How NOT to Work with Speakers Bureaus

A few days ago, I spoke at a workshop for new/aspiring speakers on the subject of “Working with Speakers Bureaus.” In addition to talking about why speakers bureaus shouldn’t be high on a speaker’s priority list when it comes to business building, I also shared some do’s and don’ts for when speakers do work with speakers bureaus.

#1 on my don’t list was “Don’t send mass emails.” In other words, don’t send emails like this one I received today (names removed):


Hello, I am writing on behalf of Mr. Speaker.  Please review his profile at your earliest convenience and let me how we may begin to match Mr. Speaker with your clients’ needs for a dynamic speaker.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Do you see any problems with that email? I’ll spotlight two:

  1. Just Hello? At least take the time to find someone‘s name at the speakers bureau you’re contacting.
  2. “Please review his profile at your earliest convenience…” Sure. I have nothing better to do. Why would I want to do this? What’s in it for me? What’s the benefit for me? (One of the most basic lessons of sales.)

Please don’t approach speakers bureaus like this, and by all means, don’t approach end clients like this. Rather than blast hundreds or thousands at once with such a meaningless message, invest more time and send a personalized message to a few highly desirable prospects. By personalize, I mean (1) find someone’s name and (2) find out what matters to them — What are their challenges? What are their needs? — so you can highlight how knowing you provides solutions for their needs.

Speakers bureaus are a hard nut to crack, but with an email like the one above, you don’t have a chance.

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