Over the last week I attended three very different live events, although they all focused on the same thing – making money.
The first one was Roger Hamilton’s introduction night, a free event he puts on as a feeder to his 3-day workshop and breakfast pitch.
I’ve heard of Roger before, but I had some misconceptions. I thought he was one of the older crowd of “legacy” business folk still doing the speaking circuit. I was surprised when he turned out to be a younger fellow, with a unique accent (he is a strange combination of Hong Kong plus Scotland).
On Friday I attended the Andrew and Daryl Grant Sydney workshop and did my usual two presentations, one on website flipping and the other on blogging. The Grants put on a four day show that is unlike any other event I’ve been to, and is definitely more suited to my style (I’ll explain why in a moment).
On Saturday I popped into a Christopher Howard managed event, that brought together some well known Internet marketers, both locals and overseas speakers, including John Carlton, Brad Fallon, James Schramko and Ari Galper. This event is your typical pitch fest, with two hour sessions for each speaker ending with a sale for a $2,000+ product.
I’ve been to many business events, some that were free, some I paid money for as part of coaching programs. It’s very interesting to observe the different psychology behind each event, especially when it comes to how they go about making sales.
All three events I attended during the last week were technically free to attend. Although there are pricing structures, in most cases you can score yourself a free ticket in some way. The organizers of these events do not profit from the seminar entry fees, rather it comes from money made when a person orders a product sold at the event.
I noticed three key elements were used as selling tools at each event, however they were applied in different ways. Here is how I observed each of the selling psychologies at the events…
The Chris Howard event was definitely the “hardest” sell of the three I attended. If you look objectively at the presentations, you will see that nearly the entire speech of each speaker was one long sales pitch. There’s plenty of inspiration, lots of great stories, some good ideas and maybe a sprinkling of techniques, but pretty much every aspect of the presentation is designed to lead to a sales conversion.
Each speaker has only two hours on stage, during which time they have to stimulate enough of an emotional response to create an action. It’s because of this contracted time frame that in order to get the best result (maximum sales), the speakers focus more on the “what” and not much, if anything at all, about the “how”. Even when they show how to do something, usually the focus is on how much money was made as a result of the technique rather than an in-depth look at the steps necessary to get the result.
This might agitate some people, and as an experienced marketer I just find it plain boring (although watching to learn about selling from the stage is useful even if the content is not – the “meta” research), it’s the most effective selling format.
The emotional brain is much better at pulling out its wallet and spending money, especially when it’s feeling excited about the possibility presented by the speaker.
The Grant’s workshop is over four days and there is only one or two offers made that cost money, and as such they don’t have to pack as strong an emotional punch in a short time frame. Andrew and Daryl actually teach content, and lots of it, during the four days, and the result is a very strong connection with their audience.
The Grant’s rely on a four-day trust building process, where they dish out lessons from their own experience, teach techniques, talk about mindset and bring people like myself on stage to teach unique specialist skills. The event is full of social proof, with a constant stream of live case studies presented from the audience and speakers, all serving to endorse the Grant’s as trustworthy mentors.
I like this format because the selling is soft. There’s still a period where you have to focus on the conversion (Andrew and Daryl usually sell their $5,000 a year coaching program on day three of the event), however because of the relaxed and slower build-up, the emotional connection is more natural and less intense.
Roger Hamilton, while still working within a two hour time frame, ran his event on one evening without any other speakers. His style was to teach concepts. He doesn’t so much teach how to make money as look at the traits of people who do make a lot of money. His entire presentation focuses on improving your mindset so you understand what holds you back and why rich people get rich (and thus why you might not be).
Roger had two distinct pitches, one for a free breakfast the following morning, which is explained as a chance to hear more about what Roger and his group are all about and apparently leads to a pitch for a $10K or $15K package (I don’t know the details as I couldn’t attend the breakfast). Towards the end of the night there is a pitch for his $1497 (this was the price for the night I attended) three day seminar on the Gold Coast.
Creating moments of new understanding within an audience leads to a strong desire for more and increased trust for you as an expert. When a person learns something new, when you give them clarity where confusion existed previously and empower them to come up with a vision for their future, this is very exciting (another emotional response that helps lead to more sales).
Roger relies on this idea extensively in his presentation. Since he is not teaching how to do anything, he depends on demonstrating his understanding of success and association with very successful people, as key forces to encourage people to work with him more in the future.
The Grants also use teaching as a key element to lead their audience to purchasing more from them, however they concentrate much more on practical aspects mixed in with conceptual strategies too. With the luxury of time on their side, they can look at all aspects of business success and well and truly “move the freeline” in terms of what they give away.
Of course Roger has a three day event too, which no doubt is when he goes into much more detail.
Whether you build trust by teaching people concepts, or give them a step-by-step technical guide on how to do something, or you use case studies or rely on expert endorsements, at some level trust has to be in place for a sale to be made.
The underlying belief is that what a person is presenting as an outcome is possible and if you choose to purchase what they offer, you are actually taking a step closer to that outcome (that’s actually more a feeling than reality – buying something doesn’t take you closer to an outcome, only implementing what you buy does that).
Selling from the stage is a more intimate format of selling and usually results in a much better conversion rate than any other form of selling. Selling online usually nets about a 1% or 2% conversion, where on stage 10% is average or even a bad result.
Andrew and Daryl enjoy conversion rates as high as 50%, and that’s on products as much as $25,000, so you can see where having that face-to-face connection over several days can lead to serious trust – enough trust that people will spend serious money.
Trust is the underlying emotion behind any purchase. You trust the vendor when you buy something that you will “get what you pay for”. What you want and what you get is very much open to interpretation and will always differ from person to person, but ultimately that decision to buy is based on trust.
You can see that emotion, teaching and trust are all interrelated. Teaching leads to trust which is an emotional condition that leads to sales.
Emotions motivate (or blind) people enough that they take out their wallets and spend money. Teaching people how to do something practically or creating an awareness of a concept they didn’t know about before, is a fantastic way to prove your worth and value.
People rely on past experience to make future purchasing decisions, so if you prove your worth once, the expectations is you will deliver more of the same (or better), especially if what you offer costs money (having a price increases perceived value tremendously).
Although all these ideas are focused on selling from the stage, they are universally true for selling in any format.
Blogging is all about building trust and most good bloggers do it by teaching and being an authority source of information about something. This then leads to making money thanks to the trust established that leads to a purchase of a product you recommend as an affiliate, or when you sell your own product.
You trust me, don’t you?