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Promotional Negotiation

The Copyologist®/Consultant/Seminar Leader

Negotiating Your "Promotional Deal"

Since your goal is not to make money as a speaker but to promote your product or service, you can use the group’s lack of payment for your talk as a weapon in negotiating for concessions extra things it gives you that can help maximize the promotional value of your talk for your firm.

Here are some things you can ask for. You should get all or at least some of them, in addition to the opportunity to address the group:

• Tell the meeting chairperson you would be happy to speak at no charge, provided you receive a list of the members. You can use this list to promote your company via direct mail before as well as after your presentation.

A pretalk mailing can let people know about your upcoming talk and be a personal invitation from you to them to come. A posttalk mailing can offer a reprint or audio recording of your presentation to those who missed it.

• At larger conferences and conventions, the conference manager provides attendees with show kits including a variety of materials such as a seminar schedule, passes to luncheons and dinners, maps, tourist sights of interest to out-of-town visitors, and the like. These kits are either mailed in advance or distributed at the show.

You can tell the conference manager, "I will give the presentation at no charge, but in exchange, we’d like to have you include our company literature in the conference kits mailed to attendees. Is that possible? We will supply as many copies of our literature as you need, of course." If he or she agrees, then you get your promo mailed to hundreds, even thousands, of potential clients at zero mailing cost.

• A speech is an effective way of getting known to a particular audience (the members of the organization and, more specifically, those members who attend your presentation). But as you know, making a permanent impression on a market-segment requires a series of contacts, not a single communication.

You can easily transform a one-shot speaking engagement into an ongoing PR campaign targeted to the membership o this particular group. One way, already discussed, is to get the mailing list and do your own mailings, plus have the sponsor include your literature in their mail-out kit.

Another is to get one or more PR placements in the organization’s newsletter or magazine. For instance, tell the meeting planner you will supply a series of articles (your current press releases and feature articles, recycled for this particular audience) to run in the organization’s newsletter before the talk; this makes you known to the audience, which is good PR for your firm but also helps build interest in attending your program.

After your talk, give the editor of the organization’s newsletter the notes or text of your speech, and encourage him or her to run all or part of it (or a summary) as a posttalk article, so those who could not attend can benefit from the information. Additional articles can also be run as follow-ups after the talk to reinforce your message and provide additional detail to those who want to learn more, or to answer questions or cover issues you didn’t have time to cover.

• If the editor will not run a resource box with your phone number with the articles, talk to the meeting planner about getting some free ads for your product or service. For a national organization that actually charges for ads in its magazine, the value of your free ad space should be approximately twice what your fee would be if your were charging for your talk.

• The organization will do a program or mailing (or both) with a nice write-up of you and your talk. Usually it prints more than it ends up using, and throws out the extras. Mention that you would be glad to take those extra copies off its hands. Inserting those fliers is a nice touch in press kits and inquiry fulfillment packages.

• A professionally done audiotape or video of you giving a seminar can be a great promotional tool and an attention getting supplement to printed brochures, direct mail, and other sales literature. But recording such presentations in a studio can be expensive.

One way to get an audio or video produced at low cost is to have someone else foot the bill for the taping. If an organization wants you to speak but cannot pay you, and especially if its audience is not a prime market for you, say, "I’ll tell you what. Normally I charge $X for such a program. I will do it for you at no charge, provided you can arrange to have it professionally videotaped (or audio recorded, or both) and give me a copy of the master." If the organization objects to the expense, say, "In exchange, you can copy and distribute the video or audio of my speech to your members, or even sell it to those who attend the meeting or belong to your group or both and I won’t ask for a percentage of the profits. All I want is the tape master when you are through with it."

At many major meetings, it is standard practice for sponsoring organizations to audiotape all presentations and offer them for sale at the conference and for one year thereafter in promotional mailings. If you are being taped, tell the sponsor you normally do not allow it, but will as long as you get the master. (Also make clear that, while you will allow the sponsor to sell it and will waive percentage of the profits, the copyright is to be in your name.)

• If the group is a local chapter of a national organization, ask the meeting chairperson for a list of the other state or local chapters, along with addresses, phone numbers, and the names of the meeting organizers for each of those chapters. Then contact these chapters and offer to give the talk to their members.

Andrew S. Linick, Ph.D.

The Copyologist®/Consultant/Seminar Leader

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