Seminars… workshops… conferences… events. We’ve already told you (numerous times!) how beneficial these things are, both to attend and to hold yourself. Especially to hold yourself! But let’s face it, the idea of hosting your own event is pretty terrifying. What if nobody comes? Or worse… what if only three people come? Empty rooms are scary. Nearly empty rooms are scarier still!
It’s a bit of a risk. Okay, it’s a pretty big risk. Putting on an event that flops will make a big dent in your bank balance… and your self confidence.
It’s enough to put everyone off! But, it can be done. And it can be done well. Without a budget. Without a mailing list. Without any prior experience. How do we know? Well, we started from that very place. No reputation, no list and no real budget to speak of. Now we hold massive events with hundreds of delegates and hundreds of thousands of pounds in revenue. The best part of all of this is: we used some of the techniques that you are about to learn today to do just that!
Meet your host of this week’s seminar (hosted at a sold out event of ours, no less)… Nick James!
Nick James has been in the eventing game for a long time. His first public speaking gig was at the tender age of 22… and he was heckled. That would normally put a young person off selling from the stage for life, but thankfully Nick was under the wing of the great Andy Harrington, who built him back up, and taught him how to do it right.
Now, Nick James is an eventing powerhouse! His regular events bring in over half a million in revenue, and he owes all of that to the tips and techniques he will be sharing with you in today.
This is the Bums on Seats Blueprint. The definitive guide on how to promote, fill and maximise your profits from workshops, seminars, conferences and other such events. This kind of stuff works, whether you want to fill the room with hundreds of people, or hold a small high-priced workshop with a handful. It isn’t just the physical stuff that this applies either – if you’re looking to host an online event of some sort, this will work too.
And remember: a lot of this stuff, is the stuff we use. If you’ve been to one of our events, you know it works. If you’re a coach, a trainer or a consultant, this is the kind of stuff you need to be doing.
The Audio Training
In the next 50 minutes with the inspiring Nick James, you will learn…
– The 6 Key Principles of Getting Bums on Seats
– Why you need to start running your own events in the first place
– How to make your seminar HOT
– How to discover what your ‘big promise’ is, and how to use it
– The massively underused marketing tool that you need to consider
Want some more? We have all of this (and so much more!) available to our members. Join now for free, and find out why thousands of coaches across the country have done the same. The first 30 days are on us, and you can cancel at any time. Go on
NJ: Nick JamesMK: Matthew Kimberley
A: Audience as a whole
A1, A2, etc: Interjections from individual members of the audience
I’d like to begin by having you close your eyes, just for a moment. And with your eyes closed, I’d like you to imagine. Imagine in your mind that you’re stood on a stage, and in front of you is a large room of people. And that large room of people has been filled, by you, with people who have spent their money on tickets to come and see you speak, to share your unique knowledge, expertise, and your unique message. Now, with your eyes closed, just raise your hand scares the shit out of you just a little bit. It’s okay – everyone’s got their eyes closed, so they won’t know. Okay, a few of you. Okay, so now keep your eyes closed. I know want you to imagine another situation. I want you to imagine that you’re stood on stage, and there is a large auditorium in front of you. A hundred, two hundred seats, and there are four people sat in the front row looking at you, who have spent their money to come and see you speak. Who’s more shit-scared of the second picture, by a show of hands? Fantastic. Good. You can open your eyes. So, what I’m going to do with you over the next hour or hour and a bit that we’ve got together, is: We’re going to talk about how you can create situation number one. How can you create rooms full of people who are paying to hear your unique message? Who are coming to see you speak? Who are coming to learn from you so that they can have better results in whatever area in their life you specialise in? And so, the title of this talk is ‘How to Promote, Fill, and Maximise Profits From Live Events Every Single Time’.
And the picture on screen is actually the last event that I ran – it was called BizFest – in June of this year. We had over eight hundred business owners at that event, and the reason I show you that picture is because it wasn’t always like that. In fact, if you’d been with me in June 2009, you’d have been at a very grotty hotel in the centre of London called The Royal National. Anyone ever been there? Horrible venue. And I was stood on stage, twenty-two years of age, and I was stood on stage. There was about seventy people in the room. And can you believe it? It was my first ever public presentation. It wasn’t my event – it was somebody else’s event. First ever public presentation… and I got heckled.
I got heckled! There was this big fellow with a beard. Stood up out of his chair – I was about four or five minutes into my talk – and he went, ‘How dare you!’, in this big scary voice. And I’m this little twenty-two year old kid, skinny, spotty, and I was knocked back on my heels. And it shook me. It really shook me. And fortunately, fortunately, I had a mentor. I had somebody who… at that point, my speaking career could have completely derailed. I may not have been today to share this with you, and that guy was Andy Harrington. He’s going to be with you, I think, tomorrow, in fact. And Andy’s going to be sharing exactly how he not only fills his events and markets his business, but gets his message across. He’s an absolute master at that skill. And I was very lucky to have a mentor like that, because as I said, my speaking career could have completely derailed. Now, as it happens, would you believe that I’ve now been doing this nearly ten years? It’s never happened to me again since. That’s not an invitation, by the way.
