Welcome to episode eight of the Virtual Summit Mastery Podcast. And please excuse me if my voice is a bit rough. I’m still recovering from the flu. This episode is way too crucial for me to delay recording it. I have to get this out there.
Because today we are talking about the successful summit host mentality, I want to prepare you for running your first event. I want to help you get into the right mindset and make the experience of running a virtual summit a bit smoother for you.
The Virtual Summit Mastery process already takes you by hand and walks you through the process step by step. There are some things that I want to talk about in this podcast episode to give you a glimpse inside the thought process of a virtual summit host. And I’ll shine a light on some of the challenges you will experience when running your first virtual summit.
Successful Summit Hosts Always Act Open-Minded
So the first lesson that I’ve learned in many ways and students have learned the hard way is that you have to be open to unexpected opportunities. What I’m saying here is that what looks like a failure at first can turn into a chance for success afterward. It’s one of the biggest parts of the successful summit host mentality.
You will likely have these situations if you’re running your first virtual summit, especially without guidance, from VSM or any other program. You will feel like you’ve hit a wall. And then suddenly, there is a door appearing in that wall, and you have to go through it. And I want to give you two examples today of what this looks like in real life.
Probably the most common experience for virtual summit hosts is when you are approaching an influencer, an expert, somebody you want to speak at your event. Somebody you’ve been following for ages, and you’ve built the relationship. You’ve invested the time to engage with them on social media. Maybe you’ve even bought their courses, you’ve bought their program, you’ve done an extensive case study for them, you went above and beyond.
And then, you reach out to the person that you want to interview at your summit. And they say no.
That is a significant roadblock. And that is something that unfortunately happens.
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There’s nothing that can prevent you from having this experience. You cannot take No as the end of the conversation with that person. Because you’re still building that relationship, don’t forget that. It’s all about long-term relationships when you’re hosting virtual summits, not so much. I mean, the monetary, the monetary reward is excellent, of course. And it’s essential to keep the business alive.
But when you build these long-term relationships that go way beyond your first summit, that is where the true benefit lies. And where you can scale your income exponentially over time.
When somebody says no, but you’ve built a relationship, then it’s maybe just not the right timing for them. Maybe they have their own launch coming up, and they have something that interferes with speaking at and promoting your virtual summit were just totally fair. And it’s totally okay.
What you do in this situation is you ask them for a referral, maybe they can introduce you to some of their friends who might be a perfect fit to speak at your summit, who can then promote and speak at your virtual event and be the speaker you were looking for in the first place?
Or maybe you’re reaching out to a sponsoring company? Let’s talk about the second example right here.
What do you do if a sponsor says No?
In this situation, you are likely very tied for cash because you really need sponsorship money to cover all the expenses if you don’t want to pay for the summit yourself. You need that external money coming in. And it always hurts to hear a No when you’re pitching an offer when especially when you’re pitching a sponsorship for a virtual summit.
Because you’re putting so much work into scheduling and organizing and preparing the event and then hearing in know from a sponsor essentially says that they don’t think you’ve done good work with your summit.
What do you ask them to explain why they turned you down, and you ask them for more details on what would make the sponsorship package a good fit for them, don’t be afraid to customize your sponsorship packages. Every sponsor, after all, has their own company, and they might all have different objectives. And who knows, maybe with a conversation, you can figure out what exactly they want from sponsorship. And maybe you can deliver it to them and turn that no into a yes.
Or, as I’ve said, In the first example, you might be able to ask them for referrals because all these companies in your market talk to each other and are connected. And maybe they have somebody they’ve teamed up with who would also be a good fit as a sponsor for your event, and they can connect you to them. Who knows, but you have to ask you, you cannot take a roadblock when you face it and say, Okay, I’m done. I’m moving direction, you have to poke holes into the wall, and you have to find that hidden door, you have to find that hidden key to the door—kind of like the adventures in the hobbit as the dwarves entered smokes Treasury. You just have to find that little secret nudge that you have to press to open the door. And that is when you stay open-minded to unexpected opportunities.
Incorporate Checklists Into Your Summit Host Mentality
Lesson number two, I’ve learned the hard way, as have many people I’ve spoken to is that checklists are king or queen or whatever gender you prefer, for that matter. I really don’t want to be exclusive here.
