Buying a Stairway to Heaven

Multi-Day Conferences – Stairway to Heaven or ???

I’ve recently attended some 2 or 3 day conferences that left me wondering about tactics being used in selling programs. Why do we attend programs that are several hundred dollars first of all? We want information that the host purportedly has to share with us so that we, the attendee, can walk away with actionable information that enhances our goal or motive for attending such an event.

I offer this insight though. Buyer beware! Much of your desired information, if not all is available online! If it’s not, it’s probably available on google to search for services in your neighborhood. Also, when you’re attending a conference and the entire conference is coordinated in such a way to upsell, you know you just paid for a program that will put fire to your feet to try to get you to buy the upsell service. If it feels good and you HAVE the income and feel secure to make more purchases then follow your heart and economic good sense. I’m not sure that is always the case.

My recent foray into attending multi-day conferences produced some results. There was, however, a significant amount of time spent on upselling products that created pressure to purchase the said product. Meaning the entire conference was orchestrated in such a way to position you, the attendee, to purchase the upsell. Teaching attendees how to increase their cc limit, lower their interest rates worked as the first phase. These are in fact very good techniques to know, but hey, I already have excellent credit with significant money available to me now and still don’t access that. Why would I want to raise my limits when I don’t use what’s available to me now? I got no answer when I approached on of the ‘go to’ resources. As the w/e continued, we learned significant selling skills, useful yes. What was working in our message, what was not. However, I was hesitant to continue to sell my small product because I could clearly see this was not the market interested in what I had available at the time & frankly to sell items I had yet to create put the pressure on me to produce based on their timeline, not mine. Yes, they are trying to move people out of their comfort zone and push production but I’m not sure this is always successful. I had listened to a conference call the night before this particular conference started and one caller complained of someone who never delivered from a prior event and was the company offering any help. No help there. The conference created an environment for sales and it was a rather high pressure environment to sell & buy. Keep buying or what more can you sell or create to sell? How is this group doing compared to another group? Forget about what is available to buy, just buy and get the sales number up. We’re competing against someone or some other product that we have no knowledge of. So the pressure to buy within this controlled marketplace is significant and the host holds no responsibility to insure accountability from the attendees that it is delivered. Frankly, there was a lot that I was not interested in buying. Items seemed underwhelming to me. A lot of the attendees were into the arts, as I would call it and I had no need for these services at this time. Being there and getting business cards was helpful and I did purchase a few technology services. I’m not sure I had to fork out the several hundred dollars in order to buy those same services. I’m not overly frugal, ask my husband, but I am pretty conscientious in where and how I spend my money.

When it’s a few hundred on the upselling product, you might very well have that cash on hand and not be concerned about another purchase but, as was my experience; upsells I’ve recently experienced ranged from $5000 to $24,000. I am not, nor ever have been, comfortable with making rash decisions. There was even another $1500 off if you made that decision that very day. Wow, you know how long it takes me to buy a car? Weeks! Yes, I pay more than that on my cars but still, that’s not pocket change, I like to think about it, FEEL how it feels to me to spend that kind of money. The speaker made a statement to the effect, just take your life forward and figure out the how’s (paying for it) later. My concern – that’s easy for him to say. He doesn’t know the financial stability of this audience.

Why do I still say buyer beware? Because so much time was spent on getting people emotionally engaged (tears and all) to tap into why they were failing at financial success and then, with just enough poignant moments positioned us to hear about how successful their multi-thousand dollar program could almost guarantee them significant ($million +) success. Hmmm. I saw over 10 people sign up for this program. Maybe they had the $24K available without significant concern to defaulting on their payments, but maybe a few of them didn’t.

I believe people were truly evangelized to purchase this product after emotionally engaging videos, stories or exercises that tore people down about the ‘lack or what’s holding them back’ in their lives. After that you’re emotionally vulnerable, feel like crap, of course it made sense to invest in the higher level program, right?. One young teen just sobbed after this one exercise. Really??? Her life has yet to even start in the world of wheeling and dealing of commerce.

I left after that and discussed this experience with my friend. I believe she stated it pretty clearly, this type of conference is a mind f… Simply put, you’re in a controlled environment for several days and experience emotionally charged events that ultimately are wrapped around being given a very hard sell for the next (very costly) level. In my opinion, conferences should present like a learning academy. Upsells can and should be available but not spending so much time proving to the attendee that you’re not enough yet, that you need this, go buy it (whether you can afford it or not). Any time that happens, buyer beware. You ARE good enough, you CAN do it and NO ONE needs to make you feel like this is the ONLY program that will get you to be RICH. Stop being greedy and just search out your answers on the internet. Be the student and forever stand in your own power, don’t be a follower, unless of course you have the cash on hand to follow.