To break the mould and become the first in ten years. So, what I’m going to share with you today is what I call the ‘Bums on Seats’ blueprint. This is the system, the process, that’s been proven time and time again to get people to spend money on tickets to come to events just like the one you’re here at today. I know that Chris and the APCTC use a lot of the strategies that I’m going to be sharing with you here today. And it’s worked time and time again, in every different industry you can possibly imagine. One of the projects I worked on – you may be familiar with it – was the Trust Conference in 2013. We had over seven hundred corporate senior managers, directors, CEOs of big blue-chip companies at that event. Also, The Secret was an event live in London with Bob Proctor in 2011. Almost a thousand attendees at that one, using the ‘Bums on Seats’ blueprint. We managed to pull that event off in a very, very short period of time. Over eight hundred tickets sold to the last couple of conferences that I’ve run in London, with big keynote speakers like Frank Kern, like Ryan Deiss, Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, and of course thousands of tickets that my clients have sold to small workshops, large conferences, and every other type of event you can possibly imagine.
Now, there’s three questions I get asked all the time, and these are the three questions that are the basis of what I’m going to share with you in the next hour or so. The first one is: ‘How do you get such amazing speakers at your events? How can you get someone like Frank Kern to jump on a plane and fly over especially to give a presentation at your event? How can you get Ryan Deiss to come to the UK for the first time ever? Why would he come to your event and not somebody else’s? How do you get these amazing speakers?’ I’m going to share a little bit of that with you here.
The second one is: ‘How do you get the bums on seats? How do you get people to action? How do you get people to want to take’… because, by the way, respect to you guys. Massive respect. You could be doing pretty much anything… by the way, the weather this afternoon was fantastic, so the fact that you’re sat in here… ‘Shh, don’t tell them!’, the chairman’s saying. I call him “the chairman”, by the way. It’s my fun name for him. The chairman of the APCTC. Chris Black, ladies and gentlemen. Give him a big hand…
… for pulling this event off. Again, bums on seats is hard. Getting people to give up their time, first and foremost, is hard work. Getting people to invest their hard-earned money, and trust you, to come to your event and spend time and money with you. It’s hard work. So how do you get the bums on seats?
The third question, more recently I’ve been asked a lot, is: Was I on The X-Factor a couple of weeks ago?
That is not me.
[Louder laughter, followed by applause]
A1: Yeah, it is!
NJ: My Facebook went wild. I was getting text messages. It’s not me! He was equally as bad at singing, and therefore did not get through.
So, first of all, question: Why would you want to run a live event? By the way, who here has either run a live event in the past, of your own, or would love to start running your own live seminars, workshops, conferences? Show of hands. Fantastic, good. So why? Why would you want to do that? Why would you want to run live events? What’s the benefit to you, to your business, of doing that? Just shout out some answers.
A2: To be known.
NJ: To be known, yeah. To be known. To get your name, your message, out there. Get known. Yeah, good. What else.
A3: To sell.
NJ: To sell. Very good, yeah. Nothing wrong with that. To sell. By the way, if you’re – I’m assuming you are – a coach, trainer, consultant, speaker, author, whatever. If you’re in that category, the biggest thing that holds most people in that category back is that they’re only making income, they’re only growing their business, when they are selling-slash-delivering, so it’s a very one-dimensional business. They hit a ceiling. Now, what the events business allows you to do, is it allows you to sell and deliver to multiple people all at once. Does that make sense? Yes or no.
NJ: Yeah, good. So you could definitely use events as a mechanism to sell more. What else? What else what you do at live events?
A4: To grow.
NJ: To grow. Yeah, grow. You mean personally grow?
A4: To grow the business.
NJ: To grow the business, yeah. I actually misunderstood that, but I think it was probably a fair misunderstanding. To grow personally. I definitely stretches you, when you have to communicate with hundreds, or even thousands of people, to push yourself, to be better as a speaker. To be better as coach, as a trainer, as a consultant. To create better content, better information. So I think growth in both respects is important. What else?
NJ: Excuse me.
A10: To educate.
NJ: Oh, to inform. Thank you. Sorry, sorry. Even though I’ve got rather large ears, they weren’t working that well them. You only just notice that, didn’t you? But I pointed it out. To inform, to give content, to educate people. Yeah. What else? Why else would you want to run live events?
A11: To test your message.
NJ: Yeah. Great idea – to test your message. By the way, when I talk about live events – Matt mentioned it in the intro – it doesn’t necessarily have to be seminars like this, where people are sat in a room. It can just as easily be online events, webinars, online trainings, things like that. Great way to test your message, to see how effective it is. Yes. What else?
A12: To entertain. To give your customers a good experience.
NJ: Yeah. To enhance the customer experience, definitely, yeah. So, I think we can agree: Running events is clearly going to be a great idea for you and your business. It’s going to allow you to reach more people, get your message out there, and increase your profits and revenue, which are most important, right? So it’s a great idea to run these live events. So, in March 2009, my business had a big blip. At the time, I was in business as a freelance copywriter, so what I would so is: I’d have clients, most of whom were coaches, trainers, consultants, like yourselves. And they would pay me to create marketing materials to fill their events, to promote their coaching services, to promote their latest products or service. And in March 2009, I got a call from a client. I’d been reasonably successful up to that point. I was doing, as a freelance consultant-slash-service provider, I’d done about eighty thousand pounds that year, which was okay, I suppose. And I got a call from my number one client, and this number one client was responsible for almost half of my annual revenue.
