Marketing conferences are strange places. I did not know that fact the first time I attended one. But, my first one would give me insight on how most others look and feel.
I had just had my first ever six-figure month from online sales and was so excited to attend a big conference in Las Vegas at the Venetian Hotel. It was being promoted by a few big names and I could finally afford to go! Full of excitement and pride at how my new business was growing, I was able to bring my whole family along too, as a semi-vacation.
I decided to travel ahead and attend some of the workshops and main sessions and had my family fly out a two days later to meet up with me.
Because of my business success, I had some contacts and was invited to a couple of exclusive VIP type events. These allowed me to rub shoulders with some of the big internet marketing names I had always followed. It was like I had gotten invited to go backstage at a Broadway play. It turned out to be more like going to a county fair where the livestock was shown…
Let me give you a couple of examples. At my first VIP event, I decided to be as outgoing as possible. I am not much of a networker, but so much had changed for me in a few months, I was up to trying anything new. The lounge bar was packed with about 60 people, with drinks in one hand and business cards in the other. I did not have a business card, so the drink sufficed.
About my third conversation in, I came across a pair of men who had come together from Pittsburgh. I dutifully introduced myself, told them what I did, and asked them what business they were doing that got them invited. Note, I was told you had to be doing over $50K a month to get your invite to this party.
Here is what one of them told me, “We don’t have any business now, but we bought one of (GURU’s NAME ) done for you deals for $25,000, so we of course got invited!”
I do not want to say the guru’s name, but I did know he had such an offering. I was just surprised to meet someone who actually bought it. I could never imagine spending that much money and rely on someone else to control my future, based on a two hour webinar. Sure the webinar had lots of promises and testimonials, but why wouldn’t someone just pay less than half of that to do themselves what was shown?
I thought it strange, but that would not be my only experience like that. Actually, I almost became one of those people who pay thousands based on a great pitch from the stage.
My next VIP event, was more structured. There was a presentation before the open networking. At the end of that presentation, there was an offer for 10 people to pay $15,000 to come to a private mastermind in Aruba a few weeks later. Here is the thing, it sounded….AWESOME!
I began to actually consider snapping up one of the spots. I was even about to go and put my deposit down, when I had a thought.
I thought, maybe I should talk to some of the people who went on the previous Aruba mastermind to see what their results were.
The past attendees were easy to spot, because if you paid $15,000 for the last trip, you got a special name tag and sat in the front row. So, when the networking began, I eagerly went to seek some of the front row crowd to get their opinion on how the Aruba trip helped their businesses.
I introduced myself to one of them and said I was considering going and if he would endorse me going. With much excitement he said, “Yes! It was awesome, you should definitely go to Aruba!”
Sounded good to me and I could feel my credit card creeping out of my wallet. Then to get a bit more information, I asked how it has helped his business.
“I haven’t started my business yet, but got so much out of the trip I am going to use when I launch.”
My credit card crawled back deep into my wallet right away.
It was then I realized the purpose of these conferences was not just to get together and give information (which I did get during some of the sessions) it was also to get people into an emotional experience. An experience that caused them to cast inhibitions aside and pay money, lots of money, on programs and courses they normally would not do.
I was not a coach when I attended this conference. In fact, after this experience I did not ever want to be a coach. I did not want to emotionally manipulate people to spend that type of money on just a hope and hype. And that is what I thought these ‘coaches’ all did.
None of us wants to be seen as a scam artist. We all want to give great results in exchange for being a well paid coach. We want to feel good about ourselves and what we do. At least I do.
But, you better know that in the market you are going to be talking to people who have been taken advantage of in the past. They still want to believe, still have the dreams, still have the passion. But many also have the scars from being taken for money that never produced anything else than a quick emotional high. After that left, all they had was a credit card payment to make ever month.
What did I take from Vegas that I now use when I coach?
A sense of perspective.
While others are doing fancy parties and slick videos, I want to be the one who talks to people and get to know about them. Then decide if I can help them or not. I do not care about being the famous name to the masses, I only care that those I do work with get results, not dreams of success.
There are so many coaches trying to attract clients right now. I will be honest, many are better marketers than me. Many are better marketers than you too. We may never throw our own Las Vegas conferences with all the glitz and glamour that goes along with them.
But what we can do, what we should do, and what we must do, is care more about our clients’ results than our own bank account. Care more about their needs, than our status. Care more about their success than our program launch numbers.
What happened in Vegas has stayed with me for sure. But what happens in my everyday life, away from the crowds, away from the hype, is what I hope stays with you too.
Be the coach who is there for the sake of your clients. That feeling is better than any conference, any day.
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