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Three ways I know an organization's speaker budget 🔥

Money has never been a motivator for me in my speaking.  I've always viewed getting paid as a byproduct.

First time I ever got paid for speaking was because they asked me what my fee was!  I write about this experience inside the Preface of my book, PAID to $PEAK, because this moment would become a turning point for me.  

I have made so many mistakes when it comes to speaking fee over the years.  I have left thousands upon thousands of dollars both on and off the table.  And although I cannot change the past, I can darn well learn from it.

Now I have systems in place (a) how to know an organization's speaker budget, (b) how to set my speaking fee, and (c) how to maximize my speaking fee by offering a 3-tiered speaking proposal.

Purpose of this "Speaker Tips" message for you is (a) how to know an organization's speaker budget.  Let's get into it ... 

My first speaker coach told me, "If you treat your speaking like a hobby, expect a hobby income.  If you treat it like a business, expect a business income." 

I didn't understand his advice at the time, but I realized how true it was over time. 

One of the most important things I needed to realize is that there is a psychology to a speaking fee.  Meaning, if you're not charging enough, they might not think you're any good ... or good enough. 

IMPORTANT:  Whoever is hiring a speaker - a meeting planner, speakers bureau, executive, conference organizer – they usually will be comparing different speakers to select the ONE.  For them, speaker selection is an extremely high stakes decision. 

So if you are one of the speakers being considered, and you have the lowest speaking fee - think about it - there will be a perception that you are not as good as the other speakers.  

Yes, you need to have a standard speaking fee.  Yes, you need to have speaker integrity where your fee is not what their budget is.  And yes, you need to have the right speaking fee for your target audience and industry who can afford you.

But ultimately, you decide whether you discount your fee to work with an organization. And there are also many more ways to monetize a speech in addition to getting paid!  (i.e. referrals, spin-off business, video, pictures, testimonials, practicing new content, experience, etc.)

For example, my keynote speaking fee for a corporation in the financial sector (such as a banking state conference or real estate firm event) will likely be different than my keynote for a middle school, college or non-profit.  I speak to different types of audiences, so I am a little unique.  If you've read my book then you know my speaking started with colleges. 

Since I speak to different industries that have a wide spectrum, I know that I need to adjust my speaking fee for certain groups and different types of events.  Within those different groups, I have a standard speaking fee with integrity.  

Question:  So amongst these different groups, how do I know the organization's budget for paying a speaker?

Answer #1:  I ask on my website.

Example #1:  On my speaker website,, there is a link labeled "Hire Kevin." 

On this link, I ask a variety of questions.  Guess what one of the questions is?

"What is your budgeted amount, or range, for the type of services you are inquiring about?"

** See this example below from an inquiry just this morning which inspired this "Speaker Tips" message!

Your Call to Action:  I highly, highly encourage you to view my "Hire Kevin" contact page to see the questions I ask.  

If you have a website but do not ask a question about their budget, then I encourage you to reconsider.

I tell my coaching clients to just copy the questions I ask.  Encourage you to do the same!  No need to reinvent the wheel.  

If you do NOT have a speaker website, then think about what it's costing you NOT having one!  Websites are more affordable now than ever.  I can help. 


How do I know the organization's budget for paying a speaker?

Answer #2:  I ask via email.

Let's assume you do not have a website or a "Hire ______" page yet.  Or perhaps you do ask for their budget on your website but they leave it blank. That's OK ... ask them via email and use this specific verbiage below.

Example #2:  "I'm happy to share my standard speaking fee and proposal with options.  Is there a specific budget, or range, we need to be aware about in advance?"

Your Call to Action #2:  Write that verbiage above down and file it!!  Then visit Module 4 in PAID to $PEAK to view the exact email I would write.  There's a sample there waiting for you. I also have sample emails in "The Vault" if you're a subscriber.  If you're not a subscriber to "The Vault," then check it out because it contains samples and templates of everything I use in my speaking business ... and you have access to it!


How do I know the organization's budget for paying a speaker?

Answer #3:  I ask first during our phone call / virtual meeting.

If they have not shared their speaker budget via website inquiry and/or your email, then I beat them to the $$$ question when speaking to them.

Do not state your speaking fee before they tell you their speaker budget, or range.  You might assume they have $1,500, $3,500 - $7,500, or they told you it was $__________ amount, but in reality they have $15,000++ and/or different budget lines that can pay for you and/or you book products!

If you're a member of "The Vault", review my "Revised Phone Script" which walks you from beginning to end how I have dialogue with a prospect and the specific questions I ask.  My goal is to ensure fit and ease during our conversation to the extent that they ask for a speaker proposal by the end of the conversation!

Example #3: "Based on what you’ve shared,  I’d love to partner with you to make this event truly special.  I hope you’re also feeling a great fit for your event.  After this conversation, I can reflect on what you’ve shared with me to customize a presentation title and description to move things forward for your review along with a proposal.  Will that be OK?  Regarding speaking fee, ‘we’ work with organizations in different ways and generally have a program option that works with most reasonable, professional budgets:             

(A)  (if speaker fee previously known):  “Based on what you previously shared, is $________ the amount you’ve budgeted for the speaker, or is there a range I need to be aware about?”     

OR  (B)  (if speaker fee previously UN-known): “So I can consider with my team, can you share with me what speaker fee, or range, you have budgeted for this event?” … or ”So I can discuss with my team, is there a range in speaker fee we need to be aware about before sending you a proposal?”  

Your Call to Action #3Check out "The Vault" if you're not already a subscriber. You have to be a subscriber to access the full "Revised Phone Script."  If you are a current subscriber or coaching client of mine, visit "The Vault" now to download the script!

Hope this information has been helpful for you! 


Desire to become a professional speaker?

Not getting the speaking business you had hoped for?

Contact me to schedule your free speaker consultation!

In addition to my own speaking business, I have a passion for helping and coaching speakers develop their own. Whether it's in crafting a speech, identifying target groups who can pay, and/or how to get the speaking gig itself, I can help. I've keynoted over 1,150 presentations in practically every industry you can imagine. My book, PAID to SPEAK, outlines a proven model for speakers. If you are serious about becoming a professional speaker, contact me for a free consultation. I don't want you to flounder like I did and be frustrated. If you're not a subscriber to these speaker articles, submit your email today!



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