The real reason to do intro workshops (and what this can teach you about the rest of your marketing).

52128490 - speaker giving a talk at business meeting. audience in the conference hall. business and entrepreneurship.

I’m a big fan of the intro workshop – that two to three hour experience that gives people a good taste of who you are and what you do.

In the first seven or so years of my business, these kinds of workshops were my bread and butter. I did them for free and used them as a way to fill up my weekend workshops (which I offered on a Pay What You Can basis). Sometimes I still do them.

The model, though lean, worked well enough and I toured happily for years.

Of course, in the first few years, I was still sorting out what exactly it was that I had to say about marketing. It took me five years for things to really gel. And then I felt it. It all came together. My intros felt more clear, coherent and solid.

Right around that time, people started paying me money for these free workshops.

I would look up surprised as they were filling out a $50 cheque to me, “This is a free workshop.” I’d tell them.

They’d look at me, nod and say, “Uh huh…” and then finish filling out the cheque.

After that point, I began to charge for the intros.

I’ve led dozens if not hundreds of these kinds of intro sessions over the years and so I’m well acquainted with them. Of course, I never went to a workshop on how to do them or structure them. I just mucked about until I landed on something I liked and that made sense.

But it wasn’t until a few months ago when it really clicked for me as to why we even do these intro workshops in the first place.

It’s a good question to ask:

Why bother? What’s the point of doing an intro workshop? How would you know if they were successful? What are we trying to accomplish in doing them?

Well, it’s good to contextualize all of this in a bigger picture of marketing.

I imagine you want to have a sustainable business and fill up your workshops and coaching programs and so you’re doing intro workshops to support that. The intro workshops are a way of getting more clients.

Fair enough.

So let’s step back a bit. There are three things that must be established in your marketing for it to work: relevance, credibility and value.

Relevance means that they see a fit for them.

Credibility means that they trust you.

Value means that they see what you’re offering as a good deal.

In an intro workshop, your workshop title, poster, sales letter etc. is what will establish the relevance. People will look at it and say, “Aha! Yes! A workshop for people with fibromyalgia! That’s for me!” Relevance comes from a clear niche.

If you do your marketing right, they walk into the room with relevance established.

This is why it feels so off when you show up at a live, intro workshop and the first half hour is spent establishing relevance. Or the whole event. I remember I went to one workshop about, in a nutshell, how to make more money.

And the first thing the presenter asked when he came out was, “Who here wants to make more money?” And then proceeded, in a variety of ways to ask that question over the first few minutes and to tell us a lot of stories about how making more money was a really important thing. I sat there baffled. I looked down at the handout which had the name of the workshop written on it and thought, “Why the hell would I be here if it wasn’t because I wanted to learn how to make more money?”

So, the content of your intro workshop is not there to establish relevance primarily.

Some people would suggest that the whole point of an intro workshop is to establish the value of your offer (e.g. “Come to my weekend workshop!”, “Come to my retreat!” or “Sign up for my coaching package.”).

And certainly I’ve been to some of these and you might have too. The intro workshop (or teleseminar) promises a lot but delivers on very little. It’s frustrating. By the end, you realize it’s been a long pitch. You kept thinking the substance and content was about to appear but it never did.

I once hosted a colleague and realized part way through that he was, literally, reading out his sales letter. The same colleague was offering a free eBook in the lead up to a program of his and the eBook, despite having a lovely cover, was, very literally, a sales letter for his program. Even formatted as a sales letter. I shook my head at the bait and switch.

When people come for content but get a commercial they’re bound to feel tricked and upset.

So, no, I don’t think that our intro workshops are primarily about establishing the value of our offers. Who wants to sit through a two hour, covert pitch.

So, what is the point? Well, if it’s not relevance or value, then it must be credibility.

And this is the freeing realization: your intro workshops are there to help people get to know, like and trust you. Your intro workshops are there for people to get a sense of your vibe. They are there for people to see if there’s an alignment between the way they see things and the way you see things. They are there for people to decide if you’re a fit for them. They are there for people to learn about your point of view and see if that makes sense for them.

