This week is a real treat! Brad Lea sat down and shared with us practical things to do during this pandemic and how we can use it to grow. Listen as he shares 5 pro tips and more.
What is Lightspeed VT?
A web based interactive training system used by a lot of different companies. 20 years ago I was running a car dealership, I took a lot guy making minimum wage brought him upfront and taught him to sell. I was very good at teaching, ultimately showed him how to do it. I watched his whole life transform. I decided at that time, I want to help other people learn to make money. I quit my job and started a training company. When I went out on the road I discovered, it wasn’t as effective and I couldn’t figure out why. I was saying the same thing, doing the same thing. When I started to do the comparison I realized there is four key ingredients to train people. 92% of companies are unaware of this, it’s been my mission to get the knowledge to the people who need it. Light speed is a platform, technology that allows me to create interactive content, deliver, track and measure it online 24/7.
1. Good Content
When I was on the road I was giving the good content but I wasn’t there long enough to give the repetition. I went in and said what I normally say, problem is I didn’t do the other three: Repetition, Practice, and accountability. I realized there had to be another way to do this where I wasn’t traveling living out of a suitcase. People were paying me $10,000 to teach their sales team, once I realized it wouldn’t work I invented light speed. A web based interactive training platform. Ultimately I can emulate what I would have done in real life.
I believe people fail because they don’t have the right information. The reason people go out of business is because they don’t have the right information. My whole mission in life, because I have the tool to do so, is to get the knowledge from the people who have it to the people who need it.
Are your attendees able to pause and ask questions? Or take polls?
It does a couple of things.
1. We can live stream to where people can interact like we are doing on this call.
2. You can create interactive content that is on demand. Meaning they can’t ask you a question because you may be sleeping, but there are discussion boards and chat windows.
3. It allows leaderboard gamification.
If you created an interactive course, it’s meant to be on demand, it’s learning, being tested, role playing and practicing the information. Of course the system is tracking that. The only way to ask a question is in the discussion board.
As a sales person, what can I be doing now (Amid COVID-19) to get a head start?
Ultimately, my recommendation to anybody in the world today, is to pivot or make adjustments. If you sell events and there are not any, you’re not going to sell any. You need to switch or provide a solution. In the sales world, train, practice your skills, get really good while your quarantined, and just skill up. But adjust. Online is where it’s at. Take some of the money you have and ear mark it, don’t call it spend, call it invest. Invest in something currently so you can make money online. That’s what we do. Maybe you have to lower your price. During a rough time like this, if you have knowledge, if you were to bottle that, put it into a training system and give people access it, you could have people paying for that.
Yeah I keep seeing ads for E-learning. What a great time to be offering E-learning.
A lot of times, I talked to someone who had a system but didn’t have content yet. Now his office is closed and he says he can’t do anything. I said open a zoom, hit record, say what you do, hit stop. That is a chapter. Now download that. Boom do it again. Literally with a zoom subscription you can make content. It’s not going to be pretty but now people are not concerned with pretty.
You have 2 years of podcasts and each contain information. Ultimately what I did was hire someone to go back through and take bullet point notes out of, I call it the nuggets. There is a lot of information and next thing you know I built a syllabus and curriculum. Even if I sell to you or not, we’re going to build a relationship. If you literally have confidence, and you understand what you are doing and your product, you’re not going to have a problem, you’re just going to work remote. If you’re selling something that’s not selling. Don’t fret, just shift, adapt.
People are using this to chill and others using it to make it their time to get ahead. Aside from the self betterment, what are things we can be doing to come out the other side in a position to be more successful?
I’d work on mindset. With the right attitude the whole world gets better.
1. One of the things I teach my people is gratitude. A lot of people are panicking, complaining. At the end of the day, I wake up every morning, I open my eyes and think how grateful I am to get another day. I’m 51 now, that’s getting more true everyday.
If I just pretend this wasn’t going on. If I gave you both 5 million each, would anything for the next couple of days or weeks bother you much? No the petty things would go away. If I said I’ll give you the 5 million but you can’t wake up tomorrow, neither of you would want the 5 million. What you realized, is the day you opened your eyes is better than getting 5 million dollars. If you believe that, when you open your eyes in the morning you should be that excited. You just got something more valuable than 5 million dollars.
