At the Heart, we are Connectors…
It is our genuine appreciation for speakers, and the difference they can make in people’s lives – and that of their companies and organizations - that feeds our souls and drives our business.
Beginning as a seminar company in 1990, featuring luminaries such as Dr. Wayne Dyer, Og Mandino, and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, our bureau evolved when a handful of local businesses called upon us to provide speakers for their events. Because we had spent time getting to know a number of speakers, we had unwittingly laid the foundation for a successful bureau.
We book the big names in sports, politics, and business, as well as entertainers, scientists, explorers, the media, and more.
Our true passion, however, and expertise is “motivational” speakers in all of their many guises: Leadership and sales experts, futurists, health and wellness professionals, diversity experts, and more, as well as those messengers of hope and inspiration that first guided us into the bureau business.
Our joy is creatively linking speaker talents and innovative programs with meeting planners and audiences worldwide.
Nancy Vogl is a lifelong entrepreneur, consultant to the meetings and speaking industry, award-winning writer and author, and an award winning songwriter.
Nancy’s bureau career began unintentionally in 1990. On a lark, as a single mother, she was inspired to bring Dr. Wayne Dyer to her hometown. With no financial resources, she used her rusty Ford Escort wagon as collateral to secure a small bank loan, then began connecting with Dyer’s office for a date that September. Even though Nancy received several polite “no’s” to her invitation over the course of four months, she knew she was destined to make the event happen and started promoting and selling tickets anyway. After the sixth rejection, a heartfelt, personal letter to Dyer moved him to finally say “Yes.” Less than six weeks later, nearly 2,500 devoted Wayne Dyer fans filled the Wharton Center for Performing Arts at Michigan State University, the largest group Dyer had spoken to at that time.
Since then, Nancy’s had the privilege of booking an impressive slate of professional speakers and many big name presenters. She receives great joy in connecting audiences to speakers of substance, knowing that the spoken word can make a difference in the life of a human being or an organization.
Among her books, Nancy is the editor/coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Single Parent’s Soul, and several children’s books, including Why Grandpa Rides a Harley, and the award-winning children’s book, Am I a Color Too? – written with daughter Heidi and inspired by her grandson, Tyler – winner of six national awards for Best Children’s/Best Multicultural Book. As a lyricist, her very first song, “Here I Am” won the International Grand Prize for Best Song in contest in Australia; her second song, “If Only For Today,” took high honors in Ireland for the International Song of Peace at the Tipperary Peace Convention.
Nancy makes her home near the Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, Michigan where she receives endless inspiration from the beautiful region: miles and miles of shoreline, rolling hills, orchards and vineyards, lush forests and towering sand dunes.
Working with Us
At Nancy Vogl Speakers Bureau we’re quite selective in the speakers we choose to collaborate with. Let’s just say we’re very picky…just like a literary house or a casting agent in Hollywood would be.
Some bureaus tout working with thousands of speakers, when in essence no bureau could possibly work with that many. Certainly, like any reputable bureau, we also have access to countless speakers and can provide almost any presenter a client may be interested in. But as we’re specifically positioned as a boutique agency, operating more as a consulting firm rather than as “order takers,” we won’t just add names to our site without the benefit of a relationship first.
We’re intent on building meaningful relationships with our speakers, as much as we are with our clients, so we really take the time to get to know each speaker we align ourselves with – certainly as a professional, but also as a human being. It’s not uncommon for us to know a speaker’s family, or what their outside interests are, or to mutually share stories from our personal lives. We think of our speakers as colleagues, rather than a commodity…in essence, members of our bureau family.
Getting our Attention
With oodles of speakers seeking opportunities, it isn’t easy getting our attention. Please note: We don’t accept unsolicited marketing materials, whether it’s by snail mail or email. Permission must be granted first before sending anything, including adding us to your email marketing efforts.
The number one best way to get our attention is to be so incredible at what you do that we hear about you through the grapevine. If you’re not already an established speaking professional with the proper marketing materials (see below), you’re probably not ready to work with us. There are exceptions to this – Nancy has helped launch the careers of a handful of aspiring speakers – but in most cases you should have a proven track record already.
Other Ways to Make a Connection
Be a member of National Speakers Association, Canadian Association of Professional Speakers or the Global Speakers Federation. This is an indication you are serious about your speaking career, are adhering to the ethics of the industry, and are intent on connecting and fostering relationships with other speaking professionals. As Nancy Vogl often attends professional speakers conferences, many of the relationships with speakers she’s developed were as a result of meeting at those events.