And he said, ‘Nick, we really appreciate all the work you’ve done, you’ve got us some phenomenal results in our business, but we’re kind of done. We’ve got all the marketing and collateral material, emails, copy, sales letters, all the stuff we could need. If we need more, we’ll get in touch, but we’re kind of done, so we’re going to cancel your retainer.’ Boom. Just like that. Overnight, half of my income was wiped out. Just take a second to think about that for yourself. Just think – however much revenue your business did last year, or however much money you made last year. Just imagine getting a phone call, and half of it being wiped out just like that. What would that mean for you? What would it mean for your family? It’s a disaster. And for a lot of people in the coaching, training, consultancy space, they’re that vulnerable. That one phone call could change everything for the worse. And so what I did, I was talking to a friend of mine in March 2009, and I said, ‘Look, you know, this is what’s happened. I’m in desperate need of getting some more revenue into the business, but I’m kind of maxed out in terms of capacity. What can I possibly do?’ And he’d already quite a lot of success in the event space, and he said, ‘Look, you know, you’ve been running a business as a freelance copywriter for a couple of years. You’re doing relatively well. Why not run a seminar teaching people how to write great copy and create great marketing materials, and how to have a business doing it? So they can make fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty thousand pounds a year.’ And using the… well, it was a very early version of the ‘Bums on Seats’ blueprint that I’m going to share with you today, I managed to get eight people – not a lot – eight people to spend two thousand pounds and come to my first ever, my first ever, live event. And the reason I shared that story with you is because it doesn’t have to be huge conferences with hundreds of people. It could just as easily be eight people spending two thousand pounds, if you’re at a stage of business where sixteen thousand pounds in sales in short period of time could make a massive difference for you. So it doesn’t have to be huge. Maybe you want it to be, but it doesn’t have to be. That was my first ever live event.
So, there are six key principles. You might want to take out a fresh piece of paper and a pen. Get ready to make lots of notes. We’re getting into the juicy stuff now. So the six key principles: The first one, if you’re going to get bums on seats, if you’re going to fill, promote, maximise profit from live events, you’ve got to have what I call a “hot hook”. You’ve got to have something that makes the thing stand out and be different, because look: I’m guessing that this is not your first seminar. Would I be right in making that assumption? Yes or no.
NJ: Right. So, if it isn’t your first seminar, the chances are you’re aware there’s lots of other things, conferences, seminars, workshops, that you could attend. Probably lots of other ones you could attend even this weekend. Probably lots of ones you could attend this weekend, in this precise location around Heathrow. So how do you make yours stand out? How do you make yours different, so that people choose yours over anything else? There’s a couple of ways that I do this, and that you can too.
One is calibre of speakers. Again, you might choose to do your own event, where you’re the only speaker. Then tends to be how I do it now. But you might go, ‘I might want to get a really good, well-known speaker’, especially if you’ve not got much profile in your industry just yet. People like… we had Clate Mask to our Small Business Success Summit in November, Ryan Deiss came over for the first time ever – that makes the event stand out. In June, we did the Small Business Success Festival. We had Frank Kern over to the UK for the first time ever as well. These things make the event stand out. It’s a hot hook. It’s never been done before. But you might be thinking to yourself, ‘What if I haven’t got the budget? What if I haven’t got the budget to get a Frank Kern, a Ryan Deiss, a Clate Mask over? Fly them over, put them up in accommodation, pay the speaker’s fees? What if I haven’t got the budget for that?’ And that is the wrong question to be asking. That’s the wrong question! Here’s a few better questions you might want to ask yourself, because it’s not about the speaker, necessarily. It’s about making the thing hot. So you might say, ‘What subjects, what topics, are hot right now in my industry? What subjects, what topics, are hot right now in my industry? What’s the information that my ideal customers are craving right now? How can I create a completely unique experience?’ So, BizFest was a great example of this, in June. We had a festival theme. By the way, how many of you here were at that event, BizFest, in June, with Frank Kearn? Yeah. We had a theme, a small business success festival theme, so you know, we’d have the music pumping in the breaks, we had a bit of a party on the Saturday night, we made it like a festival.
That on its own is probably not going to make the event sell that great, but it’s another contributing factor to making the thing unique and different. It’s giving it a hot hook. Ask yourself: ‘What’s never been done before? What can I do that’s never been done before?’ For us, that was getting Frank Kern to speak in the UK for the first time ever. That automatically attracted people to our event that we would never have got otherwise. They were big fans of his. They came to our event just to see him speak. It had never been done before. What else could you do that had never been done before? Incidentally, by the way, in the events business you’ll notice that there’s always trends and flows. There was a time, probably about seven or eight years ago, where the free event was king. It was free evening workshops, three hour events. Now, you try getting people to a free, three-hour workshop – it’s a pain in the ass. Really hard work. And then what superseded it was the free weekend two-day event. When that started being done… in fact, the person that pioneered that in London is a friend of mine called Topher Morrison. You may have heard of him. He was the first one ever, that I heard of, to do a two-day free weekend. The theme was nuts. There were literally… it was wall-to-wall people. Standing room only. Now it’s commonplace. So there are always trends, things that are changing. There’s always new things that need to be experiments. I know the APCTC have experimented with a lot of different ways to advertise these conferences, and clearly they’re still working just great. So what’s never been done before? What can be a new approach you can take? Also, who can you involve, or who can you connect with that can assist you? One of the companies that we partner with, or I partnered with in the last few years, you’ll know, is called Infusionsoft. They have been a massive contributor, a massive help to us – getting the message out there, getting more people into our live events. Partnerships – who can you connect with? Who can you partner with as well? And also, if you do want to go the speaker route, how can you incentivise the speakers? What can you offer them to make it appealing to them, to them, to come and speak at your event? And if you ask yourself those kind of questions, instead of, ‘What if I haven’t got the budget?’ You’re likely to get much better-quality answers.
