How to Price your Products and Speaking Fees

You might say one is a car, while the other is an automobile. One is serviceable, and the other is inspiring. One is a set of wheels; the other is a throaty, road-hugging, gravity-inducing Experience.

If driving a muscle car – or a sportscar, or a luxury sedan – is so great, why doesn’t everyone do it? What’s the barrier to such pure, juicy, thrill-injected driving joy?

Ah… Price.

It’s the price that sets them apart. And because one costs more to produce (and therefore to own), the price determines the buyer’s perception of value.

Price equals status, whether that price is high or low. The first Shelby ever made was recently auctioned off at a record $13.8 million. No other American car has ever brought so much at auction.

Some buyers are thrilled to find a bargain and pay as little as possible for what they need. Others boast about their robust buying power and their ability to afford true luxury. Which kind of buyer do you want to attract in your speaking business?

Product pricing is one of the greatest determining factors in how you are perceived as a speaker, author or consultant. Establishing confident pricing for your fees and products will carry your business far along the road of success.

Commanding the right price can give your career the same kind of thrill-injection you might find while hugging the curves at high speed on a country road. Gloves and goggles aren’t required here – just a little deliberation and some common sense.

Selecting Your Model for the Best Performance

Popular business models impact the Pricing and Positioning at each level of your sales funnel. Let’s take a look at some of the major types to consider when pricing your products, consulting services and professional speaking fees.

Fixed Price Model for Products: When pricing products, using this model means setting the price scale and sticking with it. There are various price thresholds for products that follow this pattern, depending on the threshold of entry. If your lowest priced product sells for $27, the next step up might be $47, $67 or $97. On the high end, if you have a $497 product, your next step up might be $997, $1,497 or more.

This table can serve as a framework for low price, mid price and high price products:

Speaking Fees: Professional speaking fees begin as low as $1,000 in some cases, and range well above $100,000 for well-known celebrity speakers. Picking the perfect price-point is not easy. I was counseling a recent Olympian turned talented professional speaker, and advised him to quote speaking fees confidently for Fortune 500 companies. The advice I give is that you know you are asking the right price when your palms sweat when you quote your fee.

Your ideal fee is based on a variety of factors which include:

  • Your skill from the platform
  • How assertively you are marketing your speaking business
  • The value of your content
  • To whom you speak (i.e. schools versus corporation)
  • Where you speak (locally versus International)
  • The duration of the speaking engagement
  • Your level of fame

Parting Out Your Fees for Maximum ROI

Bear in mind when you price your products and speaking fees that you will need to account for your cost of goods sold (COGS). This includes commissions you’ll have to pay to affiliates, joint venture partners, agents, managers and speakers bureaus. You’ll also want to account for your travel expenses and any additional time you spend developing your products and material.

When you set your price, consider the value you are offering to your clients and customers. Are you transforming a process for them, or are you giving them a life-changing transcendental experience? Do you have a strong opener, solid content and compelling close? Just as charging too little can work against your image, charging more than the value they receive can tarnish your reputation and make you seem over-hyped.

If you’re too busy, raise your rates. If you’re not busy enough, consider ways you can generate increased value to your audiences. Remember that there will always be someone willing to offer a lower price than yours. Be confident in your offering, and set your price accordingly.

Be sure to take into account your credentials and certifications as well as any star-power you may hold as currency. Are you a professor? A published author? A well-known celebrity? A skilled entertainer? Each one of these factors has its own price point.

Be clear about your own strengths, then set your price accordingly. You will naturally attract the prospects, clients and customers who see and appreciate your uniqueness. Your price may not set a world record, but to your clients and customers, the value you deliver will be pure gold.

Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.