Speaking – From FREE to FEE

Many people often ask me what it takes to get people to “pay” you to speak. Before an organization is willing to pay a speaker they need to feel there is value in what the speaker has to say. Keep in mind speaking for free does NOT mean that you do not offer something of value.

The goal of speaking before a group should not always be motivated by money. I can remember situations during my career where I would have been willing to pay for the opportunity to speak to a group. One thing that always occurs when you are speaking before a group, whether being paid or not, is that you are making impressions to everyone in that group. The more people that hear you speak, the more people there are who can refer you to others who CAN pay you.

Organizations such as Rotary, Elks, Lions, Moose, Chamber Of Commerce need speakers all the time. Several non profit organizations and associations have meetings every month and often have trouble looking for speakers. Contact all your local associations and introduce yourself. Many of the members of these associations have businesses of their own and often have the ability and authority to “hire” speakers to speak within their own organizations.

The speaking business, and I emphasize the word “business” is a heavily referral based business. Most people prefer to have a friend or colleague refer a speaker to them that they have actually heard speak. The more people that hear you speak and are familiar with your abilities and message the more people there are who can refer you to paying clients. Whether you get paid to speak or speak for free you should focus on delivering your message to each audience.

Most audiences have people who do have the ability to hire you or know someone else who can. I can honestly trace paid speaking business to many of the free speaking engagements I have performed. Over the years I have learned various methods and techniques that help me to maximize these free speaking engagements.

Often these same organizations that do not have budgets for the speaker can offer other “in kind” services that are worth more than your actual speaking fee. For example, I have spoken for an organization who did not have a budget to pay speakers but did have the resources (people & equipment) to professionally videotape my presentation. In the end they provided me with an original recording along with several copies of the video of my presentation. Had I hired someone to professionally videotape my presentation, it would have cost me much more than my regular speaking fee.

From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership  to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer.  Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.

Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.

Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit


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