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What We Talk About

So you’ve decided to host a summit. Awesome! There are a few things that you want to do FIRST before you look for speakers, write any copy, or record a single interview.

When you complete these 6 steps, you’ll find your summit more successful, more profitable, and more rewarding than if you skip them. (ask us how we know.)

Resources

The Summit Series:
Episode 145 – Your Virtual Summit Speaker Search (How to start & what to avoid)
Episode 146 – Virtual Summit Setup: The Tech Essentials for a Successful Summit
Episode 147 – The Dos and Don’ts For Your High-Converting Summit Opt-in Page
Episode 148 – Your Summit Host Engagement Plan – Our Best Tips to Keep Attendee Attention
Episode 149 – Your Post-Summit Sales Plan


Check out the entire library of list building & summit episodes here.

Our transcript hasn't been proofed, so there will probably be some errors. Sorry about that!

Alyson Lex 0:03
So you want to host a summit. Awesome. I'm stoked for you. I know Jennie is stoked for you. But we want you to slow down just a minute. Before you start looking for speakers and putting up landing pages, there are six things to do right now, before you start, that are going to drastically improve the results that you get from your list build Jurassic Lee, we're going to go through them. In this episode, we're going to tell you why they're important. And we're going to tell you how to get started. I'm super excited for your next summit.

Jennie Wright 0:45
Next, or first, next, or first? Either one. Awesome. Welcome to the first and our new Summit Series. This is going to be the first of I think six episodes that we're going to be doing all about summits and how you can create a nice, awesome, profitable, fun, and highly engaging event. The secret is in this episode, to be quite honest. If we didn't do any of the other episodes, this is the one that we actually have to focus on first, and it's the planning, right, so six steps to prepare to create a kick ass bleep bleep awesome Summit. I'm going with that was gonna say step number one. Step number one. Schedule your stuff. Schedule your time. Get your life in order. Look at what's coming up. Planning a summit while also planning your wedding. Probably not a good idea.

Alyson Lex 1:49
Launching Your summit, the week after you come back from vacation. asked me how I know. Huh?

Jennie Wright 2:00
Yeah, or planning your summit for two weeks before your due date. Not a good idea. Had a client do that one. And planning a summit while you're moving? Twice.

Alyson Lex 2:19
She has done it twice.

Jennie Wright 2:22
It is the worst thing ever. And I don't even I mean, I'm embarrassed after 300 Plus summits to say that I did that. But I will twice, but I will help since losing it. But I will say that the first one was unplanned. I planned my Summit. And then I had to move.

Alyson Lex 2:47
Oh, what's your excuse? For the second one?

Jennie Wright 2:49
No excuse the second. One was like, I survived the first one. Actually, I didn't. Because after the summit was over and I was done moving. Oh my god, I was in so much.

Alyson Lex 3:01
Okay, so the other part of this is not just what's happening in your life, but how long you're giving yourself. There are so many pieces of information out there that say plan a summit in 30 or 60 days. No, I mean, sure if you really want to. But why do that to yourself. If you create that short planning period, you have you're basically signing yourself up to completely ignore all the other aspects of your business for the entire thing.

Jennie Wright 3:41
It might as well be a full time job.

Alyson Lex 3:42
It is a full time job. i Okay, so we've talked about this on this podcast before that I hosted a TELUS summit in 2013. And I planned that in I think, 30 to 45 days. My first ever event in 30 days. And I completely ignored the rest of my business. And I got desperate for experts. I mean, I had a list and I got most of the ones on my list. But they weren't right. That was a whole nother thing. But I didn't continue to hustle for copy clients. So by the time like by the time the summit rolled around, I needed it to be financially successful, because I hadn't generated income in the rest of that month or that time. And when it wasn't, I'm just gonna put that one out there. It was not financially successful. I think I made $120 It was even more devastating. Because I needed it to be successful. Whereas when you give yourself longer you can still focus on growing your business. We did an episode on that. How to Build host a list build and still focus on your Business. We, when you give yourself longer, you can still do the other stuff that is generating revenue now and split your focus your time because it requires less of it each day. Alright, so really when you're planning, you want to look at what's happening in your life, how long you're giving yourself, and how much time you want to are able to and are willing to dedicate to the planning process each day. As you get closer to the event, of course, it's going to take that higher priority, because now you're wrapping up details, you're getting things finalized. But throughout the majority of the planning process, it can just be a couple minutes a day. I'm preparing right now, at the time of this recording. To have a summit in June, I am doing my call for experts. Yesterday, I spent 15 minutes, posting in a couple of groups to look for experts. And I won't touch it again for another day or two. When I post in a few more, right, I work on my call for experts. So it's not taking over my life just yet.

