A dive into HOW I built my first event and why it went so well…
In November, I hosted my first ever live event, OfferMind.
No one has claimed the Offer Creation Crown yet, so I’m aiming to stake my claim. I want to be the first and the best solution provider for Offer Creation. I want to be the Offer Creation King.
OfferMind was a significant move for me.
Today, I want to share with you the science and the art of pulling off an Awesome live event. It doesn’t matter how many people your event is for, there’s some serious psychology that you can tap into to ensure its success.
I’m gonna show you:
- How I offset the costs of a $65,000 live event without having to dig deep into my own pockets.
- How to create an amazing event that has people ready, willing and buzzing to create social proof.
- What you need to do as the organizer to protect your energy so that you can deliver 1000% each day.
- The BIGGEST mistake people make when they put on an event.
This is NOT about the content of OfferMind. It’s an objective look at how I pulled off my first live event in such grand form – this is the live event 101, Larsen stylee… So listen up!
THE 7TH PHASE OF A FUNNEL
In the book, Dot Com Secrets, we learn that there are 7 Phases of a Funnel, (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go pay for shipping and get the book.)
The seventh phase is where you change a person’s environment – which is why live events, done the right way, are sooo powerful.
When you’re looking at putting on a live event, it’s as much about the pressure leading up to the event and the atmosphere in the room as it is the content that you teach.
If you get it right, you can even teach things that are not that prolific, and it will still be a great event because of the experience you provide.
It’s all in the details… even down to the socks you wear
To pull off an epic event, you need a plan to maximize:
- Energy output
Why are these elements so important? Well, let’s think about this for a moment:
If the 7th Phase of a Funnel is a new environment, then I can’t just let my audience walk into a normal room – I have to create the environment.
When someone walks into my live event, I want them to feel like they’re entering a different sphere. A new space that’s symbolic of the new opportunities that are now opening up to them.
Event throwing is what a marketer does, whether online or offline.
Event throwing is an art. There is a science behind it, but there’s a massive art piece to it as well.
It’s not just a case of having people show up in a room for me to speak at them. In my mind, no matter what the content, that would be a huge, huge, huge failure – that’s not why I threw the event.
Yes, I threw the event to test the content that I’m gonna be using for my NEW Offer Creation Book, Your Core Offer, BUT more importantly, it’s about the experience of the individual showing up.
The event experience is a symbol of new opportunity created in the individual’s life.
EVENTS ARE A HARD SELL
Live events are the hardest things to fill ever; they’re way harder than webinars, or most other things you can think of. And it’s because of all the logistics involved for the person who’s gonna show up:
- Who’s the babysitter?
- What about flights?
- I need to find a hotel…
- Can I get off time for work?
- Can I get my partner onside?
…blah blah blah… there’s so much stuff to sort out for most people.
Because of the high level of commitment needed, events appeal to hot leads who are in the 7th phase of the funnel – so, naturally, that’s a very small percentage of your audience.
Think about it…
Russell’s got a freakin’ giant list. A lot of people that show up to Funnel Hacking Live are not using ClickFunnels yet, but still, his event is only 4500 people when there are 70000 active monthly users.
When people say, “Stephen, I’m gonna go throw a massive event it’ll be real easy.” I’m like, “Whatever… you’ll see!”
So when I decided to throw a live event, I knew I had to find some way to offset the cost and validate it at the same time.
Here’s where things get interesting…
WHY I GAVE AWAY TICKETS TO MY OFFERMIND
I’ve always wanted to throw my own event, so when I learned that some Inner Circle members gave away a free ticket to their event with their product my brain started ticking…
However, I knew that a person who shows up with a free ticket has a very different mentality to someone who has dug deep into their pocket to get to an event.
In fact, if you give away a thousand free tickets, I would guess that only 200 people would actually show up. That’s a huge drop-off.
Another downside of giving away free tickets is that you’ll attract a broke room – and that’s not great if you’re selling something. (Not to offend anybody, just being honest…)
When people pay to go to an event the attendance rate is gonna be a lot higher.
It’s pretty standard to have a 10% no-show rate even at high-ticket events. 10% of people still don’t show up, which completely baffles me. I have no idea why it’s that way, but it is.
The FHAT event tickets cost $15000 to $25000 for people to attend and still, we’d have people who wouldn’t show even after paying that much money. Yes, I’m serious, and as much as it blows my mind to contemplate it… there’s always a no-show rate.
So I was like, “Well, I need validation to even move forward on this idea. How can I validate throwing my own event?”
So back in February, when Russell first started talking about the 30 Day book launch, I thought “Sweet, this is my opportunity, that’s how I can fill a room. This the vehicle that I can give a free ticket away with.’