If you have a speaker colleague that knows and respects your work and we already have a relationship with that speaker, let them make the introduction. That’s credibility we respect.
Have a presence on LinkedIn and Facebook. Participate in thoughtful discussions on Facebook’s NSA Group page. Several relationships with our speakers developed as a direct result of Facebook.
If you’re in our area, be sure to let us know. We would welcome a personal visit or to come see you speak. In most cases, Nancy doesn’t work with a speaker until she’s seen them present first. In a few select cases, Nancy will travel to see a speaker present under special circumstances.
What You Must Have and Do
A speakers bureau must rely on many things to facilitate a successful connection between a client and a speaker.
Many variables determine who we recommend for a particular speaker need, such as: expertise, topic, professional designations, speaking style, personality, gender, geographic location, fee range, availability (naturally!), theme of the event, and quality of marketing materials that effectively communicate who you are and what you do.
You must have a great demo video. If you’re not getting the kind of speaking engagements you feel you deserve, this may be the missing link. If most of your bookings are coming from referrals, but not as a direct result of marketing, take a serious look at your video. It is the number one way we can prove to our clients that you may be the perfect fit for their event. Without this crucial piece of marketing, the client may choose someone else.
We’ve had an established relationship with Primeau Productions for nearly twenty years, and have referred many speakers there for their expert advice and creation of their videos. Ed Primeau and his team are superb at producing quality products, with a long list of high profile and busy, successful speakers to their credit.
Your Brochure or One-Sheet
Are your “printed” materials professionally produced, graphically appealing, and clearly communicating what the client needs to know? In addition to being well written (almost always, you should hire a professional for this aspect), your brochure should include great photography, a concise and compelling bio, topic titles with brief descriptions, testimonials and partial client list. These are just the basics. Your brochure should be created as a PDF, making it easy for us to submit to a client via email. In some cases, we might need printed pieces; but in our technology-driven world, that seems to be rare these days.
Does your website follow the same principles as your brochure/one-sheet – simple, clean, clear, easy to navigate, great design, great photography, etc.? Less is more. Additionally, are you pushing too many topics, or have you been wise to limit what you speak about, creating a platform that separates you from the pack?
All This Business about “Bureau Friendly” Stuff!
This is an issue that seems to come up frequently between bureaus and speakers, meaning that a speaker’s contact information is NOT on the speaker’s materials, so that a client doesn’t have the ability to connect with the speaker directly and go around the services of a bureau. We think that stance is quite silly, ridiculous even.
The Internet changed the entire landscape of the speaking industry, and anyone can be readily found and connected with. But, if a bureau is doing their job effectively, building solid relationships with all parties, then this information is available to the client anyway. We frequently send our clients to speaker’s websites. Why wouldn’t we? We’ll be letting you know when we do, and if you and your staff are doing your job, should a prospective client contact you, you’re diligent in finding out where people heard about you. So, everyone’s doing what is right.
However, we do appreciate it when marketing materials are “bureau friendly,” but not because we have angst over losing bookings. We prefer it because it helps to eliminate any confusion for the client. In their busy lives, and with people migrating in their jobs, there might be a lapse in memory as to who is handling details. That’s all. But, if your marketing materials are not bureau friendly, we don’t get all jittery. That’s because we’re a team! However, the only thing that must be bureau friendly, if you were selected to be on our website, is your video.
Are You a Willing Collaborator? We Are!
Nancy Vogl Speakers Bureau believes in being the “connector” between speaker and client. We know that to remain in the middle impedes the process of providing great service. We feel it is our job to help our speakers build a strong connection with the client. In that light, we always recommend that prospective clients have direct communication with our speakers, particularly before a selection is made. We want our speakers to eagerly participate in this process…that’s because we operate from a place of trust and integrity, and we expect our speakers to do the same. It’s a beautiful way to work together.
A Boutique Bureau by the Bay... in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan
When your work can essentially be done from anywhere in the world…why not do it from one of the prettiest places on the planet? We know how blessed we are to be based in Traverse City, Michigan - the Cherry Capital of the World! Lauded often by countless magazines, organizations and oodles of tourists, Traverse City regularly receives awards for it’s beauty, recreation, livability, restaurants, golf courses, wineries, and so much more.
Situated at the base of the 32-mile long Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse City – with its glorious beaches, orchards, lush forests, and scenery galore – is also home to our very favorite place, the acclaimed State Theatre, named the #1 Theater in the World by the Motion Picture Association of America. How lucky are we? Very lucky indeed.