Archives for February 2016

Read this before offering ANY bonus gift to those who buy your products

“Buy my book and get a bunch of cool bonuses worth over $4,000!” This was a recent post in a Facebook group I belong to.

I have no idea what the title of the book is, nor whether or not the bonuses have anything to do with the subject matter of the book.

I was somewhat amused by the post and yet, felt a twang of “ain’t it a shame” for the new author who posted this.

Obviously, some “expert” told her that if she got a bunch of people to each contribute a bonus to those who purchased the book, not only would her sales skyrocket, she would also become an Amazon.com bestselling author.

This is a strategy from times gone by. There was a day this strategy worked great. Albeit, short-lived success ensued. It wasn't the most sustainable marketing and sales strategy unless you had a back-end plan in place.

Actually, I used to teach clients how to effectively use this in their offers, but it’s been years since I’ve done so.

Authors could actually sell hundreds, if not thousands of books in a very short period of time, while watching their book ranking on Amazon rise to the top.

It was the same with product launches. Entice buyers with a boatload of bonuses, regardless of whether or not there was any correlation to the product being sold. People definitely bought the “thing” to get the bonuses.

In the past it often worked like a charm. Today, not so much. Why? Because people are busier today than ever before.

Additionally, we are on information overload. And…today, more than ever, people want a solution fast without having to wade through a bunch of stuff that has no real significance.

To find out what others felt about this, I went to my Facebook community to check the “temperature” on this issue.

Here’s what I posted on my wall… “The days of piling on bonus after bonus to entice someone into buying a book or program are somewhat outdated. What people want today is the fastest route to a solution, not a bunch of stuff they have to wade through to get to the answer. The busier someone is; the less time they want to spend on fluff. Agree or disagree?”

In no time at all, dozens upon dozens of people responded. The overwhelming majority of people agreed that bonuses for the sake of bonuses are not at all appealing.

However, if the bonus, or bonuses, are a compliment to the book or program, the buying decision can be influenced. With this, I’m in total agreement.

Take my program, Speak, Sell, Profit. It’s an eBased course that teaches experts how to find speaking gigs, make an offer to your audience in order to make a substantial profit. Under the umbrella of speaking gigs are teleseminars, webinars and those where you are face to face with your audience.

This program comprises 20 years of my knowledge and experience as a professional speaker. To “sweeten” the offer, anyone who invests in the program gets The Power and Profits of Telesummits. This is a program that specifically teaches the ins and outs of how to make money with telesummits.

In this case, there’s a direct correlation. Speaking is an aspect of telesummits. If I were to “throw in” bonuses on health and fitness, remodeling a house, dog training or any other subject matter that has nothing to do with speaking, I would be making a huge mistake.

Again, it’s not that bonuses don’t work. They definitely do, but in context.

I digress. Back to the responses on my Facebook wall.

”Totally agree – just give me the value so I can get on.” Jenny Brennan

“Totally agree – just tell me what I need to do and how to do it. I'm not a fluff kind of girl, just give it to me straight.” Deborah Hutto Bateman

“AGREE – AND: you never know what that one thing might be that someone wants, so I'd rather see a page with, say, 5 very specific things on it that I can choose the one that I want. Plus, as a marketing tool, it makes more sense to have free gifts from the author more than from a bunch of other seemingly random people who the author is friendly with.” Felicia Slattery.

face“Agree with a caveat — unless the bonus makes the book itself more valuable (i.e., an audiobook or ebook version, workbook or cheat sheets, access to the author through a q&a call, etc.)” Bridget Weide Brooks

“Agree. And seeing quite a few “Selling the farm to attract the sheep” models where content is FREE FREE FREE – well, guess what? – once you get on their membership site or email list, it's silly to think you won't be pitched left & right with what they sell.” Elspeth Misiaszek

“Wholeheartedly agree!” Sandra Martini

“I don't know that I always agree. Although I'd like to think that people would rather buy the solution regardless of the “bonuses”, countless webinars I've hosted have proven that “bonuses” still work. Then again — the product I'm selling is software and the bonuses are training. I have tested this many times. Consistently the webinars with bonuses FAR out-convert the ones without bonuses or with one small bonus.” Tim Paige

“Test. Then judge your actions based on what people actually do, not on what they say they will do. Focus groups, for this reason, are mostly a waste of time.” Robert Coatesgeneric_lead_capture

AUTHOR’S NOTE: One thing about you Tim… is this; your bonuses have a direct correlation to the offer your company makes. It’s not a “thrown together” offer. There’s a meaning behind all you do. I'm proof in the pudding that your bonuses work. I invested in and love Lead Pages.  I often recommend Lead Pages to my clients and colleagues.

