Recently, I shared an event that I am speaking at via social media and e-mail. It’s a 2-day business conference called a “Wealth Building Retreat” and I am doing a 90-minute presentation on ‘Social Media Mastery.‘ This was the image below that I sent along with it. Now most people were pretty excited. But I did get one or two messages questioning the purpose.
Have you ever sent or received an invite to some sort of ‘free event’? If you have, you are probably familiar with the variety of reactions. In particular, some people get overly suspicious, thinking:
“Well they’re probably trying to sell something.”
“It must not be worth much if it’s free.”
You should realize that these freebies have been around for a very long time. They exist for a reason and it’s not just about selling. It’s also about giving. They also come in many different yet related forms.
- Online webinar
- Live seminar
- Lunch n’ Learn
- Live conference
- Free 1-hour coaching/consulting (live, phone or Skype)
- A breakfast/lunch/coffee
I’ll freely admit that I have done each and every single one of those above. Why? Because any business, especially a service business, needs to get in front of people. But it’s not like we’re doing one of those high-pressure sales tactics to sell a timeshare. (although those who run those may argue that they work too). For me, the more important piece is to demonstrate incredible value such that you can sell more business. That is what branded thought leadership is all about!
When I first launched my speaking and training company Raeallan, I tried lunch n’ learns as a means to access corporate professionals. The funny thing was, some who went to these things got all hot and bothered the moment you went in for the up sell. (A few just wanted a free lunch.)
What do these people think? That I am spending my own personal time during business hours to prepare, deliver and engage you with my value-added content just to build good will. Yes, there is some of that. But as a business, I have something to offer that I believe in and I have a desire to build and grow my business.
So now you know why we business leaders do this. But what is the best way to do this? It all comes down to delivering incredible mind-blowing high-end world-class value. if you position yourself as a thought leader in your field and your brand promise is to deliver the exact results the attendees need, then you are no selling, you are helping. The ultimate sale comes from the desire to help people solve their problems.
So when I meet up with someone for lunch, coffee or a consult, I do all I can to help them in that time. When I create a webinar, I put in tons of fantastic information. If I present live, you can be sure you are getting some of my best world-class content. More importantly, you are getting access to me. In every case, I make myself accessible and responsive because I am also building a relationship.
Speaking of relationships, when one of those two friends e-mailed me, he said that ‘live events’ looked a bit ‘scammy’ to him but because I was posting, he trusted it. Good thing then, as this proves the power of relationships. But I also noticed another thing.
Live events like this one were more suspicious to digital savvy people. They often prefer free webinars. Many in corporate prefer the lunch n’ learns so they don’t have to leave work. Meanwhile more Gen X and Boomer entrepreneurs preferred the free live events. My point to all of them is that each one of these free events are doing the exact same thing. It’s just a different vehicle.
They each deliver amazing value in order to generate even greater value. How? By getting new business for them and helping people add more value to their personal and professional lives, by solving a problem or addressing a need.
Either way it’s win-win. Even if you don’t want to ‘buy’ anything, you will learn a ton. If it’s a live event, you will make some great networking connections. Finally, if it’s a coffee or lunch, you might create an even deeper connection. There is tremendous value in that.
So if you ever get an invite to any of my free events, webinars or conferences (like the Wealth Building Retreat here), please do check them out. I’d value your support and will do all I can do deliver tremendous value for you. Is there any value in that for you?
Bobby Umar, P.Eng, MBA
President, Raeallan – Transformational Training and Speaking
Tweet me @raehanbobby
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