How do you feel when you find out that someone’s perception of you is not good? Do you get defensive? You also believe that it’s incorrect. Or is it? If you hear it from a couple of people, then chances are that several more people have that same perception. They say perception is reality. Perception can also be deception. Click To Tweet
It’s not the first time I have heard that statement, that I am all about the money. I sincerely appreciate the honesty from which it came. What bugged me was that it came from someone who attended one of my events. Really? And that was the takeaway?
Upon reflection, I think I get it. At one of our events, Lady & the Champs, the registration fee is low for people who sign up in advance. We try to make it accessible to all serious students of speaking. Because we do not charge much and the costs of running quality events are high, we have to find another way to fund them. The way we do that is to offer educational tools at the events. That additional revenue helps make the event possible. Most people have no idea of the cost, time, marketing, and energy required to host a live event. So, since we make the front end affordable, there has to be a way to make it work for us financially.
Even non-profit speaking associations charge over $1000 for a convention. Some seminars that are affordable are total pitch-fests, meaning every presenter pitches hard. Some are even worse. They provide no actual content and work hard to manipulate you emotionally to buy.
This may sound defensive, and maybe it is, but here is how I look at it. I’ve noticed that one of the toughest places to offer products in the back of the room is in Europe. They despise many speakers from the United States and for good reason. Many high-priced speakers give little practical content and pitch hard. People hate that! I do, too. The only way you can actually get their secrets is by giving them a boatload of money. When I first took the stage in London a few years ago, I immediately asked the audience, “Raise your hand if you think I’m here to sell you something.” About a third of the audience raised their hands. With a big smile, I said, “Perfect! I will not let you down.” They laughed. I acknowledged what they were thinking, what they did not like, and why. I explained that I would give them as much practical content as I could in the allotted time I had. Then, if anyone loved it and wanted more, they could get more. Fair enough? Yep! They were cool with that. They got good content for free.
One time someone wrote me a nasty email about my email promotions. They got my newsletter, and they were actually upset because I sent them an email about a new program I was launching. Upset? Opt off, please! When people buy magazines, the publishers also earn money from the advertisers. The publisher gets paid two ways while understanding they still need to give the customer, the reader, what they want. I wonder if that writer gets mad at advertisements in magazines.
“Make no mistake, it’s a business first. You get to speak second. You get the order wrong, and you don’t get to speak at all.” –Ed Tate, CSP, WCPS
Every week for over a decade, I have written articles that I send to my over-17,000 subscribers for free. I have over 1,334 free videos on YouTube, and 99% of them are not sales pitches. I present to TM clubs around the world at no charge. I will be speaking to four clubs next week in Orlando. Part of my business model is to build my newsletter list and give away content for free every week. I give content, give free content, give free content, give free content, and once in a while I promote. It is the privilege my subscribers give me for weekly, free, usable, practical content. Yes, during a launch of a new program that I believe in, I promote. Yep! Guilty as charged.
Here’s the coolest part: If you don’t like my content or don’t find it useful, please opt off! If an occasional promotion offends you, you won’t like my way of doing business. I believe I have the best free content on the planet. If you don’t like the content-rich videos I put on FB, please un-Friend me!
Another Perception to Understand
If your goal is to become a professional speaker, you have to understand the perception of prices, what you charge for a product or for a speech. I have a program titled Get Paid to Speak by Next Week©. Let’s say we give the program away to Person A for free, and Person B pays $497 for the same exact program. Who do you think will get more out of the program?
You and I must understand the value of what we offer. We also have to set a price and ask for it. If we give everything away for free, then it has no value. If we are afraid to ask for more, then, as Ed says, we don’t get to be on stage.
Yes, I love marketing. I am a geek about numbers and what happens and why. First, it’s how I survive. My mortgage doesn’t get paid if I don’t ask for sales. If I’m more worried about your perception of me than the reality of paying my mortgage, my mortgage won’t get paid.
Yes, I talk about business. There is no way to teach the business side of speaking without talking about marketing and money. If you are in my Stage Time University Business Mastery program, you know we teach from our successes AND failures. When something I do bombs, it becomes a teaching tool to help others in the business. So, I won’t apologize for talking about money. If that gives off the perception that I’m all about the money, so be it. I love what I do, and anyone who knows me well knows my true intention.
Yep, maybe sometimes I do push too much. I put years of effort into a new program that you can get for a few hundred dollars. For example, Secrets of Storytelling cost $22,248.90 to create and launch, never mind learning from a decade of experience and the energy and effort that went into the event we filmed. Craig’s storytelling model for speakers is brilliant. People can get access to it through my STU for $39. Do you think I’m getting rich on that? It is all about wanting to help people get what they want, to be a better and more memorable storyteller. Why? So they can make a difference.
Why I Do What I Do
I know that you have a story and someone needs to hear it. I believe that everything I learned the hard way, from years of stage time, can help you tell your story. I can’t be in front of every audience you will be in front of. You’ll be in front of many audiences I’ll never see. If somehow, some way, something I teach you helps you leave a more memorable message on the hearts of people you speak to, I feel that I have played a tiny role in helping you help them. That is how I plan to make an impact on the world, through people like you who care about their audiences.
The Smart Lady
It was a smart woman who told me that her initial perception of me was that I was all about the money. The important part was that she came to an event and saw for herself. She then looked deeper, came to another LIVE Master Workshop, and then ended up in my STU Platinum Program. I’m glad she gave me the opportunity to prove myself. She wanted to see who I really am and understand my intentions and how I could help her get what she wants.
What This Means to You
First, we need to be careful of our own perception when we view others. Let’s look deeper into people we encounter. In one interaction, chances are we are seeing only the surface. Look more deeply.
Second, people will get inaccurate perceptions of you. It’s normal, but do not let it define you. Work on becoming the deeper person that the world will eventually see. Be so good that people who know you will help correct perceptions of you.
Also, remember that people do need to be sold. No matter how much value you have, people still need to be sold. There is much competition out there. Unfortunately, the better marketer and salesperson often win, regardless of the value of the product. The value of the product does matter, however, because it is the foundation of your business and either makes the next sale easier or harder. Oh, yeah, one more thing, there is always a next sale. If you don’t believe me, watch a kid who wants something. They will persist and don’t really care one bit about your perceptions of them. Kids are always about the end result. Are you?
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