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Looking for the perfect keynote speaker but don’t know where to start?

Are you are hosting a conference, summit, or industry event and need to decide what type of speaker is the best fit? Need help understanding the difference between motivational, business, leadership, sales, marketing and other types of speakers?

Are you struggling with how much you should spend to ensure that your keynote speaker has the right impact and delivers according to your expectations all while adding to the atmosphere and overall experience for your audience?

At MSI, we understand these challenges and have a passion for helping event professionals and organizers achieve success, whether it’s with the event itself or finding the perfect speaker. In this article we are going to dive deep into the process for finding a Sales or Marketing keynote speaker. While many of the things we’ll point out are broad guidelines to consider when choosing a speaker of any specialty, we’re also going to explain why sales and marketing keynotes may be some of the best options for reaching and inspiring your entire audience.

The Unique Relationship Between Sales and Marketing Keynote Speakers

Contrary to popular belief, marketing keynote speakers aren’t just ideal for marketing centric events, and sales keynote speakers shouldn’t be exclusive to sales events. The landscape of digital business is changing drastically, and the walls separating marketing, sales, and leadership are being broken down.

More and more businesses are beginning to realize that digital marketing (content/inbound/social/etc) isn’t just about attracting visitors to your company’s website, but that it goes much, much further than that.

A company’s marketing efforts should span across all departments of a business, and in order to be truly successful, it needs to be incorporated and utilized by all levels of an organization.

The marketing department uses the content efforts to attract new business to one’s site, but the sales department can also utilize all of the amazing content that’s been created to help nurture leads through the sales funnel and close deals at an expedited rate.

In today’s world, great keynote speakers know this, and are increasingly using their messages to connect with, engage, inspire, and motivate all levels of a business to unite their efforts and cooperate together to generate more visitors, leads, and sales.

The best marketing and sales keynote speakers don’t just focus on one department or another, but strive to reach and embolden everybody in the audience.

And that’s what any great keynote speaker does really: connects on a deeper level with everybody in the audience, and not just specific segments. So when you’re trying to decide whether to go with a marketing keynote speaker or a sales keynote speaker, ask yourself, “why not find somebody great at both?”

4 Essential Elements to An Amazing Keynote Speech

So what makes a keynote speaker great? Whether their topic is on marketing, sales, leadership, motivation, or any other broad topic, our experience has shown us that four elements must come together for a spectacular keynote speech:

Inspiration

Great keynote speakers know how to inspire a crowd to think bigger, to open up their minds, and be willing to make positive changes in their professional lives. Additionally, a truly sensational keynote speaker’s message will transcend beyond the professional space and touch the audience in a way that inspires to make personal changes as well.

Education

While inspiration is an essential element to a great keynote lecture, giving the audience the tools and the know-how to make those inspirational changes is even more important. Inspiration is showing an audience what the light looks like at the end of a long tunnel. Education is giving them a map and a compass to find their way there faster.

Entertainment

A decent keynote speaker can deliver on both inspiration and education, but if the message isn’t engaging the audience, then that message gets left behind as soon as they leave their seats. All too often great messages miss the mark when they are delivered in a boring manner. The audience wants to feel the speaker’s passion, because if the speaker isn’t passionate about what they’re saying, why should the audience care? Skilled keynote speakers talk passionately, mix in humorous stories, personal anecdotes, and aren’t afraid to expose their souls to an audience. Keynotes that can entertain an audience while delivering an incredible message will…

Motivate an Audience to Action

When all three of the other elements come together, something wonderful happens: audiences don’t just feel inspired, entertained, and leave with the tools to make changes, they get motivated to actually make those changes. Long after the keynote speaker has exited the stage, a strong message that hits on every level will resonate with attendees beyond the event and fuel their desire to better their professional and personal lives.

When giving a Keynote, Marcus’s obsession is to achieve the first three so as to make the final element (Action) not just possible, but unavoidable!

How Much Does a Sales or Marketing Keynote Speaker Cost?

Cost is typically one of the most important elements to consider when making a decision regarding a speaker. As an event professional you will often be dealing with a limited budget to pull off the perfect event. The cost of the venue, lodging, food, transportation, and wages for all of the people involved to make it memorable are all important considerations to make.

However, one of the most critical mistakes event professionals make is not taking the time to properly research their best options for a keynote speaker. And it’s understandable why finding keynote speakers and breakout session speakers can be difficult as the prices seem to vary widely.

So how are speaker fees calculated? Why do some speakers only charge $1,000 when others may ask for upwards of tens of thousands of dollars? While there’s no exact science in determining speaker rates, and the cost of a speaker doesn’t always reflect the quality of their skills, here’s a little guide to show you the potential ranges of speakers and what you can probably expect for each range.

