Speaking – From FREE to FEE

Associations generally hire keynote speakers, lunch time speakers and after dinner speakers for one of their regular meetings or special annual meetings. Some associations will also offer some special training seminars to their membership in conjunction with their event. The speaker who can provide both a keynote and training session will often be hired because they can meet the needs of the client for both speaking situations. For example, in October of this year I will be providing three half day seminars for a client as part of their annual conference. On the last day of their conference, I will also be providing the lunch time keynote. Because I was already being paid my full fee for these three seminars and needed to be there during lunch, I offered to provide the lunch time keynote at no additional fee. This is a “win-win” situation for both of us

Keep in mind, many of these association members also work for corporations who need “in house” programs. Speaking at association meetings continues to generate leads and actual work for me as an “in-house” trainer. I have even provided many FREE lunch-time 45 minute programs that have lead to multiple “in house” seminars. The condition of providing the program FREE was to require that key decision makers attend these lunch time programs and hear me speak, especially those people who have the authority to hire me. I also make sure I am introduced to these people during the lunch time event and follow up with them afterwards. This was the way I “broke into” the corporate market and established some credibility as a corporate trainer. These corporate executives then referred my name to other corporate executives, which in some case were either their next door neighbor of a member of the same church they attended. As I mentioned earlier in this article, this is a referral based business. I can trace many of my best paying clients back to some “pro bono” speaking I provided either that year or a few years earlier.

Many of these associations will often provide you with the names & addresses of their entire membership list. I also ask the person who hires me to provide me the names and contacts of other people they know who they think may be interested in hiring me. I also ask that they make the initial contact with these people. When I do call them, it is not a “cold call” but a follow up call to the one initially made by the people who hired me. I add the names of these people to my mailing list, especially the members who attended my session and heard me speak. If you do offer to speak for free, ask that the person who hired you provide some kind of press coverage and place an article in the local newspaper announcing your speaking engagement. Always try to have them include a photograph of you as part of the article. An article with a photograph always draws more attention. It also helps you establish a “celebrity” status, at least in the local newspaper. Other executives, both corporate and associations will read this article and may contact you just based on the article. This article will more effective in attracting other business, than a classified ad you would have paid a lot of money for.

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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