Should I discount my fees?

Updated to Business, Speaking on January 23, 2023.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve main staged with the Dalai Lama or speak at your local Chamber of Commerce, there’s certain things you should never say to your event planner. And one is that you will discount your fees.

Just to clarify: the ‘event planner’ is the person who found you, interviewed you and will cut the cheque – they’re important.

Frankly, there’s lots of things you should never say to an event planner (like “Gee, I’ve never talked on that subject, this’ll be fun!”) But, in this post I’m focussing on fees.

If you quote $5,000 and then, 10 seconds later, happily drop it to $2,500 just because the event planner asks, it makes it sound like your original fee was simply made up. (Imagine a car salesperson doing that!)

The trick is to negotiate fees – not drop them.

What you can say is something like “I appreciate every situation is different. And I do think my material is a perfect fit for your audience. Why don’t I think about this and call you back?”

Now you’ve bought some time and you can decide if you’ll make a counter-offer, do a book deal, give a reason for changing your fee (like you agree to do two events), or say “No”. Remember the ball’s in your court – they called you.

You’ve earned the fee you’re quoting, now you need to protect it.

BOSS Tips are quick lessons about the business of speaking. See more BOSS Tips by clicking the category “BOSS Tips”.