Keynote Speaker Price Ranges

Pro Bono

Cost is typically one of the most important elements to consider when making a decision regarding a speaker. As an event professional you will often be dealing with a limited budget to pull off the perfect event. The cost of the venue, lodging, food, transportation, and wages for all of the people involved to make it memorable are all important considerations to make.

However, one of the most critical mistakes event professionals make is not taking the time to properly research their best options for a keynote speaker. And it’s understandable why finding keynote speakers and breakout session speakers can be difficult as the prices seem to vary widely.

So how are speaker fees calculated? Why do some speakers only charge $1,000 when others may ask for upwards of tens of thousands of dollars? While there’s no exact science in determining speaker rates, and the cost of a speaker doesn’t always reflect the quality of their skills, here’s a little guide to show you the potential ranges of speakers and what you can probably expect for each range.

$1,000 to $3,500

These are the recently former pro bono speakers that have proven their salt and have moved on to paying jobs. While they may not have many gigs under their belt, they’re working towards improving their craft and continuing to build their reputation. They probably have a decent website, a small social media following, and may be blogging about their craft regularly. However, they probably aren’t very well known in their field as a thought-leader and may not have much proof of quality work yet.

These speakers may be ideal for planners of small events with tight budgets.

$3,500 to $7,500

These are the speakers that are starting to build real momentum. While still not considered thought-leaders in their field, they’ve got some name recognition among people in their industry, probably have a respectable social following, are blogging regularly on their website, and have content available in a variety of mediums (text, audio, video). They most likely have a testimonials page on their website and can provide references upon request of satisfied past organizers. They should have at least one or two topics that they are known for delivering on consistently. They may have been the keynote at smaller events and been standouts at larger conference breakout sessions.

$7,500 to $15,000

This is the price range for most high quality speakers that can deliver great keynotes for nearly any event. They’re probably giving several keynotes every year and doing well over 50 speaking events annually. Generally, they are very well known throughout their industry and have a large social following and social proof of consistently giving event planners exactly what they are looking for.

They have multiple speaking topics allowing them to cater to the needs of the event’s goals.

$15,000 to $30,000

These are speakers that aren’t just considered thought-leaders in their industry, they’re the speakers that other thought-leaders look up to. They often have large social followings, strong brands, and are probably known beyond just the “speaker space” and their own industry.

They have performed over a hundred keynotes in their lifetime and are well known to really rock a crowd. Most of these speakers are published authors and many have made it onto the New York Times bestseller-list.

Mixed in with cream-of-the-crop speakers you will find some other household names, celebrities, past government officials, actors, and entertainers rounding out this field. The addition of some of these other folks that have less experience, but more name recognition, can sometimes be problematic as, while they may draw crowds based on their names, they may not actually be a high quality speaker.

If hiring a household name from this group, see if you can find some social proof that they can actually deliver as promised.

$30,000 and up

Very few individuals belong in this group. In most cases, the keynote speaker isn’t simply part of the event, but rather the event is about them. At the very least, their name alone is used to draw the majority of the crowd. Top-level politicians, A-list celebrities, and industry celebrities make up this small class of speakers. Every member of the audience should recognize the speaker as a household name.

That being said, these types of speakers don’t always deliver. In our travels and experience, we’ve seen some world-class duds as well as world-class deliveries when it comes to celebrities. Ultimately, their effectiveness comes down to their ability to relate the talk’s message to the theme of the conference.

How to Find A Sales / Marketing Keynote Speaker For Your Event

There are many avenues you could pursue to find the perfect speaker for your event, and all have their own pros and cons. Whichever way you choose to search for a speaker, always keep one thing in mind: make sure you can see some proof of their abilities. Whether it’s watching videos of them delivering keynotes, reading their testimonials, or talking with their references, it’s imperative to the success of your event that you get a speaker who can deliver results every time.

Google Searches

There’s a good chance that you stumbled upon this article in exactly this manner (unless somebody shared it with you through social media, but that’s another entry). Google searches are always a great way to begin any research. Putting in keywords centered around “keynote,” “speakers,” or “keynote speakers” should generate tons of resources as a great starting point.

Most of the best speakers have solid websites that are easily found. Here you can check out their articles, videos, and podcasts; read through their comments sections for social proof; and scan through their testimonial pages.

Going to a speaker’s website page can give you a ton of insight into their speaking style, the contents of their talks, the messages they deliver, and even give you a good idea if they’re a strong fit for your event.

However, you should always be a little guarded as a speaker’s personal site is going to show you only the absolute best of them. While you may love their content and messages, unless you can view some of their videos for social proof, they may not always be the quality speaker they claim to be.

Social Media

Some social media sites can also be a great place to learn more about keynote speakers. Nearly all quality speakers are on multiple platforms and have strong social followings so you can not only follow them, but also get a decent sense for how they impact others by the amount of shares, re-tweets, favorites, and stars others give their content.