Jennie Wright 6:20
My preferred timeline for a summit. Even if it's your first one is a minimum of four months. 90 days is too much. It's too much pressure on you. It's too much pressure on your experts. It's too much pressure on your team. And if you want to get desperate and have desperate results as a as a outcome, that's what you do. Right? And there's a lot of people who be like, oh, yeah, I can do this in 90 days. I can do this in 60 days. Yeah, I've done some it's in 60 days, I've done some it's in 90 days, i i even pulled the summit out of my you know my farrier in, in that. Thank you out of my hat in about 30 some odd days, right. But they're desperate events, and they don't have the results. So don't do it. One of the biggest things and step two, in planning and preparing an incredibly successful summit is knowing what the offer is at the other end. I have told this story on this podcast several times. And it is my first summit. I was told by my coach who I had paid 1000s of dollars to show me how to do this was my I didn't know summons before this guy's and she said, Don't worry about what you're going to sell afterwards. Just build a summit about a topic that you like, and we'll figure it out later. Uh huh. So my first summit was the build your dream business summit. If you Google it, there's still a banner on Google. It is despicable. But whatever. So dream, your build your dream business summit. And I was desperate because it was done in 90 days. I did no idea what I was gonna sell afterwards. Because I hadn't built a business. This was the early stages. This was like three or four months into deciding I wanted to be in business. And the result was disastrous. I had to dump that list. Because and I didn't make much of a list. Just FYI, it was a disaster anyways, but the people that I did have the were not focused in they were not nice. I had no idea what I was going to sell to them. So decide what you're going to sell, figure it out. Is it a program product or service? Are you coaching? Are you going to be doing a membership? Do you have a protein powder? What are you selling, and then build the summit, so that it feels like a natural extension, that the summit is the prequel or the pre thing to whatever you're selling, and then people will go, oh, this makes sense. Because if you create whiplash, where your Summit is about one thing and your products about a completely different thing, you will not have any buyers.

Alyson Lex 8:55
I remember summit copy client from a long time ago, and she was following that figure it out later model. And she like she was I think she was a travel agent, booking coach or something like that, and wanted to have a summit about relationships, or something like that. And it I remember speaking with her, and I don't think I ever wrote copies, I don't remember but it was so long ago. And I just didn't understand how the two would connect. You're building a list of people that may or may not want what you have. And you're also not able to we'll talk about this in a second but you're not able to tailor the event. Take them through that journey that they need to be ready to buy what you have. So it's it happens all the time that you don't know what you're selling until the you've already started planning your event, and then your event doesn't end up the way you want it to?

Jennie Wright 10:09
Well, it's impossible to build a list of buyers unless you know what they want them to buy. Like, seriously? Yeah.

Alyson Lex 10:20
That's step three, step three, this, this is hard, figure out what your audience wants. What do they want more of? What are they not getting that you can fill that gap for them. And I've seen this too, with events, and I've seen it with everything. Alright, so this is actually kind of a global tip, figure out what they want before you start building something. But we'll put something together and the audience just doesn't care and care. Because they don't really want that they want something different, maybe related, there's a better angle that you can take, there's a better way to talk about it to get in there. Even just a better way to market it and present it. Figure out what they want, so that you can fill that need for them. If you're going to do over let's because I'm on relationships, let's say you are a relationship coach, and you want to do a summit about relationships. Does your audience one? Does your audience want how to fix problems? Or do they want how to be better? Do they want how to avoid failure? Or do they want how to find success? Even something that simple can really help you hone in on speaker topics, how you present their titles, the name of your summit, the angle that you take all the marketing, the landing page, the videos, the promotion, all of it, simply knowing those kinds of answers will help you build the event in the right way. So ask them find out, hey, are you more likely to be attracted to this? Or this quick, simple survey question. Which one will help you figure it out?

