3 of the Most Common Pricing Mistakes Made By Speakers
Getting your pricing right is a crucial step in growing your speaking business.
So often, I see speakers charging prices way above their current station or drastically undervaluing themselves based on their expertise level.
With that in mind, I’ve collated three of the biggest pricing mistakes I see new (and established) speakers make over and over again so you can avoid the same issues and grow your speaking business quickly and effectively.
So, let’s get started!
Mistake #1: Asking a Planner for Their Budget
Let’s just get one thing clear from the outset. You NEVER ask a planner what their speaker budget is for an event. It puts you at an immediate disadvantage. You’ll then have to try and work around their willingness to spend rather than have them work out how they can afford to book you for your event.
You should always lead with what you charge. It doesn’t matter what the specific event is. You charge what you charge. Otherwise, you won’t have a business. Once you’ve got your fee out in the open, you’ll find that they will come back to you with some form of a counteroffer, and that’s the time to begin negotiating a fee that you are both happy with.
This is not the time to be stubborn. If you usually charge $3,000 for a two-hour workshop, and an event usually pays $500 per hour, there will be enough wiggle room to get to a happy medium. You never know how many opportunities speaking at a single event could afford you, so don’t cut off your nose to spite your face, as the adage goes.
Your goal is to get booked, build your platform, secure testimonials and build yourself into an expert within your chosen field. If you refuse to accept anything even slightly under your typical fee structure, that won’t happen.
Mistake #2: Not Changing Pricing As You Grow As a Speaker
As you develop yourself into an expert, you should upgrade your pricing structures to reflect that fact. One of the most common mistakes I see is speakers (who have been speaking for years on a chosen subject) undervalue themselves.
If you have hundreds of events under your belt, dozens of testimonials, and several high-profile clients, it always goes without saying that you should be charging more than you did when first starting. And yet, there are still so many speakers out there that haven’t increased their fees in years or that have increased their fees in tiny increments.
Remember, you have EARNED your reputation as an expert. All that hard work you’ve put in over the years is only worth it if you charge an appropriate fee for your knowledge and speaking expertise. When you become a name that is synonymous with your industry, it’s time to charge the big bucks.
Mistake #3: Refusing to Speak for Free
It may seem odd to include free speaking in a blog post about speaking pricing. However, everyone has to speak for free at the beginning.
Unless you are some kind of celebrity, no one will know who you are when first starting out on your speaking adventure. That’s why you need to accept free speaking gigs to get your name and face out there as much as possible. You need to raise your profile by grabbing testimonials, securing regular speaking slots, and putting out content. You can’t do that if you refuse to offer your services for nothing during those first weeks and months.
Once you have a small platform, THEN you can think about charging a small fee to cover your expenses. From there, as you grow and grow your profile, you can then get into the thousands-per-hour speaking pricing structures (as long as you don’t make mistake #2 mentioned above!).
Speaking isn’t a get-rich-quick business model. It takes a significant time investment to develop your business. However, once you’ve put the work in, you will notice that you will start to benefit from the “snowball” effect. You start slowly earning more and more for each gig until you get to a place whereby every time you step on a stage you are commanding very lucrative fees.
Yes, it takes time to build those foundations, but they will pay dividends for years and even decades to come once in place.
Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Pricing Your Speaking Services
While some of the mistakes above may seem obvious, I see them being made by both new and experienced speakers all the time. Without being careful, it’s very easy to undervalue yourself or price yourself out of tremendous opportunities.
No one (including me) can tell you what to charge. That remains a personal decision. But by adhering to the basics, you can ensure you don’t fall foul of the mistakes we’ve just run through.
👉 I made a small digital kit to help you with this + a playbook and you can access it here.
If you would like more help and resources concerning pricing your services, then make sure to join our private Facebook Group Grow Your Speaking Biz. It’s full of speakers of different experience levels that all help each other with any questions they may have – including queries regarding pricing.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Meet Wendi McNeill
As the Founder and Owner of Charli Jane Speaker Services®, Wendi has been “Opening Doors of Opportunity” for speakers since 2002.
Charli Jane Speakers provides speakers with support, exposure, tools, tips, speaking and media leads, coaching/learning programs, and much more to assist them in growing their speaking business.
When it comes to Wendi’s clients she is very passionate and laser-focused about how they can grow their speaking business to levels of great success and fulfillment. They work together on strategies to quickly & easily position them as the top expert in their subject matter.
The results are success, financial freedom, and limitless lifestyle choices. Her primary objective is to help speakers/experts properly position themselves so they can get found easily, fill their speaking schedule and increase their income to incredible levels. Also, through the development of multiple streams of income, her clients learn how to rely on more than speaking fees alone to sustain their businesses.
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