That is, there is always money—the lights are on,
the mortgage is being paid, the advertising is being
placed. The question is: How is it being allocated?
Are you making a sufficient case for your value
so that a true buyer is willing to
allocate the funds for you? When
someone tells you, “We don’t have
budget,” he or she is not a real
buyer or simply doesn’t want to
spend the budget on you.
Choose Your Colleagues
I’ve heard people state from the
platform that the economy is horrible and to be blamed for poor
business and lack of success. Many
in the audience commiserate and
applaud, but some of us know better. I’ve received my highest speaking fees ever in the last year as
I’ve built my brand and stood my
ground. So have others.
Are you listening to people who
are negative and see an adverse
economy and society all around?
Or are you dealing with people
who are optimists and see challenge and excitement wherever
they look? I’ve attended chapter meetings where people talked
about cutting back and finding
bargains. The discussions should
be about aggressively marketing
expertise. No one grows a practice
often there to provoke people and to make them
think. If you want unconditional love, get a dog,
not a microphone.
There is a huge demand for expertise today,
because a great deal of residual expertise has been down-sized and outsourced. Human
resources no longer has much
credibility or ability to effect
Speakers who can impart
pragmatic techniques are in
great demand. The more diversified you are and the more you
can provide in the three columns above—the more value
you provide to the client. True
buyers may not like to spend
large amounts of money, but
they detest sacrificing value.
Therefore, the more options you
provide, the harder it is to revert
to a “bare bones” alternative.
If you view this business—and
it is a business if your intent is to
earn money in return for value—
as a “gig” for which you are paid
for being present and addressing
a group, then you’ll work very
hard for whatever money you
earn, and will probably be telling the same stories at the same
junctures until you’re too old to
But if you view this business
as an opportunity to provide
value to people who can improve
their professional and personal
lives, then you won’t be in the
labor-intensive rut of charging based on being somewhere.
You’ll be able to charge for helping others get somewhere.
I met a woman whose
husband was rarely
around, spending 220
days on the road to
speak 110 times for
$1,200 per session.
“Why doesn’t he
double his fee and
halve his schedule, so
he’d at least be home
more?” I asked.
“Oh, he could never
get that much!” she
said. If that’s what they
both believe, then
Focus on Your Real Value
Don’t be sidetracked by selling
someone else’s product or your
own self-published book in the
back of the room. You’re not in
the book business, or the audio
business, or the T-shirt business.
Focus on your real value, which is meeting a
buyer’s objectives—a true buyer. Don’t worry
about “smile sheets” and what I’ve come to dread
more than any other aspect of our work: the
standing ovation. We’ve debased that worse than
the currency. Who cares if you’re liked? We’re
Alan Weiss has 14 or so initials after his
name. He’s written 32 books which appear
in 9 languages. His newest is The Global
Consultant (with Omar Kahn) from Wiley.
Visit his blog for more contrarian views
and fresh air advice at www.contrarianconsulting.com.