The point is that checklists will help you avoid making mistakes. And this is super important because you will have especially when you do an assignment on your own, you will have many things to juggle many strings to pull at the same time.
So you need to make some checklists and some of the most common ones I’ve seen are is your website complete.
So you need a website checklist.
You need a checklist for your email automation. This is summit delivery automation complete as the onboarding completed, the offboarding complete?
What about the promotion through affiliates? Do they have everything they need? Do we have all the affiliate materials ready when the promotion starts? Do we have them maybe ready three weeks or four weeks before the promotion needs to start so that the affiliates can truly schedule them into their marketing calendar?
What about the paid traffic campaigns? You need a checklist for all the paid traffic that all the tracking is in place all the ad creatives are ready all the swipe copy already?
What about the sponsors?
You get the idea here. There are so many things that as a virtual summit host you need to take care of that there is no way around checklists. It is super, super important that you stay on top of your things.
What about the speaker outreach, for example. If you want to get an excellent speaker tracking sheet, you can go to summitmasterclass.com and see the free master class. If you decide it’s worth it, you can pay $47 to keep the master class and get your account at the VSM Student Hub, and then you get access to a bonus that’s called a Speaker Outreach Tracking Sheet that makes staying on top of your speaker outreach a breeze. It has proven to work repeatedly, and I’m happy to give it as a bonus to everybody who upgrades. Get the full training for free, and then decide if it’s worth it for you to upgrade or not.
You Cannot Communicate Too Much
Now, lesson number three, you need to communicate way, way, way more than you think you need. I cannot overemphasize this enough, you need to communicate a lot. First of all, is you need to communicate to avoid miscommunication.
You need to be very, very clear about what everybody has to do.
You need to be sure that all the speakers know what they have to do that they have all the materials they need in order to promote, for example, that they know when to promote that they know what links to use in the promotion, what hashtags to use, and so on. You need to make sure that every sponsor knows what is happening, especially if you do live webinars or live panel discussions with the sponsors and they bring on their own guests to your event. You cannot communicate about those enough.
Always communicate about the times about deadlines. By when do you need what? From whom? Who needs to be online in a webinar, when and where what’s the link for the webinar? What is the target audience, especially with the attendees, you need to make sure that they have a stellar experience at your event, otherwise, they won’t remember it in a positive way. So you need to make sure that all the emails you are sending out delivering your summit as we spoke about in Episode Six.
The summit delivery is completely email-based. And you need to make sure that those emails are as clear as they can be so that everybody who reads the emails knows exactly what to do and how to access the summit. That is just super, super important and something that needs to be ingrained in your successful summit host mentality.
Additionally, you will be pressed for time in preparation and during the summit. So even if you don’t have time to respond to an email, as you are reading it, still send them an email saying something like, “let me get back to you tomorrow because I don’t have time for it right now.”
So that the other party who’s sending the email knows that you’ve seen their question that you’ve seen their request, and he will take care of it. That is super, super important.
Don’t Be Afraid To Outsource
Lesson number four, don’t be afraid to outsource. Especially if you are a freelancer handling virtual summit on your own, you will need help. There’s just no way around it. Otherwise, the summit won’t be as good as it can be.
Obviously, you can run a summit yourself. I’ve done that myself in the past as well. With VSM, you get all the templates for that. So website templates and email templates and graphics and stuff. But there will be certain things that specialists are just better at than you will ever be.
For example, you might look into outsourcing design services, I recommend Deer Designer, I use them myself, and they have never let me down over the past few months that I’ve been working with them.
You might need to hire somebody to handle your paid traffic campaigns, copywriting, build your website to set up all the tracking, email autoresponders, and stuff like that. Somebody for organizational help is also something of a very, very much recommend the scatter VA helps you stay on top of your outreach that helps you stay on top of incoming emails. Because especially during the summit, you will get tons of questions from attendees via email. And you need to be able to answer those promptly. Otherwise, the summit will be over when you see the email.
So outsourcing is something that you might want to look into. I highly urge you, in fact, to look into outsourcing. designer.com is brilliant for design services. I’ve had good luck hiring my full-time VA on onlinejobs.ph. It’s a Philippine-based service.