That’s really about it.

If they like you and resonate with your point of view and then you make a good offer of a program, product or package that is high value, they are likely going to say ‘yes’ to it.

If they do not like you or resonate with your point of view and then you make a good offer of a program, product or package that is high value, they are likely going to say ‘no’ to it.

It’s that simple.

Perhaps this is why so many people in their intro workshops, tele seminars, and sales letters skip this credibility piece (beyond testimonials). They skip sharing their point of view entirely.

I’ve read sales letters that, basically, say,

“Are you struggling with _________ problem? Doesn’t it hurt? Let me tell you my story about how bad it was and then some stories of clients. And shit… doesn’t it cost you a lot to have this unresolved? Here’s how it cost me. And don’t you want _________ result? I mean imagine your life without it! Imagine you died without getting this result. Wouldn’t you feel like an asshole on your death bed. But this result can be yours when you sign up for my package and learn my top secret method.”

The whole sales letter is heavy on relevance and value but there’s so little credibility in it. It’s big on hitting the pain points and painting a picture of how it might be and very low on offering any meaningful take on how that might happen.

Your intro workshops are a form of marketing, that’s true. But the next marketing, in my mind, is educational. It teaches them something.

Am I saying that you should give away all of your content for free?

No.

You couldn’t fit it all into an intro workshop.

I am saying to give all of the context away for free.

Now, ‘all’ might be overstatement.

But you can give people the 30,000 foot view. You can let them know how you see the big picture of it all. You can give them a chance to ask you questions for the 100 foot or 10 foot view on places they’re struggling. You give show them your overall map to help them make sense of why they’re so damned stuck.

If they want to sail from Island A to Island B, you don’t teach them how to build and sail a boat in your intro. You bust out your map and show them the route you’d suggest and make your case for that route instead of others. You first make the case for your point of view, not your programs, products or packages. You don’t market yourself. You market your message.

If you do this, you will engender more trust.

If you do this, people will want to know about your offers.

If you do this, people will be more likely to spend more money with you.

If you do this, people will feel confident in your approach to these issues.

And this doesn’t mean that you need to make massive changes in your marketing.

But consider the subtle difference between these two approaches.

Approach #1: Selling Your Workshop – “If you come to my weekend workshop you’ll learn the following seven things!”

Approach #2: Sharing Your Point of View – “If you want to get ______ result, here are seven things you need to understand.” and then at the end of the workshop, “If that approach and those seven things make sense to you, you might enjoy my weekend workshop because we go deeper into all of those things.” Rebecca Tracey of The Uncaged Life fame has done a brilliant job of this with a free checklist she offers of eight things you need to have in place to get more clients. “The checklist itself,” she says, “is a simple list of all the steps we complete in our Uncage Your Business program, with a note at the end that they can work on this with me live and a link to get on the UYB waitlist.”

It’s a subtle shift in framing but the impact is powerful.

To take it back to my friend who was offering the eBook that was, actually, a sales letter. It was selling his course about how to get more clients through offering discovery sessions. That was the orientation of the ‘eBook’ – making the case for them to spend a lot of money in his program.

I emailed them and suggested that they might make a subtle shift and reorientation towards making the case for his point of view. The whole eBook could have been making the case for a business model in which all of the marketing led people to a one hour ‘discovery session’. That’s a solid point of view. There is a strong case to be made for that. Once he had convinced people of this approach, then he might find them very open to signing up for his program.

I was met with a frosty response.

Ah well.

To sum it up: Make the case for your point of view first (credibility). Make the case for your services, programs, packages and products second (value).

Additional Free Resources:

Video Interview on Point of View Marketing (70 min)

Point of View Marketing Primer Video (10 min)

Products to Consider:

The Workshop Package: A collection of my best resources on filling up your workshops and events.

The Art of the Full House

Point of View Marketing

Don’t Market Yourself. Market Your Message.

your signature talk

I was chatting with my colleague Jonathan Bender about his upcoming coaching program about helping people deliver a ‘signature talk’. It’s a term I suggest you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the coming months. But it’s a bit of jargon so I asked Jonathan to explain what it is and why it matters.
 