When Russell decided to give 100% commission, I was like, “You’re kidding. Oh, my gosh, this is big.”
I decided to piggy-back my physical event off Russell’s digital event and started structuring a campaign around the 30 Days launch. I knew that if I dropped a free ticket with the book, I’d get more sales because the perceived value of my offer would go through the roof.
I sold 375 books, and about 100 people showed up to OfferMind – which is pretty standard for a free ticket.
There’s not as much fear of loss if you don’t show up for a free event that you didn’t pay for. However, I was able to use the affiliate commission to offset some of the event costs.
But I still needed more cash, so here’s what I did…
HOW TO PAY FOR EXPENSIVE THINGS
- I knew that a lot of people hadn’t heard about the event or had already bought the book through somebody else – I didn’t wanna leave those people out, so I built an event funnel to sell tickets and bring in some extra cash.
- The AV Team who set up the stage and the room cost $35,000 – The $37,500 commissions from the book launch allowed me to offset this cost and still have a bit left over.
- The Event Room was $7,500, I was like, “Holy crap, are you serious?” So I sold a really long one-on-one session with somebody on the third day, and I charged almost the exact amount as the room was.
- I wanted Sweet Swag, a photographer, and someone just filming B roll – so I sold a VIP upgrade that made $14,000 to pay for that.
- Before the live event, I was out of pocket by $6,000 – $7,000 but I was happy to go into that hole because I wanted to create the best experience ever.
Please, don’t get offended by this. I’m just telling you what went on in my head.
I was looking for ways to liquidate the costs of the cool things rather than sacrifice experience.
I asked the question, “How I can afford, how can I create an experience?” Then I got resourceful.
It doesn’t matter what level you’re at, being resourceful is an essential skill for an entrepreneur.
I’ve watched Russell get resourceful many times. For example: If there’s a big name guru like Tony Robbins that he wants to get on stage atFunnel Hacking live, he’ll find a way to liquidate costs and make it happen.
Rather than go, “Well, that’s too expensive maybe we won’t,” he says, “How can we do that?”
That’s exactly 100% how I pulled off OfferMind.
So, now, let’s focus on the practicalities of creating the experience…
HOW TO CRUSH IT WITH A LIVE EVENT
A massive part of the event is the anticipation before the doors open. You need to invoke the emotions of wonder, excitement, and possibility…
- Wow! Imagine how you’ll feel sitting there having a major epiphany about what you need to do to get results…
- Imagine how your life will change after the event…
- What’s it gonna be like?
That’s the game I want to create in everyone’s head.
Picture this: You’re at the registration table, the doors are closed, and you hear the music booming through… you feel the ground rumble beneath your feet, and a hit of the bright lights are streaming through the cracks in the doors …
Even though you can’t quite see what’s going on, the anticipation is building. And when the doors open, it literally feels like new doors opening in your life. BOOM! It’s a symbol of the life-changing possibilities that you’ll experience one you walk through those doors.
OfferMind cost $65,000 to put on, but it was worth every penny.
The biggest mistake that people make when they throw live events is trying to make money on the event tickets. I don’t take any profit on people just getting to the event.
- The AV Crew were top of their league – they’re the same crew Russell uses for all his live event. They cost $35,000 – rather than making money on the event, I put every penny back into creating a visually impressive experience.
- Sweet Swag was all laid in perfect matching order on the tables. There were stickers, pens, notebooks, water bottle, and t-shirts.
- There were cool walk up videos made by Marley, my amazing video person. Lots of credibility stuff that I’m a little bit uncomfortable with. I don’t ever want to be like, “Me, Me, Me,” but it’s important for the psychology of the event.
From the swag to the AV, everything is helping to create that epiphany.
There are 3 types of energy that you need to be aware of when running a live event:
- The energy in the room.
- The energy of the host.
- The energy of the audience.
#1: The Energy of the Room
I took care of this by raising anticipation and setting the scene in the room. However, a 3rd and very important way is by having an MC.
It’s important that I wasn’t in the room when the audience walks in. Someone else needs to introduce me, and their whole role is to raise the energy level of the room: “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Welcome, Mister Stephen Larsen.” It elevates the energy as I walk up to the stage.
When I walk up, I need to make physical contact with the MC – because that symbolizes the transfer of authority and power on the stage.
When I walk in, my role is not to raise the energy of the room. My role is to come in with an already high-level energy room so I can do my thing.
I’m so thankful to James Friel who got everyone riled up before I made my entrance.
I’m not making this up. Go watch 10X Secrets, the psychology is massive.
#2: The Energy of The Host.