Jennie Wright 12:33
Step four, I like this one. This is when it starts to get real. Because up until now, it's sort of been, yeah, I'm doing a summit. But it's not necessarily 100% Real once you put a date on it, and you choose your topic or your title, it's real, like it's getting ready to happen. Right? Once you put a date on it, then you can create some timelines with it. So solidifying your topic or your title is massive. And it's such a huge opportunity. A couple things to consider one, if you may possibly redo this summit over and over almost like a yearly event, then create a title that makes sense that you can use it over and over and over my personal summit title is grow and profit online. My tagline changes every year. But my summit name is grown profit online. And I'm trying to build a brand around that so that people will recognize it. And like, oh, I went, you know, I saw GNP last year, I definitely want to see GNP this year, even though my topic is slightly different than it was last year, but the title is the same. And that's your title and tag.

Alyson Lex 13:43
Mine is very similar. So mine is coaching conversion. And the hook is the same idea. Every year, it's all conversion strategies and hyperfocus. There, but the format changes. So last year, it was your standard Summit. And this year, I'm changing it up a little bit. And and changing the way that that things are presented, but it's the coaching conversion event. That's what it is. That doesn't mean you have to do that you can host a yearly summit and have it be completely different every year. That's fine. This is part of understanding what you want from the event. Getting yourself together back in step two. What do you want from this? What do you want to have happen? Then you can decide my topic, my title, and you know the date. Mine is around the same time every year, because I want that continuity. So if it's your second or third, and you don't care about the continuity, then pick and pick whatever date works for you.

Jennie Wright 14:58
Actually, I'm going to say that I disagree. And I love you. But I disagree that picking any date that works for you is not the right thing. You have to pick a date that works for your ideal audience. And also the topic, right? So if you are in the relationship space, and for some reason you definitely tie that into, say Valentine's Day, then make sure that you have a summit that or you know, what's that phenomenon? And guys, I haven't been single and aeons. That phenomenon where people like hook up for the holidays, and then they don't anymore for you know, once the holidays are done. Oh, yeah. Well, it's the St. Patrick's Day thing. Yeah. So that would be a great time to actually have a summit and help you

Alyson Lex 15:41
haven't been single on forever, either. I have no idea. But yeah, I think it's Patrick's Day, because there's not a big one coming up after that. Right. Like, yeah, St. Patrick's Day isn't a big one.

Jennie Wright 15:49
Yeah. So it's like, I want to have it, I want to have somebody to be around for the holidays. And then it's, you know, it's over. And I don't disagree with you to just disagree. I I look at it as Yes, it has to fit into your life. But it has to make sense. I do my summits. I was doing my summit in early spring. But it wasn't the right time for my audience. They're busy doing other things in early spring. So I do mine in funnily enough in the summer, like later in the summer, but I still do it in the summer. And the reason being is that I get more exposure from to my audience. And they're also starting to plan for fall because my my audience, it's almost like the fiscal year starts in September for a lot of them. And they start planning their courses and their programs and their products. And they're done with their summer vacation, and they're ready to like get back into it. Meanwhile, I want the bloody summer like off like I don't want to have to do a summit.

Alyson Lex 16:46
Well, early spring hasn't been working out but well for you either. No, early remove. Yeah, I

Jennie Wright 16:51
moved. I moved it because early spring did not work. And July seems to kind of work. And July just happens to be when my you know when I've had to move three times.

Alyson Lex 17:04
One of them I did you have them in? No, you had them in sprint? You had them in spring and you moved? Yeah. And then when you moved it to July, it's worked better for your schedule and your audience. So it worked out? Well. It did. And yes, I actually agree. I think it definitely needs to work for your audience. I'm not saying, oh, you know what? This date is good for me and forget what they want. If I'm targeting Moms, I'm not having a summit the last week of August,

Jennie Wright 17:29
that's back to school? Hell, no, that's a great time,

Alyson Lex 17:32
like, so definitely. But what I'm saying is, if you're not worried about the continuity of yours, yeah, it doesn't have to be almost like an annual event that happens around the same time, you can be more flexible

