There’s a lot of talk out there about the value of having an online business. And I agree.
When done well, your online business allows you to help more people while having way more freedom.
But we both know that it takes an investment of time, money, and energy to really create a solid online platform.
So, as you do that, I encourage you to also consider hosting live events. These could be small gatherings in your home or a talking to a large group.
In-person events have been my bread and butter for years. I love the in-person connection and it’s really fun to sell from the stage.
I’ve also learned a thing or two (or 87) about what makes an in-person event work. So, let me share some of my favorite tips with you now.
Tip #1: Have physical, hold-em-in-your-hands registration forms.
My live talks include about 60 minutes of REALLY teaching something actionable and awesome. Then, I shift gears and invite everyone there to take what they’re learning further by signing up for my coaching program.
But I don’t just casually mention it. This is serious business, my friend.
After I’ve invited attendees to join my program, my assistant hands out tangible, carbonless-copy registration forms.
I don’t send people to a link on my website.
I don’t tell them to email me.
And I definitely don’t ask anyone to tweet at me. (yep, I’ve seen that done.)
Here’s why: After the registration forms are passed out I say, “Please take a moment to look at your info sheet and decide which program is the best fit for you.” And every head in the room looks down at their registration form to do exactly that.
There’s something about having that form in their hands that makes the decision more real.
Next, make sure your registration form has a point-by-point description of what participants get when they sign up.
This is helpful because…
1. People can actually see the value of your program.
2. You can appeal to visual learners and auditory learners because people can read about your program as you talk them through the offer.
3. All important dates and information are clearly written to avoid confusion.
Finally, offer two choices on your form: A premium, more expensive option and a practical, more affordable option.
This turns the invitation away from the yes or no question, “Do you want to take this program?” and shifts the conversation to “Which version of the program is the better fit?”.
It’s kind of like moving from a true/false question to a multiple choice question. This shift has been very effective for me.
I’ll be honest, there’s so much more to be said about an effective registration form.
So next week, I want to walk you through a registration form in action. That way you can really see the science behind a form that converts.
Tip 2: Bring a support team to your live event.
At the end of my live events, attendees have questions. They also want to connect with me personally. And that takes time. And if it takes too much time, people will grow impatient and just leave without registering for my program or even saying hello.
That’s why I always have a support team with me. And by team, I mean my assistant. Her job is to greet people when they arrive, check their names off the list (that way, we know who showed up) and answer any parking, bathroom, how-long-will-class-be type of questions.
At the end of the event, my assistant can circle around the room to address any registration questions people may have and make sure everyone who wants to join my program is taken care of.
This frees me up to be the hostess with the mostest and really connect with people.
Also, that fragile transition between teaching and selling can feel tricky. And the quicker you get forms in attendee’s hands, the better. Your assistant can help with that and will help make the transition from teaching to selling really seamless.
You’ll also just feel more grounded and legit when you bring support staff (even if it’s your sister).
Tip 3: Be mindful of the setup of the room.
I rent a studio space when I present free seminars.
I used to hate speaking at one of the studios because the room they would offer me is a bit odd.
Let me paint you a little picture: Where a normal room is in the shape of a square or a rectangle and seats about 6 rows of 6 people, the shape of this room is kind of like…a hollow pencil. Long and narrow with 2 rows of 20 people and the door in the back.
But then I looked at my conversion rate in the pencil room. Soon, it became my favorite studio space.
My normal conversation rate at live events averages out to about 40%. But when I present in the weird, pencil shaped room, my conversion rate never dips below 60%.
That’s when I realized… it’s because people are trapped in the room!! And though that’s probably a fire hazard… boy, does it help with my conversion. Hehe.
No joke. If you wanted to leave the room, you’d have to crawl over other people to people to get out of the door. So, rather than climbing over their classmates, folks chose to sit and think about the offer I just presented. With a little time to contemplate, they’d often decide to join me.
So how do you create an environment where people are forced to make a conscious decision rather than check-out and sneak out?
Firstly, close the door. It’s okay to make it clear that your talk has started and leaving in the middle would be disruptive.
In fact, after the registration forms have been passed out, my assistant casually leans against the door or positions himself between the seats and the doorway.
I don’t do this to pressure people to buy. I’m a great salesperson but I can’t and won’t convince someone to buy something they don’t actually want.
But people start to fidget once the invitation is handed out and there will always be one or two people that will get up and walk out. This can create a domino effect that gives other people permission to do the same and that can be very distracting.
It’s important that you serve the people who want to say yes but who tend to back out on themselves. When you make it inconvenient for the fidgeters, you give those who could truly benefit from your program the extra permission to stay seated and decide.
Tip 4: Present a Fast Action Bonus.
Incentivize those who really want to take action; make it easy for them to make a decision for themselves.
If people have the choice to think about it and get back to you, they will choose to think about it and get back to you.
And as soon as they’re out the door… you’ve lost them.
That’s why I reward decisiveness with a Fast Action Bonus.
That could be an extra discount or an extra supplementary training for those who sign up in the room. Whatever it is, make it about honoring decisiveness, not punishing those who want to think about it.
Here’s an e-book of mine with a chapter on how to use the Fast Action Bonus to boost sales. It’s a personal favorite strategy of mine.
Tip 5: Create [healthy] tension…
I learned how to sell from the stage from Lisa Sasevich, who I’ve mentioned before.
She talks about the importance of maintaining tension in the room, which is different from pressure.
Pressure comes externally, while tension is what you feel inside when you want to say yes, but you’re just scared.
If you relieve attendees of tension, they will not sign up and they will miss out on your incredible program.
A common mistake I see coaches make when selling to a live audience is to take questions at the end of their event. This is a very effective way to relieve all tension in the room.
That’s why I take questions a little differently. I make it really clear (and in a generous way) that I’ll only take registration questions.
I say something like, “I’d like to answer any registration questions that those of you who want to join me might have. So, if you have a registration question, meet me over here and I can speak to you one on one.”
Otherwise, you distract people from the most important thing they can do for themselves: decide yes or no on your offer.
Phew! We’ve covered a lot over the last few weeks. And we’re not done yet! Don’t forget, next week I will dive into the science behind a registration form. I can’t tell you how much getting strategic with my form helped my sales in the room.
I’m excited to share what I’ve learned.
See ya next week.
PS: What’s your fave tip for in-person events so far? Share it with me below…