An event could be beneficial but sometimes overwhelming to the audience, especially when the organizer fails to deliver a core message. In this podcast, learn how you can make your event successful and get the results that you truly want.
In this podcast:
02:00 – Dan’s concept of offering funnels
03:05 – Can it work for you?
03:57 – The key to success is proof
04:20 – Wide and deep technique
06:09 – How to organize an event
07:00 – Marketers struggle with online events
07:28 – James’s experiment on his SEO services
08:20 – Handling too much volume on free events
09:30 – An ideal length for a seminar
10:08 – Dan’s topic on SuperFastBusiness Live
10:18 – Webinar vs. seminar
11:38 – Dave’s strategy before the event
13:08 – Educating people but not overwhelming them
14:13 – The key to the success of one seminar
15:32 – Know the process to become successful
15:53 – The key to getting a response
16:50 – James strategies on his own events
18:05 – What to do at the end of the seminar?
19:22 – Benefits of doing one-on-one
21:40 – Provide benefits to your audience’s challenges
22:30 – Understanding your customers’ pain
23:40 – Benefits of getting feedback
25:35 – Tailoring testimonials
27:22 – How to do things better
29:35 – What to do when someone responds to your lead generation process
31:40 – Traffic sources
34:46 – The key to keep growing
36:06 – The action steps
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James: James Schramko, here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. In our special guest series of interviews, I love to go find out interesting things from interesting people. And today’s topic is going to be very interesting.
We’re going to learn how to get 60 times more revenue from your campaigns. And this guest is not here for the first time, actually. My guest today has been here before. I’d love to welcome to the call, Dan Dobos from MentalBlank.com.
Dan: Good day, James, how are you doing?
James: Good. You know I got tremendous results from our first discussion where we talked about how to set up training programs so that people can get more from them instead of the traditional step by step mentality. And I’ve had so many occasions to refer people to that training especially within my own Mastermind and my coaching community where I teach people how to put together courses. I learned a lot from that so I’m delighted to have you back.
James: Now, once I was presenting at an event in Melbourne and you came up to me afterwards and you said, “That was pretty good but you know, there’s a few things you could do differently.” And I’ve always appreciated that about you. You do have a different way of looking at things. You’ve conducted yourself differently in business as well to the typical person.
But what we’re going to be talking about today is your process for, I guess, changing the way that online marketers approach their offer funnel. I guess we’d call it something like that. And I’d love you to sort of outline a little bit for us the concept of what we will be talking about.
The “60 times more revenue” concept
Dan: Sure thing. So, the basic idea is that if you have a website and you’re generating leads through that website, let’s say you have an amazing sales page that converts at, say, 5%, which is making you a hero. And let’s assume you’re selling an $80 product, so, that’s one way of doing things. But if you were to funnel those same leads instead of to an online sales page, but if you were to actually get them to come to a live event, and at that live event which we presently run, we will convert 50% of the attendees to a $480 dollar product.
So, if you do the numbers on that, 50% is 10 times more than 5% and $480 is 6 times more than the $80 product. So the impact is that with the same number of leads, you’re actually able to produce 60 times the revenue.
James: Great. It’s a good concept. Now, who does this work for?
Dan: I think it works for anyone who has a product with information because the basic idea of all sales is that you want to get trust and you want to prove yourself, and a seminar is a great way of proving yourself by delivering that really high quality information, showing people you know your stuff. And then they go, “Look, this guy knows his stuff.” Like, one of the things that we do is we say, “Look, there are 7 things that you need to know to be successful.”
Our particular industry is high school students. And so, we say, “There’s 7 strategies that you need to know, and we do have limited time here, I want you to get the most you possibly can out of today so we’re going to focus on one of them.” So, it’s all good content. It’s not sales-y nonsense. It is there to really add value.
And really, what I find is that the key to success is proof. I mean, anyone can talk, anyone can say that they sound good or that they’re good but at the end of the day, if you can actually prove to someone that they’re on point A, you’ve taken them on a journey, and now they’re on point B and point B is higher than point A, it’s a very compelling proposition to actually continue that journey.
The “wide and deep” technique
James: Yeah. And you don’t strike me as a sales-y person. I love your technique. I call this “wide and deep” which is something that I learned from a very skilled presenter. I made the mistake when I started presenting at seminars of having like 7 points and trying to cover off as much as I could about each of the 7 so I was cramming too much content.
