"Stages are the fastest way to grow your business. They’ve been around for over 2,000 years. They're not going anywhere."
Pete Vargas is the founder of Advance Your Reach, an organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs spread their message and grow their business through stages – both physical (speeches, etc.) and digital (podcasts, webinars, etc.) – even if you have a fear of public speaking.
He’s helped people reach audiences of up to a billion individuals on over 25,000 stages, generating over $10 million in revenue.
Pete believes that your signature talk is the most powerful marketing tool you have. If you’re an entrepreneur or have a message you want to get out there, Pete wants you to learn how to make the most of it – including what to say on stage, how to identify what the right stage is (both figuratively and literally), and how to conquer the common fears that stop people from becoming public speaking powerhouses.
Today, Pete joins the podcast for the second time to provide immediate action steps you can take to spread your message.
- Why Pete dedicated his life to getting people on stages – and how he discovered the power of what can happen in one hour on stage.
- How to make the stage your #1 customer acquisition channel to increase both your income AND your influence.
- The reasons people think stages don’t work – and what many of them are doing wrong.
- What scares people away from public speaking – and what Pete does to set himself up to succeed on stage before every speech he gives.
- What people who control stages REALLY want, how to book your first stage, and how to use them – along with a number of great software tools to generate high-converting leads.
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Hal: Goal achievers, what’s going on? This is Hal Elrod. Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast and as it has been for the last few weeks, today’s episode is brought to you by none other than the Best Year Ever Blueprint Live Experience. I won’t say as much about it today as I said about it over the last few weeks, but if you don’t know, go check out the details, BestYearEverLive.com and it is our once your annual event and today’s guest actually spoke there at Entrepreneur Day last year, and I know we’re going to see many of you, hundreds of you have already got your tickets. We’re going to see you in San Diego, December 7 through 9 and if you haven’t got your ticket, go over to BestYearEverLive.com. Check it out, see if the dates work, see if it’s a good fit for you, and I would love to spend a few days hanging out in sunny San Diego.
All right. On to today’s episode, and this is going to be a conversation with someone has become a really good friend of mine and we first met, I don’t know, like nine, ten years ago quite a while ago and we were out of touch for quite a few years and then reconnected about a year or two ago and have just been attached ever since. We’re talking all the time. We’re texting all the time. I’ve stayed at his house with his wife, Kim, and their kids, like great guy, great family man. But more importantly, our guest today, Pete Vargas, is an entrepreneur who helps people grow their business and spread their message through stages. It’s not a word you hear very often so it makes Pete and his unique talent and ability and what he’s going to teach today very unique. He is the founder and CEO of Advance Your Reach. It’s an organization with a shared vision of impacting 1 billion people, that’s with a B, across seven spheres of influence. And since 2003, Pete and his team have booked over 25,000 stages worldwide and generated tens of millions of dollars of revenue through those stages. In fact, Pete booked me a stage recently. I was about to give a speech here in Austin, Texas, and I owed it all to Pete.
Now, Pete believes that what he calls your signature talk is the most powerful marketing tool that you have. So, today’s episode, by the way, let me just pause and say this is for entrepreneurs who want to grow your business. So, I want to be really clear. So, if you’re not an entrepreneur, if you’re a stay-at-home mom, if you’re not trying to grow a business, if you’re a stay-at-home dad, if you’re anything outside the realm of you have a business that you want to grow or, by the way, a message that you want to get out there, so let’s say you go, “No, I don’t have a business. I’ve got a job that pays me well. I’m happy. I’m fulfilled. I’m content. I’m not going anywhere,” but you have a message, “I’m trying to change the world outside of my day job,” you definitely want to tune in today because that is a part of what Pete is going to talk about. And Pete believes that again what he calls your signature talk is the most powerful marketing tool that you have and stage is the fastest way to grow your business.
And again, Pete is the expert in knowing what to say on stage, how to identify and win the right stages. And by the way, stages, what’s unique you’ll hear Pete talk about, they’re not just physical. It’s just an actual piece, a wooden stage that you stand up on. Being on a podcast, that is a stage, a digital stage as he called it. A webinar, that is a digital stage. So, you can be on stages. In fact, right now this is a stage. You’re listening to a podcast. I’m broadcasting a message from a digital stage so you’re going to hear about stage in a way you may never heard before. And last thing I’ll say before I bring Pete on is that we had Pete on about a year ago. In fact, I mentioned he spoke at last year’s Best Year Ever Blueprint. I’ve only had probably a handful of guests on the Achieve Your Goals Podcast twice and the reason that I’m having Pete on, there’s two reasons. Number one is he’s going to blow your mind. You’re going to hear a little bit of a story that’s going to inspire. Even more importantly, he delivered so much actionable value that you’ll be able to leave today and implement what he teaches you for free and implement it to immediately book some stages to grow your business. And the second reason I’m excited to have him on is I actually didn’t interview him last time. It was my good buddy and partner, Jon Berghoff. So, I missed that conversation. I had to listen to it thereafter but today I get to engage.
Hal: So, Pete, my friend, after the lengthy intro, buddy, welcome.
Pete: Hey, man. I’m stoked to be here. I am a huge fan of Mr. Hal Elrod. I was on a podcast yesterday that somebody had me on and it was a powerful podcast. He said, “What is the book that you’ve given away more than any other book?” I’ve never asked that a question like if you look at your Amazon account and the book that you’ve gifted more than any other book, what would it be? And I said, “That’s an easy answer, The Miracle Morning.”
Pete: And so, I’m a huge believer in Mr. Hal and a huge believer in The Miracle Morning. It’s been responsible for me losing 80, 90 pounds. It’s been responsible for me regaining my days when I do it, the majority of the time like 80%, 90% of the time, and just really grateful for the impact that The Miracle Morning has been on my life and my family’s life, Hal.
