Episode 181: Linda Cain – Scaling Your Business with Personalized Events and Upselling Strategies
Linda Cain joins us on this episode to discuss the benefits of using personalized events to scale your business faster. Tune in as she also shares effective upselling strategies that fit the audience you want to attract and earn their trust. As an industry coach who helps enhance your clients’ life/careers/businesses, events can put you at the forefront of your community and build personal relationships with them, even with those who might not know about you.
Linda Cain is the Founder & Owner of Blu Diamond Enterprises LLC. For over 25 years, Linda has had a diverse background in planning domestic and international events. She knows all the right people to connect with and is behind many transformational and coaching events in the industry. Mapping out your full event-driven business strategy is Linda’s zone of genius to help her clients be more profitable. Listen in on this episode and learn new things from her about personalized events! Like how you should only offer free events for lead gen, whether seat deposits are effective, and much more!
If you want to hear more from Linda, you can connect with her on LinkedIn and Instagram and visit her website at www.eventsbybludiamond.com. And to help you leverage personalized events, she has an Event Success Assessment questionnaire you can answer to help you create your own stage.
Linda Cain 00:02
When you’re looking at how you’re connected with your community, how your visibility, what’s your visibility factor is out there. It all comes down to relationships and relationships are all down to social really building those relationships that keeps you in front of your community, in front of your audience, but also in front of those people that might not know about you but need to know about you.
Welcome to the making sales social podcast featuring the top voices in sales, marketing and business join Brynne Tillman and me Bob woods. As we each bring you the best tips and strategies. Our guests are teaching their clients so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. Enjoy the show.
Brynne Tillman 00:53
Welcome back to Making Sales Social, I’m really excited to introduce my next guest, Linda Cain. It is all about events, whether they’re live virtual hybrid retreats. Having a full event, business-driven strategy is key to determine engagement, profitability, and success of your events.
For over 25 years, she’s had a diverse background in planning domestic and international events, you are in the right hands with Linda and her team because they’re all about heart and relationship. They’re calm under pressure, and while handling all the details, who’s to Rolodex and transformational and coaching event industry.
Linda loves to connect her clients with opportunities, and supports her clients with top advice and strategy, mapping out your full event driven business strategy is Linda zone of genius to help her clients be more profitable. Welcome to the show, Linda.
Linda Cain 01:52
Thank you. So, excited to be here. Thank you for having me.
Brynne Tillman 01:56
Well, we’re thrilled and we cannot wait to learn about how events drive revenue for businesses, for sales folks, and really, for anyone who’s looking to scale their business. But before we jump into that, we ask all our guests, what does making sales social mean to you?
Linda Cain 02:15
So, what makes sales social means to me is that when you’re looking at how you’re connected with your community, how your visibility, what your visibility factor is out there, it all comes down to relationships, and relationships are all down to social, Right?
So, what it means to me is really building those relationships that keeps you in front of your community, in front of your audience, but also in front of those people that might not know about you but need to know about you.
Brynne Tillman 02:46
I love that answer. I think that’s great. So, let’s get kind of deep into events and why they are so important today more than ever. So, the first question I’m going to ask you is why are events a great way to scale your business?
Linda Cain 03:04
Well, they’re a perfect way to scale your business. Because you know, whether you have a digital project product, or you’re just even completely online, there’s still that aspect of how you build relationships and build community and build your visibility. And the really powerful thing about events is, as much as during COVID We got comfortable.
Being in the zoom and being online, there’s still that aspect of relationship building and nothing helps you to build that quicker, faster and more powerful than being in an event with someone and getting to really know them. And so whether you’re doing a 10 person, What I call the penthouse suite retreat, where you’ve got 10 pet people in a house with you and your, you know,
Workshopping and masterminding or whatnot, or whether you’re in a virtual room and a virtual platform, and you’re meeting people there and teaching and training. The whole thing about it is those relationships, and people are getting to know you, you’re getting to know them, you can hone in on what the audience needs, being able to meet them where they’re at, and take them to the next step. makes it so powerful.
And we have clients who whether they’ve had 10 people in a room, or 1000 people in a room, they’ve been able to scale up and get you know, hit their six, you know, six figures seven, seven, figure eight figure whatever their goals are. And the beauty about events is it doesn’t matter what your goal is, you can use events to reach it.
