How do speakers get their message out into the world? They get booked.
There’s four different ways of getting booked. You can book yourself, you can work with an agent, you can work with the Bureau, or you can sign with a speaker management company.
Most people will start by booking themselves. The “book yourself” route works and can be a great start, but eventually, you are going to want to consider hiring an agent.
For some people, this may not be something you think you will ever do, but hear how it makes your life easier and see if you still feel that way.
If you hire an agent, you will want to find someone who has previously worked at a bureau or who has experience with that type of booking. This is for a couple of reasons — number one, they have contacts. They have a built-in network that they are ready to utilize for you.
Part of this is also why you could hire a bureau. These are both good solutions to simply making the process less tough on yourself. Let someone else bring their past book of business in to help you!
You want someone who already knows the business, who knows the industry and the innerworkings, because if they don’t know and you don’t know, who is going to teach them? It is better to try to maximize results, work the quickest way possible and get successful results faster.
Another way you can go about this is to get referred to someone who used to book someone else. Word of mouth, a colleague’s recommendation, these are all ways we’ve gotten great opportunities before. Tons of speakers have worked with an agent at some point, even if they are not working that circuit currently, so don’t be afraid to ask around!
Utilizing LinkedIn searches as a resource can also be a well of information. Whether you are using the search function, looking through your network’s contacts or making your own job posting to let people know you’re looking, this is a great place to start.
After you have decided how to begin your search for the right person, you need to start planning for tasks like compensation plans. You’re going to have to pay this person (they will not do it for free, no matter how much they like you!).
Figure out how to work your leads. Leads will come to you in three different ways: self-generated leads (the agent brings them in through their own tactics), client-generated leads (you bring your own leads in and turn them over), and bureau-generated leads. In your compensation plan for an agent or bureau, you will need three different percentages to represent each of those buckets.
Ideally, the percentage you set for the agent’s self-generated leads will be the highest. These can be cold-calling, their own book of business, etc. These leads earn the highest percentage because they do not come through you, and they are directly from their own work.
There will be a separate percentage for leads you generate from your own engagements or network, then a final percentage for when a bureau books you through your agent’s service.
From there, you are ready to go out and start vetting some agents. An agent can make your life easier, help get your message out there, and make you more money!
If you have ever had a great experience with an agent or a bureau, let me know in the comments!