Keller Media Blog

By Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Professional Speaker

Speaking can be your best marketing strategy ever!

Here are the three best ways to make money as a speaker:

  1. Speak for free, but convert a hefty percentage of every audience into customers, clients, patients or customers.

How This Works:

People buy from people they like and trust. When you stand in front of an audience and share your knowledge with a room full of people, they get a feeling for the kind of person you are from the way you talk and move – as much as from the knowledge you convey. As the minutes tick away, they come to like you more and more.

Even beginning speakers, or people who feel a bit nervous up there, can convert 30% or more of a room – turning them into paid customers.

A good friend of mine sells a $3,000 service-based product. He will speak to any group of business people as long as there are going to be at least 25 people there. He knows that even on his worst days (and there aren’t many of those!) he will convert 30% of the audience. For him, that’s just about $25,000 in profits!

What could speaking do for your business?

2. Speak for money – and still convert a percentage into customers!

How This Works:

If you are a subject matter expert, on anything from sales to overcoming adversity to parenting to party planning, chances are other people want to hear what you’ve got to say. Especially if it is a business-oriented topic, your message has value.

The meetings industry is worth more than $1 billion!

Companies, associations, hospitals, schools, churches, small businesses and all types of special interest groups are always looking for fresh speakers whose content is appealing to their people. This is how they stay relevant and in business themselves.

When you put yourself out there as a speaker (find out how by clicking here), you will find that this is an exceptionally lucrative way to make a living – or just a few extra bucks. Imagine getting paid $5,000, $10,000 or more for 45 minutes of talking! (OK, there’s more to it than that, but that’s the first layer).

I have numerous consulting clients and students I’ve trained who now make $100,000 or more a year speaking just 12-15 times, sometimes in fabulous locations. Imagine being feted by the CEOs of the companies you speak for, asked in-depth questions about the topic of your expertise, and building notoriety – maybe even some fame – all while being paid for it!

What could speaking do for your life?

3. Launch a movement, a membership program or an organizations

How This Works

This is something many people never even think about! You could use your knowledge of anything from how to repair vacuum cleaners to improving sales for people working in retail and build a content website – cheaper and easier than you think. (Thank you, modern technology!) Then you can use your speaking to encourage people to sign up to pay you to learn from your site.

My late friend Cavett Robert, founder of the prestigious National Speakers Association, started out with just gathering a few friends who wanted to get paid to speak. His association grew into a preeminent organization that grossed millions of dollars per year in dues and other revenue sources. The difference between what I paid for membership when I joined the NSA in 1995 and the dues now? Almost triple!

If you have something interesting, original, refreshing, helpful, valuable or useful to tell the world, the meetings industry will be glad to welcome you with wide open arms. To find out how to leap into the speaking business now, click here for full details.

Wendy Keller is the founder and Chief Talent Launcher at Keller Media, Inc. The team at Keller Media turns regular people (and a few superstars) into big deal authors, well-paid speakers and successful owners of content-based businesses. To start you own process, click here. To find out about private consulting with Wendy to help you launch into your own successful life as a speaker and/or author, click here.

By Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Professional Speaker

Some “regular people”* speakers can attract $15,000, $25,000, even $30,000 or more for the same 45 minutes of speaking time that others are lucky get just a few hundred bucks for.

* = speakers who are not celebrities, famous athletes, presidents, etc. Basically, people like you and me.

If 45 minutes is the same amount of time anywhere in the world, then why are you not getting paid more?

The obvious question: What needs to happen so YOU can get higher fees when you speak?

The difference between one speaker and another comes down to 3 basic things:

1. Preparation

Of your speeches, of your mannerisms on stage, of your messages, of your marketing, of your content expertise, of your platform style.

2. Packaging

Speaking is a “Fake it ’til you make it” business. If you look low end, you will be paid low end. This includes your website, your handouts (if any), your slides (if you use them), your contract (which you should have), and…you. Sometimes, hiring an image consultant, a vocal coach or a movement coach can make all the difference in someone’s speaking fees.

