10 Years of Business Lessons–Chapter 4: How I Got an International Audience
February 17, 2017 by Lizabeth Phelps
On February 27, 2017, I will celebrate the 10th-year anniversary of the launch of my second business, Inspired Leaders’ Academy. This is a series of excerpts that tells the story of these ten years to help you navigate these same waters more easily and faster!
If you’ve been following this series, you know that on February 27, 2007, I launched my second business, Inspired Leaders’ Academy, with a public speaking training. I got business owners into that room by getting them first into a free, 2-hour live event that educated them on cutting-edge material that introduced the content of the paid training. After teaching unique concepts for over an hour, I “sold” the training. This is called “platform selling,” or “selling from stage.” If you have qualms about this—or disdain—be sure to read chapter two of this series.
For about two years, I used this precise strategy. Here’s what’s so great about it and why I still have my clients use it, whether they’re doing an in-person or virtual free teaser event: it keeps you focused on the only thing you have to do—fill your teaser event. So many solopreneurs (and big business, too!) get distracted or try to mar
ket too many different things at a time. With this model, there are not countless things for you to do each day, there is one: market your free event.
In 2009, I went to a small seminar led by Michael Port, whose Book Yourself Solid 6-week program I had taken. This was a workshop related to his new book, Beyond Booked Solid. Michael is awesome; I love him to death. However, he didn
’t use the brain-based learning techniques I knew and taught and I had a challenging time over those two days. At the conclusion, I walked up to him, thanked him, and asked, “Would you like me to make this program 85% better?”
Because he was so influential, with such a large reach, I chose to do this gratis. This is where many new business owners trip up: they aren’t willing to do things for free because everyone is telling them to “own their value.” Doing things for free up front is known as a “loss leader” and every new entrepreneur should be savvy enough to recognize that—if done right—a free project can land you a whole bunch more business down the line than something you’d get paid for.
I went to Michael’s house and we pored over his workbook and content and rearranged it, using the two brain-based sequences I was teaching back then. He loved it, autographed one of his books with, “Lizabeth, you’re a genius!” and then proceeded to invite me to teach my 2-hour free event content at his subsequent live events. That is the beauty of a loss leader, my friends.
And that is the beauty of aligning with someone with influence. But the change for my business, from local to international, came when Michael interviewed me on one of his weekly telecalls. He had an international audience, of course, and that gave me one. However, it was up to me to maximize that opportunity, which I did by inviting everyone at the end of that interview to attend my free 90-minute teleclass (the 2-hour reconstructed for the web.) They gave me their email addresses to register and were now on my list.
Let me finish with a comment about tailoring my 2-hour live event into a 90-minute teleclass. Let me tell you, that was not easy! The brain-based learning techniques that I taught were, of course, ones I demonstrated, and they were highly experiential. They involved people’s vocal and physical participation. It was so tactile. How could I transfer all of that to a conference call?
It took two or three test tries, but I was able to innovate some of the techniques and make the telecall almost as exciting as the live event.
For instance, a key, key component of a great audience experience is having the audience vocalize. It is critical to their learning that they not sit passively, but it’s also essential to their having a great time and desiring more. Yet opening the lines of a telecall so everyone could be heard and vocalize was, I discovered immediately, chaotic.
So, instead, I asked 10-12 folks, prior to the call, to be my “cheerleading squad.” They were off-mute throughout and answered all of my rhetorical and problem solving questions, and repeated key words that I wanted them to retain. They acted as representatives of the whole, and it worked beautifully. Those who were muted told me that they got great value out of the participation of the core group, even though they themselves could only listen.
As a teacher, I was never (and am still not) happy with the online education model for the very reason that the entire group can’t vocalize (and why I really hate webinars because everyone is silent), but I found a way to make it work on teleclasses that no one else was doing (or has done since, I think, except my clients.)
So, on February 27, when I have my Q and A call for you, it will be a telecall I want to hear you!
Michael Port and I are still in one another’s circles, however, in 2011, my focus turned slightly from “on stage messaging” to “off stage messaging” and my new program competed too closely with Book Yourself Solid, so we stopped doing joint ventures. But I am grateful to this day to him for putting me on the map. To be successful, make sure you find your influencer (and many more!)
See below for 3 relevant books that I wrote on public speaking. (Another tip: make sure you are creating products.)
And reach out to me to help you with your next webinar, presentation or signature talk! Fill out this form and we’ll talk. Let’s see how you can speak for profit–a must-do for all entrepreneurs.
Next chapter, I’ll share how I grew my business by starting to use the “ascension model.”
Speak Free and Profit usually $24 now $12
Before the Stage usually $17 now $9.
Find them both here:
Teaching to the Brain: The Must-Have Skill for the 21st Century Leader