Lee Iacocca

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

When I saw that the 2008 rate for a speech by Larry Summers was $45,000 to $135,000, I got to thinking.

Out of curiosity, I started prowling the various Web sites of speakers' bureaus and came to six conclusions:

  1. It seems everybody in the world is available for speeches. Included are political and show business stars, second and third bananas, and hundreds upon hundreds of people I never heard of.
  2. All of these people—luminaries and nobodies—get fees from $1,000 to $1 million, plus expenses.
  3. I used to make a lot of speeches, and all I ever got was expenses and a plaque with my name engraved on it.
  4. I was a damned fool. I was as much a nobody as anybody else and could've picked up some dough if I'd just asked.
  5. If someone invites you to make a speech, think about asking for an honorarium at the very least, if not a fat fee, plus expenses. For Colin Powell, expenses include a private jet along with his $100,000 fee.
  6. The worst that can happen is that no money in the budget exists for fees or expenses. If you refuse, someone will replace you.

Who Speaks for Your Company? The new General Motors strategy of offering employee pricing on all new models resulted in a 47-percent sales increase in June. Ford promptly followed suit. Chrysler went them both one better by not only offering employee discounts but bringing back Lee Iacocca--the man who saved the company in 1982 and became its spokesman--to do the TV commercials, complete with the line he made famous, "If you can find a better car, buy it." In 1955 Ogilvy & Mather dreamed up the idea of using the CEO of Schweppes USA, the elegant, bearded Commander Edward Whitehead, as the centerpiece of

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