3. Promotion

How you are promoted, whether you do it yourself or hire it out, whether or not your promoter has any skills, what promotion materials you display, who you promote yourself to, all that kind of stuff…makes a huge impact. (Assuming 1 and 2 above have been implemented properly).

People often tell me, “The most I’ve ever gotten was $1,500, but usually it’s just $500 or so…”

I refer them to the “3 P’s” above and point out that the reason they’re not getting more money per engagement is certainly one of the above reasons, most often #1 – Preparation. No one likes to hear that, but it is the first step toward actual success as a speaker, not just survival.

In most of our lives, when one of the basic ingredients is off, the whole result is off. It’s like using 1 cup of salt instead of 1 cup of sugar when baking a cake; it’s like filling your gas tank with mineral oil instead of gasoline: it might look similar but the results are disastrously different.

Tighten up the “3 P’s” and you’ll find your speaking fees perk right up. To get help as a speaker – whether you are just getting started or in raising your fees – you’re invited to our webinar “Get Paid to Give Speeches.

When I interviewed Christopher Gimmer, CEO of the (incredible) graphics app for my book “The Ultimate Guide to Platform Building” I had no idea a few weeks later, he’d also show up as an entrepreneur with good advice in this article from Preneur Digest on “top business strategies”.

Click below to see it:

Business Success: 24 Famous Entrepreneurs Share their Top Strategies is one of the smartest tools out there for impatient entrepreneurs who need a quality graphic header right this minute!



getyourfirstpaidBy Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Professional Speaker

Are You Ready?

The most common question beginning speakers ask me is, “How do I get someone to hire me to speak?”

Honestly, the answer to that question is pretty simple: Promote Yourself.

The very idea of having to promote yourself is one that makes most new speakers’ knees shake, not standing in front of a room of 20, 200 or even 2,000 people. Maybe the real greatest fear of mankind is ” Fear of promoting myself as a public speaker“?

In the beginning of your adventure as a speaker, you will find it almost impossible to get a bureau agent to promote you and work on your behalf, because they work on commission and you are as yet of no proven economic value.  Read on! There’s hope!

That means you have to approach meeting planners – the people with the power to hire you – all on your lonesome.  SURPRISE! It’s easier than you think when you know.

Here’s the situation:  A meeting planner’s job is to bring in the “best” person for the event being held.  Realistically, “best” might mean, “We have $5,000 to spend on a speaker.  Who is the best in this price category?”

If you’ve been reading my series, you know that I teach new and emerging speakers the “3 Ps” of Professional Speaking“:

  • Preparation* (so you are sure your message will appeal)
  • Packaging* (‘cuz you gotta look the part)
  • Promotion (what we’re talking about in this post)

*Click on the words above to see the related LinkedIn articles

What will make YOU the best investment in the eyes of the meeting planner?

Let’s say you are prepared and packaged as well as can be. You’re ready to get booked – make money – in 90 days. It’s totally doable!  Do you have the guts to follow this plan?

How to find people who want to hire you:

1. Look Locally.  Are there companies, colleges, associations or their branches, or other groups that meet within driving distance of you?  Many of these will be eager to have you come to speak – for free – in return for exposure to their membership and maybe a chicken dinner.  Their members may include people with the power to recommend you or hire you for other events. Most speakers start on “the rubber chicken circuit”…because it pays off.

Don’t knock it til you try it! It will give you a good chance to practice.  A few of these completed and you will have a much better idea of how this all works together.

2. Leverage Connections. Chances are, you’re known in your field.  If there are events coming up where you have a contact – or know somebody who might know somebody who can put in a good word for you – pursue this relentlessly.  It’s an easy way to get started.  If you are speaking for a group that will have more than 50 attendees, it is fair to ask to be paid.  Normally, half of your fee to “hold the date” is customary.

3. Dial for Dollars. I know I’m a freak, but I love cold calling!  I started my current business by cold calling. I had learned it in endless telemarketing boiler rooms as a teenager. (Yes! I called you during dinner back when it was legal!)

