Editor’s note: MFA is pleased to share this article and case study from guest author, Justin Devonshire about marketing and sales funnels for live events.
Perhaps you’ve wanted to hold your own live event but don’t know how to make it profitable?
Or maybe you’ve tried holding an event but got hit by the big costs. Many entrepreneurs who start their own live events get stressed trying to fill it, and barely break even.
In this article I’ll reveal the ‘Money’ Platform Model which will help you earn at least 2, 5, or even 10 X more revenue from every event you do, while liquidating your costs before the event even starts.
Why This is Important
With more and more experts getting online and competing in the coaching / consulting industry, you need to stand out and create Expert Authority in your niche.
Getting on stage is the fastest and most powerful way of creating both instant authority and trust with your audience. This trust provides you with three big benefits:
- It allows you to command higher fees
- Live events allow you to leverage your time by selling 1–to-many
- As a speaker you’ll attract media attention and high-level partners with far more ease than ever.
Simply put, if you want to dominate your niche, a live event funnel is one of the best strategies you could use…
…But You Have to Get It Right
I’m known as the ‘secret weapon’ behind some of the world’s leading speakers and coaches, helping them double or triple their revenues from each event and fill their seats every single time.
I run 3 businesses across different niches, that each use live events to gain new clients every month. I promote and profit from at least 10 events every single month, and teach others how to run successful large-scale events, multi-thousand people expos, and even small-group, high-price masterminds.
The key to selling high-ticket services in high volume and enjoying huge profits is something called the ‘Money Platform’ funnel.
The 3 Elements of the Money Platform
The Intro Event
So many entrepreneurs shoot themselves in the foot by going straight into promoting a paid event.
Unless you already have solid branding and a good following, it’s tough to sell tickets to an event in this way. It increases your costs up front and drains your cash flow before you’ve created it.
That’s a headache you don’t need.
That’s why the top speakers always start their funnels with an ‘intro event’. This is generally a 60 – 90-minute presentation that introduces the audience to the topic, with an offer for more at the end (just like a standard webinar is used online).
By holding an intro event, and using it like a lead magnet you’ll rapidly start building your list, and build a lot more ‘know, like and trust’ with that cold audience.
Another benefit to this intro event is that because of the higher volume of leads you’re getting at lower costs, you can also make ‘Point of Registration’ upsells to liquidate your marketing costs as youi’re filling the event.
So you’re essentially filling your event for free!
Some great offers that sell well here include a “VIP Networking” session before the seminar begins, or even a low-cost “VIP Upgrade” ticket that includes a consult with you and dinner with the speaker on the night of the event.
We often sell around 20 to 30 ‘upgrade’ tickets like that, out of a couple of hundred registrants, which essentially puts us into the profit margin weeks before our seminar even happens.
“But Do Free Seminar Attendees Buy Anything?”
You may be wondering will free attendees buy anything at your event? How do I sell high ticket stuff?
This is a common objection, and it’s really strange, to be honest.
Because, actually, a free seminar attendee is 10x more qualified and profitable than your average free webinar attendee.
Most people have no problems selling from free webinars, even though you have limited engagement with the audience, and half the time they’re scrolling on their Facebook newsfeed while you talk!
But in a live seminar, those audience members have driven out to see you. They’ve put aside 2 hours or more of their time. They’ve invested the price of gas and parking. You have their full attention.
You have more engagement, more rapport, and therefore more trust and authority.
So the bottom line is, free seminar attendees DO buy stuff. Lots of stuff. Its up to you to learn to be a good stage-seller.
So, you have a room full of free seminar attendees, and you’ve made some upsells to cover your costs. What do you do next?
The Money Platform
Remember, the objective of this funnel is to sell your high-ticket service, which is made easier thanks to the Expert Authority positioning you’ve created by being on stage.
So the next step is to refine your audience and further qualify the most potential high-ticket buyers.
A great way to do this is by using your free intro event to sell a ‘Money Platform’
The Money Platform is a program, or another event, that allows you to spend more time, and deliver more value with customers who are paying a low- to mid-priced fee.
Doing this qualifies the right people and allows you to build more trust and rapport, in order to make the bigger high-ticket sales later.
This is where most speakers go wrong: As I mentioned, most entrepreneurs who are new to events will start at this point of the funnel. They rack up unnecessary costs and often struggle to fill the seats.
But it gets worse.
The real big mistake here is treating this paid event as the product. The mistake is trying to make money from ticket sales.
That’s not where the money is.
I was chatting to someone a few weeks ago, who did a great job of selling 300 tickets to a full-day workshop for $100 each. So he made $30,000 from the tickets.
But because he didn’t use the event as a platform to make high-ticket sales, he lost out on a lot more money.
I asked him, “What would have happened if you’d offered a $5000 mastermind / coaching program to those 300 people at the end of the workshop?”
If only 10 attendees out of 300 said yes, he would have walked away with $80,000 that night, not $30,000.
If this person uses this model 3 times per year, that’s an additional $150,000 he’d gain from that one simple change in platform.
So your paid event is NOT the product. It’s a platform to get qualified buyers into the room and then make your high-ticket back-end sales.
When you use this event simply as a springboard, or a ‘platform’ to higher-ticket sales, your profits will skyrocket every time you put people through this funnel.
So, the objective is to fill an event with paying customers, but then to enroll a small percentage of them onto your back-end, higher-ticket services.
Not sure this will work?
No need to worry. This is the EXACT model used for over 20 years by the greatest speakers in the industry, including Tony Robbins, T. Harv Eker, Rob Kyosaki, and many others.