Hal: Thank you, brother. You know, what you’re saying is fascinating. Let’s change direction. Let’s just talk about The Miracle Morning. No. I was kidding. I’m just kidding. So, what are we going to talk about today? So, let me clarify. The last episode because I don’t want to really repeat a lot of what we talked about last episode with Jon. And so, I know the last episode you really focused primarily on designing your signature talk. So, for anybody listening right now, if you want help, Pete’s help, on how you design a signature talk and let me give real quick my experience with this. I have a signature talk I’ve been giving for 14 years. I gave almost the exact same talk every time for the last 14 years and the beauty of that is, A, I get better and better and better and better and better at that talk so the audience is served at a higher level every time I give it, but selfishly, my work is a lot easier. It’s very stressful to craft a new speech every single time and what Pete keeps doing in that last episode, by the way, you can listen to that. Go to HalElrod.com/186. It was Episode 186. So, HalElrod.com/186 and you can go listen to that episode, get all the goods from Pete on your signature talk, but today we’re going to go a little further into the next two steps of this which is, okay, once you’ve got your talk down, how do you get booked on stages and how do you scale past the stage? Meaning when you speak on a stage, how do you have a backend product or actually what we call product suite? Pete, we talk today about the product suite? We go into that today?
Pete: Yeah. We’ll go into stages and product suite today, man. I think those two are very important, Hal.
Hal: All right. Beautiful. Now, well, let’s do this. In case somebody’s listening and they haven’t heard your story as to how you ended up literally dedicating your life to helping other people get on stages, it’s a fascinating story, it’s an inspiring story, and I’d love for you to share it.
Pete: Yeah, man. I mean the long story short is I was a youth pastor in Texas and up the road from you, and I came into this town and there were three kids there in my first Wednesday night and I thought to myself, “Man, I had an opportunity to go to Dallas to take over as like a great sales job in Dallas or go take over as a youth pastor in Hereford, Texas and I chose the youth pastor position.” And actually, to avoid the stage, I said I’m going to bring in speakers to really influence my kids because it was speakers like Hal Elrod like those types of speakers influenced me growing up and I thought, “Man, if I could bring speakers in, I think this is going to grow my youth group.” Little did I know that it was going to grow a lot of people’s businesses as well in the future, but I would bring in these speakers. I’d bring in Harlem Globetrotters, financial advisors, CEOs, coaches, consultants, health and wellness experts, mindset people. I bring in everybody and it grew my youth group significantly.
Like my first Wednesday night I was there, there were three kids there, Jory, Stacy, and Mackenzie, and I told them, “Girls, we’re going to grow this youth group through speakers,” and literally four years later we had 750 kids there my last Wednesday night in a town of 10,000. People are always like, “That’s mathematically impossible.” No, because we had kids coming from like four or five different surrounding communities because of the impact that all of the speakers were making on my kids. And I would see things like, Hal, it was crazy. I would see a speaker come and talk about finances and being a giver and not a taker in this world, and then my kids would become givers. Or I’d see someone come talk about health. I would see my kids get in shape. I would see a speaker come and talk about mindset and I would see my kids just gets stronger in their mindset. It was unbelievable like they just continue to grow and at the end of the day when we went to the church board to ask for $1 million to build the youth facility, it was a unanimous yes because of the fact that our kids had already raised tens of thousands of dollars because of the speakers that they heard that came into our community. So, I got to see the power of what was happening in one hour on the stage for my kids.
And you know the story. One of the kids, one of the speakers that came in, his daughter was the first girl killed at Columbine in 1999, he came and shared the message of his daughter who had a powerful story. What I don’t share often is that she left her family with six diaries and a paper called My Ethics, My Codes of Life and she talked about starting a chain reaction of compassion and kindness that will ripple around the world. So, he came and spoke and his final challenge, I mean, he was great just like all the other speakers. The only difference about him is what this one really hit close to home for me because he said, “There’s five people in your life that you need to let him know how much you love them,” and then he said, “And some of them you’re not at good standing with today.” And I couldn’t help but think about my dad. I didn’t like my dad, I hated my dad for what he did to me as a little kid, and we had tried everything to make things right through my teenage years and nothing worked and I’m 23 years old so I begged my dad to come back that night for the night event. And quite frankly, long story short, I was waiting, Hal, like a lot of the people still listening today, I was waiting for that like apology. I’ve set everything up perfectly.
And two valuable lessons for your audience today. I set everything up perfectly. A lot of the times we set things up perfectly and then we give up too soon because my dad didn’t say anything that night to me and I pretty much gave up. I was like, “If he’s not going to apologize after hearing that,” and every parent and grandparent in the room are hugging their kids like I’m like, “Nothing’s going to work.” And a few weeks later I got a letter from him in the mail and it said, “Here, my son is having an impact on hundreds of kids’ lives and I can’t have an impact on my only son’s life.” He asked me for a second chance to do things right, and he told me for the first time in a decade that he loved me. And that was the day where I subconsciously realized the power of one hour on a stage and what it can do to move people to actually take action. And so, I called Darrell and this is where I love to go. We can kind of choose your own adventure here, but I called Darrell and I said, “Darrell, why aren’t doing more of this? Like why aren’t you on stages? Or why aren’t you getting your message out there on a grander scale?” And the second learning lesson for every single entrepreneur is his response was very much like a lot of the responses that we would hear, Hal. He is like, “Well, I’m trying this and I’m trying that, I’m trying all of these things, but they’re not working but I know I have something in me that I want to get out to the world,” and I called that bright shiny object syndrome. He was trying a lot of things.
