POINT / COUNTERPOINT
Opposing views on burning questions
You are your own best sales rep.
“There are definite advantages to selling your
own speaking services. This is especially true when you are
interacting directly with a decision maker. In such situa-
tions, the person who holds the purse strings sees how you
present your deep knowledge and skills, and can feel more
confident hiring you!
Selling your own services also gives you opportunities to
move quickly and creatively in addressing any unique needs
of the potential client. In addition, it allows you to gather
information first-hand about trends in your target market.
It can also help you learn and grow in your ability to present your information and react to difficult moments in
conversations and negotiation.
And—because recruiting, training and monitoring a
sales representative can be expensive and time consuming—
being your own sales rep can save you time, money and
effort. Finally, nobody can sell you with more nuance,
enthusiasm or understanding than you can! If you are
disciplined and persistent, have reasonable goals and are
comfortable managing rejection, being your own sales rep
is a great way to go.”
Geraldine Markel, PhD, is a speaker, coach
and consultant on enhancing productivity in
the workplace. Her most recent book is Actions
Against Distractions: Managing Your Scattered,
Disorganized, and Forgetful Mind. Go to
There are benefits to having a sales rep.
“After having an agent—as well as several vir-
tual assistants—for years, I’m on my own now. And while I
see lots of positives to doing your own selling, I also miss
the third-person perspective of outsourcing selling. Here
are some advantages to having someone else representing
1. Your sales rep can address concerns by citing events
from a broad overview of your work in a manner that
can be perceived as supportive of the prospect’s event
rather than a monologue about your resume.
2. A rep can be your cheerleader in a way that might be
perceived as egotistical if you did it yourself.
3. An outside sales rep can also cross-reference other
clients on their roster to fulfill the lead’s needs when
you’re not the best fit. Conversely, as a speaker, you may
be the focus of a call or a solution to a problem that
comes up on another person’s lead.
4. An outside sales rep can help you maintain neutrality. I
know several speakers who employ an “alter ego” to
function as a third party for sales negotiation, as well as
any time “bad cop” push-back is needed.
5. Sales from an outside perspective can lead to exciting
work that wasn’t even pointed in your direction to begin
6. Speakers are good at developing and presenting content
and not necessarily at making the phone ring, so hiring a
sales rep can let us focus on what we do best.”
Jessica Pettitt, CSP, who is not your typical
diversity speaker, says, “After 10 years with
agents, I’m striking out on my own.” Find her
Continue the debate! Are you in favor of the
point or counterpoint? Tweet your thoughts
using the hashtag #speakermagcounterpoint.
When not posing questions for this column, Eleni
Kelakos uses theater techniques to help speakers and
leaders perform at their peak on and off the speaking
platform. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sell Yourself? Or Hire a Sales Rep?