So for example, I have a client who does small retreats every quarter. She puts about 10 to 12 people, mostly ladies in a room with her. They workshop for three, three days. She charged the charges in like $3,000 to come for the weekend. So she’s already got her six figure year. She already has a flight base of a little over 100k a year.
But then on top of that, she’s able to sell into her one on one coaching that program that she has. And so you know, she just does that repeatedly over and over and over. It’s easy. It’s not hard, it’s not difficult. It’s a proven system, and she has a great, she meets her goals and is having a great time.
And then we have clients that you know, are on the bigger scale, and they’re reaching more people doing more events. And they’re doing six, seven figures. So really, the thing about events is you design it to fit your lifestyle and to fit the needs of your clients.
Brynne Tillman 05:34
So interesting. I’d love to ask you a question regarding when people are getting started with events, should they start with paid events or is free and a free event an acceptable way to get connected and build those relationships to upsell later.
Linda Cain 05:50
You know, a free event should be a summit for lead gen, or you know, a small fee with a summit for lead gen, participate in giveaways for lead gen. Do your 90 Minute masterclass or a 60-minute webinar, do those kinds of things, speak on stages, do interviews, things like that, to lead gen, those are your free ones.
But if you’re going to train for three days and do something like a 3-day enrollment event where the purpose is to drive people to your product or to drive people to your coaching program, those need to be paid events. You need to have them have skin in the game. And what we’re seeing and trending currently in the industry is that you know.
Free ticket to a three-day event is not going to get the person to stay with you for the three days. You really need to pack your three days full of things that they can’t miss that really moved the needle for them, and then you need to charge for it. So you know, a 197 ticket all the way up to 997 and above, depending on what you’re doing.
Brynne Tillman 06:51
So, I just got to share an experience I had that kind of blew my mind. And they’re amazing. There’s a group called heroic speaking, and they charge $1,000 for their two day, but they give you the $1,000 back at the end, they literally write you a check back for them your guide, they’re getting skin in the game, but they’re not looking to make money on that they’re looking to see if you’re fit, you go into their bigger program. So, I always thought that was a very interesting model.
Linda Cain 07:19
Yeah, we used to, there was quite a few. They called it a seat deposit. So pre COVID, there was a seat deposit. So you might pay $97 to hold your place. And then if you showed up for all three days, you know, then you got your deposit back. That’s what that model is and it’s a great model, but they are banking that at that price point. They know that they’ve brought the right people typically in the room. So they know they’re going to have sales and profit on whatever it is that they’re trying to get people to work with them or buy or you know, participate in. And so a give back like that makes sense.
But for the average person out there, we wouldn’t recommend that you do a ticket, you know, a refund ticket, you could do different kinds of bonuses for people that stayed with you all three days and things like that. And there are some situations where that makes sense. and it’s always a blessing when you go to a group like that. You don’t know they’re going to do that.
Brynne Tillman 08:21
Yeah, actually, I think that I knew in advance but okay. But he doesn’t. Um, I mean, I they’re typically that.
Linda Cain 08:29
Yeah, typically, there’s a criteria around it that you had to show up for every day.
Brynne Tillman 08:33
Yeah, I think there might be. But yeah, it was very, very good and their program is outstanding. So.
Linda Cain 08:39
I would say that’s another thing that’s so great about events – It’s because you can design one for your audience, for your lifestyle, and for what you want to do and be known for.
Brynne Tillman 08:48
I love that. That’s awesome. So talk a little bit about how these events help you scale because, you know, it’s a lot of work. And we can talk about that to fill an event, Right? But so once we were doing that, how does that help you scale your business to grow faster.
Linda Cain 09:07
So, the reason that it grows faster and quicker is because you get people into your programs faster, because you don’t have to do the, you know, evergreen webinar and push it out and hope for sales. People are getting that personal connection with you and so they’re quicker. They’re, you know, people know, still, you know, they buy on that know, like and trust.