I said, “Why aren’t you speaking in front of your prime audience?” which I want to define that here in a minute. I call it a dream stage. “Why aren’t you on more dream stages sharing this message and watch what will begin to happen as you do that?” He’s like, “Cool. I don’t know how to do it. Will you figure that out for me?” I’m like, “Absolutely, I will.” And I was a young 23-year-old, Hal, kid that didn’t know much. That’s actually when you and I first met was right around that time. I was a young 23-year-old, naïve, and I just figured out how to really use stages to grow their business. So, we help take him from $50,000 in annual revenues to just shy of $7 million, with stages being the number one customer acquisition channel that existed for them meaning they would get in front of building principles or superintendents because those are the decision-makers that bring programs back into schools or administrators. We’d get in front of them. They would deliver powerful content. The powerful content would teach the administrators exactly what to do in their schools.
And then at the end of those presentations, on those stages, the administrators would have two decisions. We’re going to go do this on our own or we’re going to do it with you and many of them would choose to do with Rachel’s Challenge. We go back into their schools. We would transform their schools and that’s exactly for 15 years I figured out how to do that. As you know, we booked over 25,000 stages across the world including the White House, including Oprah, including a lot of powerful stages, big, small, medium like it doesn’t matter, like all shapes and sizes, online and offline. And my core conviction is that stages are absolutely the fastest way to grow your business. They’ve been around for over 2,000 years. They’re not going anywhere. Hal, if you think back to our life like you and I was like, it was like, “Man, oh, Yellow Pages used to work really well and TV and radio used to work well and they still work somewhat but they don’t work as good as they used to.” Like mediums, marketing mediums come and go but stages have literally stood the test of time and if your audience will begin to actually incorporate that into their businesses and really use stages, it won’t just increase their income. It will significantly increase the influence that they’re having on the world because they’ll stand out above everybody else.
Hal: How do you define a stage, Pete? Give that definition when you’re saying stages aren’t going anywhere, but these other mediums change, well how would you define a stage?
Pete: Yes. So, there’s two types of stages. There’s offline and there’s online stages. I mean, like this is a stage today like this is a stage. I think podcasts will be here for a bit but when I’m talking about stages aren’t going anywhere, I’m talking about offline like one-to-many conversation. Like a stage is when you’re one to many. It can be one-to-one, but, ultimately, the reason why stages are so powerful is we want them to be a one-to-many conversation. So, that’s an online or an offline stage, dude, and we love to define the type of stage you need to be on because someone just recently asked me, “Well, so what happens if I’m on like a bunch of rotary clubs?” Well, rotary clubs can be good for some people but not in most people. And so, we want you to really define the stages you get on, whether it be online or offline as a dream stage. A dream stage is defined as the majority of the people sitting in the audience absolutely need whatever it is you have to offer them. Whatever your product suite is, whatever it is that you offer them, they are your prime candidates for that and it’s not about the number of people. It’s about the quality of the people in there that is what you need to offer. And the reason why people will avoid stages a lot is because they’re getting on the wrong stages or they’ve heard that stages don’t work out.
Hal: You’re right and I think that when you say stages aren’t going anywhere, if you think back to like the Roman Coliseum, one for Caesar speaking to the entire town, village, city, all the people he’s leading like you can just see that this has been one-to-many, goes one to many conversations have been here for all time if you will since language was something that we all shared.
Pete: And you’re right, Hal. Here’s the other thing now fast forward 2,000 years and you think about Steve Jobs. Whenever he took an Apple product out in a physical stage, he simultaneously was being broadcasted digitally everywhere. So, you fast forward 2,000 years, and even when an Apple product was launched, he would be on a physical stage and a digital stage at the same time. That’s when you get powerful is like what I love about you also is I think, I’m pretty sure like you all did live stream in the past, right, Hal?
Hal: I think we did one year and it was such an experiential event we decided it was too hard.
Pete: No. So, I was just at an event in DC and it was physical and digital. It was like, “Wow. That’s cool. It’s the best of both worlds,” but you’re right. The Roman Coliseum and now you fast forward 2,000 years and one of the guys who made a major influence with Apple products would launch his product line from a physical and a digital stage at the same time. So, nothing’s changed.
Hal: Yeah. And with YouTube now, my keynote, if you go to YouTube, when you type in Hal Elrod speech or whatever, a lot of my keynotes are on YouTube. It was me giving my message on a physical stage, a wooden stage because it was simply video recorded. Now it’s on a digital stage viewed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world so you are able to get the best of both worlds. I want to ask you this. What would you say to the entrepreneurs who’s like, “Oh, wow. Yeah. This makes sense and I should be out there getting a message out that markets myself, my brand, my product, and service, etcetera,” but what if they share that fear of public speaking that so many people have? Any thoughts or tips or kind of paradigm shifts for those folks?
Pete: Yeah and I’m blown away too with Hal saying that, “I’m on YouTube.” I’m kind of sometimes a squirrel where I’m like this is looking at the first 10 or 15 of Hal’s keynotes and it’s like, “Oh my gosh, he probably has a million views online. So, not only did he deliver that live and impacted those rooms deeply but he’s probably got a million views.” Yeah, dude, I think that’s an important thing. I think what happens is whether I’m talking to Ryan Levesque who’s in your backyard there in Austin, Texas or I’m talking to Jill Stan who we get to serve. First time I heard Jill, she was so powerful about what she was talking about. It’s the same way when I talk to you about The Miracle Morning. You were at my home not long ago and we’re talking about The Miracle Morning and you were so powerful in that conversation. You just have some experience on stages.
I heard Jill and she was so powerful in this one-on-one conversation about her topic and I looked at her, I said, “Are you on stages? Do you speak on stages?” and she literally began to sweat. She got scared to death to think about the idea of being on stage. It’s 16 months ago and I said and here’s what I told her, here’s what I’d tell your audience, is a couple of things. Number one, what is like how passionate are you about what you were just talking about? She’s like, “I’m so passionate. I know it better than most,” and I said to her, “There’s nothing different about you talking about your subject matter one-on-one versus one-to-many. It’s just the idea that you’ve really, and I told you, you’re not going to like this but you’re just self-absorbed. You’re more worried about the judgment of what other people are going to think about you versus the way that you can serve people. It’s like a self-absorbed to a service mentality.” And she was like, “Oh my God.”