So, one of the questions I said I often get asked is: ‘How do you get Clate Mask, the CEO of Infusionsoft, to come over to the UK for the first time ever? How are you getting Yanik Silver, who hasn’t been in the UK to speak for ten years, to finally come over and do an event? Frank Kern, Ryan Deiss – how do we do that?’ So, I’ll tell you a few stories, because literally, over the last six to twelve months, I’ve been bombarded with this very question, and people really want to know the answer.
So, Ryan Deiss was the first that we got, and it was really simple. Sorry to break it to you, but it was really, really simple. Literally, all we had, we had a sponsorship agreement with Infusionsoft, and we went to Infusionsoft, and we said, ‘Hey, if we’re going to make this event rock, we need a big name. We need a really good speaker.’ They said, ‘Well, who are you thinking?’ I gave them a list of, like, ten. It’s not necessarily that you speak to one and you get them. You hedge your bets. I gave them a list of ten, I said, ‘Who do you know? Who can you help us get in contact with?’ They said, ‘Oh, we’re really good partners with Ryan. He’s helped us with a number of different things.’ They called him up, and we got a deal done. It was that simple. So, the question of who can you involve, who can you partner with, is critical. That’s what’s going to allow you to appeal to these big-name speakers. And of course, if you get the big-name speakers, people who are fans of theirs will flock to your event. Yanik Silver – who’s heard of Yanik, by the way? Yanik’s been around in the industry forever. Literally, for ever, and he’s probably one of the guys who really pioneered the whole internet marketing industry. Yanik’s a really interesting story, because he was one of my… on my wish list, if you like, for years. Trying to get him over to the UK. And I approached him time and time again. Couldn’t get any kind of response, and then just… it was towards the back end of last year, I got in touch with him, and he emailed me back, and said, ‘I’m kind of interested in coming over again to the UK. I haven’t been for a while. Tell me more about the event. What’s the audience like? How many people are going to be there?’ He asked me all these questions. I answered them, and then I followed up. I said, ‘So what do you think?’, and it all went very quiet. And then coincidentally, I was actually at a mastermind group that I’m part of, that I go to every quarter, and I was at the mastermind group – and actually, one of your speakers, this weekend, (ph. 0.19.26) Sharl Osmond was there, and (ph. 0.19.28) Sharl was asking what I was up to. I said, ‘I’m doing this event.’ And she said, ‘Who have you got speaking?’ I said, ‘Well, I’ve got these guys. I’m really trying to get Yanik Silver, and he seemed interested, but he’s kind of gone cold on me.’ And she went, ‘Ah, Yanik and I are good friends.’ She was like, ‘Let me just text him, and I’ll follow up for you.’ Boom. She sends a text message. I might have said at the time, as well, that she could speak at our event to kind of assist this process.
[Laughter] And she sent him the message, and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to be speaking at this event. Are you coming over?’ And he went, ‘Oh, if you’re speaking, I’ll come over.’
Boom. Just like that. So, really, it was all about the connection, it was all about the relationship. That was a bit of a fluke, but the reason that I share that with you is: Always be thinking who can you partner with, who can you get involved? Because it might be that you don’t do the event all on your own. It might be that you get other people who are well-connected to assist you in running the event. And similar thing with Frank Kern… by the way, this is one of my favourite photos of all time. The reason it’s one of my favourite photos of all time is: That guy in the middle is Dean Jackson, who’s probably one of the most famous – if you haven’t checked Dean’s stuff out, you really should – internet marketing dudes on the planet. I’ve been following him since I was about twelve. And then there’s Frank Kern on the end. And the reason it’s my favourite picture in the world is because I’m holding court, and they’re listening to me. We were on stage for about an hour, and that bit lasted about twenty seconds…
… but the photographer did a really, really good job of capturing the moment, and so I use that photo wherever I can. And so, the story of how we got Frank was really just a bit of a… because I’m always in this mode. I’m always in the, ‘How can I make connections? How can we form partnerships? How can we get these guys to come and speak at my events?’ And I was on holiday, actually, with some friends in Mexico just last year, and I was hanging out, and there was… again, friends that are in the industry, in the business. And they were like, ‘What are you up to?’ And I said I’ve got this event coming up in June. And I was like, ‘I want to land’… I set a goal, by the way, at the beginning of the year, in January, to get what I would deem a big name, really big name, to speak at one of my events. And I actually wrote on the goal, in brackets, ‘Either Tony Robbins or Frank Kern’. At the time, I had no idea how I was going to make this happen. And so, I was speaking to this friend of mine, and he said, ‘Who are you looking to get?’ I said, ‘Well, my dream would be Tony Robbins or Frank Kern, but any of these ten on this list would do.’ And he went, ‘Oh, if you really want to get Frank, let me just text him for you, and I’ll see if he’s cool, and what he’s up to.’ And again, it was just coincidental. He was planning a trip to Europe with his partner, with his wife, in the summer, and we may have assisted him with some expenses, maybe, to bribe him to come over, and boom, before you know it, he’s on stage at our event. So, it’s having the mentality of always being in that zone of ‘How can we create partnerships? How can we collaborate? How can we involve other people in this process?’ And again, the results from these events I’ve just told you about, on average, brought us over half a million pounds in sales from these events that were running once a quarter, and it’s all about the relationships. It’s all about the relationships, so invest your time in those relationships. When you’re at events like this, invest time in networking, connecting with the other people in the room. You’ll be amazed at some of the conversations you have.
