I had a great day today. I have been working with great clients, attended multiple events and have learned quite a few new many things about running events.
One has been the dreaded topic of “Selling From Stage” and of course the whole balance between delivering content and selling.
At many events I have been too, I have had people around me complain in that it was nothing much short of a ‘Pitch-Fest’. That is, they get you in, get great speakers and there is relatively little content. That is – let’s say a speaker gets up, and each hour you get say 10 minutes of content versus 50 minutes of being ‘encouraged’ to make a purchase.
They would have speakers that give you ‘some’ content, but then it was overshadowed by selling. It has annoyed me greatly and also the people I have been with as well equally haven’t been impressed.
The obvious question is, then why do the companies do that? Because it ‘does work’. During some of the people who spoke at this one event, people ‘did’ come up and make purchases – sometimes 90 at a time.
On the surface this may seem really good and one can think ‘wow’ this is great. Sure, they are selling heaps – so who cares if they annoy everyone?
In previous events of this nature, I have had some great inside intelligence in that quite often during the ‘heavy selling’ events, there can often be up to a 60% refund rate within 3 days. That is – people getting home, going back to their husbands & wives and thinking ‘OH NO what have I done? In addition too, you quite often get a 50% split between the speaker and the event promoter.
A few people asked me this today and I took my time in explaining how I know the industry to work. Some were notably spooked and it all got me thinking about ‘Selling’.
I think if one say runs a free event, there is some level of right to offer ones product to purchase at the end (after all – you got to pay for your event and get compensated). However, I also think there is equally a limit to how much selling you should do.
When you ‘encourage / push’ people to buy before they are ready – it’s often not a good situation for everyone. You get refunds and let’s say you get people in that feel obliged to go through with things – they won’t be the best brand ambassadors for one’s service.
If you sell softly will you sell less at once? You certainly do – however you get almost no refunds, you get positive reviews and it’s more sustainable.
Also, is pushing people to buy before they are ready really ethical?
My advice and thinking? Be wary of ‘Pitch Fests’. They aren’t lots of fun. Only go to events which are more win / win.
If you are one holding events, only light selling. Sure – you may be doing an event for low cost / no cash cost – but remember, people are giving you their time – so respect them.
Love your work, thank you for the read and here is to great things to come!
P.S. Thank you to Bethesda Softworks with full image credit for the use of Vault Boy in the photo.