It was making people get sore arms writing notes but I was still giving so much of a solution that I pretty much left them paralyzed and unable to take further action because they’re like, “Yeah, this is fantastic stuff but I’m like a python…”
Dan: Yeah. Yeah.
James: “…that’s, you know, eaten a small animal and I don’t need anything else for now. I’ve got to go and choke on this for a while.” So I like the concept. Going wide is to outline all of the things you can talk about and then going deep on just one shows how capable you are in just one. And I guess, mentally, we’re just doing the arithmetic.
Well, if you can go this deep on one topic and you have six other topics, there must be a huge amount of information that I could access by moving forward into your program. So, it’s a very clever strategy. Now other things that come to mind, we’ve talked about why you might want to do this – you’re going to get more revenue for your lead source.
Just as a side note, I think it’s fascinating you have come up with a way to make substantial revenue from the classic target market who has no money, because the high school student is really penniless to a large extent, and for the most part there, usually, umbilical corded to mom and dad, so you must be marketing also to the parents, I’m guessing.
Dan: Yes. Absolutely.
On finding a venue
James: Right. So, we know why we want to do this, we know what it is, let’s talk a little more on how this happens. Now, one of the things that springs to mind is that you must have a venue, and you must have a cost or a program of some sort that needs to roll out. Is this difficult?
Dan: It’s not difficult. You need to look into a few different venues. You definitely want to see the venue before you go there. And once you’ve booked the venue, it’s a question of really just getting people to register for the seminar. And then the next thing you need to think about is, once they’ve registered, to actually make them attend.
So a lot of people assume that just because they’ve filled in a form online, that they actually will attend. When it’s a free event, that’s not the case. You really do need to worry about getting the registered people to attend and there’s a separate process for that as well.
Getting people to attend your event
James: That’s really interesting. A few things in my mind, and I would like to sort of cross back on this, because what you’re talking about has a few parallels to what many online marketers are doing with their webinar model, where they have an online event so that it’s virtual. There’s a big struggle to get people to attend.
James: I had a guest on yesterday, good friend of both you and me, Taki Moore and we’re talking about Attract, Convert and Deliver. And of course, I think he has 4 phases of webinars that he will be covering at SuperFastBusiness Live. And yeah, you’re right, once you get people to book, getting them to turn up is interesting. One of the experiments I did with my own business was with our search engine optimization services.
We used to do a free website check which was a way of previewing the customer’s website to see if it was suitable for our services. We did it to sift and filter, to only get the customers that we were matched to, so that we could get pretty much guarantee we’re going to get a great result internally. And what we found was when we put on a $20 fee, it cut down the number of website checks by about half but it made no difference to the amount of people who proceeded on and purchased something.
So, I’m wondering if you’ve had trouble with too many people coming, or too many people, like too much volume in the room, or too many people cancelling. What sort of things did you do in the instance that you have a free event?
Dan: Yeah, that’s a really interesting concept and I have heard of the promoters do their same idea where they say, “Look, it’s $100 to attend, but you get that back when you come.” I don’t like that model in the things I do. And, for a seminar, I think it actually is, you’ve got to be careful.
So, for example, I was actually just talking to Taki a couple of days ago and we were talking about how he did this really awesome launch and at the end of it, he offered something for $197. One of the things I said to him was that, when I was watching his launch, he was giving me all this awesome content and then I was literally thinking that the seminar was going to be, you know, $2,000 and then it was like $197. And I thought, “Oh my goodness, you’re just going to sell me something at that?”
And I said to him, “I think that if you actually made it $497, I actually think you would have got more conversion,” because he would have had people thinking, “Oh, this is actually just going to be really valuable.” So, you kind of got to be, if you’re doing, some people like… That’s another thing to think about, how long is the event? Some people do a day, two days, three days.
I actually just do 90 minutes which, for my audience, seems to work really well but that’s another thing to think about. And if you’re going to do a seminar that’s two days, like I’ve been to Taki’s seminar, and they’re really high-value, high-content stuff, so actually charging a real, like a slightly, $497 as opposed to $197, in my opinion, is really something to think about.