And so from a webinar or an evergreen program, or here’s my product go look by they’re not getting that personal touch with you so and the relationship building. So by being with people and giving them the opportunity to get to know you, ask questions and make those connections then it increases the buying power of the client. And so if they buy a small package with you and they stay connected It’s almost a guarantee that they’ll go up to the next one.
And then the next one, what we see is that in the coaching industry, especially, we see that clients stay with a coach or stay with a program for about three years. So which is really great, because they might come in at your low level, go to the next and then on the year three, they’re in your highest package. And so that’s how you scale. Plus, you’re constantly bringing more and more new people into your audience and expanding that reach.
Brynne Tillman 10:28
So, I have two questions about that. And I’m gonna ask both, but yeah, the first one is, how do you fill the event? And then the second one is, how do you upsell them without them feeling like they paid to be prospected?
Linda Cain 10:41
Ah, that’s a great question. So I think everyone knows when they attend an event, especially if it’s a three day two or three day program, and most people in the advertising know, in that Legion, that there’s going to be an offer of some kind. So people come in with that, the way that you make people feel really comfortable is that you give them so much value during the two days or three days that they’re with you that when it comes time to make that offer
They won’t feel like oh, they just want to be here for the offer, they will actually have something already in their hand that they can walk away with, like, sure I don’t need to take the offer. But I got this and this from it. So taking the offer is going to help me take those two things or three things that I got, and exponentiate them for me. And that’s why I want to join the offer.
So, it’s all how you present yourself and how you make that offer. But if you’ve done it right, and you’ve brought people into your event, you’ve given them an experience, you’ve educated them, you’ve given them a task or an assignment that has moved the needle for them, then when it comes time to make that offer, they’re not going to feel that way. So you know,
Brynne Tillman 11:54
You have the right. Really
Linda Cain 11:56
Earn the right. Yeah, exactly.
Brynne Tillman 11:58
I love that. Okay, and then how do you fill the events.
Linda Cain 12:01
So, filling the events, you know, there’s a number of ways, obviously, Facebook ads, you can try Instagram ads, things like that Google ads, and you can do an ad spin.But organically is still the number one way to fill the event. And it’s, you know, affiliate marketing, it’s bringing a friend, it’s who you know, it’s getting out.
And again, that free event relationship building, providing education and providing content and the likability factor free events. So if you again, if you join it right, you’ll have the right people in the room. And like I said, small events can be big profits, we think that we have to have 500 people in the room, or we’re not going to make any money.
And it’s just not true. If you have a product that people need, and you provide the backend servicing. This is where a lot of people fail, if they get people enrolled in something and then their back end is nonexistent. Or it’s not put together correctly to support what they just enrolled people into. So, you have to really pay attention to where you’re taking people and know how you’re going to take them through your process after they’ve paid for your services.
Once you have that clear, then it just becomes a free event getting connected speaking on stages, having other people mail for you, asking people you know, to promote for you. And really organic outreach, just, you know, every couple of days being seen being heard enrolling people into your event. And then once they get there provide the best value that you possibly can and again.
What I hear over and over and over after doing this for 20 years is the people that loved an event they loved the fact that whether it was virtual or live, they got connected and they had time to meet other people.
They weren’t sold to constantly, like every 30-40 minutes some new person came up on stage to sell something, you know, at best, we only like to see a couple guest speakers and usually what they have, and they bring to the event is serendipitous, and it matches what the host is doing and present putting out so that the offers all make sense.
Brynne Tillman 14:17
That’s great. I love that. Well, I have one last question for you. And I you know, this is great, because there’s so many people that are trying to leverage events the right way. So, my last question before I asked you if I missed any questions, ultimately is how do you recommend people use, say LinkedIn to advertise the event? And I’ll be more specific. Do you recommend using LinkedIn or social media to drive to a free virtual event that sells this event? Like are there many different stages like how would you leverage that?
Linda Cain 14:55
So, it really depends on what you like to do and so that’s what we do and we help our clients to build out their event driven business. Not all clients like to do an in person event, not all clients like to do only virtual. And not all clients like social media, some, you know, like just one platform or the other.
So, once you kind of have figured out the platform that is best for you, and where you fit and like the best, then you can start to build on that with LinkedIn. The thing that I love about LinkedIn is it gives you a lot of different options.