“Agree, and I'm limiting the number of bonuses I'll be offering for the April launch of Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World.” Shel Horowitz

“Totally agree. Occasionally there is truly added value, though that rarely is the case. Piling on “bonuses” makes it feel like we are being SOLD something rather than being offered something interesting and/or valuable. It feels like driving sales to benefit the seller rather than offering solutions to the buyer. It downgrades the value of the thing being offered as if the seller doesn't really have faith in what they are offering and needs to pile on stuff to give the illusion of value. Perhaps the key is to use them judiciously and make certain they truly add value, not fluff. “ Anne Fowler Wade

“I agree and am glad to hear you say it.” Dina Eisenberg

“I think it depends on the market. I feel like less sophisticated business folks still like stuff. In my experience entry level offers (at least to my market) work better with stuff attached.” Mike Linville

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Good point Mike. The more seasoned the buyer the less time we have to wade through “stuff.” Knowing your market and what appeals to them is essential to whatever you are offering.

“Agree! No fluff get to the point is my opinion.” Tina Ortez-Castro

“I certainly agree — I get a headache when I see too many bonuses.” Michele Pariza Wacek.

“Totally agree. I ignore bonus stuff. I really do.” Wendy Fisher

“Totally agree. The bonuses are the quickest way to lose me from a mailing list, because it's all just fluff. Give me information that I can do something with and I'll stay forever grin emoticon.” Kimberly Morris Gauthier

“Agree. Too many bonuses (especially with suspect $$$ values) send me running away.” Kat Sturtz

“Kathleen, OMG YES! Screams desperation to me! Makes me wonder about the value of the product or service. I also don't like the discount after discount after discount – I think it's okay to discount sometimes, but not to excess. It's like say “Oh please buy my stuff, please please please!” I think it's like an icky used car salesman!” Taylor Kay Stephens

“Following this carefully because I know a number of successful online marketers who do this quite well and raise/earn hundreds of thousands of dollars doing it. What are they doing right?” Yvonne DiVita

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The “secret sauce” is that the bonuses have a direct correlation to the offer. Yes, bonuses can, and do, work. But always keep in mind, how do they actually benefit the end user. Do the bring added value? Will they cut the learning time? Have they been thought through? Or did they get thrown in a huge pile of “stuff” just to make it look like they were there to add value?

“Amen Kathleen Gage….been that way for quite a while now for me! Cut to the chase….no slogging thru…” Stevi Sullivan

ellen“Yes…more than one bonus for a product or program is too much! And even that one bonus had better be good.” Ellen Britt.

“I agree! I am coaching authors to consider offering a multimedia bonus…so readers can consume content in a variety of ways…cool and innovative and makes them stand out from the crowd..(that's what I do!)” Elizabeth Harrington.

“OMG – totally agree! Cut to the chase. Its about efficiency and productivity thru action, not stalling or procrastinating!” Dana Earhart Litif

“Agree. Please don't overload me with distracting material.” Patricia Buchanan

“I have actually found targeted bonuses — those that solve specific painful problems your prorobspect just can't seem to solve — to be quite useful in boosting sales. If they solve the problems quickly, I have found them to be very useful.” Rob Schultz

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Spot on Rob. Targeted bonuses are the answer.

“I'm so tired of bonuses on everything under the sun. In 2016 all bonuses should be edible instead. Give me free snacks and coffee to enjoy while I read the new book or program, that's a bonus! tongue emoticon.” Loretta Oliver

“The bonuses are used to help the prospect justify the purchase to his/herself. It breaks down sales resistance. The reason you see promotions like that all the time is they work. All of the largest marketers use bonuses.” Robert Coates.

AUTHORS NOTE: You are right Robert. And… the more specific the bonuses are to the purchase, the better.

