Okay so this is a bit of a rant as well as tips to avoid questionable sales techniques in webinars! Feeling frustrated after yet another bad experience, here are some tips how not to run a webinar if you want to maintain integrity in your business. This blog is also helpful for those who regularly attend webinars, buy ‘the thing’ and then realise they really didn’t need ‘the thing’ at all! There are reasons why this happens – it’s not just you!
The webinar training opportunity
One of my clients sent me a link to a training, and probably because I’m exhausted and I was procrasti-learning (yes, my bad), I signed up for it against my better judgement. After looking it up and discounting it, I had been stalked via Facebook ads about this particular training, eventually succumbing to the free webinar. Okay yes I did fall for this tactic!
The fake ‘live’ webinar
First of all, I noticed one of the common techniques utilised – fake ‘live’ webinars. Why do people market a webinar as a live webinar (to the point of telling people to skip work to attend a time), when these are simply a single pre-recorded webinar? Pretty obvious with the times available, the people presenting and the Facebook comments which show some have already attended it. One time option is always conveniently within half an hour. This tactic is often used hand in hand with the creation of fake scarcity. In the worst case in another webinar, it was clearly years old (you could see the date in some of the video screenshots). I really don’t care if a webinar is pre-recorded if it has great content, and I don’t think others do either.
Spending too much time introducing yourself
When starting the webinar it’s always a good idea to introduce yourself, and the credentials, in both theory and most importantly direct experience, in talking about the topic. However, this does not mean spending 30 minutes of a one hour scheduled webinar talking about how wonderful you are! I joined a webinar half an hour late and he was still talking about himself! He then did ten minutes of content before spruiking for an hour about what he was trying to sell. This is not a good use of time, and didn’t endear him to people (a friend tuned out at the half hour mark).
Running over time – deliberately
If you tell people to block 90 minutes for the webinar when you dragged out the webinar for a good 2 hours it’s dishonest. Remember it’s pre-recorded so you know it’s going to be 2 hours. I strongly suspect it’s so less people are eligible for the ‘extra bonus offer’ which is only available if they stay online for the whole thing.
Providing no value-add content
Sadly this webinar contained absolutely no value-add content. It merely framed a particular issue and provided a suggestion for it – buy their thing. Absolutely no tips or tricks how to resolve the issue other than buying their ‘thing’. The framing and certain techniques used are designed to create a good warm fuzzy feeling. This makes you feel they really get you and creates an emotional state where it’s easy to drop suggestions. They then push the thing they’re selling as an opportunity for now only. Action takers are rewarded … Once you’ve had time to think and logically look at what was covered, you’ll realise actually they didn’t tell you a thing! The idea though is you’ve already bought ‘the thing’ before you get into this logical state. Typically when we buy, we buy on emotion and validate with logic. Webinars and live events where they’re pushing you to sign-up on the day, are getting you to buy on emotion only.
Some social proof/testimonials are good as part of the sales piece, but again within reason. If you know your target audience then provide a few testimonials from clients similar to your target market. You’re not trying to target everyone, therefore don’t need an an example for every client type. Rather use a few who cover your key unique value points.
Bullying and guilt tripping
They then used the old bullying guilt trip tactics. If you can’t afford to spend four ‘monthly payments of $597, then really you shouldn’t be in business’. Maybe it’s because you didn’t prove you shared my values or could fulfil my needs (and I already have access to a training program that does). They’ve pushed this same money is the issue objection after the webinar in their emails. Nope it’s not my objection (however you should be making sure a $2000+ spend on ‘the thing’ is actually worth it for what you need at the current time). There are so many things as a business owner we can spend our time and money on. It’s perfectly fine to say NO to some of these opportunities, or we would be even more overwhelmed!
Fake vanity emails
After the webinar received an email headed up “Can you tell Jane thank you from me”. Like seriously, this bigwig around the world is going to personally know I completed the webinar? Come on does anyone fall for this suck-up rubbish?
Avoiding questionable sales techniques in your webinars
In summary, if you’re going to run a webinar and maintain your integrity follow these guidelines:
- If it’s a pre-recorded webinar be honest about it
- Tell people honestly how much time to put aside for the webinar (if it’s live then let people know you’re aiming for X, but may go a little longer with questions)
- Don’t spend ages introducing yourself, just enough to prove you can add value on the topic
- Give some genuine value-add content, with some real usable tips to help people
- Time is money and time is precious. Lost time is never found. Get to the point!
- Don’t send smarmy emails afterwards that are really sucky-up!
- Do send some emails afterwards which are helpful and topic related.
So that concludes my rant, with some tips to avoid dodgy sales techniques in your webinar to retain your integrity.
Protecting the interest of my client
Although I don’t fall for the sales techniques used, I know people do. The client that forwarded to me is certainly somebody who would easily get taken in by these techniques. In her case, it’s absolutely not what she should be spending her time or money on, so these tactics really cements why FAQ Business Training was created.
This blog was written by our Founder Jane Tweedy.
Jane is currently a Business Connect Advisor part-time for NSW small businesses in Western Sydney (especially Blacktown and The Hills in North West/Western Sydney), and Founder and Lead Trainer of FAQ Business Training. Outside NSW Jane can offer remote business advice and some business consulting through FAQ Business Consulting. Please contact Jane here.
About FAQ Business Training
FAQ Business Training has a mission to educate and empower small business owners to learn to do it yourself (DIY) or outsource with confidence, through topical and practical bite sized training. We provide face to face training in Western Sydney and will be providing online training through Udemy and our own Teachable platform soon. Please get in touch if you’d like us to speak at your next event.