I see it all the time with my clients, and it happens for me too!
Over the last 5 years in my business I have done a pretty good job of keeping my core offerings and messaging in alignment. But I also missed something! Like, what has REALLY worked – for both me and for my clients.
I have done EVERYTHING in my business – I’ve launched short programs and big programs, low ticket and high ticket, online in video, webinar, or by phone. I’ve hosted 1-day events and livestreams, and even big 3-day events. I’ve followed what everybody appears to be doing, and I’ve done IT ALL because it seemed like I needed to. After all, I truly hate being left out of anything important.
And I’ve looked back on all of the WORK that I’ve done over the last five years, and what I have LOVED, and what has made the most money, and I’ve made a conclusion, which I’ll share with you today as I compare the top 3 impact strategies for service providers.
I counted it up, I’ve hosted 30 retreats in my 5 years in business – can you believe it? More than half were private client retreats (also known as ‘fulfillment’ retreats – fulfilling on the programs you have already sold), and the others were ‘sales’ retreats, or retreats that were filled with individual people who purchased a ticket and were not already in a long term program with me.
And guess what? 80% of the people who attended my fulfillment retreats as part of a long term, high-level contract with me, first connected with me at an individual sales retreat.
So for me, retreats have made me great money. $2 Million over the course of my 5 years.
But there’s more than money going on here. There’s impact.
If you’re in my tribe, you most likely are highly committed to making an impact with your work, and the money is an important second.
The lasting transformations that have taken place through my retreats are astounding. From doubling or quadrupling of rates, permanently, to connecting with an audience through email in a whole new way, participants walk away transformed. One of my favorite stories is of a woman who attended my Inner Alignment Intensive retreat wearing shorts and a T-shirt and glasses, and visibly hiding out in the room. Today she’s been on TV and countless radio interviews, and she radiates from a stage in beautiful dresses and bright red lipstick.
In a small, intimate retreat, no one gets lost. The work is profound, and your time is invested well. You can go deep with matters most.
Not to mention that your attendees really get to connect with YOU. And by the time you complete your first retreat, they know if you are the person they know, like and trust enough to go deeper with you, and invest more in your work.
In other words, you can easily enroll high level clients after a retreat in a way that is not nearly as easy to do in any other setting.
I’ve used many paths to bring in high-level clients. But my FAVORITE ones have almost always retreated with me first.
I’ve launched and launched. I’m launching now (retreatandgrowrich.com). And, straight Truth, I don’t really like launching.
OK, so it’s fun to create programs and share them with people, but the detail involved in online program launches is extraordinary, and not my strong suit.
So what do I mean when I talk about launches? For the purposes of this article, I’m talking about filling a virtual training, coaching, or ‘get it done’ type of entry-level program using online methods of delivering education and helping your audience to learn about the program.
Also often referred to as a “Jeff Walker PLF Style Launch.” Jeff Walker was the first to name this approach, and I will admit I ordered his book Launch hot off the presses. It’s a great read to understand your options for ‘launching.
So here’s what I want to share with you about launches.
- Most launches fail. When you see countless people in your circles launching programs, I want you to know with 100% Truth that most of the things you see online never get filled. Countless entrepreneurs spend countless hours with launch formulas for things no one wants… or at least they don’t know they want it because the person launching didn’t communicate it well. Because launching is hard.
- People DO make great money with launches. I don’t want to have you doubt the whole industry of information marketing. People do knock this out of the park, but generally AFTER they have built a thriving business by meeting clients face to face, and after they have grown a strong email list or affiliate partnerships.
- My LARGEST virtual program I have led through a launch had 16 people registered… after months of work and giving away loads of free content.
- The people in a virtual program are much less committed. You will always have a percent of people in every program who don’t do the work. (Even in a retreat). But the percent is much larger for a virtual program. People are learning INFORMATION, but they are still immersed in their same environment with less opportunity for TRANSFORMATION. Life often gets in the way without that personal connection. If you’re anything like me, who’s heart breaks just a little every time someone I teach falls behind, that could be hard for you!
- Even though you can (and should) pay someone to do the ‘techie stuff’ for your launch, you still need to understand enough about how the techie stuff works to launch effectively.
- Launches happen behind your laptop. If you love people and thrive on connection, be prepared to haul your laptop to the coffee shop for a bit of human interaction!
Virtual programs are great for transferring information. It’s convenient to study ‘how to’ do something on your own timing, from the convenience of your own home. But if your work involves transformation, or actually supporting someone in getting something done, the virtual world may be less than fulfilling for you and for them.
I might be giving an unpopular opinion here, but it’s given with great love and respect for this client attraction strategy. I’m talking about Big Events.
The third major way people become known and bring in higher level clients are big events. You’ve all seen them. Maybe you’ve attended them. I have, and they have great value. As an attendee, they are fantastic for connecting with other entrepreneurs, for having a pulse on the trends and energy in a particular industry. They can be a place to see and be seen. And they can also be lots of hype.
There are countless cookie-cutter events out there, where you’ll get the same information, often in the exact same way, and often at a very surface level. And the events that do differentiate themselves often do so using strobe lights, performers, and giant foam fingers. And I must say, this DEFINITELY makes it interesting to watch, but not the best strategy for connection and transformation. They can be tiring for the host, the team, and also for attendees. And often attendees leave with a giant binder of things they should be doing, and a deflated spirit because nothing has really changed.
Here’s a few things I want you to know about the big event model:
- It can be lots of fun.
- It can easily become an ego trip – more visibility = a greater opportunity to worry about what people will think of you.
- A big event done well is a big investment. Venue, event team, food and snacks, coffee, audio visual, stage and set, décor, team, travel, etc. Guaranteeing enough rooms for your attendees to stay is a 5 or 6 figure gamble. Coffee for a single day can run you thousands.
- People will get caught up in the hype. Depending on what you want for your business, this can be in your favor or not. In the energy of a big event it’s easy for someone to buy into your offer because it feels popular, because they are caught up in the hype, or they feel bad about what they don’t know and want you to save them. If you are OK with working with that type of client, great! If you want a more intimate screening process for the people you’ll be working with, an small retreat is a better investment.
Now I’ve not had a ‘big’ event for my industry, but I hosted ‘bigger’ event, and I’ve experienced all of things from different angles, and experienced first hand the difference in commitment and effectiveness of different strategies.
RETREATS ARE WHERE IT’S AT
In my extensive study J in my own business and conversations with my high-level business owner friends, the conclusion is clear. Get out from behind your laptop. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Invite the people you meet to join you in a small retreat. And join me as we Retreat and Grow Rich™.
CLICK HERE to learn more about this high-level, low investment, training program (and join me at my next live retreat for free!).