Because I teach about summits, many people assume that none of the normal mindset issues that tend to come up with summits apply to me, but that is so not the case!
I’ve talked about some of my mindset challenges before, like my story of self-doubt leading up to my first summit and also when I shared fears I had throughout the process with my first summit. But the truth is, I don’t really think those mindset fears ever fully go away.
Even after I’d hosted the same successful summit 5 times, I still had mindset issues going into that 6th round. They just looked a little different than they did with my first one. I might not have been as nervous about pitching speakers (although I do get a little nervous for each new event I host), but I was worried about being able to live up to my elevated expectations after previous successful events. And you know what? The most recent one didn’t hit those expectations…but it was okay!
All that to say, if you’re planning for a summit, whether it’s your first or fifth, know that any self-doubt or nervousness you’re feeling is totally valid and totally normal.
So let’s dive into the main mindset issues I had with launching my course through a summit and I’ll also share one thing that I didn’t think to be worried about that I definitely should have been.
Let’s rewind and talk about the first time I launched through a summit. This was back in 2020 for a summit called Sell with a Summit: Course Creator Edition.
Launching wasn’t part of the initial plan. I hadn’t seen anyone do it well before so it’s not like I was purposely positioning a summit to launch our course. But as we were planning, it just naturally came up as something that would fit too well to not do.
The summit promise was to help course creators hit their biggest launch yet with a virtual summit, but as we got further into the planning process I realized... they can’t do that, or at least they shouldn’t do that…without Summit in a Box®” so my cohost, Jenn, and I decided to build in a launch.
Up to that point, everyone I’d heard talk about launching through a summit basically said you shouldn’t. They said it was too much to go from a summit straight into a launch so you should wait a few weeks or months before a launch. So that’s what I was saying too!
But as we we were planning for our summit, it literally felt silly to get our attendees excited to host a summit without the one program that exists with every strategy, training, and template to make it easy!
So we decided to tie it right into the summit, and that’s where all my fears started coming in.
My #1, biggest fear was that using the summit as a launch method would end up feeling too pitchy to attendees. This was my biggest fear because when I first came across summits in 2015, the way people used them to launch was literally just a constant pitch-fest.
I knew I didn't want my event to feel like that.
I was worried that launching Summit in a Box® would distract from the summit itself and that people would think I was hosting the summit just to launch the course and that truly wasn’t the case…the launch idea came second as a way to serve them better.
I actually worked on this with Desola Davis, who is an incredible customer journey expert. I knew I had the summit part down, but I just really wanted to make sure the launch part felt good to people and made sense. I hired her and we put our heads together to do some problem-solving around this piece and a few others we’ll get to.
But I’m happy to report back now and say that we were absolutely able to weave in the course throughout the event in a way that didn’t feel like a constant pitch. It actually just served to build awareness really well, which is a big part of what we teach inside of our Launch with a Summit Accelerator.
Know that this is a valid fear and there is a fine line here. You don’t want to be constantly pitching, but you need your attendees to know that your offer exists and is coming.
Do some brainstorming around how you can build that awareness without actually pitching during the event.
My second fear with launching through a summit was that it would feel like too much, too soon for people who were new to me.
Part of the beauty of a summit is that you have a bunch of cold traffic discovering you for the first time from speakers, affiliates, and maybe ads. What I didn’t want to do was to be like “Hey, nice to meet you, buy my all-access pass. Ok thanks! Now buy this $2000 program”.
I know that the all-access pass is a totally different offer that solves a different problem, but I was worried that it would come off the wrong way. As much as I fully believe that no one should host a summit without our programs, and my intention was to launch my course as a way to serve them better, going straight to a pitch for someone who isn’t ready for it just doesn’t feel right to me.
So again, this is something Desola and I worked through together and we came up with a way to only launch to people who indicated that they were ready for it, rather than launching to anyone who signed up for the summit. This made it feel a whole lot better.
Did I miss out on some sales? Maybe.
But I also know that I kept a lot more of my new subscribers and have been able to nurture them to additional sales since that event.
In fact, I ran some numbers a couple of months back and can see that we brought in an additional $160,000 in sales from attendees that have purchased one of our core offers in the 1.5 years following that summit. And you won’t hear me complaining about that! A lot of those people would have probably unsubscribed if I would have forced them through a launch they weren’t ready for.
