05/10/2011 - 11:05

Is there a webinar in your future?

05/10/2011 - 11:05


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‘FREE webinar ...’If you’re like me, you get at least 10 of these emails a day. Webinars offered on every topic: Saving on your taxes; Becoming a trusted adviser; Making more sales; Leadership in the 21st century; How to handle difficult employees; The new rules of healthcare; blah, blah, blah.

May I remind you that death and taxes were the last two pieces of certainty? And, at last report, taxes were coming under fire. But add to the big two the fact that a free webinar is certain to have a sales pitch at the end of it.

The word ‘free’ is an enticement. Someone wants to expose you to their message, and then present you with an option to buy more now, or take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime offer, or act now, this offer is only good if you click this button or it will go away forever.

Unfortunately, most of the free webinars out there offer little or no value to the people who attend them. More unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of people waste their time following such false promises.

I will admit I ignored the opportunity to put on my own webinars at first because I didn’t want to be identified with a pitch and a come-on that would entice or lure my customers who’ve come to trust me and my word – and then at the end ask them for money. I didn’t think it was right, didn’t think it was fair; and I still feel that way.

Aha! moment: When I got involved with Ace of Sales, I began to develop a relationship with Andy Horner, the chief architect of Ace of Sales. Andy was giving free, weekly, value-based webinars to people who had already signed up and paid for the service. The basis of his webinar content was how to use Ace of Sales to create memorable messages and differentiate yourself through the use of branded and customised emails, email magazines, greeting cards, and postcards.

Every week, Andy gave away a free webinar. And every week, Andy’s audience grew. There’s a reason. Andy’s webinars were 100 per cent value driven with no sales pitch at the end. 

I began to pay closer attention to the potential of webinars.

One day Andy and I were on the phone, and I can’t remember who said it first, but we decided to do a webinar together on business social media – free.

More than 5,000 people signed up for an event that would = hold only 1,000. Suffice it to say, it was a technological nightmare. Let me rephrase that, it was a technological disaster.

After reviewing the results, response, and aftermath, we decided the next webinar would carry a small fee – $20. We would offer it at two different time slots so people could choose. The result? Nearly 1,000 people registered and paid.

Major question: Why were these customers willing to pay for my webinar, and not take your webinar for free? Two-word answer: perceived value.

Reality: People (people like you) are willing to invest a small amount of money for information and answers that they believe, in the end, will lead to their own increased revenue. 

I’m about to intensify my webinar intentions for the following 2.5 reasons:

1. I’ve proven it works; 

2. my customers are very accepting of it; and

2.5 people are actually requesting more.

I’m going to end 2011 with a five-day webinar boot camp that will talk about new approaches to the selling process, and what you can do in 2012 that will differentiate you from the competitor, and endear you to your potential customer.

Note well: This article is not an advertisement for my webinars, it’s a challenge to you to develop your own value-driven offerings.

• Are your customers willing to pay for your information or are you simply trying to sell more of your stuff?

• If you are going to offer a webinar for free, is it with an ulterior motive? And, are you willing to disclose that motive prior to enticing your prospective customers with that offer? Therein lies the challenge. 

The webinar is an amazing strategy to create direct communication with the people who know you, and the people who are your present customers. What messages are you sending them? What messages are they responding to? How is that increasing their loyalty to you? How is that increasing their word-of-mouth advertising for you? And how is that affecting your business?

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com , will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email salesman@gitomer.com



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