“I somewhat agree. Gone are the days of piling on a bunch of unrelated bonuses in order to sell your own or someone else's product. I still see some marketer using crappy PLR materials as bonuses, hoping that by giving away a bunch of “stuff”, they will get people to buy from them.

On the other hand, as several people already mentioned, targeted bonuses that are relevant to the product you are selling still seems to work.

The bottom line is that online marketing has gotten much more sophisticated. I think we will be hearing a lot more about EBM (Education Based Marketing) this year. There's already been a shift away from using eBooks as lead magnets to using short, consumable, useful items. What many of the big marketers are doing now is providing a short bit of free education as the lead magnet, then as they take you through the sales funnel, all the offers are related to the thing you just opted in for instead of just being a mis-mash of random upsells.” Ellen Martin

“People never even came back for the bonuses. That era is over.” Harlan Kilstein

brian“Indeed, however when it comes time to buy something, people shop.” Brian G. Johnson

“Totally agree. A bunch of bonuses just makes me think, “Yuck!”” Denise M. Michaels

“OMG tried to tell this to a well-known coach on her recent launch, that you know very well too. The more stuff that got added on the more I shrunk away. It was just too much to digest. Solve one problem, quickly, then move on to something else. So glad you posted this.” Pam Stogsdill McCall

“Totally agree! I spent time this morning cleaning my hard drive deleting free downloads of complete programs I never opened.” Kathie Nelson

“Completely agree! Though it always sounds great when it's offered, I never get to it. So the guilt piles up because I'm not reading it.” Randi Destefano

“Totally agree. Preach it, sister.” Debra Mars

“Related bonuses work well and encourage sales in my opinion.” Roz Fruchtman

“People will pay more for less if it takes them exactly where they want to go in the shortest amount of time. Everything else feels too overwhelming. The business owner or consumer with money to invest is likeliest to have healthy boundaries around their time. Respecting that time in a product reaps the greatest rewards.” Theresa Pridemore

There were plenty more comments on the thread, but you certainly get a sense of how people feel about bonus offers that have no rhyme or reason.

Truth be told, I recently purchased a program where one of the bonuses influenced my buying decision. Yet, the bonus was directly, and I do mean directly, related to the main offer.

Would I have bought the “thing” regardless of the bonus? Yes, I definitely would have. What was interesting about the situation though was this, the bonus was offered by an affiliate. Actually, during the product launch, there were several affiliates promoting it.

  • One affiliate offered nothing.
  • Another affiliate offered a non-related, low end bonus.
  • The affiliate I purchased through offered a juicy, well thought through bonus with a real value of $1,000. How do I know the real value? I did my research.

Which brings me to another point. When you offer a bonus, avoid an inflated “street value.” This is another thing that can really tick off a potential buyer.

Key takeaways:

  • Offers with bonuses may or may not work. The bonuses that work are those that have real added value to the main offer.
  • Avoid throwing a bunch of “crap” into the mix. This is an insult to intelligent customers.
  • Most people are over-the-top frustrated with bonuses they have no interest in or need for.
  • People want real solutions, not stuff that clogs up the computer, their mind, and their productivity.

Before you jump on the “give 'em a boatload of bonuses” bandwagon, consider how people will respond to what you're offering. If it's added value, true added value, then go for it. If not, don't. It's really that simple.

What's your take on the topic? Agree or disagree? Comments encouraged and welcomed.

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How I survived one of my worst speaking engagements

If you speak in front of enough audiences, you will have incredibly positive experiences AND you will have a few doozies. You know the kind, you're in the middle of something and you wonder how you're going to get through the experience.

It can feel like you're gambling with your reputation.

A huge part of minimizing the risk of something going wrong with your presentation for a specific audience is to find out as much as possible about the group you are presenting to.

Ask Who They Are

For years, requesting the meeting planner complete a pre-event questionnaire has been a part of my prep work. Yet, more than once, what the meeting planner told me and what the reality was didn't match. Not by a long shot.

99% of the time you should be able to make things work no matter how far off the meeting planner is. But there's always that one time no matter what you do, everything goes south.

One such occasion occurred about five years after I became a professional speaker. I was contacted by a woman who had heard me speak a few months prior to receiving her call.

“You're the best speaker I've ever heard,” she gushed.