If you don’t love cold calling as much as I do, here’s a trick: Set up an imaginary character.  Give yourself a name and a personality.  I’m pretty good with accents, so I used to call on my own behalf as “Elizabeth” – complete with a faux British accent. Only one person ever busted me for my fake accent!  Even without one, when “someone else” you are pretending to be is calling, you may find it is a whole lot more fun and easier to pick up that phone and pitch yourself.  (Really!)  You won’t take rejection personally.

To begin, select 15 people you want to to have pay you to speak. Write out a pitch script and practice it at least 10 times standing in front of a mirror, smiling like a psycho.

Pick up the phone.  Dial the number.  Leave a clever message or deliver your pitch with charm. Pause for a response.

It’s that easy. Call 3 people per day every business day for a week.  That’s 15.  Then do it again the next week. And the next.

Those who have the chutzpah to pull this off will be surprised to discover…it works. Within 90 days, you should have your first paid booking!

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-2-54-19-pmBy Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Professional Speaker

Want to grow your consulting business faster? Consider speaking engagements.

Whether you get paid to speak or decide to speak for free, this highly effective marketing strategy can attract as many consulting engagements as you can handle.

If you’re willing to stand in front of a room of your ideal customers and share just a sliver of your knowledge, launching yourself as a speaker could be the smartest thing you ever do to generate new leads for your consulting practice.  (Or start a new consultancy!)

Here are three important speaking tips just for consultants:

1. Choose your audiences carefully.  Ask questions about who will attend the meeting. Do a little homework on who will be in the room before you accept any engagement – or offer to speak at one.  If your ideal customer is a small business owner, it won’t help you if you are talking to a room full of retirees or C-level execs from mid-sized companies.

2. Promote like a pro.  No one likes to be sold to, so pay close attention to how you script the subtle sales message of “I’m available to consult you” when you’re live on stage. Practice being smooth. Some great ways to be subtle:

“When a consulting client came to me a few months ago and said, “Ben, we want to increase our revenues by 20% in the next 6 months…”

“I was recently hired to consult a large manufacturer in Dallas.  They were facing a problem you might be facing in your business too…”

“An estimated 43% of small businesses have <this challenge>.  The ones who overcome it and continue to flourish invariably apply what I call the “The 5 Principles of (whatever)”.  We have time to cover just one of them today, so here’s what I can share with you in the time allotted…”

3. Give away “free meat”.  One of the most overlooked sales strategies every consultant-and-speaker should use is to give some real value while they’re on stage.  If you’ve ever watched my friend, the uber-superstar of marketing, Jay Abraham speak, you will notice that no one in the room is looking at him. Their pens are leaving scorch marks on the notepaper in front of them!  His speaking style is so content rich you know at the end that if you could just get this guy to consult your business for a few weeks…  That “I just got SO much from this!” sensation is a great feeling for audiences – and it makes them long for more of what they can only get from you.

These three tips will get you more referrals than you can handle – assuming you get yourself some speaking engagements.  The best part? If you nab paid speaking engagements whenever possible, you’ll get paid twice – once for the speech, once from the clients you pick up.  Perfect!



By Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Business Owner


Building a brand for yourself or your business should be the question that keeps you up at night. If you get your brand right, leads will convert to prospects and your cash flow will steadily increase.


If you work as a(n):

  • Independent sales pro (real estate, insurance, cars, software, etc.)
  • Small business owner (any goods or services sold in a store, by phone or online)
  • Coach, consultant or strategist
  • Artist, craftsperson or artisan
  • Author or speaker

Then your brand is critically important, even though it may be the thing you think about the least. 

Brand building comes down to one simple question:

“What can I do to give my customers the best possible experience when they interact with me/us?”

Before you say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah” and roll your eyes, here’s the deeper truth behind that broad statement:

People do business with people they like and trust. 

You choose which places to spend your money based on reputation, image or prior positive experience with that establishment. Your customers do precisely the same thing. In fact, the smaller or newer your company, the more important it is to provide them with what they seek.

The first step is to take a moment to think about your ideal customer. “Anyone with money” is popular with small businesses, but that isn’t something you can take action on.

Let’s imagine a newly-minted CPA wants to set up her own firm. She is clever enough to start with defining her ideal customer.

