I was sitting with a loan officer not too long ago, and he told me about this great seminar he attended. He reiterated how pumped and juiced he was to take on the world of mortgage originations after listening to the parade of speakers at a particular sales training seminar. Being familiar with the event he attended, I asked a simple question: "If you didn't buy any of the speakers products, did you walk away with any easy-to-implement strategies that you could use to grow your business?" He sat for a moment, and I watched as the smile on his face slowly disappeared. He responded, almost embarrassed to have been so euphoric about the event, with a sheepish, "No."
My goal in asking him the question was not to stifle his enthusiasm. My goal was to help him recognize that although he was highly motivated, it takes more than that to build a business. Motivation is a major key, but motivation without strategies and tactics will lead to frustration and eventually, the demise of any business.
Many seminars on the market today (in all industries, but especially in the mortgage business) have become nothing more than product infomercials. Many of the speakers who grace the stages across the country have tremendous knowledge that they can pass on to seminar attendees. They have systems for success that can generate tremendous growth for anyone who implements their strategies. Unfortunately, too many of these speakers have chosen to provide their critical success formula only through their products and not from the stage.
Speakers strategically create presentations that whet your appetite for a marketing or sales concept. Once you are hooked on the idea, they tell you where you can find all of the answers; that location, of course, is within their products. If you don't buy, then you leave the seminar with ideas on how to build your business, but without the essential knowledge to make it happen.
I am not suggesting that speakers should not sell products. I support speakers offering their knowledge in a product that attendees can purchase at training events. In my opinion, what has gotten out of control is the fact that many speakers have pushed aside content in their presentations and substituted it with manipulative tactics to sell their products.
If you have been to a convention lately, you will see that the infomercial bonanza has now invaded the convention walls as well. Traditionally, speakers are not paid to present at conventions. As a convention speaker, the primary goal is to get exposure. Unfortunately, some of the speakers feel that exposure is not enough; they need to hard sell their products, so they bring their infomercial to the convention, making their needs a greater priority than those of the attendees.
The reason there has been a proliferation of infomercials is because many seminar promoters have learned that if they let speakers sell a lot of products, then the seminar promoters can pay the speakers little or no money to speak. Everyone winsexcept the attendees.
In the midst of writing this article, I received an e-mail from an event producer informing me that since his enrollments were not as expected, he needed to substitute my presentation for one that would focus on selling products from the stage.
Here are two quotes from the producer of the event:
"What I need to have at this point, in order to make the economics of this event work, is speakers who sell and can generate income during their time slot."
"I can put someone else or even myself in that spot who can sell on a commission basis. That change could easily make a $10,000 swing [per time slot] in cash flow for the event." I have been told many times from within the industry that speaking is all about selling products. Fortunately for me, I have learned from the best speakers in the world that nothing is further from the truth. Products should be created to complement what was taught at a seminar or to teach someone who never had the chance to attend. Every seminar you attend will have products for sale; the question is whether you need to buy them because the speaker withheld information or because the speaker gave you so much information that you wanted to get even more?
As a speaker and trainer for the mortgage industry, by writing this article, I run the risk of alienating many people in the speaking and training arena. Product infomercials in the mortgage industry are being created by speakers, lenders and even industry publications. There is no sign of this infomercial barrage letting up.
Here are a few tips for maximizing your seminar and product investments:
1. Before registering for any event, ask questions to determine
how much you will be taught, regardless of whether you purchase a
2. Find out if the event and products that are sold there come with a 100 percent money-back guarantee.
3. Determine if it is realistic for you to implement the strategies taught at the event, or have you gotten caught up in the hype of the energy that was created to entice you to purchase the products?
There are many products on the market that will assist you in growing your business. The ultimate question is, what motivated you to buy it: value or manipulation?
Ron Vaimberg is president of Ron Vaimberg International Ltd. He may be reached at (866) 824-6237 or e-mail [email protected]