So, to recap there are 3 stages to your live event funnel.
The intro event which is often free, or extremely low-barrier to entry. Use this event as a lead magnet to overcome skepticism from cold leads, and to rapidly build your email list. Don’t forget to make that tripwire offer too, so you offset some of your venue and marketing costs, and even possibly turn a profit before the event begins.
At the end of the free event, you offer the opportunity for those who want to immerse themselves in your topic to enroll into a larger, more concise teaching event – a bootcamp or workshop, for a low, to mid-ticket fee. This is to qualify the ‘buyers’ in the audience and build further trust with them.
Finally, during your ‘Money Platform’ event you can enroll the most dedicated and ready attendees to join your longer-term high-ticket programs or services.
This method plays the long game, yet you’re going to slash your costs, turn a profit potentially within hours or days of starting your advertising campaign, and you’ll make a lot more high-ticket sales by the end of the funnel.
Here’s a Real Case Study Where I Used This Exact Funnel to Generate Almost $250,000 in Sales in 2 Days
The following is a case study in action of how I implemented this funnel model with one of my clients, Gerry Robert.
Gerry is an 8-figure international speaker and consultant, and teaches entrepreneurs how to publish and profit from their own books.
We started with the intro event – all about how to brand yourself with the power of a book.
We attracted 400 business owners to this free morning seminar within 6 weeks, using mainly Facebook PPC ads, as well as some media partners. (Note: Facebook paid traffic accounted for at least 85% of the attendees.)
I offered a tripwire after registration of a VIP lunch and Gerry and me, which would take place when the seminar ended. This was an investment of $97. We had approximately 900 leads register for the free event who saw this offer. We made 20 sales for just under $2000. This covered ALL our costs for Facebook ads and the initial venue.
(By the way, when you hold a free live seminar, you can typically expect 30-40% to show up on the day of the event.)
At the end of the 90-minute talk, we made an offer to join Gerry on a 2-day bootcamp, where they would learn a lot more in-depth strategies and do some implementation. This bootcamp would take place around 10 days later, and was an investment of $49.
Gerry is one of the best sellers in the industry, and consistently closes a phenomenal 40% of the room onto this offer.
So, on this occasion, we had approximately 160 out of 400 attendees take this offer, for a revenue of $7840.
This revenue now covered Gerry’s travelling costs, and also the fee for the next venue, where we’d hold the 2-day bootcamp.
Note: You may be wondering, why we priced this 2-day event so low?
Remember the mistake most speakers make? They treat this event as the product, instead of the lead magnet it actually is. You’ll make very little money from ticket sales unless you’re a huge name, so why bother?
Our objective is simply to fill a smaller event with a more qualified audience. So we don’t need to raise the barrier too high. It all comes down to knowing your back-end conversion numbers, so you have clarity on how many people you actually need.
In this case, Gerry knew (from 20 years’ experience) that with 160 people attending the bootcamp, we’ll easily make at least 5 high-ticket sales later, and meet his objectives.
So, if you don’t need more people, why work harder?
At the 2-day bootcamp we usually make 2 different offers over the weekend.
The first is the high-ticket program we’re mainly trying to sell. In this case, we sold a 1-year mentoring program to design & write your book, plus Gerry’s company would publish it for you. This is an investment of $25,000.
Be careful not to make this BIG mistake that KILLS your sales…
Most speakers who even get this far and do pitch at their event make a costly – but easily avoidable – mistake here.
They wait until the end of the 2 days to make the pitch.
This is a mistake because when you’re selling such high-ticket investments, your audience usually needs some time to think it over, or acquire the money.
So, it’s better to make the offer at the end of your first day, so you can answer questions or overcome objections during the second day. Remember, if this process helps you land just one or two more high-ticket sales, it’s always worth it.
We also offer a downsell, typically on day 2.
Because we’re only anticipating a very small number to take the high-ticket offer, it’s sensible to make a lower-ticket offer for the remainder of the audience who want to purchase something.
But here’s the secret – the downsell offer must compliment the high-ticket offer, not compete with it.
If the downsell offer makes a similar promise as the high-ticket offer, then of course people will take the lower investment to reduce the perceived risk.
So, what did we offer as a downsell that was a complimentary offer to Gerry’s book publishing and mentoring program? We offered a $5000 online product teaching people how to be a public speaker, and how to use live events to push their book sales!
Being an author and a speaker are complimentary skills, so this offer works great.
Over the 2 days we sold 7 x $25,000, as well as 15 x $5000 product for a total of $225,000.
When we add the additional revenue from ticket sales and the VIP upsells from the intro event, it gives a total of $234, 780 – just shy of quarter of a million.
Running this funnel just 4 times per year is easily manageable and will not saturate one location, and could be a near 7-figure revenue each year.
That’s the power of leverage that only live events can produce.
And that’s why the most influential leaders in the industry all use live events as a main source of new clients and revenue.
Justin Devonshire is an international speaker & trainer, and helps coaches, consultants, speakers, authors and business people like you to attract more clients & create a freedom lifestyle by creating “Expert Authority” positioning quickly.
Justin consults some of the biggest 8-figure-earning coaches & speakers in the world – including companies generating $20 million in revenues – on how to triple their lead flow, charge premium fees and scale their businesses quickly.
He owns businesses in multiple niches, including personal development, health and entrepreneurial success. He has partnered with, and shared the stage with, some of the most successful speakers in the industry.
Justin’s businesses have been featured in Forbes, Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post and several national TV and radio stations. To learn his systems & strategies go to Justin’s Expert Authority Academy.