“I’d like to deal with nice people who will take my advice; pay me on time; and whose taxes are not all that complicated. People who will be loyal year after year so I don’t have to always be out there swatting the bushes. Ideally, I’d like to work with young families, because I’ll have more time to be their CPA during their careers.”

What’s your dream for your ideal customers? If you’ve been in business a while, who do you most enjoy working with? Write it out.

Once you know that type of person – called an “avatar” in marketing circles – you can customize your business for that ideal person.

Following with the new CPA, she next needs to think about what kinds of things will be important to that young family.

Convenience? Not requiring too much paperwork? Being easy to get a hold of, even in the evenings when the kids are finally asleep? Sending a reminder list to help them prepare what they’ll need – months in advance? Being in a convenient location with plenty of parking? Having no bright shiny expensive knick knacks in her office? Baby-proofing the office? Setting up a play area with clean new toys? Giving kids a balloon or sticker? A bowl of animal crackers on her desk?

She would do well to invest her energy in creating a customer experience. If she provides the same benefits consistently, and her customers continue to value what she’s giving, she will grow steadily, even just based on referrals.

The “trick” is to think about what’s most important, convenient, interesting, appealing, and valuable to your ideal customer.

That one simple step will give you the ability to create a competitive advantage and a compelling brand that will give your company a strong niche in your marketplace.

A real estate agent who knows he wants to only work with clients who will spend at least $_____ on a home needs to ask himself, “Am I driving the kind of car my future clients are likely to drive or be impressed by? and “Am I wasting their time (a precious and recognized resource for all clients at a certain income level, not so much of a factor for others) by showing them “everything” or am I really putting in the time to show them only those houses that meet their stated criteria?”   Customizing the buyers’ experience will lead the new home owners to share your good service with their friends.

An author could apply this strategy by getting clear on why he or she is writing the book. If it is to build a business, will the customer be more impressed if your book is published by a “real” publisher or self-published? By a big glossy photo of you from 20 years ago on the cover, or by a tasteful, professional cover designed by a pro? Will rehashed, hackneyed ideas from eons ago make them have more or less trust in you as a reliable advisor?

An artisan may think, “People either love my work or they don’t” but are you mixing socially with the right types of people – your potential buyers, gallery owners? The people who buy Thomas Kincaid lithographs are not the same people likely to buy a “similar to Kandinsky”. Your shop, the galleries, the networking you do, should all be aligned with this important rule of business:

To catch more fish, go where the fish are.

howtogetpaidtogivespeechesBy Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Professional Speaker

It’s easy to find places that will let you come in and speak for free.

But how do you turn public speaking into a career move – one that makes you money?

There’s an unending need for knowledge in the world.  If you’ve got something to say that is valuable to other people, and you’re not currently getting paid to share it, something is awry.  This short article will give you 3 ways to move from “free” to “fee” speaking.

Point One:  The reason you’re speaking for free is because you are packaged wrong.

Sure, some individuals speak for free because that gets them in front of prospects, or they’ve got something to sell in the back of the room.  But many more people end up speaking for free because they just don’t know how to ask for – and get – more than a few bucks for their time and for sharing their subject matter expertise.  It doesn’t have to be that way for you!

Paid public speaking (called “professional speaking” whether you do it full or part time) is a highly image-based business.  If you look like the kind of person who commands higher fees for your speaking, you’re 50% of the way to getting them.  This doesn’t just mean your clothes and haircut. It means your website, your business cards, the demo video on your website, sometimes your social media presence, etc.

I’ve been training speakers since the late 90s and I assure you that this is a “fake it ’til you make it” industry.  Look the part, deliver on the platform and you will command the fees.

Point Two: Deliver on the Platform

If you are an average speaker, people will line up after you talk to tell you how great you were and sometimes, how you changed their lives.  Every time a new speaker tells me they “always” hear this, my eyes want to roll.  Only very bad speakers DON’T get told that.

Unfortunately, unless the people telling you how wonderful you are happen to be meeting planners (the people who hire speakers), the opinions of the attendees can make you feel good but have no economic value.