But, just switching back I guess to the specifics of what we do, like our philosophy is we just want to get as many people in there as possible. So, we make it totally free. And one of the things that we do to really make sure that people attend which again, in this call, and also in SuperFastBusiness Live, I’m going to talk about lots of differences between a webinar and a seminar.
And so one of the differences here is that we send them a letter in the post. Inside the letter, it’s quite a large letter, there’s a DVD box. And when you open up the DVD box, inside that, there is a sheet of paper that says, “You will receive the DVD that goes with this when you attend the seminar.”
James: You’re like the master of the incomplete solution.
Dan: Yes. It’s actually quite beautiful when people come to the seminar and actually bring the DVD, they bring the box and I put it in. I’ve been doing it for 10 years and I still find that very satisfying, every time that happens.
James: It is one of the classic, the desire to collect, is one of the classic human instincts…
James: …that we could trigger. I’m going through that with surfboards. I think I need one of each size to match the waves perfectly, you know, even though I can hardly stand up.
Dan: Yeah. We once had one customer who I think he registered for a few seminars and he never attended for some reason. And he once sent us this email about how we’d send him like 3 or 4 DVD boxes that didn’t actually have any DVDs for them because he’d never come, but other than that, it’s been something, when we first implemented it, we actually measured it and we found that before we were implementing it, we were getting about, we were still sending out a confirmation letter, we were still doing a confirmation code, we were still sending a confirmation SMS the day before, but just by implementing it, we found that beforehand, we were getting about 50%.
So 50% percent of the people that registered would actually attend whereas after implementing it, we found that we’re about getting 75% who are actually attending. So, it really did have a big impact.
The one-idea concept
James: Nice. It’s like sending a jigsaw puzzle cut up in the post. A friend of mine, Terry Tillman was telling me about this. It almost guarantees that someone will read your email or your actual mail if you cut up into a jigsaw puzzle and they have to solve it to be able to read the letter. And I think that’s touching on a new topic which is Gamefication.
And I can see this is going to be a part of every business at some point where people get a fun dopamine release – you probably know all about that – when they’re actually able to enjoy the process like painting stairs with piano keys and make them play sounds. And the rubbish bin, when you throw rubbish in, it goes goes (whistles). You know people look around for the next piece of rubbish.
So do you do stuff like that in your seminars? Because, you are, I guess, you know, when I think of you, Dan, I think you’re the thinking man. You’ve got like a super cray computer brand, necktop computer there. I know you can remember the names of every single person in the room which still astounds me.
What do you do to balance your super high intelligence with the game of educating people but not overwhelming them? Because I think that’s something that happens at events a lot, is that we attempted to show people how clever we are and in the process, we just numb them and intimidate them and they feel that they can’t do it and I know you’re quite strategic with this. I’d love to get some insights.
Dan: Sure thing. I guess the first thing I’ll say is I think that, for example, when I’m memorizing everyone’s names and everyone thinks that I’m from a different planet. And It’s the same when you look at a circus performer. You look at them and you think they’re just not human.
But I think really, it’s just that 10,000 hour idea that if you focus on something and you really hone it in and you keep practicing. Like I’ve probably done more than 700 seminars. So, you know, 324 of it probably realize that I’m making some silly mistake. And you know, that’s just part of refining your craft.
So, I really don’t think I’m any more intelligent than anyone. I just think that you know, a seminar is something I’ve done a lot of and so it’s working well, but to get back to your question, yeah, definitely.
One of the keys to the success of an intro seminar is to really just focus on one idea and the idea that we focus on that gets us our 50% conversion is the idea that most people, and this comes from really knowing your audience, so, you know, this might work for me, but your audience, and your business, you really got to think it through. But for our audience, we know that students are distracted.
They’ve got their phone. They’ve got SMS, Facebook. They’ve got, they want to look good in front of other people. Really, everything that they’re doing when it comes study is just haphazard. It’s not really thought through. It’s just, you know, “We’re going to school and we’re given homework and we do the homework.”
And that’s to me one of the great tragedies of our education system, is that the school system will show people what to study – they’ll say study maths, science and English. But they won’t really show people how to do it. They’ll say, you know, you have exams, you’re going to have to memorize stuff, but we’re not actually going to show you how to memorize stuff.
