Lessons Learned From a Successful Summit

I recently hosted a successful summit called the Grow & Profit Online Summit a few months ago.

I’ve been organizing successful summits for more than eight years. Today, I want to bring you lessons I learned from an actual event I hosted.

My successful summit

The summit was broken into three days:

  • Day one, generating leads.
  • Day two, engaging leads.
  • Day three, monetization of leads.

Every single expert was qualified in one of those three areas. If they were not qualified to speak on any of those topics, they weren’t included.

My event had about 25 experts, with me being the 26th. Speaking of which, you should also seriously consider being an expert at your own summit.

Rather than doing the standard interview, I chose to let speakers do their presentations as they saw fit. I find that often eliminates fluff, and allows experts to get straight to the point.

One thing I hate about interviews is I never know if people are prepared. There’s nothing worse than your expert fumbling. With presentations, however, they can prepare exactly what they want to say beforehand.

Is it putting more work on their shoulders? Yes. But I find that extra work makes experts more invested in the program. An invested expert always leads to a successful summit.

Time considerations

A lot of people will tell you a successful summit can be organized in 90 days. Not only do I disagree, I strongly advise against it.

Ninety days is a very tight timeframe to work with. It might seem like a lot before you start, but you’ll soon find out it’s not enough.

Think of your experts. You probably want to get big names participating in your event. The kind of people you want has their calendars booked out weeks in advance. Giving them a window of 10 to 12 weeks is unrealistic.

I gave myself five months for planning. In those five months, I managed to get some pretty big names on my expert list. I didn’t have a problem getting speakers at all.

All my people were ready and lined up a month before we started recording. Speaking of recording, I also did that well in advance. That meant the editing and all final touches were done without much hustle.

I used to let things run on until just before launch. That was stressful and not good for me, or for the people around me. Here’s an article I wrote on how launch stress can affect you.

I wasn’t going to let it happen this time.

A successful summit is the result of strategic promotional activities

Starting to promote your event weeks—maybe even months—beforehand is a good thing. It puts the summit in people’s minds, and the process of repetition makes sure they don’t forget.

That said, the bulk of your subscribers are going to register anywhere from the last week or the last 72 hours before the event, right up to the last 24 hours.

If you’re new to this, the question of whether or not people are going to register can drive you up the wall.

My best advice is to intensify your promotional activities as the date draws nearer. But also start putting yourself out there long before the time.

The longer the promo period, the more people are more likely to take notice. If you only promote once or twice a day, there’re large numbers of people out there not seeing your messages at all.

Dealing with experts

Another reason you want to give yourself more time has to do with your experts. Your experts are human, and as people, life happens all the time.

Experts might tell you they’ll promote your event when you approach them. Come the final weeks before launch, they’ll have forgotten. So a lot of reminding needs to happen.

Read this for more reasons experts might not be promoting your event.

I was able to connect with my experts because I had a lot of time on my hands.

I had enough time to tell them about promoting the summit, and in turn, they were able to tell me how they planned on promoting it.

And letting experts determine how they want to promote is very important. They know their followers better than you do, and are in a position to determine what works.

That said, remember an expert will never care about your summit more than you do. That goes for your favorites and those you have an established relationship with as well.

It’s your baby, so you’re the one who has to take the extra step.

One of the ways to do that is to build relationships with your experts. Show them that you actually care about them in general, beyond what they can do for you.

One of my experts had a death in the family close to the promo period. She was still gracious enough to participate in the summit. I made a point of checking on her and just making sure she was okay.

Consider creating an affiliate system

Having an affiliate system is a great encouragement for experts.

Increasing monetary value is a tried and tested means of getting people to participate in stuff. It can also help your experts realize there’s something more than just speaking for them to benefit.

I gave my experts 40% of all sales that came in from their links.

Speaker kick off promo call

This is when you get as many of your experts as you can to meet over Zoom.

Inform them about the promotional process. Give them the links, graphics, and any other information they need to get promoting.

If you don’t do this, you’re gonna get the summit version of the dog ate my homework, which is I don’t have my promo materials.

I feel obliged to remind you that at the end of the day, the summit is your responsibility. Its success lies squarely on your shoulders. Making sure experts don’t have a reason to avoid promoting is all on you.

Speaker panels

I had a speaker panel where all experts were invited. This was on each night after the day’s main event.

I sometimes had 15 experts on my speaker panels, and it was great. Very interesting conversations were generated as a result.

Above all, the panels added some fun and an opportunity for banter to the whole affair.

A successful summit is not immune from unforeseen problems

Nothing is certain in life. Problems will always arise. Speaking as someone experienced in running summits, problems can’t be avoided.

My first problem was that the funnel went down overnight. It was capturing information from leads, but failing to enter that info into my system.

It apparently broke down at around two in the morning. Three of my experts from Australia and New Zealand brought it to my attention, and I knew of the problem when I got up at six.

I definitely missed out on some leads. There’s no question about it. The important thing is we fixed it in time.

Even you can host a successful summit

Summits are not easy to organize. There’re too many things to take care of. There’re too many strategies and time considerations at play.

By giving yourself enough time and knowing how to handle your experts, you can host a successful summit to remember.

The Grow & Profit Online Summit was not my first nor my last successful event. I’ve hosted nearly 300 successful summits in the last eight years. If you need an expert in your corner, book a free call with me today.


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