One of your most powerful guerrilla marketing weapons
As an expert entrepreneur, you’re offering keynotes, lectures, seminars, workshops, webinars, coaching or online training as part of your practice. (If not, you should.)
And if you’re like me (and I know I am) you probably have delegates fill out some sort of evaluation form (and if not, you should). You might even compile them into a spreadsheet and run the averages, and maybe even graph how they trend over time.
You’re still missing one of the most powerful guerrilla marketing weapons available.
What is Deep Evaluation?
Guerrillas evaluate their work on 5 levels, and follow through to verify that their clients are receiving real value. It’s the secret of repeat and referral business, and the key to effective marketing.
Level 1 – Did they LIKE it?
These are the “smile sheets” you see at the end of most seminars. Typically delegates rate the trainer, the content, the venue, even the food, on a 1 to 5 scale, something like,
I thought the trainer (pick one)
- Really pissed me off
- Is a complete idiot
- Was OK I guess
- Was RILLY terrific
- I hope he marries my sister
News flash! This data is meaningless.
I know a professional speaker who’s been using the same feedback form, printed on 3×5 cards, for more than 20 years. He’s compiled statistics from more than 1,000 presentations, and rightfully claims a “4.8 out of 5” average rating. Of course, naive meeting planners might find this number compelling. But if you dress nice and tell a few funny stories, you can make any audience LIKE you, at least for 45 minutes.
Besides, it doesn’t matter if they LIKE you. If you’re challenging their assumptions, pushing their buttons and making them deal with their shit, they may just hate your guts. That’s why the client brought in an outsider.
During a customer service audit for a Las Vegas casino, the VP of Sales walked out in a rage and resigned. The CEO (my client) had been trying to get rid of this guy for months, but couldn’t push it through HR. HE was thrilled.
Level 2 – Did they REMEMBER it?
My dear friend Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, says, “Dharling, there’s no use going anywhere they didn’t remember you were there.”
Savvy trainers TEST their audience for comprehension and recall, with multiple quizzes right after, or even during the program. Online Learning Management software typically administers a quiz after every 15-minute module, and you can’t advance ’til you pass. In most live events, the speaker seldom bothers. A forced show-of-hands, asking, “As a child, how many of you had parents?” doesn’t count. (BTW, this question will typically produce a 75% response. Yes, I have tested it. )
People tend to remember the first point you make, the last thing they hear, and the most unusual story or example. Typically an audience will forget 40% of your content within 20 minutes, 55% after one hour, 62% after 9 hours, 70% after two days, and 73% after six days. After 30 days you’re lucky if they retain 15%. So make your content memorable with stories, examples, images, iconographics, mnemonics, and emotional stories.
Testing for retention has another advantage; it can be an effective review. Email a quiz, or better still, use an online tool like Survey Monkey to insure that they REMEMBER the main points.
Level 3 – Did they USE it?
It’s wonderful when they LIKE you; even better when they REMEMBER your content. But it’s of no real value until they USE it. Your impact is measured by your ability to change behavior, and if nobody bothers to apply the “3 Traits of Top Leaders” then your keynote was just expensive entertainment. For the same fee they could have gotten Garth Brooks.
Contact your client within a week, or 30 days at the latest, and ask, “How did you apply the “6 Strategies of Effective Customer Service.” Did they actually change the outbound recording on their voice mail, as you recommended? Have they re-written the brochure to highlight benefits instead of features? Did they stop answering the phone, “Hello, what the hell do you want?” Build your program around specific, actionable items that they must complete, tied to a deadline.
Bundling a few weeks of Accountability Coaching into the package is a sure-fire way to guarantee that they will make the changes. A weekly phone call, or even a guilt-trip email, is usually enough to nudge them along. Otherwise, like nuns, they slip back into the same old habits.
Level 4 – Did it WORK?
OK, they really LIKED your engaging and entertaining program. You’ve helped them REMEMBER the content with quizzes and tests. And you’ve kept in touch to make sure they USE the new skills. But did it WORK? Just because you’ve given them what you believe is sound advice, it might not work at all. It might have been inappropriate for their industry. Structural obstacles, corporate culture, or even a rogue CEO can sabotage your solutions.
No matter who’s at fault, if it didn’t WORK, you need to know, and you need to know why. You may be peddling obsolete or ineffective advice. Clients revere you as an expert, so you have a fiduciary obligation to make absolutely certain your council is sound.
Level 5 – What was it WORTH?
If they LIKE it and REMEMBER it and USE it and it WORKS, that’s just swell. You’ve lived up to your reputation as a guru. You can cash the check with a clear conscience. But you’re missing a tremendous opportunity. How much value did your training, coaching or consultation produce? Did they save a bundle by re-negotiating the supply chain? Did they see an increase in sales, or a big bump up in customer satisfaction? How much was that WORTH? Find out. If you’ve been following up, keeping them accountable and tracking results, this should be an easy calculation.
My friend Heather Lutze is an international speaker and expert on “Findability,” how to get your website found by customers who are ready to buy. She recently attended a 5-day seminar taught by Callan Rush on “Magnetize your Audience.” When she told me the registration fee was $10,000, I thought she was throwing her money away.
At the beginning of Callan’s seminar, she gave everyone $25 in singles. Then they had two minutes to pitch an offering to their group that they could buy using only these bills. Over the course of the five days, every participant was required to develop an offering, analyze the benefits, and write a script. They were organized into teams with a coach to refine it, then presented it to the rest of the attendees. Whoever sold the most was declared the winner. They repeated variations of this exercise several times. The finalists were given a half-hour to pitch a real offer using real order forms. Not only did Heather win the competition, but by the end of the workshop she had enrolled six people in her new Findability Profits Lab at $1,997 each, earning $11,982. She had earned a 120% return on her investment before she left for the airport. Callan Rush can sleep well knowing that her techniques are effective, and she’s genuinely helping other professionals grow their business.
Recently I got a call from Bob Purvis, CEO of Purvis Industries, a bearing services company based in Houston. They had invited me to conduct a half-day seminar on “How to Sell More at Higher Prices” for 200 Service Center Managers. We brought in a video crew and sent the edited DVD to all 600 employees.
Bob called to say, “We’ve just had our first $10 million dollar month since 2007, and we’ve increased our gross margin by 3%.” That may not sound like much, but 3% of $10 million over 12 months equals $3.6 million in new NET PROFIT. It was the difference that kept them out of bankruptcy, and saved more than 1,000 jobs.
Once you find out what it was WORTH, now you have a real-life success story to share. And when you can deliver value like that, they’ll never flinch at your fee.