You’re going to have to take notes in class but we’re not going to show you how to take notes in class. So, we really focus on that one idea that there has to be a process. You know, there’s someone who studies and guesses and hopes and they get a certain result but it turns out that when you study, there’s actually 5 parts: reading, understanding, taking notes, memorizing, preparing for exams.
And if you actually know those strategies, if you know the rules, if you know the processes, you’re going to be infinitely more successful than someone who doesn’t know the processes. So, in everything that I do in that seminar, it always comes back to that idea and I think that’s really important because as you said in a seminar, people have a very limited attention. And I’ve also found that you know, one of the keys to actually getting a response, probably the biggest mistake I’ve made with seminars, I remember I had one seminar and I thought, I’ll be really clever here.
What I’ll do is there’ll be some people who are really interested in memory and some people who want to improve their reading speed. So, what I did, is that, at the end I said, “You can sign up to a memory seminar or you can sign up to a speed reading seminar.” And that was of course a massive failure because when you give people choice, they get paralyzed and don’t really do anything.
So the key to getting a response, I believe, is single-minded focus. So, I think, that also translates to the theme of your seminar. You need to have a core message – you need to think about, “If I’ve just got one thing to tell these people, if I could just tell them one thing in one sentence, what is that sentence?” And then that forms the spine of your seminar.
James: Right. I love the one-idea concept. And I guess having a longer event, I’ve got a two-day event with my event which is, it’s around a thousand dollars so it’s not one of those free previews and I know that people expect content and that’s exactly what they get. So, what I’ve done is I’ve actually just basically broken it down to 3 core concepts for the whole event and then split my experts into 3 buckets of traffic, conversions, and leverage.
I really have compressed the speaking slots down from your traditional 90-minute slots. A lot of them are doing some half that because I’m like “OK, take out that bit about from when you are like 12 to 20 because we don’t give a shit, and take out the pitch part, just stick with the middle content part, just specify and just give us the meat.” And someone would come away from that knowing how to get leads, how to convert leads and then how to leverage up those leads.
What I am interested in based on those leverage ideas is that once you’ve run your preview event and you’ve converted half of them, is there another product in your quiver? Is there something else that they’ll migrate to? Or is that it?
What to do after conversion
Dan: Yes. There is. Absolutely. So, the process we have is that after people attend a free session, they then go to a one-day seminar and at the end of the one-day seminar, we have a coaching session. So, an in-home coaching session and after that coaching session, we have a coaching program. So, that’s also offline.
The one on one session is something we do offline and we get really good conversion with that. We’ve actually been, lately, we’ve looked at it, it’s about 60% at around a $7,000 to $8,000 product. And one of the things that we do there that works really well is… well, this…
James: I could have imagined you have a hundred. You are like a forensic scientist of marketing. You remind me of that Professor Gleeson who has the sales book “NewSell” and he’s a very logical salesperson instead of the traditional, typical sales person and you are that guy.
You are just looking at every part and optimizing and that’s what I love about your process. You see things that other people miss because they’re just sheeping it out there with the rest of the herd.
Dan: One of the benefits of doing stuff one on one is that it’s obviously quite time-consuming and it’s not leverage. So, if we’re talking about leverage, a seminar is obviously a lot more leverage but you just need to do the maths and work out if the numbers make sense. For us, they make total sense because of, it’s a high product. And the benefit of being one on one is you understand the exact issues of your customer.
With a seminar, there’s only one thing that you can say to many people. With one on one, what you say to each person is totally different and what governs what you say, is really based on the challenges. So, you know, we have a Challenges Sheet where we ask people, you know, what exactly are their challenges, and we spend quite a lot of time just delving into the specifics of the challenge and so the program that we’ll offer one person will sound totally different to the program we’ll offer another person because we really matched it to their challenges.
The other thing that we do, which is a bit sort of different in that one on one session, is we have something called a Student Commitment form. So, basically we say to our customer, “Look, you obviously have certain expectations of us and these are the things that we’ll deliver as part of this program, but we also have certain expectations of you. And we realize that this program may not be for everyone because of the expectations that we do have.
