Speaking Business Success
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Shrewd Marketing Strategies
How to crack the code and get yourself booked and
booked and booked for professional speaking fees.
by Burt Dubin

To start, get good: Target a market you know you can serve. Develop, prove and present at least one credible program that you know gives real value to audiences in your market. Shake out the bugs and goofs. Present for local and regional groups for low fees until you're satisfied that you're ready for the Big Leagues.

Develop at least a minimum promotional package. Include a One-sheet, a few letters from organizations you've spoken for, a video or at least an audio of you presenting. Plus this: A certainty in your bones that you're really ready.

Outbound Marketing

This is how you start. Do outbound marketing. It's tough. Yet, tough or not, new speakers may have no other way to get their feet wet. I did it for years. Averaged 75 paid bookings a year for $3000 to $6000 each. Do the numbers. Tough or not, it is a handsome living, more than a living. You work from home, travel 2 or 3 days a week, have lots of time with your family. It's a career, a high-paid career as an independent expert who speaks. You serve the meeting market.

The two easiest portals to get yourself into the meeting market are conferences and conventions that are budgeted, planned, and committed to happen. Did you get that? Conferences and conventions that are budgeted, planned, and committed to happen.

When you are a total unknown, when you have not established your name or your reputation, you do have a chance here. See the recommended actions below.

1. Get yourself the basic tools

    Get yourself the basic tools you need for penetrating the meeting market via outbound marketing:

    Within the USA, invest in 3 directories. First, call Columbia Books at 888-265-0600. Order the NTPA Directory. (National Trade and Professional Associations.) It is your basic, must-have cross reference. Issued annually each February, it costs about $150, or so, less with a standing order. A vital resource, it gives you a lot of essential information about the Association market, key information available nowhere else.

    Then call Douglas Publications at 800-223-1797. Order 2 Directories, as follows: Directory of Association Meeting Planners. It is an Annual published each March on CD only. Bite the bullet. It's $550. Get it. Then, order the Directory of Corporate Meeting Planners. About $450, hard copy, published each March. Bite the bullet again. Get it. You need it. Both Directories include the USA only.

    These are valuable because they tell you whether outside speakers are used and paid. Think about your fee for one hour. Now the cost of these annual directories doesn't seem so high. One engagement more than pays for both directories.

    Outside the USA: In Canada, start with Micromedia, 800-387-2689. (From outside Canada call +416-362-5211.) Every June, they publish the Directory of Canadian Associations. CDN$ 300, or so. Also check out the Canadian Society of Association Executives, 416-596-6433.

    Worldwide, you can get Directories of Corporations in the 100 largest countries. The source is KOMPASS INTERNATIONAL, 1255 Route 70, #25S, Lakewood NJ 08701 USA. Phone 732-730-0340. Contact: Howard Holmes. In Australia, phone +613-9245-7800. In the United Kingdom, phone +44-342-326-972. For 97 other countries, contact the USA office.

2. Prepare yourself to smile and dial

    Now that you have the Directories, consider the markets you are targeting and contact only the organizations in these markets. Arm yourself with a plan to call 25 to 50 target organizations each day relentlessly.

    Start at 8:00 AM in the time zones you are calling into. Yes, most decision-makers you want to reach are at their desks by then. Get to them while their day is young and they are fresh. Move through the time zones, calling between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM in each time zone. You'll probably have to call more than once to reach the decision-maker you want. Avoid burnout this way: Limit yourself to 3 or 4 outbound hours each day. Take Friday off.

3. Eliminate inappropriate organizations fast

    Limit your calls to companies and associations that have definite conventions/ conferences planned and committed at specific venues for dates that are published. Have a series of questions to ask. Your objective is to get off the phone fast if the group does not qualify for your services.

    Here are a few model questions.

  • Does your organization bring in experts who speak to help make your meetings more successful?
  • Who is making the decisions on these outside experts this year?
  • May I speak to that person, please?
  • Now you have the decision maker on the phone...



 © Burt Dubin
 1 Speaking Success Road
 Kingman, AZ 86402-6543

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