Are Virtual Summits On Their Way Out?

summit basics Dec 26, 2019

Are virtual summits on their way out? Let’s cover why some might think so, my response, and what summits are indeed on their way out, rightfully so.

You might have heard people say that summits are on their way out. They'll say things like, “There's too many of them. No one likes them anymore. They're not an effective way to market your business.” 

It's true that certain types of summits are on their way out, but yours doesn't have to be one of them!

In this episode we'll cover:

  • why people might say that summits are on their way out
  • my response to that
  • the types of summits that *are* indeed on their way out
  • how to make sure you host a summit that gets results

Virtual Summits on Their Way Out

The first time I heard someone say that summits were on their way out, I had just hosted my 1st summit.  Boy did that fire me up! How did I just quadruple my normal monthly income, triple my email list, and book my services out for six months in advance... with something that's on its way out?

But after I thought about that, cooled down a little bit, took a step back, I was able to see where they were coming from...mostly.

It Depends on Your Approach

It depends on the approach. Gross marketing, heavy connectionless summits are most certainly on their way out, and they should have been a long time ago.

People are too smart to sign up for a weeklong pitch fest where they don't benefit.

For example, back in 2015, I went to a summit like this. They had 5-7 presenters per day with big names I’d seen around Pinterest and Twitter. Immediately after signing up, I was being hit with constant promotions to join their course platform.

That wasn't necessarily the problem. It's a good strategy, but the problem was how they went about it. I was being made to feel like I was “less than” if I didn't buy what they were selling. The entire point of this summit was for me to buy that. It wasn't really for me to benefit.

Along with that, there was no community aspect whatsoever. All I could do to participate was get hit with the multiple emails they were sending every day.

The presentations were just webinars for whatever their presenters were selling. These presentations made you realize that you were missing something and instead of helping you make steps towards that solution, like your summit presentations should do, they just pitched you their offer as a solution.

It was a giant pitch fest, no personal connection, no benefit for me. To top it off, at the end of the summit, my email address was shared with every single speaker, whether or not I cared about their presentation.

Suddenly, I was getting hit with emails and newsletters from about 30 different people.

Those kinds of summits are out. I still want nothing to do with the brand that hosted that summit. So how can you do it differently?

How To Host A Summit People Want to Attend

If you do it differently, you do not have to worry about your summit being on the way out. Because clearly with the results I listed earlier that I've had, they still work.

Lead with Value and Connection

The first piece of doing it differently is to lead with value and connection. When you go into your summit, do not lead by planning out every single way you're going to make money off of this. Yes, you want to know that, but first lead with value and connection.

Craft your summit to solve a real problem that your audience has. You want to hand-select your speakers, who can and will help your audience with a piece of the puzzle that does not require attendees to buy something to get started.

I don't mind when, at the end of presentations, there's a pitch for a free offer, as long as the presenters and attendees were able to take steps forward and make a step towards their transformation through that presentation.

The most important piece of this value portion is to focus on creating that transformation.

After that comes the connection. Transformation paired with connection is incredibly powerful.

In the emails you send to summit attendees, take some time away from pitching to make a real connection. Let your attendees know that you're here to help, understand their struggles, and show them that you're a real person and not just someone trying to get money out of them. Do that by focusing on the connection.

Give Attendees a Place to Connect

You also want to have that community aspect. Give attendees a place to connect with each other, and your speakers as well.

This can be a Facebook group that's only open during your summit, so you don't have to moderate it all year long if you don't want to.

In that group, you're going to do things like:

  • Post daily prompts to get attendees engaged.
  • Ask them for their biggest takeaways every day during the summit.
  • Encourage people to ask questions and give feedback.
  • Give them some bonus trainings.
  • Make real connections over video so they know you're a real person.

This lets attendees go from being talked at to being able to have a conversation- which makes a world of difference when it comes to something like a summit.

Once they leave, they're going to have such a positive experience with you and your brand. They're going to become raving fans, and you’re going to get better results through your summit and afterward because of that.

Time for A Gut Check

Right now, I want you to do a quick gut check.

  1. Are you hosting your summit for the right reasons?
  2. Are you in it to help people or is the only goal to make money?

If you're in it for the right reasons and focus on making a transformation for your audience, you don’t have to worry about the kind of summit you're hosting being on its way out.

You can watch other people say that it's happening but know that they’re thinking about the wrong type of summit and that's not what you are doing.



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