Russell once told me that one 90 minute presentation is the equivalent of an eight hour work day in energy expenditure. I went from 9AM to 9PM – so during the breaks, I just had to switch off.
I do what Alex Charfen suggests, I’d go detox, drop the pressure, listen to some meditation music, chill the freakout and then go back into state.
The breaks were as much for me as they were for the audience.
There were multiple times when someone would walk up and say, “Can I ask you a question?” I’d be like, “Sorry, no, I need to make sure I protect my break. I need to make sure I protect my energy.”
Even though I live in the same town as the event, I stayed in a hotel because it was way easier to just stay in the mind zone and stay in state if I didn’t go home
Dave Woodward who taught me that one person on your team should be dedicated solely to you for the entire event.
There’s a lot of pressure going into your head, so you need to have somebody with you all the time who can get you water, a protein bar, or anything else you need.
I am responsible for the energy tone that is set in the room, not the audience.
I am breaking and rebuilding so many beliefs inside the person’s head that they’re doing things that they never thought they could do…
They have new opportunities that they never thought possible. That’s why events are such a big deal.
When people stand up, and they beg for comments, it’s the presenter that’s losing, not the audience. I know that.
A lot of people say, ‘Stephen how do you do what do?’ It hurts! That’s the answer, man, ‘it hurts.’
I run around like an animal. My feet were freakin’ on fire after day one.
If I’m just standing on stage in the one spot… Bad. Dumb. Failure. The event photographer told me, “You move more than anybody that I’ve ever seen on stage,” and I’m like, “Yeah, it’s because I am trying to keep everyone with me.”
You should be freakin’ exhausted after one 90 minute presentation.
I’ve thrown a lot of events, but there was only one other time in my life I’ve been that tired, and that was during basic training.
#3: The Energy of The Audience.
I’ve done enough live events to know how to read a room; I can tell if the audience is mentally or physically exhausted.
During OfferMind, I needed everyone mentally checked in because I knew I was gonna drop gold that no one ever taught before – so we put $2000 worth of caffeine on the tables.
Pruvit is the MLM I’m in. I drink Pruvit every single day, it’s the orange bottle you always see me with. I wasn’t trying to sell it, I need everyone’s brains checked in because I’m gonna go long and hard. I’m gonna over-deliver to the hilt and blow people’s brains. Boosh!
I’m not gonna expect people to come with a pen and a notepad, but I do need them to take notes because they’re mentally checking in when they do that.
When they open up that notebook, and they start taking notes, they are with me, so I made sure the swag included a sweet notebook and pen.
When they take a little bit of caffeine, (one of the best nootropics that’s out there), they are with me.
They can go further and longer than they normally can physically on their own. More discipline, more focus, more attention than they would ever have on their own.
I threw around catch box mics all over the place (the microphone that you can throw) to keep the audience engaged. I’m keeping the energy high by throwing around the catch box and asking, “What did you learn?” It also gives me great feedback.
CREATING SOCIAL PROOF
Even if you didn’t come to OfferMind, there’s no way you didn’t see someone posting about the event… Social proof was all over the place.
People share posts on social media because they think:
- It’s funny.
- It evokes emotion.
- It makes people laugh.
- It them feel important.
When I share something funny, I’m saying “I’m funny.”
When I share something that makes me angry, I’m saying it makes me angry. Does that make sense?
We share to say who we are. It’s a reflection of the essence of the person sharing, and it has less to do with what’s shared, than how the sharer feels.
Because I understood those psychological motivations, I knew I had to give people worthy content to share. That’s another reason why the room and everything in it had to be visually impressive.
MY BIGGEST LIVE EVENT TAKEAWAYS
- Liquidate the cost of your live event by adding offers and being resourceful.
- Live events are challenging, but not as challenging as people said it would be.
- Have a great team – there’s no way you can do that on your own. Thank you to everyone who helped.
- Don’t plan to make money on the event tickets, instead create the BEST experience ever, and you can still make money during the event… *Teaser Alert*
In a future post, I’m gonna walk through how I structured my first (nearly multiple) six-figure day – ’cause that’s what happened at the event…
But for now, I just want you to know how I threw the event and what it took to pull it off successfully. BOOM!
Until Next Time, Thank You For Reading – I appreciate you!
If you’re just starting out, you’re probably studying a lot. That’s good. You’re probably geeking out on all the strategies also. That’s also good. But the hardest part is figuring out what the market wants to buy and how you should sell it to them. Right?
That’s also what I struggled with for a while until I learned the formula.
So I created a special mastermind called an OfferMind to keep you on track with the right offer and more importantly, the right sales script to get it off the ground and sell it.