And so, first, that doesn’t mean it changes. That doesn’t mean things change, but the first thing you got to recognize is the reason that we’re so concerned like if you are passionate about what you have to offer this world, I would rather you share it in a one-to-many conversation and you got to kind of get past that whole like judgment side like people are going to judge me when I’m up here and beginning to get in the service side. And when you get into that mindset, now you’re taking yourself back to this is no different than like the one-on-one conversation I’m having and that’s what Ryan Levesque said, another introvert. He’s like, “I’m not scared anymore because I have so many one-on-one conversations that I know how to do this.” The second thing and, Hal, you alluded to it early, bro, people are so scared because they think they have to design like all of these talks. No. No, no, no, no, no. You have to design one talk. We’re not going to get into the framework of that but you have to design one talk. Hal’s done one talk. Hal, I’m going to dare to say that talk has probably generated millions of dollars and probably impacted hundreds of thousands of people. Is that accurate?
Hal: I don’t know the exact count but I would say that’s probably accurate, yeah.
Pete: Probably accurate. One talk. Now, here’s the thing I want people to understand is you need one talk. I was having a conversation with Marie Forleo about 16, 15 months ago at that same event where I met Jill. Her and I were talking on the phone and she said, “Pete, I don’t get on a lot of stages because of the fact that the creative energy that it takes to put into a talk. And then I got to get up and try something new in front of people and it’s a lot of work,” and that’s the misconception in the market is you think that you have to create a lot. No. You just have to create one. One powerful one. You heard Hal say what one powerful one has done for him. And then the last thing that I would tell people and this is the important piece, a lot of people say, “Yeah. I created one but I can’t do what Hal does. I saw Hal on a stage. It’s like 4,000 people or 2,000 people.” Guess what? Hal nor Pete started on that stage. He started on a stage of 10 people or 15 people or 30 people or 50 people. You go and take that one talk and you do the repetition. You do the repetitions and you literally get good on smaller stages and watch what will begin to happen as the bigger stages open up. We’re not overnight like “success stories”. We have to start exactly where everybody was at.
And I’ll give a little bonus tip to that too. Have some pregame routine like have a pregame routine before you get on the stage. Mine is simple. It’s my own version of my miracle stage routine like my miracle morning stage routine just like I have a routine in the morning with my Miracle Morning. I have a routine before I go on stage. I do three things. Number one is I pray and meditate before I ever get on stage. Number two, I play an upbeat song and start dancing around backstage.
Pete: And number three, as soon as I walk up on stage, if there’s three sections or two sections, I identify the brightest shiniest smiling face in the left, right, and middle and I literally will connect with them like I’m having a one-on-one conversation just with those two or three people the entire time to ease my nerves. And so, that’s what I would really encourage people to do, Hal, because you’re right, people would rather die than be on stage and I want to tell you what, if you can overcome that resistance, you’re going to start seeing like, “Wow. I had no idea what stages could do for my business.”
Hal: Beautiful, man. Well, let’s start with landing stages. You got your message figured out. Now, how do I book a stage? How to book a digital stage? How to book a real physical stage?
Pete: Yeah, that’s a great question. So, what you want to do is you got to know who controls the stage. The person who controls the stage my definition is a meeting planner and there are direct meeting planners and there’s indirect. Direct is Hal Elrod controls this podcast. Hal Elrod controls his annual event that happens every December in San Diego. Hal can say yes or no to anybody. And I know Jon can too but Hal is the direct person. Now, Hal, you might not be thinking about this, but Hal also has indirect people in his life. If Ursula says, “I want this person on the podcast,” I guarantee that person is going to be on the podcast. If Tiffany says, “I think this person would be a great speaker,” they’re going to be considered and probably be one of the speakers. And so, the first thing that I want your audience to recognize is the fact that there’s not just direct, there’s indirect. I’m working really hard right now to get Rachel Hollis on my physical stage because my wife came to me 10 months ago and said, “This woman is so impacting my life and making such a big difference in my life.” I’m like, “Who is she? I’ve never heard of her,” like I thought I knew everybody. I’m like Kim, she’s not an influencer. Oh yeah, she is. She is a massive influencer but Kim indirectly controls my stage.
Hal: My wife and I, by the way just on that note, her and Dave, her husband, we watched one of their videos today, their marriage tips video today during our lunch breaks.
Pete: Did you? Kim and I wanted to go out there to her marriage thing in Austin but we weren’t able to get there. So, the whole point is everybody thinks that you just have to like go to the direct person. You have the direct or indirect, and here’s what I want people to know. Like we have a crazy campaign that’s like literally has won 25,000 stages. Today, it’s converting well over 40%, meaning that every stage that goes into that campaign, four out of ten of them are actually being booked so it’s a really powerful campaign. The pieces that I would want to teach your audience today are understand that the person in control of the stage wants you to solve a problem for them. And when you can solve a problem for their community, they are going to be wide open to having you on their stage. And if they can’t see that, they’re not. And I heard Jordan Harbinger put it so well this last week and he said, “You know, me and even Hal, whenever all these people who control stages, they’re protecting their people’s ears. They want to protect their ears because if they can’t provide incredible value to their people, there’s no reason to have that person on the stage.”