Because you can post up an event, you can also educate, you can submit articles, you can be visible in a lot of different ways on LinkedIn. And the typical way that people bring people in to get to know them and get to know they’re having an event is they do like a masterclass series, or they do a challenge, or they do some sort of combination of a webinar or training or, you know, a master class or, or a one day or a half day kind of training. And then those are typically free or very small nominal fee pay. And then from there, you just sell them right into your event.
Brynne Tillman 16:09
Perfect. I love that. So, the last thing is a two partner. What did I not ask you that I should have? And what last thing would you like, or the audience to know.
Linda Cain 16:22
So, um, I think you asked me great questions and obviously events have changed quite a bit since we have the pandemic and smaller events are converting, in most cases, better than large events, a smaller event is also a little easier to fill and get the right people in the room. Because you’re going to charge more for your time, we all value what we bring.
So you know, there’s a time to give it away for free, and then there’s a time to charge for it. And so whether you’re virtual or live, and you’re doing a three day event, in most cases, you should charge something for that. So you’ve handled, you know, so at best your break even when your event starts, and then when you and then once your event starts, whatever you’re offering then becomes your profit margin.
And so that has changed in the sense that now people have this virtual platform so they can reach, you know, Australia, UK, Canada, other places that their clients might be, and they don’t have to travel. So it’s still a good place, you know, to hold events and have events in person, the smaller event retreat style 30-50 people in a room, higher ticket price, more work, more run like a workshop with training guest speakers.
So, they come in and you know, like you actually worked up a shop, something that is getting really good returns, and people are selling, you know, 30-40 people, percent in the room. So, Yeah. So think in terms of three things, why you want to do the event and how it’s going to connect people to you and if you love it so much you’re willing to put in the work number two?
Brynne Tillman 18:08
Oh, that’s number one.
Linda Cain 18:09
Yeah, that’s one. Number two is what makes sure as you start to look to fill the event that you’re not only reaching out to just who you know, but people that they might know. And people who have a bigger reach, go back to your mentors, go back to past clients, go back to, you know, and even sometimes collaborate with somebody else who might have a bigger list and they can come in and you can tandem a portion of your event to expand your audience, that’s the second. And the third is just do it and have fun at it. Because in virtual space.
Especially, it’s almost a no brainer, because even if you have 10-15 people in your room for three days, chances are, you’re going to sell at least two or three of them into whatever it is that you want to offer and overhead. And yeah, then your overhead is very, very low. Now there’s certain things that we want you to do so that it makes it exciting and it’s not like humdrum in a room.
But, but you know, but those can be, you know, flushed out and talked about, but if you like being in person and being with people start by a small audience, like I said, in a small room or work a work center, there’s so many different places that you can take 20-30 people to, and a lot of times people just aren’t looking creatively enough.
But when you expand that out, you can do that over and over and over and over and every quarter you can bring 20 or 30 people in with you they get that personal connection and touch they don’t have to travel too far and and those that want to travel can and before you know it you know you’ve built a good six figure business is repeatable.
Brynne Tillman 19:48
That’s awesome. I love that. So, rumor has it you have an event ready success assessment?
Linda Cain 19:56
I do. We have an event Ready access assessment. And basically, it’s just a few short questions. I think there’s 10 or 15. It takes about four, three to four minutes to fill it out. It’s kind of a multiple question. And you just click and fill that out. It comes with a consultation with me for a free strategy session. And in that strategy session, I promise to flush out the event that is hidden within you.
Brynne Tillman 20:25
That’s awesome. And that’s at eventssuccess.assessment.com Linda, this was so much fun. I enjoyed talking with you and learning some really good ways to rethink the way that we do our events. So, I appreciate it.
So, Linda Cain on LinkedIn, and I’m sure she’s on lots of other social media sites, and make sure you take advantage of eventsuccessassessment.com Thanks so much for being part of our show today. And for all the listeners out there. Make sure when you’re out and about you’re making your sales social.
Thanks for listening and join us again for more special guest instructors bringing you marketing, sales, training and social selling strategies that will set you apart. Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest episodes from the making sales social podcast, leave a review down below. Tell us what you think, what you learned and what you want to hear from us next. You can also listen to us on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Visit our website social sales link.com For more information.