And we just have a list of bullets, we expect you, for example, whenever you get back an assignment that you’ll review it and you’ll look for one thing to make it better. And we expect that if you’re not sure how to do something, you’ll contact us.” And that, I think, really, it does a number of things. Obviously, the idea, which is that the harder it is to obtain, the more people will actually want it.
But I think it also shows to people that we’re serious and that you know, we’re doing this to get results and if you’re not committed to actually do these types of things, well, it’s probably not going to work. So, I think it works well in a couple of ways.
James: Right. So, you’ve basically, you’re able to customize the program and make, it’s like you’re almost holding a mirror up and you’re having them reflect their challenges and take responsibility for getting themselves through the program.
Dan: Yeah. That’s right. At the end of the day, the ultimate situation is to provide benefits that are directly related to their challenges and everyone’s challenge is going to be different. That also raises another thing that I think is really important, which is once a month, to actually talk to a customer. You know, people who are part of our program, once a month with just a random customer and their parents.
And we’re just like, “We’re here to listen. You’ve been with us for however long you’ve been with us. And we just want to know how you’re going, what we can do, how we can improve things.” And the more you understand your customer, the exact situation that they’re in, the better your product, number 1, because you got to really address those needs.
And also, the better your pitch because you got to talk their needs. And I think, the key to any type of convergent situation is for the potential customer to really feel understood, for them to really know that you understand their pain because when you understand their pain better than they do, there’s something really, really special when it happens. I think, if you understand their pain, you must also understand their solution.
There was this line, I definitely didn’t come up with it myself but I sure don’t know who said it. It’s something to the effect that when you give a person more clarity about their problems than they’ve ever seen before, you automatically become that solution. And I absolutely found that to be true.
James: Yeah, it is a famous copywriting maxim. The other one’s “enter the conversation the prospect’s having in their head.” So that’s about message to market match. And you really touched on that, you’ve got to know your audience.
And I’m wondering a few things now. Is your preview a set thing now that you’ve got it all sussed out, or are you continually refining it? And where do you get your feedback mechanisms from, do you survey them, do you observe, do you spy on competitors? What sort of resources are available for you?
On getting feedback
Dan: Sure. So, just one thing I’ll mention about feedback which I did, slightly accidentally, but turned out to work very well was one of the things that we do at the end of the seminar is like we finish the seminar and we ask people for feedback. So, we actually hand out a physical feedback sheet and say, “Please fill this, we’ll give you two minutes to do that.” That does several things.
Number 1, it lets us have feedback so we’re aware of what people are thinking and we can refine, and we read that and we learn. Number 2, it has referrals at the bottom of it. So we say, “If you got value from this, please put details of true referrals,” and we get referrals. And number 3, what it does is we get this commitment and consistency ideas.
So, if someone gives positive feedback, and the vast majority of it is extremely positive, then we know this is really good. So, after that, we then offer a program. So they’ve already made that commitment and so their brain is saying to them “Well, we need to be consistent with the commitment of leaving positive feedback,” which is just logically to purchase the programs. So, it does that as well.
And the last thing that it does is we actually created a website – with the people’s permission, they can say on the feedback form if they don’t wish to participate. But if they’re happy to participate, we actually categorize all the feedback by the student’s school. So, for example if we have someone from a particular school who’s thinking about coming to the session, we can say, “Look, here are the other 27 people from that school who’d already been and here’s their handwritten feedback from the preview.”
James: Right, it’s highly personal but it’s super customized. You’re actually tailoring the testimonials to the specific instance of the potential student.
Dan: Yeah. And look, I think in any business you can do that. You might not have a school but even, the other thing that we do with testimonials I think is to really, a lot of people just put a list of testimonials and I think that’s a big mistake. I think you really want to really refine the benefit so for example, it might be to save you time. So then, you get 5 testimonials on saving time.
It might be, you know, whatever it is, but you actually have categories of testimonials. And, usually, when someone buys your product, there are usually 3 or 4 or 5 reasons and you really want to isolate those reasons and have testimonials for those reasons. Another thing related to testimonials which I actually just recently saw, which I thought was total genius, it was total accidentally how I saw this but I was on a website for a SaaS service, you know, Software as a Service.