And so, you really need to understand that you want to reach out and make sure that it’s really, really clear that you are addressing a person like you have something that can really serve their community. So, if I were reaching out to Hal, I’m going to roleplay really quick, Hal, for 60 seconds and I didn’t know Hal. And let’s pretend I wanted to get on his physical stage, which I have or the podcast which we have, this is the approach I would take. So, whether you want to use email, phone, video, direct mail, or social media, any of those five mediums, here’s the framework I want you to use. If I were reaching out to Hal, I would choose video email. I referenced this in the last show, Bombbomb.com/Reach. It’s a powerful tool. That’s a video email platform and I would just simply say, “Hey, Hal. It’s Pete Vargas. I’ve heard so many incredible things about you.”
And as I’m sharing this and you’re listening to this, audience, I want you to try to pick up what I’m doing right here. I want you to see what I’m doing because it’s important to see if you can identify that while I’m doing it and so I would say, “Hey, Hal. It’s Pete Vargas. I hope that you’re doing well. I know you don’t know me but my friend, John Ruhlin, has told me so many amazing things about you. My friend, Brad Weimert, has told me so many amazing things about you. I checked out The Miracle Morning. I bought the book. I consumed it and it’s one of the most powerful books that I’ve ever read. Thank you for the good that you’re doing in this world. Your podcast is amazing. I’ve listened to these three episodes and I was also checking out the Best Year Ever Live and thank you for just the amazing things that you’re doing in this world. My name is Pete Vargas. My life is deeply impacted by a speaker 15 years ago. He came into my hometown and as a result of hearing him on a stage, it’s what prompted my dad to ask for forgiveness for the father that he had been to me and that was the day that I committed my life to stages for the rest of my life because I saw the power when entrepreneurs can actually get on stages. And over the last 15 years, Hal, I’ve booked over 25,000 stages. My team and I had booked over 25,000 stages across the world and I believe your audience not only is one of the most raving audiences that I’ve ever seen because I’ve been in your Facebook group but I believe that they need to get their messages out on stages and I would love to be able to share with them exactly how to do that at the Best Year Ever Live event in December. So, can we talk about speaking and sponsorship opportunities? And would love to set up like 10 to 15 minutes to do that.”
And literally, Hal, I’ve sent over a thousand of those last year. I’ve sent probably tens of thousands of them over the last 15 years. I have 10,000 hours on the phone with meeting planners and that is what you want to do. In whatever medium that you’re going to approach them with, I’m going to say if you saw what I did there, Hal, like I don’t know if you noticed some of the things I did there.
Hal: Yeah. I mean, A, you dropped a reference of someone that, you know, a mutual friend, you acknowledged me and my work and my event and my community and that sort of thing, and then you offered value, offered to solve a problem, give value in a way that was relevant to my community, to my audience. So, those are the three things.
Pete: Dude, you nailed it. Like he nailed it. And here’s what people do. They start talking about themselves. It’s like right away, “Hey, Hal. I know you don’t know me but, man, I would love, I was checking out your event, I would love to speak there.” No. You build some, you connect with somebody they know. You talk about them and that means you have to actually research them. You show how you can solve the problem. You create a win-win. Although Hal doesn’t have a lot of sponsors, he does have sponsors and you can see that on the front right page of his website so we created a win-win. The win for me would’ve been speaking. The win for Hal would’ve been sponsorships. And at least out of the gates, my hope is that he’ll see me as the win from speaking but out of the gates like you want to give their win and then they give a call to action. And, Hal, if your community will begin to do that on email, on the phone, on social media, direct mail, or video like I just said, whatever medium it is, if that they can clearly articulate that they can provide value to that community, they will begin to see stages start getting landed.
Hal: I love it. So, we got the formula here on how to land a stage, identify who is the person that is in charge of the stage or somebody related to that person, their assistant, that sort of thing, understand the person control stage or the event that you want to speak at or the podcast you want to be on. They want to solve a problem. They want to add value to their audience and then reach out and, Pete, I think that your way of doing it use Bombbomb.com, write the email, using video, and I think – is that sent via email or is it sent directly to Bombbomb? Remind me how that works.
Pete: Yes. Bombbomb is an app that you have on your phone or you can use it on your desktop and you actually can send that video to their email. It lets you send a direct email. Yeah. Straight from Bombbomb, you can send to their email, to their text or to their cell or to their social media handles like to wherever their inboxes are on social media. So, you can send any of those and you see when people open it, you see, when people watch it.
Hal: Spell the URL for everybody.
Pete: Bombbomb.com/Reach and I have a two-minute video on there on why I used it. I had no ownership or any of that. It’s just I’m a huge believer in the tool.
Hal: Awesome. And last thing I want to say on that for everybody is that this is a numbers game for all of us. I’ve emailed, I don’t know, probably hundreds of podcasters over the years, and they didn’t all say yes. Not even half of them said yes. So, maybe you have to email 10 stages to get on two. The one thing that I did find is that the more stages you get on, the more credibility that you have and the more you get referred to other stages by the stages that you are already on, meaning I’ve been on a podcast and the host really liked the episode and then I asked the host for, “Hey, anybody else you know that you think this would be valuable?” and they’re like, “Oh absolutely,” and then they’ll make an email introduction. So, now your work gets easier and your results get better as you go along. So, in the beginning, your numbers are what they are. They might be 1 out of 10, or 3 out of 10, or 2 out of 10, and then as time goes on and as you get more experience on stages, your numbers will improve. So, I just realized that it’s not, you know, I think there’s a fear of rejection or what if it doesn’t work? Well, it never worked 100% of the time, but it always worked some percent of the time. It doesn’t matter who you are. It always works some percent of the time.
So, let’s talk about the product suite or aka what you often call scaling past the stage because, for me, that’s a concept that’s been really important. I’m a big believer and I kind of have preached on former podcast episodes and wrote an article on Entrepreneur.com on the importance of creating multiple sources of income that you’re not reliant on one. So, talk about the product suite. Define it. What is it? And how do we start to build it?