Jennie Wright 17:47
100% 100%. And then the lastly, before we move on, Allison, I want to talk about picking like I really want to talk about picking the date. And I want to make sure that you have enough time, this goes back to your schedule. So pick a date. And picking the date also depends on the day of the week, I want you to think about this. If your ideal client if your ideal leads our nine to five C suite people or they're in business and they work in a corporate office, having your summit run from a Tuesday until Thursday may not be the ideal action. You may look at having to do this on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, where they can catch the sessions in their downtime, right be able to do it that way. Unless and we did this Allison and I did a summit like this for a client unless your summit can actually be considered a formalized training that corporations would send their employees to. And then that works during the week. Right. So Allison and I most of our clients are entrepreneurs and they target other entrepreneurs or busy moms and things like that. So the day of the week doesn't matter. But I do recommend not starting a summit necessarily on a Monday. A lot of people do I actually like Tuesdays. I like Tuesdays because Mondays tend to be really, really busy in people's lives. And Tuesdays are just a little less you know, you're getting back into the week. So things to think about are really what you consider your dates. Summit length. Back in the day when we started this out. It used to be 21 experts over 21 days. Can you imagine doing that these days? Oh my god.

Alyson Lex 19:16
I saw one. I don't know what I was doing some research for something. And I saw one and it was a 60 expert 60 Day event and I was be side myself.

Jennie Wright 19:32
That's just overwhelming thinking but I'm literally rubbing the bridge of my nose because I'm like, Oh my God, no, because as a producer, that means I'm tied to that event for 60 days to produce it. Uh, no, no, the bill that would come along with that would be astronomical. But as an attendee like,

Alyson Lex 19:52
you're going to be lucky to get me for our number two. Give me for month number two

Jennie Wright 19:59
right 60 eligo That could be like, that's possibly 60 hours of content.

Alyson Lex 20:05
Nobody's gonna show up to that as well, it's, I'm gonna forget, I'm going to lose interest, the momentum is going to be gone. And I started on the moment, I started to get stuck right in my mouth.

Alyson Lex 20:25
It also goes back to knowing what you want to sell. Right? If your Summit is designed to sell, you need your people to have that excitement and momentum, you're going to lose it if your length if the length of your Summit is too long.

Jennie Wright 20:44
So look at summits that are anywhere anywhere between three days, four days, five days, right? A one day Summit, there is a place for a one day Summit. But just understand that you have to you have to know what the expectations are going to be like if you're only promoted. Like if you're only going to have a one day Summit, just as just as an FYI. Okay, let's get to step five. We've got five and six, and then we're gonna wrap this up, build out your daily themes. Alison, talk to me about themes.

Alyson Lex 21:09
I really like daily themes, because it gives you another opportunity to let people know what to expect. You always want to let people know what to expect from everything that you do. It reduces that anxiety of the unknown. Not everybody loves surprises. So we want to make sure that we're showing them, you're going to invest time with me, here's how I'm going to make it worth it. By putting together your daily themes, you're also creating, like I mentioned earlier, that journey. Okay, you are saying day one, you're here. Day two, you're here and day three, you're here. If it's big enough, day four, you're here. And you can set your summit up to lead to the sale. Okay, so it works on both sides. It lets them know what to expect. And it helps you curate the journey. When you're building your daily themes. I want you to look at your topic. And I want you to come up with three facets. Okay, so I'm going to give you my example. 2021. My coaching conversion online summit was about taking people from audience to lead, lead to buyer and buyer to repeat sale. Those were themes. Now. I broke all the rules. Jenny yells at me, I like to test things out on my own stuff. And then we can use the results in what we teach and do in the future. I actually mixed my experts up. So I had my themes, but they were more mixed up. Because I wanted to

Jennie Wright 22:53
because I also likes to make rules. And then she likes to break them.

Alyson Lex 22:57
Well, I like Jenny likes to make rules. And I like to break. But I could have I could have organized my speakers in that way I wanted to test whether engagement with stay would increase or frankly, for my audience, I did not see the biggest difference. Yeah. When it came to that it could be the the fact that a lot of a lot of the strategies that were being taught by those experts could have fit into multiple of those buckets. And so it wasn't as delineated a theme. But it could also be that for that particular event, it didn't matter. But I have seen in other events where it does matter.

