I had a random phone call the other day. From a company called Marcus Evans. They were telling me that we had been selected to attend a Summit on the Gold Coast, where we would be given the opportunity to pitch towards CMO’s of $200mil+ Australian retailers who were on the lookout for Digital Agencies such as DN.
Ok, I thought, as the sales guy Chris was rattling away at all the benefits – WHAT is the catch? At the end of his script he got to it…the summit is bloody expensive.
Generally, I would get off a call like this as soon as humanly possible. However as is often the case, the universe throws things out at strange times and even with the smell of a scam and a tremendous amount of money, there were some strategic alignments (as scammers on LinkedIn love to say) with my 2018 sales strategy.
So I did what any anal retentive, obsessive compulsive modern human does and started Googling the heck out of Marcus Evans.
From some sleuthing, I came to the conclusion that they are not an out and out scam. But with the kinds of dollars they were asking for, I was not going to be jumping into anything willy nilly.
Frustratingly (and further compounding my thoughts that this could be dodgy) I only had 24 hours to make a decision as there were limited spots left and a tight deadline. Ahh scarcity, such a strong sales tactic.
They had provided me with some testimonials from happy punters. Testimonials are great, the problem is, as any business owner will testify, you never disclose unhappy testimonials. I decided to go one step deeper and get some info straight from previous attendees themselves.
I contacted several people on Linkedin, which is a fantastic resource for connecting with people. I will go into more detail on some of my techniques another day. Out of the 5 executives I contacted 3 got back almost immediately. These are busy people willing to take time out of their day to have chat with some bloke they don’t know. Just goes to show, it is always worth asking, you don’t get anything if you do not. They all confirmed that the Summit is not only legitimate but that for the right person it can be an extremely worthwhile investment.
So now my decision was one of cost. As a part of the summit I would receive 10 face to face meetings with a selection of marketing executives. I ran through the following very quickly in my head:
- What was the $ cost of each meeting?
- How much would that cost me in flights/effort/time to arrange similar meetings outside of the summit environment?
- How many jobs would I need to secure from the 3-day event to make the overall cost worthwhile?
- What were the pros and cons of the investment?
When I make large financial decisions ( like buying a house or a car or an investment) I tend to spend a lot of time going through a pros and cons list in my head until I have what I think is my answer. Then, I harass my colleagues, advisors, family, spouse until I have either cemented my decision or put enough cracks in it to take a second sweep. In this instance within 12 hours of getting the call I had formed the following opinions:
- Opportunity to meet high-level decision makers in marketing positions (one of my strategic goals)
- Opportunity to show off Digital Noir to a new audience (another goal)
- Opportunity to use our new branded materials
- An excuse to tighten up my business pitch
- Sales opportunities
- Personal development
- Create new partnerships, leads and friendships
- The summit is on a nice golf course and close to world class surf (I might as well be totally honest!)
- Cost of time away from work
So really in my head, it was… “Is the $$ investment worth the potential outcome?”. The conclusion I came to was YES, as long as I executed well and came away with something tangible.
I emailed my financial advisor, who I thought would be the first person to knock me down and she was very positive. I followed this with the management team at work followed by my wife and everyone was on the same page. If we came away with some solid leads, contacts or further meetings then it would be worth it.
24 hours later I had booked my place and committed to the plan. There is a good chance that it could be a waste of cash, but it is on me to mitigate that risk and, at the end of the day, challenges are what get us out of bed in business.
So bring it on. I will report back with the outcome post Summit.