August 23, 2021

How to Raise Your Speaking Fee (even if it’s currently zero)

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How to Raise Your Speaking Fee (even if it’s currently zero)

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So you’d like to start charging (or charge more) for speaking gigs, but aren’t feeling confident with how to approach this with potential clients.

Today I’ll walk you through the main factors to consider when choosing your speaking fees plus tips for confidently presenting on speaking inquiry calls.

Inside this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Whether or not to charge for speaking
  • Factors that influence your speaking fee
  • How to confidently choose a rate you’re excited about
  • Tips to navigating an effective speaking inquiry call 
  • What to do when they say no to your rate

Episode Show Notes:


How much should I charge? 

This is one of the most common questions I get. The truth is that there is no rule around it and obviously there are many value factors you have to consider for choosing your fee. 

A good rule of thumb for appropriate pricing

Dorie Clark, author and pro speaker has written a great article for the Harvard Business Review: “A Short Guide to Pricing Your Services as a Consultant or Coach” in where he provides a good range of pricing that strikes a balance between building a thriving practice where you are of service of your people and are fairly compensated for it.

For newbie speakers, Dorie mentioned they could be earning between $500-$2500 for a talk. Beginning speakers (those with a more established brand with their first book), they could range from $5k-$10K, and for those who have made several books and have social proof, it could be from $10K-$20K and then it goes up from there. 

The reality is, your Speaking Fee is Your Choice

I think it’s really helpful to have some reference points like this but don’t get too caught up in the numbers. It really depends on the industry, who your audience is and who the client is that’s booking you because what they’re going to pay is based on their budget and their perceived value of what the talk is going to do for their group.


Tips to Consider When Choosing Your Speaking Fee

Tip #1: Do your own research

You know your speaking strategy and your industry better than anyone else so you have to actually dig in and know what you are working with. Here are just a few things to take into consideration plus questions you could ask yourself:

  • The event / talk – Where are you speaking? How long is the talk? Find out exactly what the organizers need and how you can use your expertise to help them.
  • Your audience – Know your audience, how large it is and how you can best serve them.
  • Talk with previous speakers – Network with other people. Ask other speakers how much they’ve been paid for the event. This will help you prepare your own expectations and estimate their speaking budget. 

Tip #2: Make a decision

The challenge that I see with a lot of people is they do a lot of research but then sit in indecision when an opportunity comes. They’re stressed because they need to make a choice. That’s why I recommend that while you’re doing your research, it’s important to recognize how much value your content will bring to the event. We provide value through our expertise and knowledge and you must know your effectiveness as a speaker so you can get the decision-making out of the way.

For example, let’s say you’re a marketing expert and you teach people how to generate leads. Your goal is to talk to business owners in front of groups and help them generate income based on what they learned and applied from your talk. There’s a high degree of value in that.

Now imagine a company brings you to be a speaker and you have a proven track record from your content and your talk can actually help people get results. You can then show how you can be more valuable to them and to the ultimate end users. The better your presentation skills are and the more impact you create for your audience, the quicker it will be for you to decide your rate (and easier to charge more!).

Tip #3: Always discuss the opportunity on a call

When somebody sends you an email to invite you to come to speak to their group and asks what your fee is, do not reply to the email with your rate. It needs to be on a live back and forth conversation, a phone call at a minimum.

This is non-negotiable and is really important. You have to spend some time getting to know them and really figuring out what it is that they need and want. You need to make a connection with them that confirms that you not only understand where they want to go, but you will help them get there. 

The conversation can include something really simple where you’re asking them questions like:

  • What’s the event about?
  • What are their goals for the event?
  • Tell me about the audience.
  • What are you hoping to achieve from this talk? 
  • What would be the ideal outcome you have for people coming out of this talk?

The goal here is to get them excited for them to be able to feel that, yes, this is a really great fit for their organization and it’s exactly what they were looking for. You want to get them excited because then you’re going to present the fee and if they’re already excited, there’s going to be little questioning of what that fee is.

Tip #4: Predetermine your value adds

I personally do not discount my speaking rate but I get creative and make a list of things that I would accept outside the fee that would help me as much. Sweeten the pot to ease the apprehension to make it more appealing. Just have it in your back pocket should pricing be an issue, you can add some things in but you don’t have to add in a bunch of extra things that would consume your time. It could be a simple workbook to go with your talk or an extra call. Just think about what’s relevant for you and focus on the audience’s needs. 

Tip #5: Be firm on your boundaries

Do you have a lower rate that you would be willing to do? Or do you have boundaries in terms of when to speak? I don’t know what your boundaries are, only you do. You have to be clear with them and get comfortable in having this conversation so you know when to walk away or negotiate.


Books / Resources mentioned in episode:

Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive, Dorie Clarke

Harvard Business Review: A Short Guide to Pricing Your Services as a Consultant or Coach, Dorie Clarke

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