include it in your contract. Your presenter might agree to a small segment of their program being recorded if it is to be used only by the organization for archival purposes, or as a retrospective of the conference to be shown to the attendees at the end of the meeting.

Web Streaming Keynote Speakers.

If you’re considering web streaming the keynote address live, you should have have express written permission to do so. Sometimes there are additional fees involved in this.

10. Product Sales

Many professional presenters have authored books and educational recordings which they make available for sale at the back of the room after their presentations. Some speakers however, provide a product website or bring along order forms to distribute or make available to the audience. For many presenters, the sale of their products make up a substantial percentage of their income.

Many audiences appreciate the opportunity to take home the presenter’s message to share with the others or as a review for themselves. Because occasionally a speaker has been known to spend too much time pitching their products during their presentation, some organizations have come to object to these sales. Find out your organization’s policy on these sales and let your presenter know beforehand, both verbally and in your contract, whether you will allow such sales to be included in their program. If the sale of product is allowed, then be sure to clearly delineate how these sales are to be handled. Another advantage to working though Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau is that we are extremely sensitive to an organization’s policies and needs and have many years of experience at tactfully handling these kinds of liaisons between the meeting planner and speaker.

Let our team of speaker bureau experts guide you through this entire process and answer any questions you have about speaking fees and contracts by clicking here for help or call us at 1-973-313-9800.

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