And I have something called a VP. Basically what it does is, I’m in Australia, and so, when I turn it on, it thinks I’m in the US. So I went to this website and all the testimonials were in Australia and I thought, it’s pretty clever, like they’re obviously a global company, how do they know I’m from Australia? And then I turned it on when I was from the US and all the testimonials were from the US.
James: That’s like those spammy news sites for weight loss. They say they have your suburb because they’re IP-sniffing.
Dan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But that one’s very clever with testimonials.
James: You know, like “Fat Lady in Manly Loses a Hundred Kilos.” So, I’m like, “Wow.” You know it’s very, very clever. You can do a lot of that intelligent stuff with the technology available to us now.
Dan: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. Yes. Definitely. But, I’ve got, not sure… I apologize. I think we got a bit distracted. I think, what was your, your original question was, how do we, how do we refine what we’re doing?
James: Yeah. What sort of innovation are you doing with the previews now that you’ve got this formula? And, you know, is it constantly changing? Or is it like, OK, this thing is just like, rack it and stack it, it’s working, bang, bang, bang.
Dan: Yeah. Look. Always after every seminar, I always try and think, “What could I do better even when we get a good conversion?” Right?
James: You can’t do the one technique that I use because I hate feedback forms these days. I used to do the feedback forms every event and then the people put stupid stuff like, “Oh, there wasn’t enough variety in the lunch” or “The food was too hot.” And when I read them, I’m like, “I’m never running an event again.” This just drives me wild and then, now…
Dan: Yeah. You know what, we found exactly the same thing when we had food. Whenever, like we did a test with food and we found that when we give food, every single person commented on the food in their overall quotes of the seminar, and when we took out food then obviously, no one commented about food, but it was just a…
James: Food is a big one because it’s a nourishing act of service but also, at my events, I still provide lunches, and dinner and drinks and clothing. Like metaphorically, they’re getting mind education, they’re getting nourishing for their body, they’re getting clothing. I’m going for all the hierarchy of needs just because I’ve got a community.
However, now, my most important feedback tool which you can’t really do, I guess, is I just invite Dan Dobos to my event and every single time, I’ll get some wonderful feedback about how I could do something differently and I do pay attention because you are the Seminar Master, really. You must be running these things fairly regularly.
Dan: Yeah. We’re doing them every… we do them in series. So, we don’t sort of like do it once a week on the same time because we sort of have a burst of marketing and then we’ll run, you know, 10 or 12 of them and we’ll do another burst of marketing, we’ll do another 10. So, we’ll do around 10 to 12 every quarter.
Dan: So, you know…
James: Yeah. That’s very good. So, I’m doing one a year which means I pay attention to people like you.
Dan: Yeah. Look. It’s something which works well, you know, and really encourage people to, I guess, think about how they can implement it. One thing which I think is just a really quick and obvious but easy to overlook thing to do is when someone registers for a free report or a free video, or something like that just in your basic lead generation process, most people ask for their first name and their email address. Now, obviously, the less fields you have in the form, the better.
But even if you don’t want to put it on the form, maybe put it on the thank you page, would be to ask which city they live in, because once you know which city they live in, you then have a list of everyone who lives in San Francisco or everyone who lives in Sydney and you can then tell them, “Hey, I’ve got 10,000 people who live in Sydney.” By sending an email, you’re going to get quite a few people to come in to an offline event.
James: That is a great tip and also, I’m thinking a mobile field will be pretty handy as an SMS facility that works with most email services now especially if you’re US based. And you can do a two-step form. You can grab the first fields and then ask for the second fields as a little extra.
And I’ve found that generally, about 85% of people will go ahead and put the next fields and when I’m talking next fields, the one specific test that we did where we had somewhere close to 20,000 opt ins so it’s a pretty valid metric.We had, we were asking for name, address, phone numbers and even more information and a special tick box and we got 85% of people filling that out because they’re already in motion and they’ve already submitted their email and first name fields.
So, that was quite a good experiment and that was driven from print media and radio. So, let’s just have a little guessing game here. I’ve asked you about the process. I’ve asked you about what you’re doing, you know, once you get people to the event and I’ve asked you about what happens after people come to the event. Can you guess which part I want to focus on next?
Dan: With you, my friend, it’s impossible to guess. If I guess, you try something different.
Traffic sources for events
James: I want to know where you’re getting people from in the first place and how do you get them to the event. Like, what traffic sources?