So, the first key principle is: Get a hot hook. It might be speakers, it might content that’s unique, it might be doing something that’s never been done before. The second key principle is: Define your audience. Define your audience. So, I’ve lost count of the amount of people that have come to me over the years and said, ‘I’ve got a great idea for an event. It’s going to help people to have a better life.’
You laugh. I’m serious. But if… it’s too broad! It’s too broad. The problem with that is: How can you even find these people? It’s for everybody. That’s the problem. If it’s for everybody, it’s going to be for nobody, because they’re not going to know it’s for them. So how do you define the audience, and identify who it’s for? The APCTC do this brilliantly. It’s in the name of the company. It’s the Association of Professional Coaches, Trainers, and Consultants. So, as a professional coach, trainer or consultant, you know that you’re in the right place. This is the event for you. It’s not for anybody and everybody. It’s not for all businesses, small and large. It’s for coaches, trainers, and consultant specifically. The Expert Success Summit. And you define your audience… by the way, we talked about the Trust Conference briefly earlier. This was an event for high-level executives, CEOs, directors of big companies – big, blue-chip companies – and we had a keynote speaker. Stephen M. R. Covey. He was the keynote speaker, and it was specifically… the audience was very clear. It was for those high-level corporates. It was not for small business owners. It was not for franchise owners. It was for only high-level executives in corporates. And we managed to get, as I said, over seven hundred people in the room, and on the back of it, the lady that hosted it was… a company called Talent Dynamics hosted it. They did over a quarter of a million in corporate training contracts on the back of that event. That is the power of getting people in the room. There is no way they could have done a quarter of a million in training contracts going out to each individual company, seven hundred of them, one at a time. Not in that short space of time. That’s the power of the people in the room. Also, what defining your audience allows you to do is: It allows you to advertise a lot more effectively. Just think about this for a second. If you were going to run an advert for your event, and you were going to put it in – bear with me – The Sun newspaper.
The reason I pick it is because it’s the most-read newspaper, not because I particularly think it’s any good. But you were going to put the advert in The Sun newspaper. First of all, it’s going to cost you a fortune. It’s going to cost you a lot of money. It’s going to get a lot of eyeballs, but how many of those eyeballs are your ideal customer? A very, very small amount. Unless you’ve got extremely deep pockets, and you’re going to spend a lot of money on advertising, defining the audience is critical, because then it allows you to advertise through Google AdWords, through Facebook ads, through YouTube, through joint ventures. It allows you to target the person that you want in the event very specifically. It makes advertising a lot cheaper, a lot easier, and a lot more effective.
Let’s just talk briefly about joint ventures. Let me ask you a question: How many of you here would love to get the people of authority, the people of influence in your industry, to promote your event for you? How many would love to be able to do that? All right, so very quick, one quick strategy, on joint ventures. So… how long ago would this have been? Probably about four or five years ago. I was at a bit of a networking do for people in the business-growth industry, if you like, and I was sat next to a guy called James Lavers. And I think James is speaking… the fact that you’re all looking blankly at me tells me that he hasn’t spoken yet. Must be tomorrow. If you had seen him speak, you’d be all cheering like crazy, because he’s an absolute nutcase. So it just so happened that I was at The Comedy Store in central London, and I was sat at this do next to James Lavers. And we’d never met before, and we said hi, and we introduced ourselves, and he said, ‘Tell me what you’re up to at the moment.’ And I said, ‘Well, actually, I’ve got an event coming up. It’s all about how you can launch your products and services online.’ I told him all about it. He went, ‘You know what? That sounds amazing. That sounds exactly like the kind of thing that my customers would really like. Why don’t you send me an email with a link, and I’ll promote it for you?’ And I went, ‘Well, that was bloody easy. I didn’t even have to ask for this joint venture partnership.’ So I sent him the email with the link, he sent it out, and he put people in the room for me. I thought, ‘This is great.’ Couple of months later, the phone rings, and it’s James Lavers, and he says, ‘Nick, how you doing?’ He speaks like that. He’s a bit weird.
I said, ‘I’m good. What’s happening? Tell me about your business.’ He said, ‘Well, I’m just launching a new product. It’s called,’ I think, The Lazy Coach Way, or something like that, at the time. ‘And I was wondering if you’d promote it out for me to your clients and subscribers?’ What do you think I said?
NJ: I told him to piss off.
No, of course, I said yes. Why? Because he’d gone first. He’d already done me a good deed, and so I felt obligated, and of course he really helped me to fill the room, and I really like the guy, so of course I wanted to return the favour. The reason I share that story with you, the lesson, is: If you’re just going and asking people for favours and they don’t know who you are, and you’ve never done anything for them, the likelihood of them saying yes is very, very slim. The biggest mistake that I see in joint ventures: I must get… I don’t know. It must be five emails a week, from people saying, ‘Nick! I’ve got the best product in the world. Email your list for me.’ I’m going, ‘I can see how this is a really good arrangement for you, person I have never heard of or spoken to before, but I’m kind of struggling to understand where the benefit to me is.’ So, if you can go first somehow, provide value to them, they’re much more likely to want to. It’s a long-term strategy, by the way. It’s not a magic pill, but it will get you a lot of results in the long term, especially if you’re looking to fill your own live events, workshops, and conferences.