To get paid, you need to be more than average. You need to be fabulous.  You need to be entertaining, informative and inspirational.  When you are fabulous, it shows up on your demo reel. (The short montage video of you being terrific in front of live audiences that you use to promote yourself.   The audience needs to believe 100% that they can create the results you just inspired them to strive to attain.

I’ve worked with some of the greatest speakers of our age.  I can tell you that every one of them is committed to self-improvement. They take voice lessons, acting lessons, improv classes. They hire image consultants and top level website designers. They practice their content in front of a mirror.  They use the best marketing strategies. They know that they are the product and they are committed to improving the product constantly.

If you are willing to admit that even talent such as yours could be improved upon, you have a high probability of becoming a very successful paid professional speaker.

Point Three:  Prepare to Market Yourself

Unless you are a celebrity, sports star or have some incredibly unique act, until you are consistently earning $5000 or more per engagement and booking about 20 times a year, you are not going to be all that interesting to speakers bureaus. They’re the people who book successful speakers into venues.

That means that you have to commit to marketing yourself.  It’s not something you can pawn off on your assistant!  You’ll need to create, prepare and implement a marketing strategy, execute it, modify it, and keep moving.  It is a lot of work, but the payoff is astounding.  (This is my specialty!)

Most speakers who come to me talking about representation hate marketing. They want to be recognized for their amazing talent on the platform, or they think the hokey package they slapped together will carry them to success.  I hate bursting their bubbles, but this is a competitive industry like every other. There are steps to take to move away from the $250 honorarium level of speaking to even the $5,000 entry level.

There’s a tried-and-true way to start getting paid (or paid more) as a speaker. People insistent on reinventing the wheel either get there late or give up along the way because it is “just too hard”.  Like everything, a coach or consultant can be enormously valuable.

For those with a passion for speaking and some natural talent, this can become an incredibly lucrative business. It can give you the ability to share your messages with thousands of people every year, and truly and sincerely change lives for the better.  There are many people who call themselves “professional speakers” right now, but in my long experience of this industry, I can assure you of this: cream always rises to the top.  If you want this dream, it is simply a matter of committing to the steps to attain it.

useabooktobuildyourbusinessBy Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Business Owner

A book is a GREAT calling card…

…but only if you use it to “call” on people!

Are you published already? Have a book in the works or in your head?

For a few hundred dollars, anybody can self-publish a digital book. Add a few bucks more, and you can get paper copies printed. A few lucky readers will have done it the Old Fashioned Way and found a literary agent (like me!) and gotten a traditional publisher – Penguin Random House, McGraw Hill, Simon & Schuster, etc. But if your intention is to build a business by leveraging your book, good luck with that!

 Very few books manage to swim to the surface in the tsunami of books published in the USA every year.

You’ll need to be both clever and motivated to make yours DO something for you – produce results. A “calling card” is useless unless you use it to call attention to yourself, your product or your service.

Here are 3 Ways to Use Your Book to Build Your Business.

Give Copies to Your Best Prospects or Customers  Seems self-evident, but many of my author-clients hope people will buy it and then invest in their product or service.  It may or may not work for you to give free copies to everyone, but certainly to your best people.  In the case of existing customers, present it with a personalized note thanking them for helping you learn what’s important to customers/helping your business grow to this point/giving you referrals/etc.

Get Yourself on Local Radio or TV Shows  If your book is in physical format, and has been published less than a year, use it to wriggle onto local media.  Then put links to your interview on your website; email it to all the customers/prospects on your mailing list; frame a big photo of you in studio or smiling next to the host and put it in your reception area; etc.  Create a relationship with the host while you’re there, and think up some creative ways to keep in touch, help them achieve their own goals, or hire them to do a promo at your next live event, etc.  The ideas are limitless!

Start a Blog or Newsletter On the Topic of Your Book  Send a newsletter out once every 3 weeks and/or blog 2-3 times a week on the content topic of your book. (If you have a traditional publisher, you need to get permission to use excerpts, but otherwise, you can have someone on your team post small pieces of the book online or into the newsletter).  Tell stories about people who did/didn’t use your advice.  Put your URL at the bottom of every page. Make a goal of increasing by 10% per month the number of people on your list who see your blog or get the newsletter. (Note: you can’t just put people on a newsletter list.  Ask permission first, especially in Canada where there is a hefty fine for “spamming”.)

wanttogetpaidtogivespeechesBy Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Professional Speaker

Got something interesting and valuable to say?