Pete: Yeah. So, how do you scale past the stage? The great Zig Ziglar said, “I’ve never changed someone’s life with a speaking gig but sometimes they buy my tapes and cassettes and I got a shot at changing their lives.”
Hal: I love it.
Pete: That is huge. Zig understood that you will change people’s lives when you’re in their ear more permanently. So, whether you’re coaching or consulting, whether you have a program, a digital course, whether you’re a service-based company, whether you have your own events where people can come spend three days with you in a big event or an intimate event, a workshop, a retreat. Whatever it is, there are seven or eight areas. We say there’s eight areas to scale past the stage and everybody has one of them or needs to have one of them. And so, the first piece is really creating a product suite. Hal has multiple streams of income so the eight areas really, really quickly are you can be on a stage and land more speaking. You can be on a stage and land sponsorship. You can be on a stage and the third one is you can land training and consulting gigs. You could be on a stage, the fourth one is you would land your physical or digital products. The fifth one is fundraising. Whether it’s for a nonprofit like news story that was on one stage of a bunch of real estate agents and land over $1 million in donations or whether you’re a real estate investor and you go speak on a stage and all of a sudden, what happens is that you land a bunch of people who make investments with you. You can be on a stage and sell your service-based company’s technology, marketing agencies, financial services. The seventh area is your own events. You’re on a stage and it triggers people to come to your own event. And then the eight area is you get on a stage and it triggers people to invest into your coaching and masterminds.
I know those are the eight because I’ve helped create them for our students and we’ve helped our students sell all of eight those. So, you want to have at least one or two in your business but you have to start with one. So, at least get one dialed in. As I’m going through all of those, I’m like, “Man, Hal technically probably has five or six of those,” which is beautiful because he has multiple arenas to be able to do that. And so, when you create a product suite and when you’re on these stages, you give them something away for free that’s extremely valuable. So, Darrell Scott, the founder of Rachel’s Challenge would give away like the seven ways to change the culture and climate of your schools. And like 80% or 90% of the people in the room, Hal, would actually get it like they would give us their name, their email, their phone number, their school. They give us everything and they would get this gift and this gift is powerful, which helps get them a quick win. The gift helps get somebody from A to B but the beautiful thing is what begins to happen is over the next couple of weeks you nurture these people and now all of a sudden out of those 80% or 90% that opted in, when you do a good job on stage, you’re going to see 10% to 15% of them go deeper in your products and services if you do a good job of following up.
We’ve seen 15 years of this and now all of a sudden, the stages that might just worth $5,000 or $10,000 or $15,000 but we get Rachel’s Challenge on a stage of a thousand decision-makers, 800 of them would opt-in, Hal. Out of those 800, 120 in one event that I’m thinking about in California would buy a $5,000 program in the next two weeks as we simply nurtured them and followed up with them. And now all of a sudden that stage is worth $600,000 but better yet, tens of thousands of kids’ lives who were impacted across the state of California. So, when I talk about scaling a stage, I really want to make sure that your community has a product suite, they’re doing a good job of capturing names and they’re doing a good job of following up with those names because here’s what a stage does. This is what I want you to know. Here’s what a stage does. It expedites the sales process. Something else might have taken you 8 to 12 months to do because you have to do so much nurturing but there’s a reason we call it the one-hour launch is because, in one hour, the amount of customers that will come back into your business is incredible because that you being on that stage does that.
And so, I really kind of my last thought on that, Hal, and we can jam on it however you want is I think about Hal had a lot of these, a lot of these already and we had the great honor of being able to help him this year really design like he wanted something for the masses that was affordable and I love this man’s heart. He’s like, “Listen, I know a lot of people sell $5,000, $6,000, $7,000, $8,000 programs. I want something that’s $100 or less that I could really help my community with,” and that’s what we helped him design. We helped him design and we did it in a day like we knocked it out in one day. So many people get overwhelmed and me and Hal weren’t any different. We get overwhelmed too but like you can get a product created in one day and it can be quality. Hal put out a high-quality product and literally as a result, we’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of those sell and more importantly, hundreds and hundreds of people whose lives have been more deeply impacted because Hal wasn’t just in their ear for 30 minutes. He’s in their ear every single day. This week I spoke with Tom Ziglar of the Ziglar Group. It’s Zig’s son, and Tom said, “Pete I love that you share that quote. I want to give you data that that quote actually is real. My dad used to collect all of his testimonials. All of them. A lady on our staff who still works for us, we collect all of his testimonials,” and I think this is as important for Hal to hear as even the listeners because Hal is doing this on such a massive scale. She said that Zig told them that out of every testimonial that would come in, 99 of them would reference his books, his tapes, his products, his services. And, Hal, those things impacted people’s lives and only one of the testimonials would talk about the stage and I heard you on a stage and you changed my life. So, I want your audience not just to have a product suite, Hal. I want them to be confident in the fact that that is what’s going to change people’s lives is when they go deeper with them.
Hal: Absolutely. Pete, there’s one thing I want to say to the listeners about the product suite is this is not something that you have to build all at once.
Hal: I’ve once heard Brendon Burchard who’s someone that – you’ve been on Brendon’s stage and I’ve once heard Brendan say that like he had this huge product suite and he’s a big advocate of the product suite and he had five or six different brands and each brand had multiple products. So, for example, he got his Experts Academy and then you get Experts Academy, the live event. Then there was a book that taught the Experts Academy content. Then there was an online course and there was a coaching for it. All these things around that one brand but he said that he built things one year at a time. Every year he decided, “What is the new brand or product suite that I want to build this year?” and then he took 12 months to build. So, he goes, “If you look at my business, oh my gosh, this is overwhelming.” You’ve got five different brands and each brand has its own little product suite and he goes, “I didn’t build that all at once.” He said, “I have focused on one thing for 12 months.” That’s a long time and he said, “But I’ve been at this for 10 years. So, now I’ve got this product suite where it looks like I’ve got this whole ecosystem,” which he does, but it was one at a time.