Highly recommended if you have the right people to do that. You can learn more about outsourcing increased cost book. That’s how I’ve done it. Chris Ducker’s book is called Virtual Freedom. It is a brilliant primer for outsourcing. He has some really good tips. And then, of course, Chris Ducker’s website and the podcast are good resources on this. Now, I have two more lessons for you in the summit in this podcast episode, and I think my voice will be dead after that as well. So bear with me here.
By the way, you can listen to this podcast on VSM podcast, comm slash eight. That is also where you get the transcript and all the detailed show notes. All the links that I’ve mentioned right here will be in there too. So lesson number five. Understand that the only thing that is essential for you to do is to be good in the interviews, you can also use literally everything else, but you need to be the one who’s doing the interviews with your speakers. So I would urge you to invest in good audio before upgrading the video gear. That is covered in the podcast episode on the summit session strategy.
You need to prepare for your interviews. You should spend at least four hours on research per speaker before you dive into the interview. Know your speaker inside and out so that you can go with the flow during this session. And you don’t need to stick to a script. When it feels awkward asking those questions because the conversation constantly keeps taking a different turn. You need to have on that point. You need to have the questions ready so that you are sure that everything you want to talk about gets talked about if it fits the flow of the conversation.
Most importantly, you need to put yourself in your attendees’ shoes and think about what questions they would ask the speaker. And you need to become transparent and vulnerable. And that is something that takes time. There’s something I had to learn myself as well. It doesn’t come naturally to me, and you won’t be surprised to hear that I’m quite an introverted person, even though I do the podcast and all the summits and stuff like that. In real life, I am very much introverted, but on for some reason and digital. I’m more comfortable putting myself out there. But you need to be transparent and vulnerable and be yourself during the sessions.
It is totally okay. If you don’t know the question to answer it is the answer to a question sorry, is totally okay. If you mess up and you have to start all over again, you can edit that out or your VA can. But just be yourself and try to have a natural flow in the conversation.
Done Is Better Than Perfect
And the last step, the last lesson I want to share with you in this podcast episode is that progress is better than perfection. That’s the most important building block of your successful summit host mentality.
And you’ve heard this over and over again. I don’t want to spend too much time on this one because you already know that done is better than perfect. I don’t need to tell you about that. But I want to give you two examples of how hosting a summit really drills this lesson home.
Firstly, you will always find things to improve. As you’re preparing a virtual summit, you will always have this nudge that you could do your email sequence just this tiny bit better, for example, or that you could improve the loading speed of your website, just this point to have a second-best better and faster than it currently is. Or you will have this feeling that your paid traffic campaigns could be optimized just this tiny bit more. And then you end up wasting time and losing yourself in details happened to me more than I would like to admit. And it is something that you have to learn over time. And then I don’t want you to make the costly mistakes that I’ve made in the past. So be comfortable with things that are done and that aren’t perfect.
Secondly, be very aware of shiny object syndrome; you will constantly, I mean literally, every single day, you will see new tools, new services, new platforms, new ideas, new gimmicks that you can add to your summit. Please stay away from them. They rarely add to what really matters, delivering the best experience for your attendees. That is what it all boils down to and what you should base every single decision on. Does this help me deliver the summit to my attendees in a better way than without this tool without the service? And do I have the time to properly implement it without sacrificing the attendee experience differently on other summit parts?
You have to be very strong mentally, and you have to deny those shiny objects, you just have to ignore them, and focus on making your summit the best experience for your attendees ever. That is really what I want to leave you within this podcast episode with: focus on delivering a fantastic summit – the results will follow.
Focus on the relationships with your speakers so that they have a great experience being at your event.
Focus on good relationships with the sponsors so that they have a good experience working with you.
And then most importantly, make sure all attendees have a fantastic experience during your event that they can access the sessions easily, that they enjoy the sessions, and that they get to connect with each other in some way or form. That is the most important thing.
Thank you so much for listening to this rant about the successful summit host mentality. If you want to get my free summit masterclass, go to summitmasterclass.com. Sign up with your email address and I’ll send you the training straight away for free. It’s over one hour of pure fire diving into the three key principles and seven steps to host your first virtual summit.