The truth is that if someone signed up for your summit and your summit is positioned well in relation to your course, (which is something else we focus on inside of the Accelerator) your offer is a natural next step that will truly serve them well.
But it’s also important to pay attention to who is ready and who isn’t. I really believe in segmenting your attendees based on that and only launching to the people who are ready, which is something else we dive into more in our Accelerator program.
My next set of fears around launching through a summit had to do with selling an all-access pass.
Now, I have heard some of the biggest names in the industry say that you don’t really make money through a summit and an all-access pass isn’t worth it to sell. But I fully believe that those people didn’t host their summit the right way because the $20k, $60k, and $121k summits I’ve hosted, as well as the results from hundreds of clients and students, say otherwise.
So because I’m someone who clearly sees the power of an all-access pass, I wanted to make sure these offers worked well together.
So again, Desola and I went into problem-solving mode. It was her idea to give our all-access pass buyers a special offer on the course, which felt great to everyone and went over really well.
And then I decided that I would never be offering both to one attendee at the same time and that it would go in phases, so that’s what I did and it worked really well.
It's a valid concerns, but you can definitely do some problem-solving around it.
You 100% don’t have to give all-access pass buyers a special offer for your course, membership, or group program, but it’s definitely an option.
The next concern I ran into related to my speakers.
I truly value my summit speakers so highly and the last thing I wanted was for them to feel like they were being used to launch my course because that’s not at all the case.
I honestly want every one of my speakers to be able to build their email list by hundreds of people, connect with each other, and have their time to shine in the event.
So I knew, going in, that my course was not going to compete with any of that.
Overall, I believe that if you go in with the right intentions, they’ll shine through, and you won’t have a whole lot to worry about.
My next fear related to something I had heard people say that I hadn’t quite formed opinions on at the time (but you can bet I have them now!) and that is the fear that “free summits attract low-quality leads”.
This topic makes me SPICY, and I just added a full episode on this to our content calendar for a few weeks from now, so stay tuned. It’s taking everything in me not to dive into it too much right now, because it definitely deserves its own post.
Overall, I was worried that a free summit wouldn’t work to convert attendees into a $2000 offer, and I was worried that no one would buy. It was a proven offer that I had launched once or twice before that point, but I had never launched through a summit before and honestly just didn’t know if it would go over well or work.
Good news and spoiler alert: Free summits do not attract “low-quality” leads, whatever that means. And yes, people will buy if your event is positioned correctly, and you have a proven offer that is presented well, even if it's a much higher price point than your all-access pass.
These are all the main fears that I had going into this first launch through a summit.
I was worried…
I’m happy to tell you that none of that was the case when I launched with a summit for the first time. We’ve been able to continue to improve that process since then, and our clients in the Launch with a Summit Accelerator have continued to see incredible results.
Now, there is one thing I wasn’t worried about that I definitely should have been! And that’s the amount of work that goes into launching an offer along with everything that goes into hosting a summit.
I was 100% not prepared for this, and I’m so lucky that I had a cohost for this event. I spent the week before and the week of the summit hustling hard to pull together everything I needed for the launch.
I remember being in the chatbox for one of our summit presentations with a big post-it pad mapping out the segments I was and wasn’t going to launch to. I was also scheduling launch emails at the last minute, and setting up webinar tech the day before.
From my perspective, it was a mess, but that’s just because I had no idea what to expect effort-wise, and I underestimated what went into it until it was too late.
So learn from my mistakes!
In our Accelerator program, we actually have our clients start by prepping for the course launch, which mostly includes pulling together all of your past launch material to repurpose in the summit context.
That way, it’s ready before they start summit planning so they're not trying to pay attention to both things at once. And when the time comes in the summit to plug in the launch piece, it’s all waiting and ready to go and they don't have to miss a beat.
So, definitely keep that in mind!
I always say you should give yourself 90 days to plan for a summit. If you're incorporating a launch into your summit, give yourself 120 days.
And if your offer isn’t proven, please do a launch of it before trying to launch through a summit. But that’s a topic for another day!
I hope this episode was helpful and lets you see that any concerns you have are totally valid, but that there are also proven ways to work around every single one of those concerns. You can leverage the most powerful launch strategy out there to get incredible results while impacting your attendees lives or businesses and giving your speakers a great experience.
Learn how much time to set aside for planning and launching your profitable, stress-free online summit and use my calculator to set the due dates for you.