LinkedIn is one of the best social platforms to discover speakers as you can check out their bios and experience, view their connections, read their posts, view their skills, and see what groups they belong to.

Speaker Bureaus

Speaker bureaus are often great places to find speakers for your event. In most cases they will have a database of hundreds (if not thousands) of high quality speakers. Most speaker bureaus also have high standards and a rigorous vetting system to ensure that only top-notch speakers are on their roster.

Speaker bureau pages offer rich bios of the speakers, show the topics they can present on, have testimonials available from past attendees, and often have video samples of presentations the speaker has given. The bureaus will work with you to help you find the perfect speaker for your event and select speakers they think will match the desired outcome of your event.

Referrals and Self Referrals

With all of the technology available for finding great speakers, getting recommendations from friends, coworkers, and other event planners is still one of the best ways to find a speaker. Keep your ears open whenever you hear someone mention they heard a great keynote delivered at a past event.

While you can learn a ton about a speaker through their website, social media platforms, and speaker bureaus, nothing really compares to hearing how a speaker impacted an attendee personally. The speaker’s personal website and social platforms are designed to make them sound perfect, and a speaker bureau’s job is to sell you on a speaker, but someone who has actually heard the speaker deliver can give you better insights into how they connect with audiences.

When attending other events and witnessing an amazing speaker for yourself, make a mental note (or physical note!) on whether they would be a good fit for your own event. And don’t hesitate to reach out to the speaker right away. A good speaker can be booked for several months or even a couple of years in advance.

Serious Considerations to Make When Hiring a Keynote Speaker

Even with all of these great resources at your disposal for finding an exceptional speaker, there will still be some potential pitfalls to look out for. Remember, the keynote is the most important talk at your event. Done right and it will invigorate and electrify your audience. It will get people excited for the rest of the event, get conversations started in the hallways, and bring attendees back year after year.

Done wrong it can put a major damper on the entire event. When a keynote bombs on stage, the exact opposite effect you’re looking for can occur. Sure, people will still be talking in the hallways, but the topics will be more geared towards the train-wreck they just witnessed. It can put out any enthusiasm attendees may have had about the event and make them reflect negatively on the rest of the program to come. Oftentimes, it’s that first impression that can set the tone for the entire event.

Here are some considerations to make when choosing a speaker:

When you hire an inexpensive speaker, you may be getting exactly what you paid for. Just because the person you hire has great articles and videos on their website, doesn’t mean that they are great onstage. Whenever possible, get a speaker with a strong track record and social proof that they are just as powerful with the spoken word in front of an audience as they are on a blog article or in a controlled video.

Cost doesn’t always equal quality. A speaker charging a high rate isn’t an indication that they can deliver. This often occurs when hiring celebrities. While they may be able to draw crowds based on their name or brand alone, they may not always have that same presence or impact on stage. The star factor can quickly fade if their speech fails to resonate with the audience.

When you hire an inexpensive speaker, you may be getting exactly what you paid for. Just because the person you hire has great articles and videos on their website, doesn’t mean that they are great onstage. Whenever possible, get a speaker with a strong track record and social proof that they are just as powerful with the spoken word in front of an audience as they are on a blog article or in a controlled video.

Sometimes a speaker has it all: presence, a meaningful message, amazing delivery. But if the speaker’s subject isn’t a good fit for the audience or the event, then it could still flop. Make sure that the speaker knows your event’s goals and will work towards helping you achieve them.

When you hire an inexpensive speaker, you may be getting exactly what you paid for. Just because the person you hire has great articles and videos on their website, doesn’t mean that they are great onstage. Whenever possible, get a speaker with a strong track record and social proof that they are just as powerful with the spoken word in front of an audience as they are on a blog article or in a controlled video.

Speakers also need to be able to connect with everybody in the audience, not just groups. Specialized speakers with narrow focused messages are excellent for breakout sessions, but generally not ideal for a keynote. Keynote topics should be picked based on how well they can connect with ALL of the attendees.

Sometimes technical difficulties or unforeseen problems can crush a keynote speech. If the speaker is using a PowerPoint to supplement their message but there are problems with the projector, or if the power goes out, or any other dozens of potential complications arise, they may lose their momentum and begin to bomb on stage. Great keynote speakers know how to think on the fly and continue despite any hazards.

Finding the right keynote speaker can be an arduous and even stressful task, but when you put in the effort to find the best fit for your event, magic can occur on stage. Many events only occur once a year, so it’s often a one-shot-deal to pull it off right and give all attendees an amazing experience that will continue to impact them long after they’ve gone home. But don’t let all of the potential pitfalls scare you off. With a little due diligence and some careful screening you will be able to find the perfect keynote speaker to kick off your event and make it memorable for everybody involved.

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