Ep 315: 5 Steps to Getting Paid Speaking Gigs with Grant Baldwin | Recap Episode

RV (00:03):
How to get paid as a speaker, always a fun topic, something I love talking about you may not know this, but you know, for me, this whole entree into being an entrepreneur and being a bestselling author and personal branding all of those things are byproducts that resulted from my initial desire and my initial vision and my initial dream, which was to be a speaker. That was something that I knew early on in, in high school. I saw speakers and, and I went to these leadership conferences and I immediately recognized that that is something I wanted to do with my life. And so this has been something, I, this is a profession that I have pursued my entire career, like before I was old enough to drive. like, this is something that I’ve been studying and I’ve been interested in. And so I love talking about that.
RV (00:59):
I love talking shop. I love talking business. And of course, what we do at brand builders group has evolved to be so much more than speaking. You know, we’re doing podcasting and, and positioning and branding and messaging and funnels and, and book launches and building your sales team and high dollar offers and online marketing and traffic and, and you know, all search engine. Optimiz like all the things that surround this and entrepreneurship in general and managing cash flows and building your sales team. But originally for me, my dream was to be a speaker. And that’s what sent me on this journey. And so getting to talk to grant Baldwin on this last interview, which was, which was a great one, it was a great one I’ve known grant for years and years at this point. And I remember when he first started out in the speaking business and, and someone had introduced us just because, you know, we were fairly young guys and, and back 20 years ago, there weren’t a lot of young people in the speaking business.
RV (01:56):
It was always very much like a pres you know, like a second or third career for a lot of people. And nowadays with, you know, the explosion of personal branding, it’s, it’s become something that people get into much earlier. So what I wanna do today is as always do a recap, but today’s gonna be a little bit different because I’m, I’m probably not gonna recap too much of what grant shared specifically in that interview. I’m actually going to share with you some of the things that we teach at brand builders group related to speaking, which are, are very much related to the things that came up in the conversation with grant. But people often ask, you know, can I, you know, can they coach with me? I get that question a lot. Hey, Rory, can I, you know, what would you be my coach? Would you be my mentor? And, and one of the things that we created is, is a program that’s very affordable, where I actually can coach people. And twice a month, I do these group coaching calls and people come on, they ask questions, they get access to all 14 of our courses as part of this program for the, for a price that’s less than the cost of what one course would cost.
RV (02:59):
But it’s a monthly membership program and they I, I teach, you know, twice a month and we’ve been in a mini series, a at this happens to be at the same time called how to get the gig, how to get the gig. And it’s like an eight part mini series. And so we’ve been talking a lot about this internally. Just, just recently with our, with our, with our members, with our clients, with our, you know, we call ’em Messenger’s mission driven messenger. So I’m, I’m gonna grab a couple of the highlights from that and share them with you here. And the first at one is, is something that one of my mentors, David Avrin taught me one time, which is so important. Like, if, if you wanna be a professional speaker, you have to understand this idea. And if you don’t understand this idea, like until you understand this idea, like you’re gonna struggle in this business.
RV (03:58):
I guarantee it, like, if this first idea that I’m gonna share with you here, if this doesn’t lock in place, you are gonna be in trouble. You’re gonna struggle if you are trying to pursue a career in speaking. And, and here’s what it is. And this is, you know, basically verbatim, as, as Dave told me, he said, Rory speaking is not the business. Getting the gig is this business speaking is not this business, getting the gig is this business. So what he means by that, right, is like people see the stage, right? And they see a speaker and they go, wow, that would be amazing. How do I get to be that person? Like, I wanna be up there inspiring people and encouraging people and, and, and adding value to their, to the, the lives of so many. And yet that’s the tip of the iceberg, right?
RV (04:49):
That’s the part you see, that’s not the business, right? Like that’s not the daily life. Like that is not the job. The job is getting the gig invitation, earning the right to be up there, putting in the research, the writing, but not, not just the content development, but actually the marketing and the sales and the messaging and the clarity of, of your own expertise of all of those things, working together to get invited onto that stage or to, you know, to sell your way onto that stage. And nobody understands that they all think that just like, oh, well, I’m, I’m a good talker. I’m a good, I’m, I’m good in front of people. I, I should be a speaker, but that’s not the business. Getting the opportunity to speak is the business. That’s where all the, the, the, the, the hardship is that’s all the, the beneath the surface, the behind the scenes.
RV (05:47):
And so everything we do at brand builders group is about that. And that’s the part that like, nobody teaches. Nobody talks about you don’t hear that often. Right? You just see the speaker and you, you never see what it takes to get there. And so when you try to figure it out, people fail, right. There’s a lot of bodies on the road to the dream of being up a professional speaker, cuz it’s not easy. Now, after 20 plus years of doing this, we figured out it is simple and we have structured it and documented it, diagramed it. And checklisted it. And templated it and F workeded it. And that’s what we teach at brand builders group is the step by step, not just of how to be a professional speaker, although that’s a big part of what we do. It’s, it’s a, I can’t even say it’s a big part.