Dan: Sure, we do a number of things. We send free invitations out to schools and we have some really good relationships with schools in that we’re offering them something for free, and it’s the same seminar which if we go to a school, school’s actually paying money for. So, that’s certainly one source.
Look, another thing that we do which is really, I think, a useful thing to do and something I wish I thought of a lot sooner and something I think I should do a lot more of, which is to really think about your customer and to think about what did I do that’s not at all related to your business. So, for example, with students, they obviously go to school and we’re helping them get better marks. One of the things that they also do is, in year 10 they have to do Work Experience.
That’s really got nothing to do with our business but what we did is, we thought, well, Work Experience is something everyone has to do, how can we add value in that area? So, we realize that there’s actually no directory of Work Experience listings. So everyone sort of just, again, does it in very a haphazard manner. They would usually ask their uncle and they don’t usually even end up, if they want to become an architect, they usually work at a chemist.
They don’t actually do something related to their career. So, what we do is we actually created something like Seek.com. Like a Monster.com or a job site for Work Experience and that’s worked incredibly well for us. Like last week, we got the highest ever, I think we got 691 leads. It was ridiculous.
James: Wow. So, you’re providing a service to the specific industry that you serve that allows you to recycle.
Dan: Yeah. Yeah. And so it’s a value add to that. So, everyone who registers there, they have the opportunity to, whether it’s a free in-home which we do as well, or attend a free seminar. There’s a huge quantity of leads we’re getting from that and that’s been really a great source of leads as well because the people that are looking for work experience are slightly more motivated to actually do something about their career so that’s, you know, a good fit for people who want to get better marks as well.
James: Nice. OK, so you’ve basically just cornered this little industry for yourself. Do you find that people come in and try and copy you?
Dan: Not sure. I think, recently…
James: Well, obviously, they’re not making much of a dent.
Dan: Yeah. Now, look, it’s not something, look, I think there might be one or two people but you know, look, at the end of the day, we’re always just trying to get better and focus on what we can do. And you know, we’ve done Work Experience Directory which is something that works really well and we’re now focusing on two other services which are not directly what we do, but adjuncts. You know, I think that the key to growing is to keep vaulting on components.
So, you know, for one, for some reason, at certain peak times of the year, there aren’t many people looking for Work Experience. You know, November and so forth. But, you know, if you got another service there which can generate leads, I think, you know, you want to have as many components as possible so you’re never limited to one.
Guide to starting from scratch
James: Very good. All right, now let’s wrap this all up into a tidy ball for our listener and see if we can come up with some kind of an action step. So, let’s think about someone listening to this and they’ve gone into this podcast with the idea that they might be able to do something different other than just driving sales off a sales page and getting that 5% glory days of $80 products. They’re thinking, OK, I get it. Dan makes a lot of sense.
And, I think, I’ll try a preview event, I’ll find a venue, I’ll put together a little program of up to 7 things people need to know and I’ll prepare a slide deck around one core idea. I probably won’t feed them, because people will complain about it. And they make it free, and they’ve reached out to their marketing channels and started driving traffic to the preview.
And they’re going to work hard on getting people to turn up. Maybe they’ll send them half of something that they can fill when they get there, like your DVD case, that’ll make sense. What would be the action steps? What would it look like if we had a Post-It note and a pen in front of us?
Dan: In terms of what they do at the actual intro seminar? Or like, starting from beginning to end?
James: Well, basically, just from start to finish. Is it crafting the offer first? Is it booking the venue? What do you do?
Dan: Sure. Well, if I was starting from scratch, I would first start with getting your seminar pitch going – and when I say pitch, it’s not really a pitch, it should actually be really good content. But, figuring out what that is and refining that a little bit. Now, obviously you don’t want to spend too much time on that but that’s the first step. And, you know, if I look at, and that’s something you want to keep working on as well.
If you look at where we are at now, the actual slide deck we used actually took 6 months to create, the first one. So you want to keep refining that but what would you do? So, you work out your pitch, you would then make sure you have a lead source, so, you’d want to make sure that you know, you’ve got sufficient leads to promote the event to and you’ve got to think about how you are going to get people to come to this event. And once you’ve got a lead source, you’ve then got to think about how you’re going to promote to that lead source.