Jennie Wright 23:57
Okay, so does it and I'm just spitballing this with you because I'm interested to let's just say you have daily themes, and everybody who wants to talk about building a sales page is on day one, just as an example. And everybody who talks about like converting to the sale, and you know, whatever payment processors on day three, does that make it more difficult for the registering to then watch episodes because what if they're not or watch pieces and bits? Because what if they're not available on the Monday on the day one but everything they want is on that Monday? Does that then make that FOMO to the VIP package? Just a thought it may

Alyson Lex 24:41
it may um, you know, I think that's something that that's worth considering, you know, and I know we're going to talk about VIP later in this Summit Series, and how to kind of build that package and maybe even sell it. Oh, yeah, right.

Jennie Wright 24:57
Yeah, just a thought. I'm just putting this out there because yeah,

Alyson Lex 24:59
no, it's Very true. So So you have to really, this is stuff to consider. And guys, we're experts at this.

Jennie Wright 25:07
And we're always bouncing ideas. And we

Alyson Lex 25:09
talk, this is what we do this is so my summit this year, Jenny, I don't know if she's on board with us, but it's happening. Oh my god this year,

Jennie Wright 25:18
choo choo, get on the steam roll. She's gonna

Alyson Lex 25:22
kill me. But so this year, my theme, my my topic is coaching conversion 2022. And it's the good, the bad, and the lesson. So every expert is going to be on every day, for a 10 minute tend to be recorded. Yes, pre recorded. It's not yet. It's all pre recorded. No, I'm not doing all that. But I'm gonna. So every interview I do, is going to have three different videos attached to it. day one, day two, day three. So it'll be Sue Smith, day one, Sue Smith, day two, Sue Smith day three. And it'll be a story about something that worked. that's day one, the good a story about something that didn't day to the bad. And then a quick teach, which is the lesson the day three. And that's how I'm creating my buckets. I'm testing whether smaller pieces of content are more engaging. I'm also presenting it to my experts as you get in front of the whole audience every day. So I'm it's a benefit to my experts as well. So I Jenny is looking at me, I can't tell if she's gonna yell or cry. Maybe both. She might mad cry at me. But

Jennie Wright 26:49
I have I'm the only the only okay, I love the idea of getting in front of. And we're going off topic, but that's okay. I love the idea of your people getting in front of x or their registrants every single day. But I have one thing. If I hear Sally Smith on day one, tell me the good. And then I hear Joe Blow talk about the good and so on zone zone zone zone. So in my brain, how am I going to then remember the story about the bad and the lesson if I have to wait for the lesson for two days.

Alyson Lex 27:26
Because they're not all connect. It's not. This is the good of this. This is the bad of this. And here's the lesson from it. It's day one is here's a story about something I did that worked and what I learned from it. Day two, here's a different story about something else I did that didn't work and what I learned from it. And Day Three is here is a step by step lesson in my zone of expertise.

Jennie Wright 27:55
Okay, so that was not clear enough when you were describing it, I get it now.

Alyson Lex 28:00
Yeah, so it's not there. It's not inactive.

Jennie Wright 28:03
Do you know how I thought like, you were like, The Good, The Bad. And the lesson like the good thing? I Yeah,

Alyson Lex 28:07
so I totally get that. It's it. They're not they don't have to be connected. But um, it's story based. And it's there's anecdotal, and then expertise. So

Jennie Wright 28:17
it's gonna be interesting to see how this plays out.

