Fees and demand.

Your new year planning session is the perfect time to take a critical look at these values and how they fit together.

But first, a confession…

I actually wrote this whole article, decided it was too confusing, and then rewrote the entire thing.

So you’re getting version 2.0.

But that’s okay because the start of a new year is the perfect time to put out v2.0, v3.0, or whatever “point-oh” you happen to be on.

It’s a time for reinvention, re-energizing, and re-evaluation.

So, with that in mind… let’s look at how you can build a sustainable speaking career that will carry you through the entire year.

No falling into the trap of just planning for the next gig…

No hustling for gigs when the leads dry up…

And no throwing in the towel because this whole “speaking thing” just isn’t working out.

Instead, you need a MASTER PLAN that will allow you to grow your business, reach more people, and… yes… earn more income!

The Delicate Balance of Fee and Demand

Your new year planning session all starts with a very simple resource… your data.  

Your goal is to strike a balance between the fee you quote for each inquiry and your demand in the marketplace.

Your fee is simple to track.  (You set it, after all.)

But, how do you measure your demand?

Easy, you just look at the number of inquiries you get to speak.  This includes referrals, stageside leads, or any other lead source you have in place.  Anytime someone asks you to speak at an event, consider it an inquiry.

This number denotes your demand in the marketplace.

Here’s an easy rule of thumb…

A healthy demand should be at least two times the number of gigs you want to win for the year. So, if you’d like to book 45 “won” gigs, then you’ll need at least 90 inquiries.

I say “at least” because it’s likely you’ll need even more.  You’re going to lose gigs for three main reasons:

  1. Price. You’ll lose gigs because you’re too expensive.  Simple.
  2. Another speaker. Your event organizer will book another speaker instead of you. This one is pretty common, but don’t view it as a defeat. Sometimes the agenda is changed and your speech isn’t the best fit for the event.
  3. Date conflict. This one’s my favorite.  It means you’re already booked for another event and travel between the two venues is impossible.

For instance, I once had a Las Vegas gig on Monday that lasted until 5 PM. Then, I was invited to speak at an 8 am event in London on Tuesday.  There was no flight in the world that would get me there in time, so I had to turn down the second gig.

(Just wait until they invent teleportation.  We’ll be unstoppable!)

It’s important to track all of your inquiries along with the outcomes for each.

  • Record whether you won or lost the gig.
  • Keep track of the fees you quote for every inquiry.
  • Make a note of why you lost the gig.

This is just some of the important data you’ll use for your new year planning.

A Fancy Graph: The Demand and Price Curve

Now that you have your data all neat and organized, it’s time to start making some conclusions.  First, an important benchmark…

Your goal is to LOSE 50% of your inquiries because of price.

That means the fee you’re quoting is too high for half of the people who inquire about your keynote. When you achieve this benchmark, it also means you’re at the perfect intersection of the demand and price curve.

Here’s what the curve looks like:

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