Very briefly… by the way, are you enjoying this so far? Is this useful stuff?
NJ: Good. That was lukewarm. Thank you.
So, coming back to the six key principles, we’ve already talked about having a hot hook – how do you make your event stand out and be different? We’ve talked about defining your audience, so that it’s not just an event that’s for everyone. It’s specific, it’s easy to market, it’s easy to get joint venture partners to promote, so that you can fill the room easily.
The third of the six key principles is: Having a high-quality sales message. Because you can do all the other stuff right, but if the pitch for the event isn’t good, you aren’t going to get the bums on seats. So, a good example of a good sales message is: The copy that I’ve written for the ‘Bums on Seats’ Bootcamp in October. It’s working great. It’s selling out. So, there’s a few things – four things, in particular – that I want to draw to your attention when it comes to having a high-quality sales message. The first one is: The big promise. The headline. I’ve probably already said it a few times in this presentation. What this is event is about is: How to promote, fill, and maximise profits from your live events, every single time. So you want to come up with a big – what we would call in copy – headline. Something that illustrates the key benefits, the big promise, of your event, of your workshop, conference, seminar.
What’s the big promise? So, in my case, it’s how to promote, fill, and maximise profits from live events, every single time. We also then go into more detail. It says, ‘Give me two days. I’ll help you design a conference seminar workshop that’s guaranteed to make you thousands of pounds in the next ninety days. Create a marketing campaign that will ensure your event sells out. Give you the system I’ve used to sell over two thousand tickets to my events’, et cetera, et cetera. So I’m telling them what the big promises are right up front in the sales message.
The second part… by the way, there’s lots of different elements. I’m going to give you the key four now. So, the first one’s the big promise. The second one is: Why would they listen to you? What makes you the authority? What makes you the expert in your space? And so I’ve just taken a snippet here of my sales letter, which is a story about a client of mine, that we worked on a project and they sold three hundred and twenty-one tickets in less than five days, so there’s a bit of credibility, authority, positioned in the sales message. That’s really important. If people are going to spend their time and money to come and learn from you, they need to know that you’re the expert. That you’re a credible source of information. So what stories, what references, have you got that you can weave into the sales message?
Third thing is: Just tell them what you’re going to give them. When it is, where it is, and the kind of teasers for the event. So we’ll just look at a couple here. I’m giving them the dates. I’m saying, ‘In this event, I’m going to give you the simple process I use to fill events time and time again. How one of my clients made a quarter of a million in sales from the stage. The proven formula for following up clients, post-event, maximising sales.’ There’s teasers. There’s little bits of teasing information, to say, ‘This is what you’re going to get when you come to the event.’ So think about your event, and go, ‘What can I give them that’s going to sound compelling?’ And then of course actually give it to them at the event.
And then the final piece is a clear call to action. What’s the reason why they need to buy now, and what do they need to do next? So, on the sales page here. This is an old shot, but you can see the early registration offer. Booking early, for this event, means you get this discount, so there’s urgent reason to act now, and there was a hundred and sixty pound discount, which means that tickets, instead of two nine seven, were down at one three seven; or at four nine seven, were down at three three seven. By the way, if you’re snapping the slides, I’m happy to send them to you, if you want to stop snapping. Or you could keep snapping. It’s quite okay.
So, the urgent reason to act now – that’s the call to action. You want to make sure it’s big, bold, and bloody obvious. In fact, quick story: I had a phone call a few years ago from somebody, and it was a guy who was looking to hire me to re-write his sales message. And he called me up, and he said, ‘Look, I’ve got this sales page, and it’s just not converting. I’m not getting any sales from it. Would you be able to help me re-write it?’ I said, ‘Well, first, I need to look at the sales page, obviously, and look at what I’m dealing with, so give me the link, and I’ll take a look.’ So I got the link, and I had a look at this sales page, and I’m reading the copy. And it’s good copy. It’s good. Like, I’m thinking about buying the thing that I’m reading.
It’s good copy. And so I’m scrolling down, and I’m going, ‘Yep, all sounds good. They’ve done all the eleven things that I would normally put in my sales message, and they’ve done it all well. So why’s it not working? And I scrolled down to the bottom, and I’m going, ‘Well, if I wanted to buy this thing, what would I do next?’ And I’m looking for some kind of button to click, and I can’t see anything. And I scroll down, and I can’t see anything. I scroll down, and all the way to the bottom of the page – a long sales letter – all the way to the bottom of the page, there’s a teeny tiny little PayPal Buy Now button embedded in the footer of the page. So I called the guy back up. I said, ‘Hey.’ I forget his name. Let’s say it was John. ‘Hey John. I can help you with this sales page. I can re-write it, and get it converting well for you. My fee for a re-write is two and a half thousands pounds. I can get it converting for you straight away.’