So, if you’re listening, I want you to realize that this can be one thing at a time. If maybe your book is your first element of your product suite so you’re speaking on stage and then you have an email that goes out. And I want to ask you that too, Pete. You mentioned one of the big things that you teach about which is so great because then you can speak free. And so, because of your scaling past the stage strategy, you could speak for free and then you can earn $100,000 or $200,000 by simply giving away free legitimate value and then in the email that has the free value it might say, “Yes. If you like the free stuff, that we actually have a six-day course or whatever program or event to book or whatever, you can check that out here.” It’s very low-key. It’s not super sales-y or you’ve done a hard sell for sure. I want to know, here’s my question for you. For anyone listening and they go, “Wow. That’s a great strategy. I could give away something for free and then my email that follows up to get the free stuff could then promote my paid stuff,” what’s the technology that you use? What tech do you use to capture someone’s name and email address during a live speech so that you can then deliver that free value to them?
Pete: Yeah, dude. So, I would tell you this, that we have seen and I know this is going to sound crazy but we have seen that the physical contact card on somebody’s seat is the most powerful thing like the only way that doesn’t make sense is if you have like $39 thing or you’re selling your book or something like that. You don’t need to capture that but if you have something that’s a little bit more expensive, $1,000 or more, then the physical contact card actually converts better than anything else. And I know I have a lot of, Hal, you know we have a lot of people like in the marketing world that are part of our programs and they have tested it and they’re like, “I can’t believe it. You’re absolutely right.” So, that’s a great resource. And then if you’re like, “Well, I have a lower ticketed item.” Cool. Then use like some type of text opt-in or URL opt-in. I love text opt-ins. We’ve just started using Skipio more which I love Skipio but any type of text opt-in is a great way to be able to capture it.
But I think the more important thing that it is – you got to capture the more important thing, Hal, that I want your listeners to hear is a lot of people try to overcomplicate a follow-up system. And like I’m just telling you make it simple like keep it simple stupid like the whole KISS mentality is like keep it simple stupid like if you have a low ticket offer after a stage then create three or four emails that do that follow-up in a really basic system. Not like a complex marketing automation system. Now, if you’re trying to schedule an appointment or a phone call then create three or four emails that simply the call to action is trying to schedule a call. That’s what you can do with that. Regardless, like the follow-up is where people dropped the ball. They’re like, “Wow. I got hundreds, or thousands, or dozens, or whatever, of leads,” and then they don’t do anything with them. And I’ve seen way too many times over the 15 years because they try to create all the Slick Rick technology stuff on the back end where if I’m being really honest and I don’t think I’ve ever shared this on any interview I’ve ever done, and I’m not ashamed of it at all but like we would get like 500 leads back after being at like a Rachel’s Challenge like those 800 leads that we had get backed, we basically say, “All right. Here’s your 80 and here’s your 80 and here’s your 80,” and then we had like two templated emails that we just cut and paste like we had no marketing automation back then.
And everybody just cut-and-paste the first email, and they’d be like, “All right. He’s going to email us back,” like it wasn’t complex for you. It’s very like basic but even in that basic, it was like, “Alright, team. Let’s send this email, this email, and then make a phone call.” We didn’t have like a complexity like marketing automation system but we had a plan to follow up after the fact because what’s going to happen is they’re going to be like, “Wow. I’ve never seen this type of response,” and these leads are harder than any other lead that you can get like they just started experienced in a room. If any of you heard Hal in a room, you’ve experienced him in a room. You know that like the connection you felt with them at that moment is unbelievable. And so, that is the time that you want to make sure that you capture their information and recognize that following up is critical because they are such warm people for you to follow up with.
Hal: Yep. Such great points and I want to add something that I think will enhance that. One of the basicness of, basicness is a word, the basicness of the technology and then, two, think about this. If you speak to a group, you don’t have to be Tony Robbins or some amazing keynote speaker. If you speak to a group, you are the center of attention in that room and I don’t mean that from an ego standpoint. I mean that from a credibility and a connection standpoint. So, think about it. If you are a salesperson, that with my background 20 years ago I started in sales. Pete’s been in sales before and on the past, but if you’re a salesperson, and you’re calling on prospects, they view you as you are a salesperson, you’re trying to sell me something. It’s worked as a salesperson. You’re like, “Please listen to me. Give me your time.” Think about how different it is if, oh my gosh, I just got an email from the speaker that we heard yesterday. How different is the positioning of how the prospect if you will, right, the audience member views the speaker? They are the expert. They are the person that just connected with me with their heart and their soul and they taught me something. They added value. So, think about when you speak, if you’re an entrepreneur, when you get on stages, you go from being the entrepreneur, from being the person trying to sell the prospect to being the expert, to being the person at the front of the room.
So, I just want you to think about that and how that positioning happens. It’s very powerful. In fact, when I became a speaker, I had an aha one day, Pete, and I went, “Wait,” because I would still go to networking events and I’d be like sitting there passing out business cards. This is an example of what positioning does as a speaker, what that does for your positioning. Well, I’ve been passing out business cards and I’d be one of the 200 people in the room trying to convince them to listen to me and buy from me and whatever. And I realized, “Wait a minute. I’m redefining networking. I’m never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever again going to go to a networking event unless I’m speaking at the event.”
Hal: When you speak at a networking event, you just network with the 200 people in the audience simultaneously and from a place of power and credibility and expertise versus being one of the 200 people in the audience that’s trying to get the attention of maybe the five or 10 people that you’re able to talk to while you’re there. So, think about that. If you want to network, stop networking and start speaking because that’s how you network from a place of power, authority, credibility, and you do so with everyone in the room simultaneously and it’s way more effective and, Pete, it’s what you’re talking about. You can follow up with everybody in the room and whether you use technology, Skipio, that’s a text marketing. That’s S-K-I-P-I-O, is that right?
