Don’t Ever Sign up for a Free 2-hour Seminar

 In Featured, Industry News

inbound-marketing2I guess you too receive a lot of invitations for free seminars. Breakfast seminars, luncheon seminars, and on-the-way-home seminars.

I get them in my mailbox, and InMail through LinkedIn and would you believe it as printed invitations with snail mail.

Today I was exposed to such an invitation on LinkedIn that made me smile, and I decided to share my reflections with you.

Here’s a summary:

Seminar: Inbound Marketing – let the right customers come to you!

Who do you buy from? The intrusive salesman or the helpful consultant that you found yourself?

Inbound Marketing is all about making the customers come to you. When they feel ready. For it is often easier to convince people of your value, if they voluntarily come to you – instead of you going to them without them having asked for it.

At the seminar we will show you how by making relevant information available to your audience, you can get the right customers to come to you.

Via intelligent flows we demonstrate how to transfer customers into a lead process where they are processed until they are ready to buy. That way you are present in their consciousness all the way through their decision making process – and especially when it comes to the choices of supplier.

The seminar will provide both B-t-B and B-t-C case stories.

There is no such thing as a free seminar

It will take me at least one hour to get to the location where the seminar takes place and another hour to get back to the office. Now two hours have become four hours. I know that leaving the office and getting back is not only the travel time but also the “prepare to leave” time and “settle down” time when I return. I will realistically have to invest around five hours of my time to join the free 2-hour seminar.

2 hours in a room with strangers

Can you realistically deliver on your promise in just 2 hours in a room with people you don’t know, that don’t know you and that don’t know each other? Free seminars mostly promise much more than they can deliver, because who will file a complaint about something they didn’t pay for. In this case, I felt that the company was overselling the value of the seminar. Make it a full day and charge for it. The price is what I pay, and the value is what I get. The travel time I will have to invest makes more sense if the training is longer or if I can stay the weekend skiing or hiking in the mountains close to the venue.

Your lack of focus is of no benefit to me

05_objectivesPromoting that the seminar will provide both B-t-B and B-t-C case stories is of little value to me. I am a B-t-B guy. Why should I my waste time listen to B-t-C stuff? I understand that you want to fill the room, but the lack of focus is of no value to me. And the B-t-C folks will blunder off as we dive into B-t-B stuff with complex buying situations and 18 months sales cycles.

Best practice in sales and marketing left the one-size-fits-all format years ago. If you are selling motorized wheelbarrows to wheat farmers, then that’s what you want to talk about. How to sell your brand of shampoo to more people in the supermarket is too distant from my world.

You cannot possibly be new school when you act old school

The free 2-hour seminar is designed primarily as a one-way communication event, and that’s fine, but then the format is wrong. Why should I travel to another location to receive information? Deliver the information as a webinar and split it up in a B-t-B version and a B-t-C version. Inbound marketing is about being super relevant, and you have just demonstrated that you can’t even figure that out in your marketing.

And instead of the webinar format, which is usually terribly boring and long winded, why not make a series of short videos/podcasts that your potential clients can watch/listen to in their own time and then answer the questions they post or offer them to write to you directly. Why not write some e-books that they can download and study at their leisure.

Inbound marketing is not exactly a subject that is under-documented. There is so much information out there readily available at your fingertips that your 2-hour free old school seminar is competing with.

I am afraid that the potential customers that may show up at your 2-hour free seminar are exactly those customers that you don’t want.


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