Monday, October 11, 2010

Get Motivated!...for a sales pitch.

In the paper there have been these big full page adds for something called a "Get Motivated! Business Seminar."

Now I am naturally cynical, and when I look at the list of live speakers, I am even more cynical...and skeptical.

My mom - who taught me a lot of things one could classify under 'wives tales" - also taught me some things that have turned out to be true.  From 'don't rob Peter to pay Paul' and 'If everyone was jumping off the Empire State building would you?', to the one about 'there is no such thing as a free lunch.'

When I look at the add it just does not add up.  There are eight big name speakers, including Laura Bush, Colin Powell, and Rudy Giuliani.  Now because I know there is no such thing as a free lunch, I know - without a doubt - that these eight speakers are not there because they want to "give you ground-breaking strategies to sharpen your business skills, ignite your motivation, accelerate your effectiveness and increase your income!" - but instead are there for a speaking fee.  A speaking fee paid by someone.

I have nothing against speaking for a fee - heck that's what I do - and I think that those that attend will get what they wanted from the eight.  The purpose of this post is to look at the "free lunch" aspect.

So for $1.95 a person - or $9.50 for the whole office! - you can sit for eight hours or so and listen to eight speakers who - on average - charge at least $25,000 per speaking engagement.  Rudy Giuliani alone is reported to fetch $100,000.00 for a talk.

Now if the attendance is around 18,000 on average at these events, and each person were to pay $1.95, how do you pay for eight speakers of this caliber on $35,100.00 worth of income?  This does not even pay for the venue and staff needed to put on an event of this size.

Lets look at just the speaker costs alone:  Assuming the average is $50k, 8 x 50,000 = $400,000.00 worth of revenue must be garnered just to pay for that one particular cost.  At 18,000 average participants, that means the cost per person is 400,000 / 18,000 = $22.22 each.

$22.22 - $1.95 = $20.27 extra revenue per person is needed to just cover - conservatively - the speakers.  Just like there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is no such thing as a $1.95 eight course meal.

What is strange is that there is very little information about what goes on - other than the marketing hype - at one of these seminars.  I found information that I assume is reputable journalism on the Indianapolis Star web site.  "Then came the pitch"
Six, two-day workshops coming to Columbus, with a stated value of $1,995. Kittell was offering them to attendees for $99. More of the same followed as the day wore on.
James Smith spoke 45 minutes about his real estate investment system. At the end, he offered three full days of wealth-building workshops in Columbus next month. He said they usually cost about $2,000, but seminar attendees who bring one family member need pay only $49.
Then, a 10-minute break to sign up.
Later came a pitch for a Stay Motivated Seminar in Columbus. Usually $99, but free to attendees.
Then a man named Stephen Pierce talked 30 minutes about how to make money online.  At the end of his speech came an offer for a three-day workshop and software at a stated valued of $11,226, but offered to seminar attendees for $29.
So if all you paid was a $1.95 and walked out of there with nothing more than a feeling of inspiration, you got your money's worth.  But, you need to know this, someone sitting next to you or in your general area paid money to cover you.  You can call them a sucker, a patsy, a can say they were inspired and jumped at the chance to better themselves, that they were risk takers, shrewd, can-doers...what ever you want to call them, they paid for your eight course dinner.

And maybe for those extra fees these folks ended up with something of value.  Cynical me looks at it this way.  If your real estate investment is so good why are you trying to get me to pay only $49.00 for it?

No, what this seminar is really all about  is nothing more than a way to find gullible people who are still willing to believe that they too can be successful if only they had the right information...which can be had for $29.00 or $49.00 bucks.  And what is really sad is that it is given the look of legitimacy by people we hold as reputable.  I mean, Laura Bush and Colin Powell?  How much more upstanding can you get?

But what do I know about the value obtained?  Rose Hunter, who sells houses for the Horizon Palm Realty Group in Spring Hill, says Giuliani is a hero to her.  "These days, her best business is foreclosures. Giuliani fought his way out of a tough Brooklyn upbringing. He survived prostate cancer."
"His message to me was, 'Take action. Just do it.' "
If it were that easy, Nike would have cured obesity by now.


Kevin said...

Its about time you took on that ad! However, you did leave out an important part of the scam which is book sales in combo with their respective programs, because I think thats where a lot of the money would come from as. Certainly not those 2000 dollar programs but the books themselves are an indication of the fact the conference which disguises itself under the claim of being for the audiences benefit is really a convention of self promotion

Jeff said...

A lot of money must come from somewhere. What is happening is that a lot of the people who attend are having their ticket price subsidized by the poor fools who fall for the sales pitch. And all of this is brought to them by the likes of Bill Clinton, Laura Bush, and Colin Powell who are - for a fee - nothing but a shill.