In Part 1, we uncovered the disparity many speakers face between their fees and the experience they offer. Here, we dive deeper into the Fee Parity Triangle and reveal three ways to improve the experience quickly… so you can increase your fees!

“Set it and forget it.”

It’s a catchphrase you might associate with a rotisserie chicken on autocook – happily roasting away while you bustle around doing chores.

For many speakers, this phrase also describes how you set your fees!  You pick a number (maybe out of thin air), slap it on your invoice, and never bother to review or reconsider.

But it doesn’t work that way…

Really, you can’t set and forget your fee unless you have near-infinite demand. You’re in the company of people like Brene Brown with a never-ending stream of inbound inquiries.

For Brene, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the market thinks.  She just gets booked over and over… and over and over again.

(How great would that be?)

But for most of us (myself included), our Fame Factor doesn’t allow for this “set and forget” mentality. Instead, we need to adjust our rates in order to achieve Fee Parity regularly. Anytime we see a shift in the marketplace, we need to consider our triangle and adjust our fee.

The Professional Speaker's Fee Parity

Demand, marketplace, and your client’s perception of your value…

Three things that take a delicate hand to master.  But no worries.  Today we’re going to dive deep into this topic and look at three MORE things you can do to align your Fee Parity… and ultimately raise your fee!

Let’s do this.

#1: The Hard Truth About Demand

We’ve already talked a good bit about demand in a previous post, and it’s pretty easy. This value describes your number of inbound inquiries.

The Demand For Your Speech in the marketplace.

But the hard truth is much LESS easy to hear:

If you’re getting zero inbound inquiries, then your speech is technically worth nothing. Literally $0.00.

I know… that’s a crappy thing to say, but please consider this “tough love from Drew.”

When you know your speech is technically worth $0.00, you actually have an opportunity. Why? Because your price for upcoming gigs can be very low compared to the value you provide.

If you’re a $2,500 speaker who delivers a $7,500 experience, people will be amazed and excited.  They’ll give you rave reviews and refer you to everyone they know.  

Remember, your fee can actually influence whether your client, their audience, or any referrals have a good experience or not.

Now, that doesn’t mean you’ll always set your fee at $2,500.  With every stageside lead, you’ll raise your rates. Your demand increases.  Michael Port and I discussed this topic in depth in our Referable Speaker webinar.

The power of compounding gigs. (Links directly to the segment.)

#2: Your Friendly Fee Factor Reminder

The next side of the triangle represents the perception of your value in the marketplace.  Basically, this reveals what event organizers think of you compared to other speakers in the marketplace.

The Market's Perception of where you fit in the wider professional speaker marketplace.

If you’ll recall, I wrote about this topic when I told you the story of how I was screwed over by Pete Rose.

(And if you missed it, you can catch this little gem here.)

You’ll need to look at the greater marketplace – and compare yourself to other speakers in your league – in order to determine what fee you are worth.  To figure this out, I recommend doing a Fee Factor Analysis.

If you haven’t already, go back to my earlier post and work through this exercise.  But, remember… it’s not a vacuum.

If you’re conducting your Fee Factor Analysis and comparing yourself to a speaker with five times your demand, then you need to take that into consideration. Let’s say they’re booking 50 gigs a year; that means they’re likely getting 100 - 150 inbound inquiries. If you only get 50 inquiries TOTAL, then you’re not worth what they’re worth.

You must consider the whole Fee Parity triangle to settle on the right Quotable Fee. I’m not going to dive into how to do the Fee Factor Analysis here, so be sure to visit the Pete Rose article.

Determine where you are in the marketplace, use the Fee Factor Analysis and see how your fee compares to other speakers in your Speakers League.

Okay? Good.

Now let’s move on to the most important side of the triangle… it’s the one with the real meat and potatoes.

#3: Experience, Experience, Experience!

This final side of the Fee Parity triangle is where you’ll find the biggest opportunity to improve your speech and ultimately raise your rates.

The Experience You Provide

In fact, experience actually drives the other two sides of the triangle!

If you provide a great experience and your fee is at parity with your market demand, you’ll get a constant stream of inbound inquiries.

It’s only when the experience you provide isn’t in line with the marketplace and your demand that people comment, “They were too expensive,” or “I wouldn’t hire them again.”

So, let me break down the three things I noticed when I was reviewing those 100 speeches over the last few months. (Okay, okay, it was probably closer to 90 speeches, but that doesn’t have the same twang…)


Here are the top three things you can improve in your speech right now to boost the overall experience for your audience.  When you make these changes, you’ll not only increase demand, but you’ll also give yourself room to raise your rates.

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