I didn’t. I literally just said, ‘Hey, all you’ve got to do: Take the Buy Now button, make it big, bold and obvious, put it throughout the copy, boom, you’re good to go.’ It started working. Converting like crazy. The reason I tell you that: It sounds really obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people get that wrong. So make the call to action big, bold, and obvious. By the way, just out of interest: How many of you here hate the idea of having to create a sales letter, an email campaign, the marketing materials, writing the copy, all that kind of stuff? How many just don’t like the idea of having to do that? Or, let me ask a better question, where I might get more hands: How many of you have, in the past, attempted to write a sales letter, email campaign, and you’ve had the experience called “Staring at a blank screen for a long, long, long time”? Who’s had that experience? Yeah, good. So, what I’ve got, actually… you seem like you’re falling asleep, so I’ll do this now. So, who would like my swipe file, which is all the sales letters, email campaigns, that are proven to fill events, time and time again?
Everyone’s hand is in the air. I’m just going to lob them out. First come, first served. There you are. One down the front. One there. One there. There you go. That woke you up, didn’t it? Good.
A14: Thank you.
NJ: You’re welcome. So, the first key principle: Have a hot hook. The second one: Define your audience. The third one is to have a high-quality sales message. Those of you that just caught those USB sticks now have a swipe file you can literally just copy. The sales letters, the email campaigns, that I’ve used time and time again to fill events. Just fill in the blanks, change it to make it relevant, you’re good to go. Fourth one, we’ve just talked about, is: Create urgency. Give them a reason to act now. Look: People… human nature is that we will wait and procrastinate, and we will say we’ll do it later, and we won’t. So, you’ve got to give them an urgent reason to act now. Oftentimes that might look like… I can see this lady now, distributing that content via email. She’s doing very well at collecting opt-ins, thanks to my content. Thank you.
NJ: Leverage. Very good.
So… I’ve forgotten where I was. Yeah, so. Creating urgency. An obvious way, like I just demonstrated, was to give a discounted price in a limited time period. Great way to create urgency. By the way: It never fails to amaze me, how effective that is. Just crazy effective. You put a deadline in place, people will buy like crazy, right up to the deadline. It’s like magic. You wouldn’t believe it. You could also say, ‘Hey, I’m only going to have this many people in the event.’ For example, ten people only, high price. That creates urgency. Gives them an urgent reason to act now. By the way, if you’re going to do that, don’t be an idiot. Actually only have ten people in the room. If you can sell more, just put on another event with another ten people, because otherwise what you’re doing is: You’re essentially telling people that you’re disingenuous and can’t be trusted. It’s not a good thing to do, right? So, create urgency. You may even offer extra bonuses or extra value if people buy by a certain deadline. Loads of ways. You’ve got to find a way to create that urgency so they act now, they act straight away.
Number five: The fifth key principle is to use multimedia. Multiple different platforms to get your sales message across. So, a lot of people in the event space rely solely on email. They’re over-reliant on email. And I’m not saying, ‘Don’t use email marketing.’ I use a lot of email marketing, but if you rely solely on email marketing, you are leaving thousands, tens of thousands, of pounds on the table, and missing out on lots of potential new customers, and people in your events. Direct mail is one of the most underused, valuable assets for an events business, or for anybody who wants to fill their own live events. Let me just ask you a question: How many of you here get what I would call “a lot of email”?
Yeah, yeah. Some of you going, ‘Yes. From you, Nick.’
How many of you get more than… I don’t know. More than twenty emails a day in your inbox? Wow. More than fifty emails a day in your inbox? More than a hundred emails a day in your inbox? Woah. Still going. Right, now: How many letters do you get through your letterbox each day?
A17: Zero, to…
NJ: Yeah. Zero to ones, twos, threes, maybe five or ten, if you’ve got a big business or whatever. But it’s not many, right? So, competition for attention in the letterbox is far less than competition for attention in the email inbox. Far less. So direct mail. And the thing I always hear is: ‘Ah, but direct mail’s expensive.’ For a start, you can do a postcard campaign for less than 40p apiece, in the post, delivered. Do you know where you can get that?
A18: The Royal Mail
NJ: It’s called… yeah. It’s called DocMail. It’s a company that does that. Printed, posted, delivered, less than… it’s 40p, I think, or I think it’s 36p apiece, if you’re doing UK addresses. 36p apiece. DocMail.org, I think it is, or something.
So, direct mail. Massively underused. Telesales: Massively underused. By the way: Over fifty percent – over fifty percent – of the tickets that I have sold to events in the last twelve months have been over the phone. Which means that if you’re running live events, you could double – well, increase by fifty percent – your attendance in your events just by doing telesales. You can get a commission-only telesales rep. It doesn’t cost you anything. If they’re good, they’ll sell your event, you pay them a commission. I don’t understand why anybody would not do that. And by the way, there is a specific script on the swipe file that I just gave out, which we use to fill events. So those you that got the little USB stick… by the way, that’s my… what I call that USB stick is: My Million-Pound Seminar Success templates, and it also includes the telesales scripts that we use to get people to come to live events.
So get people on the phone selling your events. It might be you doing it. It’s hard graft if you’re doing it yourself, but it’s worth it. Same reason direct mail works: Telephone calls, it’s far easier to get hold of people than doing email marketing. Also, it means you can customise and tailor the sales message based on the person you’re speaking to, which you can’t really do – apart from using technology – you can’t really do it individually one-to-one, if you’re using online marketing. You can use lots of different platforms. Linkedin Ads is great if you’re in the corporate, or selling to professionals, space. Facebook ads, very very powerful – we use a lot of that at the moment. Industry magazines. If you’re working in the personal development field, industry magazines – like Psychologies, for example – great place for you to advertise. Going to be a lot less expensive than something like a national paper. Lot less expensive, and the people that read it are proven to by buyers of things in, in this case, the personal development space. You could use local advertising. I thought this was a fun one: This is my local little newspaper. It’s called the Redditch Advertiser. I’m from Birmingham, in case you didn’t get that from my accent.