Thrilled to lock down a $4,000 contract (plus all expenses including flight, hotel and meals) for a 30 minute keynote, I went about doing my homework.

I talked with the meeting planner more than once to assure I had as much detail about the audience as possible.

The Audience Was Not What I Expected

Confident I was prepared, I was shocked to discover that, rather than the young group of mostly volunteers eager to hear me speak, the ballroom was filled with hundreds of elderly men and women, dressed to the nines, many whom had arrived in limousines.

Most of the women were wrapped in furs and dripping in diamonds. I cringed at the thought of all the animals who gave up their lives for hundreds of silver haired ladies. A part of me wanted to hightail it out of there as fast as possible.

From the moment I had been introduced, to the minute I finished my presentation, you could have heard a pin drop. You see, I had been hired to talk about success and here was a group of obviously very financially successful men and women who would be hard-pressed to learn anything from someone way below their position in society.

The worst part was, many couldn't hear me very well. That became very evident when, the next day, I talked with the meeting planner to find out what the heck happened. Very aloof and not much in the mood to talk with me, with a little pressing on my part, she swore up and down that a couple of men in the group were convinced I used profanity.

“They were appalled,” she said with disdain.  

I was shocked and told her I absolutely did not, but nothing I said convinced her otherwise.

 “You recorded my presentation, didn't you? What I recommend is that you review the tape. I'm sure then you will see there was no profanity on my part,” was the last thing I said to her.

Needless to say, I never got a testimonial from the woman. I also knew she would never recommend me to other meeting planners. Nor would she take any more calls from me.

Confused Was an Understatement

What happened????? I'm not quite sure, but I do know this; the experience didn't kill me and it made me realize that life can throw you a curve ball no matter how well you prepare. All you can do is pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward.

To this day I've never figured out what went wrong, but I didn't let one experience define me as a speaker. To do so would have been a grave mistake.

If I had, I may have given up on my speaking dream. And what a pity that would have been. Yet, I often see people give up when something goes wrong. 

Trust me… when  you're in the game long enough, poop happens. It simply does. That's a part of life. And when the poop hits the fan you have one of two choices; throw in the towel or learn from the experience. 

Ready to build your speaking opportunities and minimize the chance for something going south? Click here to access my FREE Kindle book on public speaking.

Be sure to join our Power Up for Profits Facebook Group.

 

 

 

How to get lots of speaking engagements

When I first dreamed of being a speaker who had the ability to influence people in a way that it literally transformed their lives, I wasn’t quite sure where to find audiences who would want to listen to me.

What I did know was this; if you want to be successful at something, find someone who is successful at the thing you want to achieve and find out what they did.

I learned that life-changing insight from none other than Tony Robbins. I had gone through his full 30 day Unlimited Power series when they were still being sold on cassette.

With this in mind, I set out to find experts who were making a living from speaking. It was at that point I tapped into the National Speakers Association.

It was beyond amazing when I walked into a room full of men and women who were making a living speaking. I was in hog heaven (okay my farm life is showing 🙂 )!

One woman, Lori G., who made over $100,000 a year at that time gave me one bit of advice that I took to heart and have never forgotten.

“The more you speak, the more you speak.” It took me hearing this a few times until I completely understood what she meant.

What this simply means is this; the more people see you, hear you and are inspired by you, the more opportunity seems to come out of the woodwork.

Now, I impart that wisdom to virtually anyone I talk with who says they want to get lots of speaking opportunities.

You have to be proactive in your approach to getting on the platform. You will be well served in learning from those who have been there, done that.

With well over 20 years of professional speaking experience under my belt and an income many experts who dream of getting on the platform would love to have, I’ve made it my mission in 2016 to share as much about how to make money speaking as I possibly can. Beyond the money, I am committed to teaching experts how to influence, be considered thought leaders, and have the courage to speak their truth in ways that can literally change the world one audience at a time.


Does this sound like something for you? If yes, get my free Kindle book Power UP Your Sales. FREE. Click here.

Why Experts Should Speak

I began speaking on the platform long before there was Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and the now nostalgic voice that we eagerly awaited to hear, “You’ve got mail.”

Back in the day, the only way to get speaking gigs was to literally pound the pavement. I began right where most speakers started; as a complete unknown.