RV (06:30):
It’s, it’s a, it’s it is a big part. It’s a big part of what we do. It’s but it’s just a part of what we do in terms of helping mission driven, messengers, reach more people get more leads, make more money, you know, through scalable revenue streams impact more people ultimately in the world. So you gotta understand this, that speaking is not the business, getting the gig is the business. And as from my mentor, Dave ARN, and the sooner you grasp that, the sooner you grab hold of that, the sooner you accept that, the sooner that you go, okay, I acknowledge that the sooner you can get busy doing the work, getting the coaching and doing the activities it takes to actually get the opportunity to be on that stage because the stage is a gift. The stage is a privilege, but the, the stage is an earned right to be there.
RV (07:25):
And it’s, it’s it, it’s not easy. It’s not easy, but it is very doable. And you know, many ways it’s guaranteed like the, we know the stuff that we do works because we’ve done it for ourselves for so long. And so many people at all different fee ranges, but that’s the, that’s the switch you gotta flip in your head. If you really wanna be a speaker it’s not what you do on stage. That is the business. It’s what you do off stage to get the gig. So that’s the, that’s the first thing. The second thing I wanna run through here is something that we just recently put together at for our, for our members, as part of this, this internal, you know, mini series that we’re, we’re, we’re coaching them on, which is seven different ways you get paid for a speaking engagement.
RV (08:14):
There’s seven different ways you get paid for a speaking engagement. And, and so even though the interview, you know, this interview this week, and what I’m talking about here has sort of been in the context of paid professional speaking. The vast majority of our 600 clients are not making full-time careers as paid speakers. They’re using speaking to sell their other things, which would be information, products, books, coaching courses or coaching courses, membership sites, assessments, certifications and there’s three different. There’s three different audiences that we sort of serve at brand builders group. The first are experts. Experts are selling their knowledge. And so we help them productize that as books, speeches, coaching programs consulting curriculums online courses, et cetera, that’s one group of our audience, but huge second group of our audience are just entrepreneurs. And they’re not actually trying to productize their knowledge.
RV (09:15):
They already have a service based business, or even a product based business where they’re we work with a lot of professional services though. They’re accountants, they’re doctors, they’re lawyers, they’re they’re financial advisors, they’re they’re chiropractors. They are all different, all different things. And in that case, they’re just using their personal brand to drive leads to their business. And that’s a great way to monetize a personal brand. It’s actually faster than an expert because you already have the business. By the way, we put direct sales people in that category of entrepreneurs as well. They already have the product and they already have a business opportunity that they can monetize. They’re just using their personal brand to drive awareness for the thing that already exists. Those are entrepreneurs. And then we have a third group of people that are clients of ours that are executives executives, executives, aren’t making money selling anything.
RV (10:09):
But what they’re doing is they’re raising their profile in their industry and in their company so that they get promotions, they get invited to be on boards. They get to speak on panels. They, they get to, to com to, to influence and impact their industry, their trade, their profession. And they, they gain visibility in notoriety, which typically shows up in, in more salary or stock options or, or, or just just recognition, right? So on, we have experts, entrepreneurs, and executives that we all, you know, generally classify as mission driven messengers. But if you look at this, the second two groups of entrepreneurs and executives, they may never get paid for a speech. That’s not the purpose of, of why they speak, even though we’re gonna teach them how to do this. And, and even experts, many experts won’t get paid for their speech itself.
RV (10:58):
They’re gonna get paid in one of these other seven ways. So let’s run through these the seven ways to get paid for a speaking engagement. Number one is a speaking fee, obviously, but believe it or not, that is the least most common way to get paid for a speaking engagement. That’s the least most common way. So if you can get that great, cuz here’s the thing, you know, the, the best of the, the best thing is when you get the best of both worlds, where you get a fee and you get all of these other six things which we’re gonna, which we’re gonna talk about. So, but that’s the least most common even inside of our own community, which are people who are saying, yeah, I wanna get my message out to the world. I mean, we have some of the highest paid speakers in the world that are clients of ours.
RV (11:44):
Like literally the highest paid speakers in the world. We have clients of ours, multiple clients who make over $70,000 a speech. We, we’ve got, you know, several clients that make, oh, you know, more than $30,000 a speech. And then a whole bunch that are in the 10 to 15. And then, and then there’s a whole bunch that are under 10 or free, which would be the largest percentage of our clients. Why? Because of the other six ways you get paid to speak. So the second one is leads. You get paid in leads. This is where I was saying that second classification of people that we work with, which are entrepreneurs. They’re not trying to get paid to speak. They’re also not trying to sell a book or a course at the end of their speech. The reason they’re speaking, whether it is on a webinar or a podcast or through on YouTube or live on social.