Bizarrely, I was actually in the Redditch Advertiser, on the front page, when I was about seven years of age. Little random fact for you there. SMS: Massively underused as well. Again, a little game: How many of you here have got your mobile phone within reach? Hold it in the air. Right. If somebody texts you now, boom, it lands right away. The open rate – if you wanted to call it that – of text messages is ninety-odd percent. The open rate of emails, on average, you’re talking like ten, fifteen percent. So you’re getting the message through to a lot more people. And really, the answer is to use all of these. Use all of these. The more times you communicate the message out through the more different media platforms, the more likely you are to get the message in front of people, and get them to take action to come to your event. Another one that I’ve used very powerfully is webinars. I talked to you about the Trust Conference earlier; the way we promoted and filled the Trust Conference with over seven hundred high-level executives was purely webinars. We’d do webinars – early morning, eight thirty, so that these guys could log on to the webinar for half an hour before the working day. We did some at lunch time. We grew the database from three thousand to, I think, fifteen thousand people in a few months, and sold over seven hundred tickets to the conference through webinars. Phenomenally powerful tool, if you’re not already using it. The bottom line is: Don’t rely solely on emails. Just don’t do it. You’re going to end up missing out on so many people in your event if you do that.
So, firstly you have a hot hook. Define your audience. Quality sales message. Create a feeling of urgency to act now. Use all of those media platforms that I’ve just talked about. As many as you possibly can. And then the final one is just anything else. Get creative. How many different ideas can you come up with to communicate the message to get people to take action and come to your event? Here’s a few that we’ve done in the past that have worked really well. The first one is called “refer-a-friend campaigns”. These work like crazy. Again, let’s say, for example, your advertising, your event, to – like this event – coaches, trainers, consultants. Coaches, trainers, consultants tend to hang out with other coaches, trainers and consultants. So, if somebody buys a ticket to your event, and there’s a refer-a-friend campaign in place, they’re going to have access to ten, fifteen, twenty other of their kind. This is something that we used to do a lot, which was: When somebody bought a ticket to one of my workshops, we’d say, ‘Hey, thanks for buying a ticket. If you tell your friends about this workshop, then I’ll reward you.’ So, if somebody clicks on this link here that’s unique to you, somebody clicks on that link there, and then buys a ticket, I’ll reward you, and I’ll send you an Amazon Kindle, was the thing that we used to send. If they’re spending a couple of hundred pounds on a ticket, the Kindle costs… what, a hundred quid? Something like that. I’m spending some money, but only when I’ve got the result called “person buying the ticket”. So that used to work like crazy. Really, really good strategy to get the refer-a-friend campaign up and running. The other thing is to use the event as a bonus when people buy another product or service. So, if you’ve already go an online coaching programme, or a product, a physical product, that people can buy, you can use the event as a bonus. It will increase sales of the product or service you’re selling anyway, and of course it will increase attendance at your live events. Here’s a really good example: This is a lady who actually spoke, I think, at one of the APCTC events recently – Catherine Watkin. Anyone know Catherine? Yeah. Catherine’s great at communicating the sales message without appearing “salesy”. And so Catherine is a client of mine, or was a client of mine, and she sold eighty-odd – I forget the exact number – places on an online coaching programme, between three hundred and five hundred pounds.
And she created a system to do that and do it well. But she wanted to run a live event, so I just said to her, ‘Well, why not run a live event as a bonus for the people that have already bought your online coaching programme, and for people that will in the future?’ She did. She got seventy-odd people in the room at her first live event, and she sold fifteen places for her private mentoring programme at three grand a pop. Simple. Really simple, especially if you’ve already got a business that sells products and services well. You’re not in the event space yet. It’s a great way to get started in the event space. So you can do a refer-a-friend, you can do “bonusing-in”, you can invite your best customers for free, which is another great strategy. So, if you’ve already got people that are buying from you, that have bought from you in the past, just comping them in to your events. I’m not a big fan of giving away tickets for free, but where it’s okay is: These people, if they’re your best customers, have already qualified themselves to the people that will take action, that will buy, that will spend money with you. They’re all good. You can invite them for free, no problem. You can invite someone else’s best customers for free. Again, if somebody’s proven to spend thousands, or tens of thousands of pounds on products and services similar to the ones that you offer, then why would you not have them in the room, even if they’re not spending any money to be in there? And of course, you can do special promotions, mail outs, different segments of the list. If you’ve got people on your list who you know are interested in a specific… for example, on my database there’s a group of people that I know are interested in bums on seats – getting people in a room – so I can target them completely differently to the people that are interested in writing copy and sales letters, of the people that are interested in video marketing. I can target or communicate different messages to them, which is going to get me a lot more attention when they get the message. And really, it’s just a case of anything else you can possibly think of, anything else you can possibly think of, that’s going to get their attention using different media platforms, different hooks, different approaches, to fill the room.
Has this session been useful, guys? Yes or no?
NJ: Good. Fantastic. So, I’m wrapping up. Have you had a great session, yes or no?
NJ: Thank you very much. Thank you.