The year was 1994. I had just left my corporate job with GTE Health Systems. I was convinced all I needed to do was have the desire to speak and the rest would take care of itself.

Rough Times Ahead

Truth be told, I was in for a rude awaking. And yet, competition back 20 plus years ago was a lot less than it is today.

In the day there were fewer people who called themselves speakers. If you wanted to showcase your talent there were plenty of associations willing to let you present at their monthly meetings. Whether it be your local chamber, the local chapter of a women’s association or large companies in town that brought in experts on Fridays to present during the lunch hour, there was ample opportunity to get in front of an audience.

Fast forward to today and the playing field is a lot different. The “secret sauce” of showcasing your talent by offering to speak for free is no longer such a secret. Where you used to be one of a handful of experts who spoke on a particular topic, today there are dozens,  if not hundreds, even thousands, of experts standing in line waiting for someone to say, “Sure, we would love to have you present on XYZ topic.”

Teleseminars Hit the Radar

At one point, many seasoned speakers realized they could actually reach more people and make a ton of money by offering teleseminars.  It was around 2005 when I realized this was a literal cash cow. I could make tens of thousands of dollars by getting on the phone, teaching a topic and making an offer on the back-end. And I could do it in my pajamas because my audience would not see me with the platform of teleseminars.

Then came webinars. Those of us who were willing to muddle through the limited technology available back then could not only be heard, we could put up a slick slide presentation and add another element to our speaking.

Initially, the online ways to reach our market were as much of a novelty as were the in person showcase presentations, but it didn’t take long before lots of experts got wind of how big a market they could reach and how truly profitable this could be.

That was the great news. The bad news was this; people who called themselves experts, but really weren’t, got on the bandwagon and the market got really crowded and the quality of information went downhill.

Lots of newbies who heard all you need to do is showcase an area of expertise by getting in front of your audience came on board and quickly gave up because it wasn’t as easy as they had been led to believe. Even bona-fide experts became disillusioned and gave up way too soon because they realized they didn’t have it all figured out.

They would compare themselves with those of us who had been around for a decade or two (or three or four) and wonder why it wasn’t as easy as they had been led to believe.

Here’s a few reasons:

  1. They expected to hang their shingle and hoards of people would flock to listen to them regardless of how little effort they put into honing their craft.
  2. They hadn’t clearly honed an area of expertise that others would identify them with. They jumped from topic to topic never giving one thing a chance to grow.
  3. They were crappy presenters. This one speaks for itself.
  4. They put very little effort into gaining visibility and recognition. They were minimally known to the very people who could make the decision to bring them in for a speaking engagement or those who would put an hour aside to listen to them on a webinar or teleseminar.
  5. They gave up before they gave the process of building name recognition a chance to work.
  6. They didn’t differentiate themselves by writing a book (or books).
  7. They had no way to generate revenue on the back-end with products and services. They truly believed they would make their money solely from speaking.

There are plenty more reasons but these are some of the primary reasons experts who want to speak will fail. Sadly, there are plenty of people out there who claim you can make great money as an expert who speaks with very little effort. Any level of success takes effort. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong, incredibly wrong.

Visibility is a Must

The truth is, you MUST put effort into what you’re doing AND you have to gain name recognition for opportunity to come knocking.

One of the best ways to do this is by creating the environment to showcase your skill, expertise and knowledge. And to do it in front of those who give a darn.

It’s about you taking control of the opportunities in front of you. The best way to do this is by hosting what are called self-staged events.

As someone who has not only survived, but thrived, in the ups and downs of the economy, shifts in how business is grown, technology creating incredible opportunity and competition, I long ago figured out what a golden opportunity this can be.

Truth be told, if I can figure it out, so can you. And to make things really easy, I’ve put together a special report that walks you through the exact process of how to create your own cost effective events so you never have to worry about whether or not there is competition, what’s happening in the economy, what changes occur online, or any other factor that dissuades those not committed to using speaking to position their expertise.

It’s called, The Step-by-Step Guide of How I Make Over $100,000 a Year with FREE Presentations. It’s yours for the taking. Go to http://100kspeakerreport.com/.   This report is perfect for speakers, authors and consultants.

And the next time you tell yourself the stories that prevent you from growing your business with speaking, read through the report to once again realize how really simple it can be….when your willing to do the work and stay in the game.