RV (12:37):
The reason they’re speaking is to drive leads to their business. They’re trying to drive leads to the, to the, whatever the widget is or the service that they already have to sell. They’re not creating a new one. And that is every one of our customers. In those first two categories, experts and entrepreneurs are driving leads to whatever it is their business is. Even if it’s recruiting it might be recruiting employees or recruiting team members. Certainly if you’re in direct sales, that’s a huge thing is we teach you how to use your personal brand to drive leads. That’s the second way you get paid to speak. The third way you get paid to speak is you, you get paid from customers that you generate on site at the back of the room. So this is selling a book or selling a course on site.
RV (13:28):
So you, at the end of your speech, this is how Rory Vaden earned his first speaking fees. I would speak for free. And then I would sell a $20 self-published book at the back of the room. And I quickly figured out that it was a lot more work to create books that I could only sell for $20 than it was to sell a ticket to a half day training with me, which I could sell for a hundred or $200. And so I quickly moved to selling tickets to other trainings. And then we started our first company and that’s how we did it. We used to speak for free and sell tickets. And then we figured out we could speak for free and we didn’t even have to sell a one day ticket. We could just sell right into a coaching program. And that was the business model that we used to create an eight figure business more than 10 million a year in revenue from this one business model, speaking for free to very small groups of like three to 10 people, and then selling our coaching program at the, at the end, anybody can do this.
RV (14:28):
Speaking is incredible. It, it, it is absolutely phenomenal. And, and that’s the third way you get paid fourth way you get paid video footage, video footage. There were times early in my career where I would take gigs for free or highly discounted just because I needed the video footage. The reason reason is, is because the number, the number one reason you get hired to speak is because somebody has seen you speak. That’s always the number one way you get business. But the, the number two way is that you have great video footage where people can watch you on stage. Well, it’s a chicken in the egg thing because it’s like, well, how do I get invited on stages when I don’t have a video of me on stage to get on the stage? And the answer is you go speak for free to get the video footage, and then you take the video footage and you use it to then get more paid engagements.
RV (15:25):
And inside a brand builders group, we have an amazing partner that we use who also does events where you can, that are, they are on a, you know, a half, a million dollar stage with full L E D lighting, six cameras, a live audience of few hundred people. And you can actually pay to get 20 minutes on that stage. And then, and then you have an, a, a video from it, by the way, if you want even, even if you’re not a member of ours, you can check out that partner. It’s if you go to brand builders, group.com/brand amplifiers, go to brand builders, group.com/brand amplifiers you can check out our partner that does that, but you, if you don’t have a lot of money, you know, you, that cost of money is very reasonable. It’s a, it’s an incredible program.
RV (16:15):
And in fact, we’re gonna, we’re gonna bring the, our partner onto the podcast probably, and talk more about that, but like the it still costs some money, right? But so the other thing is go speak for free or speak for discount, just to get the video footage of being on really nice stages, fifth way you get paid to speak. Testimonials, testimonials are huge, and I’ll never forget when Joe Calloway was a friend of mine. And, and I would say a mentor. He was a hall of fame speaker and, and Joe, we were talking about speakers bureaus one time. And, and I asked him, Joe, when’s the right time to contact a speakers bureau. Like when am I ready to work with a speakers bureau? And you know, there, there, there were two things that you hear a lot in this world about speakers, bureaus.
RV (17:01):
And we, we love speakers bureaus. We haven’t traditionally worked with a ton of them because the idea with speakers bureaus is you don’t need them until they don’t you don’t need them until they don’t need you or wait, how’s that go? Yeah. You only need them when they don’t need you, or they don’t want you. And then by the time they want you, you don’t need them anymore. Meaning that when you first start out and you need someone to promote you, they’re not gonna promote you, cuz no one knows who you are. And it’s a lot of work to sell you for a very low fee. And so they don’t make any money. And so it’s, it’s like, why would they do all the extra work and not make very much money? So they’re not really there in the beginning. And then, so you build up your own career.
RV (17:41):
And so then you get to where you’re making a lot of money. You got a lot of people asking for you and that’s when bureaus want you, cuz now their clients are asking for you, but you kind of don’t need ’em cuz their clients are asking for you cuz you’ve done a good job of building yourself up. So there’s great. There’s great relationships you have with bureaus and they can be a great thing. Really great thing. And several of our friends, our clients use them and, and work with them and, and we do work with a couple bureaus. But anyways, I asked Joe Calloway when’s the right time to approach a speakers bureau. And he said, when you can send them a killer demo video and a stack of a hundred testimonial letters, that was his answer. When’s the right time to speak.
