Booking More & Better Business With Bureaus

by Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE

Potential pitfalls:

  1. flavor of the month syndrome
  2. over-dependency on a singular distribution channel
  3. loss of control
  4. added complexity
  5. cost of sale

Keys to developing bookability:

  1. you're in demand; clients ask for you or have heard of you
  2. you're easy to sell; you have an effective video and marketing materials
  3. you stay in touch but you don't pester bureaus
  4. you have relationships; you're familiar and friendly with bureau reps
  5. you are unique, or at least demonstrably different
  6. you and your office are easy to work with before, during and after the speech
  7. you create lots of spinoffs

How to get started:

  1. ask someone with an established relationships to introduce you
  2. give the bureau a direct booking to get acquainted
  3. make warm calls
  4. wait until the bureaus start to call
  5. always do a fantastic job every time you speak

How to improve your existing bureau relationships:

  1. ask for feedback
  2. analyze your bureau business
  3. clarify your positioning
  4. create a bureau-friendly website
  5. partner in generating and closing business

What to do next:

  1. determine your cost of a direct booking
  2. ask several speakers you respect which bureaus are their favorites
  3. write a position paper you can provide to bureaus entitled "What Makes Me Different"
  4. develop a brief positioning statement and identify your target markets and favorite type(s) of audience
  5. put your bureau policy in writing and be consistent using it
  6. develop a strategy for creating or improving your bureau relationships