Well, if I told you his name, they would probably kill me, but it’s an interesting story. A few years ago a client came to us looking for some speaker ideas that would help their Leadership team take their company to the next level. As the discussion progressed and different ideas were evaluated, we decided that what they needed was either a current or former CEO of a Fortune 500 company who could give them some real world examples. These kinds of speakers are hard to pin down because they have such major responsibilities and their schedules can change daily. If you book them four months in advance and get your attendees excited about hearing them speak, it can be a major disappointment when the CEO cancels the night before and sends his VP of Public Relations to take his place at the podium.
With the help of another client, we were able to get the request in front of a former CEO of a major company who we knew was a very good speaker. We also knew from our research that this CEO was personally worth about $300 million, so we had to come up with something other than money to get his attention. Through more research we discovered that the CEO was a big fan of a particular author that we work with, so we made an interesting offer. If the CEO spoke at our Client’s event, we would arrange for him to have lunch with the author. To our delight, the offer of lunch got his attention, and he accepted. We also had to pay his $150,000 speaking fee and hire a private Lear jet 60 to take him to the event and return home. The final cost of the speaking fee, the Lear jet and the 5 star lunch was close to $200k, and our client said he was worth every penny.