The Speaker Experts Take WSBDirectConnect for a Test Drive

Posted: June 2, 2015 in Be In The Know, Finding Your Speaker Bureau, Meeting Planner
Tags: , , , , ,

Washington Speakers Bureau has recently partnered with eSpeakers to create an online directory of speakers in the $10,000-or-below fee range. The service is designed to be a resource for meeting professionals with speaker needs and a limited budget. WSBDirectConnect suggests that meeting planners use their directory as a shortcut to contact both up-and-coming talent scouted by WSB, and seasoned professionals who have been speaking for years instead of a generic Google search. The Speaker Experts were intrigued by this =concept so we decided take the WSB cyber-speaker “dealership” website for a test drive.

In order to report our findings, we borrowed a format used by our favorite Washington Post “On Wheels” Automotive columnist Warren Brown.

racing cam

Ride, Acceleration and Handling: The site gets high marks in all three areas. The speaker name recognition acceleration lacks the performance of a 6.2 Liter Hemi V-8 Challenger Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice engine, but it compensates with nimble handling and elegantly outfitted options in every speaker category.

Engine Transmission: WSBDirectConnect appears to be equipped with supercharged, intercooled bandwidth that provides the driver with a blend of quick video-search capability, switching comfortably from speaker to topic area and back.

Safety: This is not a “full service” bureau site so you will not have the standard airbag, insurance and safety features enjoyed by those working with a “full service” bureau. However, the driver can feel comfortable that all of these speakers have been vetted by WSB and have undergone rigorous evaluation and inspection.

Head Turning Quotient: The site is turning heads within the speaker bureau industry as the luxury brand leader enters the mainstream shopping center parking lot market.

spark plug

Price: Per advertisement, the price as tested for these speakers is $10,000-and-under.

Capacities: This is perhaps the largest collection of speakers in the $10,000-and-under range on the Internet and certainly the best curated with ample room to add more.

Mileage: When utilizing speakers in the $10,000-and-under fee range, it is possible to receive more “contractual” mileage out of these speakers than their luxury brand counterparts. It is not uncommon for speakers in this fee range to add secondary sessions and other “value-added” components at no additional price.

Bottom Line: The Speaker Experts work for a speaker bureau and on the surface a site like this could be seen as a “threat” to our industry; however, TSE do not view the emergence of WSBDirectConnect in this manner. “Full Service” speaker bureaus are not going to be the solution for every group looking for a speaker – there are organizations and executives who have the time, preference and desire to research, vet and hire their own speakers. For those that fall into this category, WSBDirect Connect is a neat specialty tool to have in your meeting planner tool box. Overall, we are very impressed with this site but feel that technology will never fully replace the human connection of working directly with an industry expert from a world class speaker bureau. A speaker bureau agent you can trust will be your universal tool to research, consult and vet speakers. Learn about finding such an agent in our blog post “Ten Questions to Ask Your Speaker Bureau” (Part One and Part Two).

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

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Comments
  1. joaneisenstodt says:

    Smiling. This is so on target .. but first my caveat/disclaimer: I’ve done work with Gary for his company; I was friends w/ the founders of WSB when they founded it and we partnered on PMPI related programs. THAT said…here’s the thing: so often when clients and colleagues start looking for speakers they ONLY look at prices. OMG.. this takes away from objectives and purpose! Would you buy a car or mobile device or anything based only on price? Probl. not.

    And then there’s this: it’s like the 3rd party meeting sites that help you find a place for a meeting – sure you can fill in some of the blanks but purpose is rarely included.

    Contracts? Yep, you’ll end up with shortcuts in selection and contracts and that never is good.

    While I think that WSB wants to do good for the meetings community and help their speakers in the lower (for them) ranges, this seems somehow misguided.

    What am I missing?

    Oh Gary .. I totally don’t get the car/driving format: I don’t have a license and never did .. well, a temp one at 18 and two driving lessons doesn’t count. This was sorta like sports analogies!

    Like

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