What is a signature talk? Why do it? And who’s it for?
 
First, a signature talk is simply a speech / presentation / keynote / talk that is uniquely you. It’s a forum for bringing your message to the world. Even if someone else has a similar topic, it doesn’t matter – a signature talk will always be authentically you. Also, it could be done at a live, in-person event, or it could be on a webinar or teleseminar. Finally, a signature talk could labeled as a motivational or inspirational speech. Often, it’s used to inspire new clients to work with you.
 
Why do it? Well, for a couple of reasons. First, speaking is one of the best ways to get clients, and to get established as an expert in your field. It helps you reach far more people very quickly – which makes getting clients much easier. Also, you get to change more people’s lives with your message. That’s pretty cool.
 
Who’s it for? If you are a heart-based entrepreneur – a coach, holistic practitioner, or with your own unique business that really helps people – it’s for you. If your reaction is, “I’m not a speaker,” then you’re the perfect fit. Yes, some people with signature talks make their living as paid speakers, but many others have their own coaching, therapy or healing business – and just use speaking to reach their perfect clients.
 
Anyone can learn to do it. It’s important to learn all the key elements, which I’ll be discussing with Tad on our call on Wednesday. Join us to learn a lot more, and how you can put a professional signature talk together – and start using it to attract great clients – faster than you may think.
Let me drill this down a bit further.
 
Your signature talk with where you express your point of view. Meaning, your talk is fundamentally going to be on the topic of the journey they’re on from Island A to Island B (and maybe to inspire them that Island C is possible). But just getting up there and describing that journey would, ultimately, be unsatisfying for an audience. You need to not only talk about the destination but to draw your unique map of how you think people should best make that journey.
 
You need to share your honest point of view.
 
I wrote a post called “50 real life examples of point of view in action“. And each of the examples could be the basis of your signature talk. But finding your voice and really honing your point of view into something clear can take work. Your signature talk is a chance to express your platform – to have them leave with a very clear sense of what you want to be known for.
 
Think about the success of TED Talks.

You’ve likely seen at least one (and if you haven’t I apologize in advance for the week of your life you’re going to lose watching them).

These talks are obviously inspiring, thought provoking and often very powerful.

But also consider this – can you imagine the number of books those videos have sold for the speakers? The number of speaking engagements and clients they gotten as a direct result of those talks? What those talks have done for their reputation? The projects they’ve been invited to be involved in?

Think about it.

I’ve gotten to asking my clients at workshops – ‘What would your TED Talk be?’ If you were given 20 minutes on stage in front of thousands of your ideal clients would you be able to distill your core philosophy and ‘take’ on things into that time in a way that they totally ‘got it’?

Of course, TED has a massive reach and reputation. But, even if you take that away, having a ‘signature talk’ like that (whether online or in person) is one of the most vital things I can imagine an entrepreneur having. The power of TED is partly the huge following they have (1,224,829 Followers) but it’s also about the clarity of the ideas being communicated and the powerful stories being told.

You may not have the reach but you can create a talk with the same power and impact.

You likely already know that public speaking is one of the best ways to get clients.

Yet, so many incredible conscious entrepreneurs aren’t doing it.

Or, they’re not being effective, and missing out on getting to bring their important message and purpose to the world.

I’ve seen talks where the presenter never even mentioned their services they offered (and so got no clients). I’ve seen talks where the speakers used high pressure and manipulative tactics to try and get people to buy (and then got no clients).

Jonathan Bender, a warm and wonderful fellow who’s been a speaking coach for over 15 years (also a professional theater director, actor and writer!), will be leading an incredible free training:

“How to Craft a Powerful, Inspiring Speech… that Transforms Your Audience, Changes Their Lives, and Moves Them to Work with You!”

DATE: Wednesday, October 10th @ 5pm PT/6pm MT/7pm CT/8pm ET
COST: Free
REGISTRATION: http://bit.ly/QxW7M7

REPLAY / RECORDING AVAILABLE? Yes!