Anna Hemmings

Getting Your Positioning Right to Increase Fees

Anna Hemmings MBE is best known as Britain’s most successful ever female kayaker, she’s a double Olympian and a six-time World Champion. Anna started delivering talks after her 3rd World Title, then got really focussed on her speaking when she retired from sport in 2009. She decided that 2020 was the right time to take a fresh look at her speaking business so she joined the Speaking Business Academy. Anna wanted to deliver even more value so she could increase her fees and get more bookings. Anna made significant changes to what she was doing to build her business, “It helped me to focus on marketing my speaking more effectively, I gained confidence, and I’ve doubled my fees.” So, how did she do it?

Well, Anna already had a great story, got super feedback from her existing talks and audiences were really inspired by what she had to say. But, despite all that, she told me “I was frustrated that I wasn’t getting the bookings that I expected, and hardly any bookings at all through speaker bureaus. I wanted to know what I was doing wrong.”

There is an irony there with bureaus; they tend to book people who have already worked out how to get their own work. That means they can be sure that the speaker is already highly experienced, and they decrease the risk for the bureau when booking that speaker for a client; that’s something many speakers don’t realise. They expect that a bureau will solve their sales problems for them when, in fact, you need to get yourself bureau ready first by gaining the experience of closing your own deals and performing to a high standard.

“I learned more about how the end client’s behaved; how organisers often trawled the bureaus for indications for my fee – searching for the lowest indicative price for my talk. If they couldn’t afford the fee level, they came to my website to try and get a lower price by booking direct. No wonder I felt I couldn’t charge more!”

“Maria told me I was in too low a price bracket on the bureau websites for the value I added. I needed to build the confidence to ask for what I was worth.”

Anna’s price point was affecting her positioning in the marketplace, “I had to find the courage to come off some bureau websites and move to a higher price bracket with the ones that I decided to stay with. It massively helped my confidence; my fees have doubled and I’m getting booked. Now my fees are higher, I’m getting more confident to ask for even higher fees.”

And that fee increase happened during the pandemic! If a seasoned speaker like Anna can achieve that through the biggest disruption to business we have seen in decades, it demonstrates just the scope of opportunity there is out there when you get your confidence up, and your positioning right.

Adding Value with clear Takeaways

If you want to add more value, you need to develop both your content and how you deliver it – and there is always something you can do better. Anna already had an inspiring story that was about her journey, “My story is emotional and inspiring. People always tell me they love it, and I think I’m a good storyteller. That was the feedback I was getting, but it was tuning into what I wasn’t hearing that really helped me. Although they were saying that they were inspired, they weren’t saying how they could use it; they weren’t telling me that they could takeaway x, y and z.”

Anna had always tried really hard to relate her story back to the audience and says “Now I’m more focused on those really clear takeaways, and it’s really helped. I use three steps to map out the value; first I really think about three things that the audience can takeaway, secondly I work out how I can use my story to illustrate them, and thirdly, how those points apply to that specific audience.”

“I did that, but not with the level of clarity that I do now.”

That shift in focus from Anna giving a great experience on the day to her delivering an experience for the audience that lasts has lifted Anna into a different league.

She has also stopped trying to pack so much into each talk. In her quest to deliver value, she was trying to cover all 4 areas of her resilience principles to every talk. Anna realised that many of the most valuable nuances were being lost in the sheer amount of great content she shared.

Including too much is a common mistake that even experienced speakers make; they over-deliver and the main message gets drowned out by the sheer volume of content. The audience might love it at the time, but they don’t remember much afterwards, and they certainly can’t implement a few simple things.

So, Anna re-thought her delivery. She now focuses more energy on one or two main points. “I no longer try to cover everything in one session. The audience gets much more depth and I’m not trying to cram everything in. The Takeaways are more powerful when people aren’t trying to remember too many points.”

Need some help getting your positioning right to increase fees or adding clear takeaways to your content? Get in touch to arrange a free consultation here.

Learn more about Anna here.