Alyson Lex 28:19
We're talking about all this guys, because one, we got off topic, but no, but

Jennie Wright 28:26
this is this place is gonna we do Yeah, these are the kinds of conversations you have to have in the planning stage, you have to, and even if you and you need somebody to shoot some stuff down or poke holes, because, yes, I didn't like you need somebody to poke holes in your stuff, or even at least try, which is what I just tried to do with Allison. But then I get onside, if it's explained well enough, and I understand it, I can see the path to, you know, to how it's gonna go, then I can, then I can support it. And I can be like, yeah, that's gonna fit. And this is where it comes into point number five is about having a team building out a summit. Point number six, sorry, point number six. But because having to build out a summit all on your own by yourself in complete isolation is not going to work. And a team can look different to people like Alison and I are a team. We consult with each other on so many different things in so many different aspects. So she, she gets to hear all my thoughts, I get to hear all hers. I also have my partner. My partner is very smart and agile in marketing. So I bounce things off of him. And then so those are those are like your people that you talk to. And then in terms of building things out, unless you are unicorn person who can write amazing copy, build amazing pages, find all your experts do all the administrative and you know, that's your that's your zone of genius, then you're going to need support. So

Alyson Lex 29:56
even if you are the person that can do all those things, Things You showed you? And do you want to write, even if it's a VA to help you go through applications, send invitations to 15 Minute Calls, help manage forms, right? You need somebody on your side is going to give you some support in the areas that you shouldn't or can't fulfill. I can build a page in click funnels. I don't tell why. I guess I do now, because I don't tell many people that just did I can? Do they convert really well? No. Because that's not my, my forte. That's why Jenny doesn't let me touch my own tech.

Alyson Lex 31:04
So I write the copy. She does the implementation. That's my team. And now Jenny can write, copy, try to copy X to two, not as good as mine. No, no, it's so for hers. I write her copy, she does the test. So we split up and find people that have the things that we need to not make our lives awful. And then also to increase the success?

Jennie Wright 31:38
Absolutely. And that might for you look different. So for you that might mean you need a designer, that might mean that you need somebody that edits your videos. Okay, that might mean somebody that does your tech. You know, you also might need somebody who's a strategist, how are you going to make this successful, because there are a lot of Summit programs out there. There are a lot of Summit products out there. And also, and I have had the opportunity to see quite a few of them. We've seen quite a few of them, we've seen the insides of quite a few of them as well. And I'm not saying that they're lacking I'm not saying but they're just there's I have not yet seen the unicorn summit product out there. And I've done and I've personally produced over 325 summits. That's a lot. So that number

Alyson Lex 32:33
changes every time I talk to you keep pushing it down. It's like 350 Dude,

Jennie Wright 32:39
I, I have a list. And have I do I do have a list and there's, I know 100% I can say with 100% certainty that it's 325 However, there are others that I've consulted on, and things of that nature that would bump that number up.

Alyson Lex 32:54
Yeah. Okay, cuz I was gonna say like, I think people you're like 350 Plus,

Jennie Wright 32:59
yeah, it is not a it's not a it's not like,

Alyson Lex 33:03
it's not a lie. It's not a lie. You have produced and or consulted on 350 Plus summits? Okay. I need this list. Anyway, that with me on Google, please. Okay. So Jenny and I have looked at a ton of products Summit. And frankly, I've seen a whole lot of private copy for products every day, I've seen a lot a lot of products. And we have decided that we are uniquely positioned to be able to create the unicorn summit product. And we are, we are the people. We are the people that are putting together the A to Z one stop. Simple summit formula in order to help you with not just the planning that we're talking about today. But the other stuff that we're going to be talking about over the next five weeks.

Jennie Wright 34:07
Yeah, the planning, the building, the promoting the all of it, all of it,

Alyson Lex 34:10
the hosting the post, all of the stuff that goes into having a successful summit. We, we know because Jenny has 350 under her belt, I have to so clearly I'm bringing the most to this relationship.

Jennie Wright 34:31
Well, you need to but you've written copy for like

Alyson Lex 34:34
I have written copy for so many summits and live events. And so we're bringing all of that knowledge together into one spot to give you the training, the tools and the templates that you need to make building your own summit simple. So what I want you to do is if this is something that you are Are you interested in getting more information about when we launch? I want you to head to system to thrive.com and contact us on our form. Just say, Hey, let me know when you launch. And we'll make sure that we personally email you when that comes out so that you have that information. If you want to keep listening, we are going to be back next week. With another episode we're going to talk about building your successful summit. This is that's going to be episode two in our Summit Series. And I can't wait that's going to be a really fun one.

Jennie Wright 35:38
Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. Enjoy these six steps. I almost called them five but they're six and preparing your event and and we'll see you again on the next one. Alright guys, take care

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