RV (18:23):
When is the right time to contact a speakers bureau when you can send them a killer demo video and a hundred testimonial letters. And I thought that was really, really good. And Joe worked with a lot of bureaus during his career was extremely successful. And so you need testimonials. Now whether it’s working with speakers bureaus or not, if a client’s gonna hire you to speak, they need testimonials. And our, our, our personal brand national research study showed this is the number one criteria of people who will hire you is they want testimonials from other customers. So consider that a form of compensation and we would write it into our contract. If someone didn’t have our fee, then we negotiated. We say, well look, we wanna, we want a testimonial letter now. Sometimes we get it anyways, which is great. But if we’re doing it as a discount, we’re gonna negotiate that into the contract specifically to say, we want video footage.
RV (19:17):
We want a chance to make an offer at the end of the you know, at the back of the room we want testimonials, which leads to number six, which is referrals and introductions. The other way you get paid to speak, number six is by referrals to other people. And so the, again, hopefully this happens always in our pressure free persuasion course, which is one of our phase three courses on, on sales one-on-one sales. We teach scripts for how to ask for referrals. Well, the better job you do as a speaker, the more likely you are to get referrals. If you, if you do it and you know how to do it. So that’s a great, that’s a form of payment, right? You’re getting another gig outta the gig that you got. And again, sometimes, sometimes we will put into a contract or, you know, not so much these days, but when we first started out, we would say, look, if we come do this for a discount, we want three legitimate introductions to other people, you know, who run meetings.
RV (20:13):
You don’t have to guarantee that they’re gonna hire us, but a legitimate handheld like white glove email introduction. Now, you know, when we’re chasing down speaking gigs, we do that anyways. That’s all part of pressure, free persuasion, but that’s a way you get paid. And then the seventh way which people don’t do that much anymore these days. But you should because this back in like the seventies and the eighties, the sixties, seventies, eighties of the heyday of speaking, like people used to do this all the time, which is barter. You can barter things. AJ once bartered a couch, we have bartered, we have bartered two couches and an entire custom closet from one company that was one of our past clients. And it’s, they were very expensive. I’m talking about like each piece is tens of thousands of dollars. We would, we would never buy no matter how much money we had, but they were beautiful and AJ loved them and, and she bartered speaking fees for them.
RV (21:11):
So you can barter things. Why, because it only costs them wholesale, but it’s worth retail value to you because you would have to pay for that. But you can also barter for travel, right? Give me, give me you know, let my spouse come with me or my kids come with me or I want extra hotel stays if it’s in a really cool place or I want you to upgrade me to a nicer suite. You know, a lot of these clients already have to fill a certain number of room nights anyways. So they might as well use that as an incentive to help get you. And there you go, seven ways to get paid for a speaking engagement. And then finally the third takeaway from today is the one I wanna leave you with, which is kind of a tie back to the first one that, you know, speaking is not the business, getting the gig is the business, but follow up is the key follow up is the key follow up is the discipline of this whole business.
RV (22:11):
AJ has always said, you know, one of the things I’ve learned from AJ is she always says, there’s no such thing as a no, it’s never a no, there are only, it’s not right now. There’s no such thing as a no, there’s only such a thing as a not right now. And what she means by that is sooner or later, everybody is going to buy, especially in the speaking business. Cuz if, if they’re have an event they’re putting on every year, they need speakers every single year. And so they might not book you this year or next year or the year after. But if you follow up and you’re nice and you build a relationship and your career is growing and you’re improving and you’re doing all the things we teach at brand builders group, sooner or later, they’re gonna go, you know what, let’s do it, let’s have you.
RV (22:57):
And so follow up is the game like follow up is the discipline. You gotta be willing to do the work of staying in touch with people. So there you go, three great takeaways, seven ways to get paid for a speaking engagement. These are just a, a couple tips, right? Whatever I’ve shared here I don’t know, 10, 15 minutes of, you know, more than seven hours of training that we have done because we’ve done seven seven or eight calls in our little internal training. So this is the kind of stuff that we teach inside a brand builder’s group. I wanted to give you a chance to get a little sample of that. But right here on the podcast, we’re so grateful that you’re here. Hope you’re enjoying the show, share this with somebody who’s trying to start a speaking career or somebody who is interested in
Speaker 3 (23:44):
Speaking or somebody who just wants to get out there and speak or could, or should speak to drive more leads to their business, even if they’re not paid. And if that person is you, please make sure that you request a call with our team at freebrandcall.com / podcast. And let’s talk other than that, we’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand podcast.