What are you going to do? You’re going to need a website. You’re going to need to get people to register at a certain URL where you collect either through a one-, probably a two-step process as James suggested. We are still doing the one-step process but it makes total sense what you’re saying.
James: You should test it out just to see what changes.
Dan: Yeah. Yeah. Look, admittedly, I’ve been very negligent. And look, I’ve actually known that I should have done it because I’d always thought back to Amazon. How, you know, Amazon always asks you to…
James: And it’s really important to push the variables through so they don’t have to re-fill that out.
Dan: Yeah. Makes total sense. So, you’ve got your slide deck, you’ve got your lead source, you’ve got your website, the other thing that actually a lot of people forget here is, you really need a phone. You need people to be able to call. We actually get a decent number of people just calling through and saying, “I’d like to book.” Well, the majority is online but I’d say, you know, 20% also…
James: So, you should have a phone number on your site?
Dan: Yeah. On your website, and…
James: I do. On all of my services, I got a phone number and people call. They ask questions and they buy. The conversion right from a phone call is something like 98%. It’s ridiculously high.
Dan: Yeah. Exactly. I guess I am also slightly old school in that I am doing some offline marketing. We actually do a fair bit of printing, and we do some newspaper. So, we put the website and the phone number. Newspaper ads, just as another thing.
They’re not always cheap but you sometimes can get some good deals and that’s another interesting lead source to think about. But going back to our steps, we’ve got deck, we’ve got a website, we’ve thought about our lead source, and then you think about your confirmation process. You think about what’s going to happen before the event, you think about what’s going to happen after the event. So, before the event, you’re going to want to have some sort of confirmation process, you need to have that ready.
You think about what’s going to happen during the event, I’m guessing, even before or after the event, so you’re going to think about who’s going to greet them? What are the things you need to print? What’s your registration form? One of the great benefits of doing a seminar as well is that in a webinar, anyone can leave.
In a seminar, if it’s 50, a hundred people in the room, it’s very awkward for someone to leave, you’re going to look at them. So, you really have a captive audience.
James: So you do you have any, like, gags that you reel off if someone leaves, like my comedian friend does? He embarrasses them so much. I think everyone is petrified to get up out of their chair.
Dan: It always never happens. I’m trying to think back to a time when it did happen. I think maybe a couple of times someone said “Look, I need to leave early” you know, something like which is annoying. But, like I’d say, maybe one in a hundred, and it would only be that way if someone needs to leave early. So, you do have your registration.
One of the great things that you can do is you can actually take people to take step by step through the registration form and you can actually sort of say to them, “Look, here’s what we’re going to do, because you’re here, you are actually entitled to these discounts, so you can actually cross this out.” So, you can actually get them to start writing with their pen. So, you need a registration form.
The other thing that you need to do is when someone signs up, you want to give them something. So, we have a welcome pack which we give them. It’s a folder, so that’s also a stick mechanism so people can’t cancel. So, we actually give them something tangible.
We give them another DVD as well, just something else for them as well, sort of a CD or DVD. Then what do you need to do? Then you obviously need to plan how they’re going to get your product. You need to think through how you are going to deliver your product and how that’s going to look like, if they’re going to be some laid-up emails and so forth.
So I think that’s a pretty decent run-down. I might have forgotten something, I apologize if I have. But, that’s most of it.
James: It’s all right. It’s going to look good on the blog post of the company’s podcast and I invite you to come and critique your own work then.
Dan: I’m sure there’d be many mistakes I’ve made, but it’s always fun.
James: Yeah. Look, I think this has been great. You’ve really introduced a great concept of previews. I know, it works really well for you. It works really well for Taki. I’ve seen it work well for others.
I’m sure that, I mean, I run a live event every year because I want to have that deeper connection with my own audience and I think that it’s something that cements an online business. Really, my online community is bound together with the glue of having even local meet-ups, that face to face connection part of doing business is really a good thing to introduce if you’re only virtual at this point. And that would be the key takeaway and Dan has given some wonderful tips on how you could actually implement that.
So, Dan, thank you so much for sharing these ideas and I’m looking forward to catching up with you and discussing more stuff at SuperFastBusiness Live.
Dan: Awesome. Absolute pleasure.
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