Should business coaches attend marketing seminars? Maybe you can relate to this: in a recent Facebook thread on the relative value and merits of marketing seminars, my FB friend BM wrote:
“I haven’t been to a live seminar in years. I’m too busy doing work for clients. How do I sharpen the axe?
“I have every book, ebook, and CD set that Bob Bly has published. … I’ve cut the number of other gurus I follow to three.
“It’s all recorded or printed so I can go back to school on my own time. After taking this inventory I realized that if I did nothing else I would not live long enough to read/listen to all of them again. And you want me to sign up for your seminar in Las Vegas? Egh!”
There are many who, like BM, are highly skeptical that the value of seminars outweighs the time it takes to attend, especially if the event requires plane travel.
And many others for whom the tuition is too stiff. They search for less expensive education and can almost always find it.
My take on expensive seminars and conferences– those with tuitions in the multiple thousands of dollars — and how to get essentially the same knowledge for less money and time — is as follows:
1–I always prefer to sample an expert’s free information before I pay.
Almost all gurus have websites with a ton of free content — yours for the taking.
Study that first.
If you don’t like that content, then why would you pay for more of the same?
(I just saved you a ton of money!)
I always prefer to sample an expert's free information before I pay. Almost all gurus have websites with a ton of free content -- yours for the taking. Study that first. If you don't like that content, then why would you pay for more of the same?
If you do like the free content on the guru’s website, then one of two things can happen.
Either it’s so useful that it answers what you needed to know, you don’t need to buy anything else, and you’ve solved your problem for free.
Or, it’s so good that you are now confident in getting more training and advice from this expert, and thereby improve your odds of successful learning while reducing risk.
After I study the free content (e.g., blog posts, articles, e-newsletters, free reports) … but before I move to a big purchase …
2–I look on Amazon to see whether the guru has written a traditionally published paperbound book on the topic.
A dirty little secret many info marketers don’t want you to know: often their books contain more content, better organized, and more clearly presented than their expensive courses and products.
Reason: mainstream publishers require a degree of editing, rewriting, copyediting, fact-checking, and proofreading that 99% of info marketers don’t come close to. Result: clearer, more complete, and better-organized information.
3–Now, if you have gotten all you can from the guru’s low-cost/no-cost content … and you still want to study with them … you can safely and confidently invest in their higher-cost paid info products.
But … and this is a warning: do not overbuy.
Listen, I love it when I get an email showing a subscriber who just spent a grand with me buying a dozen different products; I like money same as anybody else.
But at the same time, I worry about that customer and information overload.
It’s like going bonkers at Barnes & Noble, buying every book that looks good to you, and then putting them on your shelf and never getting around to read them.
At least traditional paperbound books are a nice decorative touch in a room. You don’t get that with PDFs, mp3 files, and streaming audio. So unless you actually consume and use the content, buying info products is pointless.
I know this list isn’t conclusive. But these are the primary factors that weigh into my decision whether to pull the trigger, shell out the dough on an expensive seminar, and fly hours to attend … or walk away.
P.S. A confession: I am a terrible tightwad.
So if there’s a seminar I really want to go to in my field, I get out of paying … by asking the event producer if they’d like me to speak!
I offer to waive my usual speaking fee, which today is in the neighborhood of $6,500 — admittedly quite modest compared to what superstar speakers get.
I do ask that in return the producer allows me to attend the entire event tuition-free and also covers all my expenses — food, lodging, and travel.
If they say yes, and I really want to go, and can make the time, I go. Which given my workload and disdain for travel, is a real rarity for me today.
If they say no, I don’t.
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