Question: Larry asks, "Lately, I've had several big conference events invite me to be one of their keynote speakers. The potential to promote my new book would be incredible. However, they want me to discount my requested speaking fee by 30%. Part of me says I should just accept the discount in return for the exposure. But, another part of me is tired of accepting a discount when I know they can probably afford my normal fee. How do I negotiate what I think is fair?"
Larry, I'm excited for you that bigger events are taking notice of your message. Give yourself some kudos for getting high level leaders interested in you. As you negotiate your speaking fees, consider these points in response to your question:
1. If someone doesn't want to pay your full fee, it's because they don't see the full value of giving you their money. This principle is as strong as the law of gravity. Therefore, you have to go back and spend time building your full value in that person or organization's mind. Focus on the results that you create, your unique communication skills and message, and any specific ability that you have to draw people to your speaking events. In a leader's mind, your value has to be equal or greater than the money you're asking for.
2. Examine why you think your total fee is fair. Why do you believe that you're worth that amount? You must believe it internally first, before you can negotiate it. Use the same reasoning that convinced you to set this amount to explain to leaders why you're worth charging for it. Sometimes, I encourage my clients to stand in front of mirror and practice saying their full fee out loud. You've got to have conviction about your request.
3. If you can't establish to a leader that your value is equal to your fee, then you may have to speak for less until you can re-establish your desired value/fee balance. But, it is your responsibility to communicate your value to leaders. They won't do it for you. The KEY to getting high fees from big-time leaders is to establish a peer-to-peer relationship where each of you trusts and respects the other. Therefore, consider what can you do to build and foster these kinds of relationships? Do you need to spend more time in person with them? Could you give away small amounts of value for free to build your credibility?
There isn't necessarily an easy answer to your question. But, these are solid principles that you can use to your advantage.