The Elephant In The Room

723A few weeks ago, I was one of a handful of speakers who spoke to over 1,000 people at the Sydney Convention Center.

The conference organizer gave me the 2nd day, Sunday morning slot at 8 a.m. — a bit early, but surprisingly most of the 1,000 attendees showed up.

An interesting thing happened during my talk that I think you might find quite insightful.

As you probably know, these large seminar events (sometimes called “sell-a-thons”) generate large numbers of sales of the speakers’ products. In fact, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on the speakers to sell as much as they can by “closing” their audiences at the end of their talks.

I really didn’t feel that kind of pressure going into the weekend because, as you probably know, my mindset is focused on making a connection with people, building trust, and letting those who see the fit come forward, versus trying to persuade and “close” everyone in my path.

So on Saturday I sat in on all of the speakers’ talks so I could get a feel for what it was like being an attendee. And I have to say, from sitting in the audience, you could really feel that some of these speakers were hard-core, traditionally trained “salespeople.”

If you’ve ever been to one of these types of events, you can probably guess what happened. At the end of their talks, they all did the exact same thing.

They put up a PowerPoint slide that offering the most expensive price for their program. Then the next slide showed a discounted price, then the next one gave an even deeper discount for the first 27 people who ran to the back of the room to order.

And you could tell that some of their presentations were less about giving information to solve a problem and more about creating an emotional frenzy so that when the time came to “pitch” the audience, they would jump out of their seats to order.

In other words, it was classic group persuasion.

And if that’s the only way these speakers haven been trained to sell, I can’t fault them for doing it the only way they know how.

But what really hit home was what I felt from the audience every time the sales pitches started. People all around me cringed. They squirmed. They shook their heads, saying, “I wish these speakers would just be real.”

Throughout that day, all I kept hearing in the hallways was chatter about what I started to think of as “the elephant in the room” — the sales pressure. But most of the speakers didn’t seem to be sensitive to it.

As I was driving home that night, I started thinking to myself, “Someone needs to have the courage to point out ‘the elephant in the room’ and do something about it”… and that’s what I did the next morning in my talk.

Sunday Morning Before My Talk

On my drive back to the convention center early Sunday, I centered myself in the Mindset, which I teach in my Unlock The Game Program and which so many people have now adopted, by remembering the 3 principles behind the Mindset:

1. Diffuse pressure
2. Be a problem solver
3. Get to the truth

When I was backstage listening to the attendees come in and take their seats, I said to myself, “Ari, just be yourself…relax…don’t try to be someone you’re not…and remember that people trust other people who are truly genuine.” That’s what I had in my mind as I was introduced and stepped onto the stage.

The audience greeted me with warm applause, and I started sharing my story — about how I met my wife online, and how we’re now living in Sydney with our two little boys, Toby and Nathan and how I grew my online business with twice the traffic and 20 times the sales.

I spent quite a bit of time talking about the Mindset — about not focusing on the sale and instead focusing on the truth of what the other person is thinking.

To my surprise, they applauded when I mentioned that. And every time I said things like “humanize,” “build trust,” and “let go of the end goal…because, oddly enough, that brings you more,” they would applaud.

Going Live

I then did something that none of the other speakers did…I went live onto the Internet on the big screen behind me, and I showed them what’s it like to chat with my visitors on my website.

Everyone was floored when they realized that by not talking with visitors on their site, they were losing a large segment of potential opportunity.

I even had one audience member give me their cell phone number (they call them “mobile phones” here in Australia) during the talk. I typed their number into the “Talk With Ari Now” button on my site and their phone rang in the audience….they just couldn’t believe that a real human being was behind the site.

As my talk started to come to an end, I felt some tension brewing in the room, almost as if a lot of the people there were saying to themselves, “Uh-oh, here’s comes the pitch.”

Well, because making a “pitch” is so foreign to who I am and how I was brought up, at the end of my talk, I simply said: “I’m not going to try and close you today. I’m not going to offer multiple discounts to get you to buy what I have. I’m not going to put pressure on you. What you’ve seen today will be a fit for some of you and not a fit for others. If this is a fit for you, you can simply see me at the end of my talk, and we can chat more about your business to see if I can help you.”

After I said that, people all over the room just got beaming smiles on their faces and got off their chairs and began clapping. It was as if a huge cloud of pressure in the room had immediately dissolved.

It was an amazing moment, and what I think their applause really meant was, “Thank you for saying the truth about the ‘elephant in the room.’ We can all see it, but we were afraid to speak up and acknowledge it.”

After my talk, quite a few people came over to me with their order forms. They thanked me for not trying to pressure them to buy but instead letting them make the connection about whether they were a fit or not for how I could help them.

Toward the end of the day, I ran into a couple of the other speakers in the hallway and started chatting with them. Oddly enough, they were very genuine and warm individuals — yet on stage they were completely different, always in “pitch mode.”

I think the lesson I learned from this weekend was that the Mindset is like an anchor in a world that has lost touch with how to be human.

And the more the Mindset becomes a natural and permanent way of thinking, the more I can be my natural self, without having to put on a “role” as a requirement to become successful.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about my story… have you had an experience like this before?