This is part of our Bulletproof Professional Speaker Branding series - download the NOT-so-white paper here.
Your relationship with bureaus will make or break your speaking career.
Bureau staff are the gatekeepers to events throughout the world. This might seem blatantly obvious, but bureaus are under constant pressure from fast-paced event bookers to find right-fit speakers.
As a speaker how can you ensure bureau staff put you forward for every possible booking?
- Make their lives easier
- Never, ever, forget that the buyers are their clients, not yours
#1 Making lives easier
When you make someone’s professional life easier, it helps make you the easy choice, the go-to choice whenever you might be suitable.
You need to look so impressive that your bureau contacts look awesome just for suggesting you.
How can you become that speaker?
Impactful promotional material
Whether you’re a self-managed speaker or managed by an agency, you’ll need both branded and un-branded promotional material that effectively sells you in.
It’s the un-branded material that’s “bureau-friendly”. Remember point #2 above? This gives bureaus the confidence to promote you with your own materials, resting easy that there won’t be mixed messages about who to contact for the booking. #DontCutTheirGrass
Bureau-friendly brochures (in downloadable PDF form) are the centerpiece of this strategy. They should be as awesome as the rest of your brand: visually arresting, well-written and punchy content, and linked to appropriate resources and videos. They need to be professional, functional and actionable.
There should be no contact details on bureau-friendly materials, no links back to your site. If you have a link to your showreel video, make sure it links directly to the video, not your channel. Vimeo is great for this: on their paid plans you can easily replace an existing video file with an updated version. You can maintain the same link for your showreel video forever, no matter how many times you update the actual showreel.
Make sure you have a few variations of your brochure kit.
- A multi-page PDF that has your bio, links to your showreel and individual topic pages. A page with links to additional resources (headshots, AV requirements, MC intro and plain-text bio) is also useful.
- A speaker one-sheet that is just the bio and positioning piece with a showreel link
- Separate individual topic PDFs (and topic video links if you’ve created them)
This approach allows bureaus to tailor the right combination of content for each client. Some might benefit from the whole kit, some might prefer putting you forward with just the positioning and a single topic.
Imagine it’s crunch time at the bureau. They’ve got just a few moments to put together a last minute proposal. It might be in your area of expertise, it might be exactly the industries you’ve specialised in, but unless it’s easy find and compile a compelling case for “why you”, you’re not going to make it onto the shortlist.
Be proactive in helping bureaus market themselves
If you’re regularly producing content - videos, articles, blog posts - don’t just take the “Build It And They Will Come” approach. Get proactive about getting your content out there and make sure your bureau contacts know about it.
In The Guide to Bulletproof Professional Speaker Branding we advised that you create archives of all of your content and be diligent about tagging and categorising content along topic and industry groups.
Make sure your bureau contacts know about the content you’re producing and make sure they know you have resources around these groupings. It both helps prove your credibility to buyers and provide valuable marketing material for the bureau.
If necessary, be willing to re-write content to provide them with original subject matter that will improve their SEO - and their ability to sell you. We’ve got some great techniques that will help you produce valuable content quickly without going insane - we’ll cover that in another article.
If bureaus are able to quickly and easily pull together their own blog posts and newsletters because you’ve done the heavy lifting for them, you’ll once more be the easy choice - and keep yourself front of mind to put forward to clients.
Be available for conference calls to get yourself across the line
Again, this one may seem a little “Captain Obvious”, but make sure your bureau contacts know you’re available to help them sell you in.
Most of the time you won’t need to do this, but if you can get the deal across the line with a call you’ll once more be your bureau’s first, best choice.
You should suggest either conference calls or group Skype calls with both the client and the bureau on the call with you - see point #2 again. This reinforces to the bureau that you’re not going to cut their grass.
Which finally brings us to…
#2 Buyers are their clients
It’s all about trust and integrity.
Whoever brought you the enquiry owns the client
Several of our professional speaker branding clients have articulated this message to us. Mark Bunn for example goes to great lengths to ensure that any booking he receives goes through the bureau from which the enquiry originated.
This has immediate impact - the bureaus are keenly aware of who they’ve recommended recently. If you’re recommended to a client by a bureau and cut them out of the deal they will absolutely hear about it.
Goose. Golden eggs. Kill the goose, no golden eggs.
They own the client forever
If the bureau brought you the deal last year, but the client comes direct for this year’s conference refer them back to the bureau again.
When you demonstrate that kind of unwavering integrity with your bureau partners you get far more leeway - they’ll use your high-end marketing materials, putting you head-and-shoulders above the competition.
Market on point
By creating highly professional bureau kits and content that proves your authority, credibility and thought-leadership, you achieve the following:
- Their clients instantly see how you can add value
- You make it fast, simple and affordable to be recommended
- Everyone involved instantly recognises the investment you’ve made in your own brand
- You provide peace of mind for bureaus and their clients because they know you’re a professional
When you foster your bureau relationships, and provide them with resonant, topical content, they’ll help your marketing to continue working for you (and them) long after it’s been launched.
By ensuring your overarching speaker brand is utilised from the very first proposal, you’re creating an experience that lends weight to your credibility, professionalism and message. It allows you to craft trusted post-conference marketing material (email campaigns & online courses) that emphasises and underscores the experience of you, guaranteeing that it sticks.
This consistency of experience is critical to creating the Brand Power you need to be front of mind when bureaus and buyers are making a purchasing decision.