Do It! Marketing Blog: Marketing for Smart People™

How Motivational Speakers Pocket Bigger Fees: Get Sponsors!

motivational speaker marketingGuest column by Burt Dubin

How to collect even higher speaking fees by creating alliances with sponsors…

Can you believe that a perfectly simple, marvelous, easy-to- implement marketing idea can be largely ignored by the community of professional speakers?

Can you imagine having an organization with deep pockets of cash promoting your programs at their expense, building your name and fame in markets you want to penetrate?

Can you picture this cash-rich sponsor sending along a logistics person - on the speaking tour they’ve set up for you (Be still, my beating heart!) - to handle all the physical details like room set-up for you.

And, of course, you may as well fantasize your sponsor then doing all the advance publicity to be sure you address a packed house. Well, hold on to your hat because all the above is true. It’s real. It’s happening now for 2 speakers. They are-in alphabetical order-Michael Chatman and Barb Schwarz, CSP. This article is due to their generously revealing how they do it.

What is a sponsor:
A Sponsor is a group, a company, any cash-generating, profit- making entity that can benefit from exposure to your target market. Sponsors need you because they want to market to the same folks you target.

When you work together you create a triple win. The third winner is your target market.

If your target market is schools and their students, logical sponsors include retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers. They get their name and logo on your handouts. They get great PR. They are the good guys. Remember the firms that place soft drink, snack and candy machines in the schools, suppliers of uniforms for school athletic teams. Purveyors of the foods served in the school cafeteria.

I share these insights anecdotally. I do not pretend to have access to any wisdom beyond my own experience. What I say here is true for me. You alone can decide whether it is true for you. And this may not be all there is. It’s simply what I get here and now:

Photographers who do class pictures, school ring vendors. Every entity that makes money from providing equipment, supplies, consumables to the school. If you address sales professionals, cellular phone companies, computer companies, vendors of everything salespeople buy are potential sponsors.

If you speak to real estate agents, title companies, escrow companies, mortgage companies, etc., are appropriate sponsors.

In any industry or trade group that buys from a group of vendors, any member of that group-including vendors presently frozen out by trade custom or long-time habits-is a prospective sponsor of your programs.

Your sponsor, or sponsors, use funds from their advertising or promotion budgets, funds already committed to be spent somewhere, to advertise and promote attendance at your programs.

How do sponsors benefit from promoting you:
Exposure of their products and their company before the program starts through the publicity created by any of the interested parties.

Sponsor can do a Pre-program presentation. You can sometimes, depending on the venue, give Sponsor table top display space in the back of the room. Sometimes you can arrange for sponsor to have a booth. Sponsor name and logo may go on all printed materials, including any tickets, book covers, albums, bumper stickers, your letterhead.

In media interviews you always mention sponsor’s name. Sponsor’s representatives can sit down in front and you can introduce them during program. Sponsor’s customer goodwill and loyalty is enhanced. Sponsor may get more direct business because they sponsored you.

Is there to be signage at this program? Arrange that each sponsor have the exclusive sign for their type product. If sponsor markets a soft drink and refreshments are to be served, you arrange that sponsor is to have exclusive pourage rights with no other soft drink to be made available.

There may be $ generated from your product sales-and you need to agree up front whether you keep all this or whether you revenue-share with sponsor. You can create a database of attendees or of key influencers for later follow-up.

Burt Dubin may be reached at or +800-321-1225, or, from overseas, 928-753-7546.  Or you can E-mail Burt at For a free subscription to Burt’s Speaking Biz Strategies Letter, send an e-mail to Burt with a one-word message, Subscribe.

Tags: marketing for speakers, sponsorship, professional speaker, marketing ideas, motivational speaker marketing, sponsors, sponsored speaking