or with bureaus. Bureaus are intermediaries who go to meeting planners who
are also intermediaries. That’s why so
many speakers’ fees are so depressed.
We’re not dealing with the right people.
We’re not acting like we’re experts.
How does an economic buyer learn
about you? The real question is: How
do your ideal buyers learn about your
expertise? Once you establish who your
ideal buyer is, there’s a two-way street.
When they reach out to you, it’s always
better because there’s no issue with
your credibility or fee. It’s the differ-
ence between knocking on a door and
saying, “Would you like to work with
me?” and they say, “What can you do
for me?” and them coming to you and
saying, “We’ve heard a lot about you.
How can we work together?”
In the latter case, you have to create
a body of work. You have to create visi-
bility. You have to use the media. For
corporate buyers, it is not social media,
which is a huge myth. You
have to reach corporate buyers
through speaking, books you
publish, columns, interviews,
hosting events, using technol-
ogy intelligently and blogging,
which is more impressive than
You have to create an attraction by being an object of interest as someone who is putting
intellectual property on their
How can speakers reach economic buyers? The process goes both
ways. As you build a brand, you become
a name—and the ultimate brand is
always your name. It’s never some cutesy
thing—they will say, “Get me Dan,”
“Get me Alan,” “Get me Joan,” “Get me
Jane.” They come to you, and you can
raise your fees into the stratosphere.
6AlAn WeISS’ Steps to Succeeding in the New World of Speaking
1Stop calling yourself a speaker. It’s important for your self-talk. Self-talk informs behavior. You are
not someone who speaks for an hour and goes home.
You are an expert who provides a solution.
2Talk to real buyers. Stop talking to intermedi- aries like bureaus and meeting planners. You must talk
to economic buyers.
3Consistently produce original materials. Speakers love to talk about authenticity, but they
don’t know what that means. Being
derivative is the opposite of authentic.
4Spend time with thought leaders. To be a thought
leader, you need to hang out with
other thought leaders. Marshall
Goldsmith told me that he literally
carried Peter Drucker’s briefcase.
Recently, he won the Peter Drucker
Award. You have to understand who
your peers are.
5Continually reinvent yourself. If you are not innovating, then you are falling behind. Volatility and
change are the norm. You have to raise your standards.
6You have to be bold. Too many people are scared.