How to Negotiate Higher Speaker Fees: 6 No-Nonsense Negotiation Tips

Do you want to run a profitable, long-term business doing what you love?

If so, you need to be good at negotiating your speaker fee!

It’s no secret. The ability to negotiate is one of the most valuable skills a public speaker can have.

Being able to confidently enter negotiations, prove your value & expertise, and successfully negotiate your price, allows you to…

Secure more gigs, earn more money, and accelerate your businesses’ growth!

Here are 6 powerful tips to help you negotiate higher-paying gigs.


Know Your Bottom Line and Ask for More!

Always know the lowest possible fee you’d feel comfortable accepting BEFORE entering a negotiation with your event’s organizer.

And, NEVER accept anything below this bottom-line price.

You see, agreeing to low-paying gigs (that don’t pay you fairly) is bound to cause resentment, burn-out, and, overall, unhealthy relationships.

When negotiating, always shoot for 10-20% higher than your bottom line.

This way, you give yourself wiggle room. By being ahead of the negotiation curve, you can still walk away with a great paying gig, even after the client has brought down your initial asking price.

To gain more information and clarity on pricing, be sure to listen to these two valuable episodes from NSA’s podcast - Speakernomics:


Go for NO

Want an easy way to crank down the tension in the room when negotiating?

At the beginning of your meeting, make it crystal clear that you’re prepared to accept a “no” answer to everything you propose.

Believe it or not, getting the other person to feel comfortable saying no (and often) is one of the best ways for the negotiation to go in your favor.


It’s all about control…

You see, you want the other person to feel in control of the negotiation at all times. And, the best way to do so is, by getting them to say no.

This instantly lifts emotional pressure.

And, when the other person feels relaxed and in control, they are far more likely to reach a negotiation, in less time, because it will be on their own terms and conditions.

In fact, you actually want to put them in the position of power - even display a little clumsiness.

You’ll be shocked at how much faster you reach a positive outcome when the other person feels superior to you.


Ask Interrogative Questions

To become a better negotiator, you must ask good questions.

The best type of questions you can ask are interrogative questions.

For example:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are you looking to achieve with this event?
  • What kind of results are you looking for from your speakers?

The reason why Interrogative questions work so well is that they can’t simply be answered with a “yes” or “no”.

They force the other person to provide you with useful information.

Asking good interrogative questions helps you learn about the person you’re negotiating with.

By understanding their wants, needs and frustrations, you’ll have an easier time proving that you’re the right speaker for their event.


Trigger a “That’s Right” Feeling

A great way to build rapport with your event’s organizer is to get them to feel like you’re on the same page.

An easy way to do so is by triggering a “that’s right” feeling.

To achieve this, simply summarize and reaffirm how they feel and what their goals are (after asking interrogative questions!).

This will help the other person realize that you are listening to them, understand where they’re coming from, and can help them achieve their goals.


Take Notes

Do you find yourself stuck in your thoughts & feelings when negotiating?

An easy way to rid yourself of unrealistic expectations, neediness, anxiety, fears, etc., is to take notes!

Simply jot down what the other person is saying.

By doing so, you’ll enhance your focus and concentration.

Not to mention…

  • Talk less (which is always a good thing in negotiating)
  • Gain valuable insights and a deeper understanding of what the other person’s saying
  • Feel calmer and more relaxed
  • Make less emotional and irrational decisions
  • Reduce mistakes, like agreeing to a less than fair price

Plus, by taking notes, you’ll have a full list of the key points you both agreed on. And, you can use this list to your advantage when negotiating your price!


Uncover Their Pain

Before you’re able to negotiate a desirable speaker fee, you must have a clear understanding of the other person’s pain points.

Get them to open up to you by creating empathy.

When they feel that you’re genuinely interested in their problems, they’ll feel comfortable sharing their pain with you, in an attempt to overcome it.

Then, paint a clear picture of how your service provides them the solution they’re looking for (think short-term & long-term solutions).

This allows you to leverage your expertise as the solution to their problem.

And, after you’ve painted a clear picture of how hiring you will solve their problems, they’ll be far more likely to pay higher fees to have you speak at their event.



Delivering a great speech requires a LOT of your time, preparation, and effort.

Don’t you want to be rewarded fairly for your hard work?

By learning how to negotiate, and practicing negotiation tactics like these, you’ll be able to charge higher fees and win over more speaking gigs.