frequently asked questIons
Expert advice on hot topics
How to Work With
By Alan Parisse, MBA, CSP, CPAE
and Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE, under the
watchful eye of Scott Friedman, CSP
Why work with speakers’ bureaus?
Think of bureaus as a wholesale distribution system that can:
• Expand your market.
• Put you in front of clients you could
not get to yourself.
• Allow you to continue your direct
retail distribution (unless otherwise
• Provide you with the pulse of the
marketplace, so you can adjust your
materials and offerings to better meet
Why should clients work with a bureau
when they can work directly with a
By working with clients over time and
offering a wide variety of speakers,
bureaus are more likely to find just the
right speaker for a particular meeting.
Moreover, bureaus manage many transactions and have systems to ensure things
go smoothly. When problems do occur—
such as a speaker stranded in a snowstorm—bureaus usually can find a replacement more easily than speakers. Perhaps
most important, many clients prefer to
work with one or two trusted bureaus
rather than thousands of eager speakers
with only one product to sell: themselves.
What is the essence of the bureau/
The bureau acquires the client, books
the speaker, retains a share of the fee,
and often receives a percentage of product proceeds.
The speaker provides the bureau
with “bureau-friendly” marketing materials, agrees not to book future engagements with that client directly, and
usually limits post-speech contact to a
thank-you note. The speaker also promises to give the bureau any “spin off”
(leads or bookings) that result from the
Is it really that simple?
Yes and no.
Two major reasons: the Internet, and
not all situations are clear.