Pete: No. S-K-I-P-I-O. Yeah. Skipio.
Hal: S-K-I-P-I-O.com. I mentioned I wanted to simplify the technology so this is how I grew. Everybody, I want you to just listen to this and I’ll say that I’ll make this real quick but I grew a group coaching program that started out with five people that I cold call, five people that I said, “Hey, so-and-so referred you,” and they were each paying $100 a month so it’s $500 a month for me to run two group coaching calls and then I asked all those people after a couple of calls for referrals. And everybody listening, by the way, you can each take something from this and how you can apply it to your business, but I asked those five people, “Hey, who do you know that would benefit from the coaching I’m going to do?” And they’re like, “Oh, I know people,” and I got 20 referrals from those five people. So, four referrals each. But within a couple of months, so here’s what I did. I didn’t have any follow-up system. I text those referrals and said, “So-and-so referred you. We do this group coaching program. Here’s what it’s about. Here’s what you could learn. Would you be up for jumping on a 15-minute call where I could see if this is a good fit for you?” And I copied and pasted that text to each referral that I got by hand, one person at a time and, well, think about this.
Within two months, I grew it from five people at $500 or $800 a month to 70 people. So, one text at a time, all right, so yeah there was a little bit of work but not too hard, those 15-minute calls. But that turned in from $500 in income for those two monthly coaching calls that I did to $7,000 in income for those same two coaching calls and within about six months, there were 220 people on that program. It was $22,000 a month for those same two phone calls and that was all done by copying and texting the same text message to every referral I got, scheduling a phone call, jumping on a call, explaining the program, and then allowing people to sign up for the program. So, to your point, don’t get caught up in the text. If you have text messaging on your phone which I’m pretty sure you do or you have an email program, I mean, Gmail, you can market to people to share your value, share your message, share your product suite if you will and build a business, Now, speaking of all that, Pete, you are about to launch or maybe it’s available today. I don’t know the exact date here, but your program, your online training program similar to what you helped me build but this is much more extensive and intensive. Can you talk about this? And how people find out about it? And I can put the link in the email or show notes or whatever.
Pete: Hal, I was like getting all excited and like, listen, that’s how easy it is. You basically said what we did with Rachel’s Challenge like we just cut-and-paste like, yeah, it’s the automation. We’re like in Outlook like copy paste, copy paste, copy paste. I think it took us like a year to figure out that we can blind carbon copy people. But it’s what created the business like that’s the same things and you don’t have to get fancy, but, yeah, man, I’m super stoked about our stage to scale program. We’re launching it. We’re in the midst of it right now and we literally are launching it at the end of this year to help people really set up to make 2019 the best year that they’ve ever had. So, we’re helping them design their talk like design that one talk that’s going to be amazing. Because a lot of people are like, “I’m great on stage,” but the problem is there’s like 15 major elements to a talk that we want to make sure that are dialed in and we want to make sure that it’s in alignment with your product suite because a lot of people will talk about one thing and then they’re like, “This is what we do,” and they’re like, “I did not get that from your talk. That’s so confusing to me.”
And so, it’d be like Hal like wanting you to invest in The Miracle Morning but he’s talking about like how to be a great digital marketer. It’s like, “Whoa, that’s so disconnected,” and so, yeah, our program in eight weeks is helping them get their talk dialed in. It’s helping them identify the right stages they need to be on and getting on those stages and it’s helping them really build out their product suite and set up the lead collection mechanism and the way to follow up with his people at its simplest version. And so, in eight weeks they have the whole stage to scale method built in their business whether they’ve been on no stages, they’ve been on a few stages, or they’ve been on a lot of stages like we get to help people at the highest caliber like Hal Elrod and Pat Flynn and so many others that are just amazing, but we also get to help thousands of people who are just getting started, who haven’t done this well. And so, yeah, if you go to AdvanceYourReach.com/Hal, I mean, literally just /Hal, all the details are there and we’d love to, you know, we have some free resources there too. So, take advantage of the free resources like if funding is an issue, take advantage of the free resources. We want to be able to serve you and help your community get more of their message out to the world, Hal. That’s what we’re on the mission to do.
Hal: Awesome, man. Well, you’re arguably the best in the world at it. I mean, there aren’t too many people that have dedicated their lives to this specific skill set, which is how to identify stages, how to book stages, how to scale past the stage, Pete, and I love that you’re doing it from a place of kind of The Miracle Morning. It wasn’t an idea that you had for business. It was like, “Oh, this thing changed my life and now I feel a sense of responsibility to share it with the world and other people so that it can change their lives and the lives of people that they reach and that they touch.” So, I love you, brother. Thanks for being on the show today, man. It’s been a pleasure.
Pete: Yeah. Thanks for having me, man. I appreciate it so much.
Hal: Well, goal achievers, I hope you enjoyed the podcast today and learned a ton from Pete at least enough to get you started in this world of booking stages and creating a product suite, scaling your message, and getting it out there to the world. Check out AdvanceYourReach.com or was it AdvanceYourReach.com/Hal, is that it?
Pete: Yeah. AdvanceYourReach.com/Hal.
Hal: So, check out that URL. I’m going to check it out because I haven’t been to it yet. Anyway, so, goal achievers, I love and appreciate you and again, hope I see you in San Diego in December at The Best Year Ever Blueprint and I will be on stage teaching you the best of what I know on how to transform yourself, your life, and set yourself up to have the best 12 months of your life and I learned a lot of it from Mr. Pete Vargas here. So, love you, I appreciate you, everybody, and I will talk to you next week. Take care.
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