Want to share it with the world?

Could speaking grow your business, your reputation or your brand?

If you fancy yourself getting paid to give speeches, here are TEN important questions that will help you get your goal faster.

  1. What will other people get from listening to you?  List the benefits.
  2. Can you make your content appeal to a corporate audience?  That’s where the money is in speaking. Even if your topic is self-help oriented, can you skew it a little and at least speak to corporate to pay the bills?
  3. What other successful speakers or books are out there on your same topic? What do you advise that they don’t? How are you different and unique?
  4. How comfortable are you on the platform?  Take a improv or a comedy class. Take some acting or voice lessons. Volunteer for Open Mic Nights at a comedy club. Sign up for Toastmasters.
  5. What kinds of people do you ideally want in your audiences? What are their problems, fears, goals and dreams? Write it down.
  6. What companies, groups, organizations are most likely to contain those kinds of people?
  7. What kind of fees are similar speakers getting – and why are they getting them?  You can expect to get between $3000-$5000 per speech within the first year (maybe more) if you begin with the right steps.
  8. What do you need to do to prepare to win the engagement over other speakers competing for that same microphone?
  9. Is there any research or other documentation that supports your premise, thus giving you third party credibility?  Find it and cite it.
  10. Can you write a killer speech, complete with emotion, humor, facts and stories in a way that compels people to listen to you with full attention?

Success as a speaker happens when you are sizzling while you’re on the platform, because doing a great job generates word of mouth referrals.

Yet if you can’t get the opportunity to strut yourself, you can’t soar.  Building an effective marketing system that displays your talent and your content to best advantage is where you must begin.

useabooktobuildyourbusinessBy Wendy Keller, Literary Agent and Business Owner

If you’ve got a book inside your head or your hard drive; in print or in digital form; published or self-published…and you also own a business, this article is meant for you:

Getting published is the best way to leap into the minds of your prospects, customers, clients or patients.

My clients who seem to benefit most are in these professions:

  • Small business owners – purveyors of products or services
  • Attorneys, doctors, chiropractors, nutritionists, CPAs, CFPs and other independent professionals
  • Speakers, coaches, seminar and workshop leaders and trainers
  • Therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, MFTs and social workers
  • Scientists, academics, researchers and innovators

Here are just 3 of the many ways your book will help you differentiate yourself as a leading professional in your industry:

  1. It will open the door to the VIP suite – allowing you to “rub elbows” with the most important people in your industry…as a peer.
  2. It will get you media – print, radio, television…eyeballs…as much as you want (when you leverage the content of your nonfiction book to that end).
  3. It will position you in the minds of your current and future customers, employees, peers, investors, etc.

Nowadays, about 425,000 people self-publish each year in the USA. Most of these are what my father would call “schlock” books, because the authors went sideways with the content, didn’t write it well, didn’t think the book through at all, didn’t use an editor, whatever.

The #1 reason a nonfiction book does NOT produce the author’s desired results like 1-3 above?

Because the author simply doesn’t know how to use their book to its best advantage.

Q. The #1 reason a nonfiction book does NOT produce the author’s desired results? 

A. Because the author simply doesn’t know how.

That’s where I come in.  ((Insert cape flourish here))

Ideally, before you even publish, you want to have a simple, strategic plan to implement to get your results.  (If you’re already published, it’s not necessarily too late, but it may be a bit more work).

That’s why the first question I always ask any prospective author who comes to me for representation is this: “What do you want the book to do for you?”

Most of the time, the person says, “Oh, I just want to save the world” or some variation on that.  Eventually, I repeat myself and make it clear: saving the world won’t lead us to a tangible way to derive benefit TO YOU from the experience you’re about to undertake.

So the #1 question to ask yourself, right here and now, whether you are already published or not, is this: “What do you want your book to do for you?”