Selling from the Stage – Pricing Your Offer

If you’re a platform speaker and you make your money based on what you sell from the stage then the price at which you make your offer is the most critical component of determining how much money you make from an event.

When I first started handling the back-of-the-room sales table at events in the late 1990’s the typical price point you saw at events was pretty low.  $97, $197, and $397 offers were the norm.  You rarely saw a package offered for a thousand dollars or more.

Then we rolled into the new century and you began to see prices creeping up.  Soon it became normal to see product offers of $497 to $997, with the occasional $1997 offer becoming more prevalent.  In the mid-2000’s I’d say the average price point of offers from the platform was probably around the thousand dollar mark.

And then they continued to increase.  As we hit 2007, 2008 and early 2009 the norm pretty much became that the offer was at least $1997, with $2497 and higher offers not uncommon.  Some speakers even offered $10K, $15K or $25K packages at events.

Over the last couple years, with the economy in shambles, price points have begun to recede some.  More and more speakers are back at the $997 price point, as they recognize the challenges people face in today’s world.

But what price point is right for you?  If you keep in mind the normal speaking model, which is a 50/50 split of your sales with the event promoter, then you need to make sure you’re generating enough net revenue to more than pay your costs of attending the event.  Yes, normally the speaker pays their own travel costs and makes their profit in their split of their back-of-the-room sales.

If you can sell $50K, $100K or more at an event then the travel costs are almost a non-factor.  But if you’re struggling to sell even $5K at an event then you can lose your shirt by the time you factor the promoter split and your travel expenses into the mix.

That’s why your price point is so critical.  Just a few sales of a $5000 or higher product can be very rewarding, while you have to sell a lot of a $500 product to make an event profitable.  And keep in mind that some event promoters will have in their contract with you a minimum price point at which you can sell.  They typically want to have on their platform speakers who can generate the maximum amount of money for them.

Pricing can be a tricky situation.  Is it about maximum revenue (which the promoter wants) or is it about the maximum number of signups (which some speakers may want because they know they can make the bulk of their money on the back end)?

Just be sure whichever approach you take that you don’t speak your way to the poor house.  Be sure your price point is high enough to make an event profitable both for yourself and the promoter.  Believe me, word gets around in the industry quickly about who does right by a promoter and if you want to get invited to more stages then you need to make the promoters some good money.

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