We knocked on the door of a bureau to ask what it takes for a speaker to stay top-of-mind in workdays filled with hectic deals, busy clients, and tons of events that need to run perfectly. Here is what they told us.
Speaker relations manager, Anne B. Rasmussen of Athenas, a Speakers Bureau in Denmark, came back with the following.
She told us that it is essential realizing, that when a client approaches a bureau, the bureau-employee probably has several speakers to choose from. As a speaker, you’ve not won when the bureau writes you - you’ve merely been asked to step in the ring.
That being said, there are ways to make sure that you have a competitive edge - these are the routines you should work into your relationship with your bureau.
“Bureau, as well as the client, appreciates quick feedback. Preferably within one business day. Your chance of another speaker getting the deal is directly related to your response time. While the speaker is checking his or her schedule, the client will be considering alternative speakers.”
Failing that, even just getting back to the bureau with an estimated timeframe for availability is to be preferred. “It helps us keep the customer warm,” explains Rasmussen. It is a minimal timeframe, sure. On the other hand, it is not any different from places like Airbnb, that requires hosts to reply within 24 hours regardless of whether the request came on a business day. If private people renting out their homes can do it, it is only reasonable to expect the same dedication from professionals. Be prompt in your responses.
In the perfect world, Rasmussen continues, speakers share their calendars. This is problematic for speakers as a calendar can be a pretty personal thing. No one needs other people to know when they’re going to the dentist, seeing their psychologist or visiting family. Some things should be kept private.
Some calendars have features that allow you to share your events in a way, where the recipient can only see if you are busy or free. Even if the bureau can’t book talks in your schedule, letting them know when you are not available will save both parties time. Besides, if the agency recognizes that it takes two minutes to check your availability, you will have a competitive edge over other speakers on the roster.