2. Confidence. People don’t realize subconsciously they don’t like themselves. They have an ego and walk around like they’re cool and love themselves, they don’t. They hate themselves and deep down they don’t understand it. They don’t understand why every decision they make is steering them to nowhere. Overtime our subconscious says this person doesn’t deserve to win and it affects your decisions. This is how you correct it.
1. Forgive and apologize to yourself.
2. Commit to do what you say you’re going to do. If you don’t do this it could have the opposite affect. You are the one’s controlling yourselves.
3. Get up and set 10 small goals. You’re trying to win. Your mind doesn’t know the difference between winning big or winning small. Set 10 small baby goals and hit them. It starts to replace the information in your subconscious. You can’t erase you replace.
4. Block out negative people
5. Continuously improve everyday.
How do we care less about what people think?
Repair your confidence. The reason I don’t care what you have to say is because your opinion is none of my business. I am not worried about what you think of me. I want you to like me but if you don’t that’s ok. If got online everyday and talked trash about meeting planners, all the meeting planners are not going to like me. Do I want them to like me if I don’t like them? No. They would all stop watching me, stop talking to me. That’s what you want. I’m using that to make a point. Most people are afraid the hate they can’t see the love. Just be authentic.
What kind of hope can you give the audience?
This too shall pass. Humans’ first instinct is to survive. You’re going to survive. Sometimes you have to be uncomfortable to grow.
In the morning the Million dollar morning
1. Wake up grateful
2. Focus 15 minutes on your health
3. 15 Minutes on your money
4. Read a book 15 minutes
Twitter: The Meeting Minds
This week is a real treat! Brad Lea sat down and shared with us practical things to do during this pandemic and how we can use it to grow. Listen as he shares 5 pro tips and more.
The event industry is a passion industry! How do we move people in the midst of a pandemic? Nick Borelli, an event strategist, sits down and shares how we can make the pivot!
Tell us how COVID-19 hit you?
I have been asking this question a lot to my friends too. Many of them are dealing with this in immediate ways, and others are being cautiously optimistic. Personally I work for organizations that represent a lot of events. The ones most affected by this and the least likely to bounce back quickly. Everyone on our team self-quarantined. It’s been a moment of reflection before we start working on solutions in the strategy world for our clients who are hurting pretty badly. When it comes to content there is a lot of work to be done now.
There is pain right? There’s very obvious to find pain. It’s just determining where you have authority, what your lane is, and addressing the pain of the people who are most important to you, in order for you to use your skillsets to improve and help. That is where I am coming from and the work I am doing now. How can we prepare people for massive disruptions so they have systems in place to make better decision making based around design thinking.
How do you strategize when you don’t know if something like this is going to happen?
I will address that we are in uncharted waters for the most part. I am not going to say there is this case study to follow. The best case studies are from 1918, not exactly a lot of road maps for success in the midst of a pandemic in the live events industry.
We can rely on frameworks for thinking. Sit reps, something the military uses on what you know, what you don’t know, what to communicate. There is things like what should you be putting out to the world. It’s not about the products you have but you should be talking about your mission and how you can in the midst of this contribute through your mission.
Create benchmarks, tipping points. If this happens then we know it’s too late for this. Lots of listening. This is an unparalleled time, especially in marketing. The best sales and marketing people know it, and the rest of the world is weak on it. You need a chief listening officer right now. You need someone who has their thumb on the pulse of your community and the world.
Most of us are cheerleaders and believe in live events into our soul. We could make more money doing other things but it’s a passion industry. We’re thinking always with our passion in regards to this stuff. Often times our clients are not. They are not as passionate about what they see as one stream. You need to divorce yourself from that and see it is their perspective. We’re a bunch of believers, you should post-pone, I believe that too, we will get through this people will gather again; the problem is, will that message resonate right now? Is that the message we need to hear internally, yes! Is that the message that resonates externally, I don’t know. I think they are thinking, how can I be made whole? We can become partners and use our skills in different ways and address bigger problems. It may be outside of live experiences. Facilitating the goals of our clients should be something we start thinking a little more flexibly about.
How do you do that?
Look at the client’s mission, and really understand it and understand what they are put on this earth to do. And how can you be a facilitator with one less specialty (events)? If your mission is to connect the world, or service this community, how can I use the skills I have in order to facilitate that? I know how to help people achieve goals through design. I do that with architecture and with props, and with things that engage senses. Whatever your contribution is to live experience is, consider how that can be applied in a useful way in this economy and create new lines of revenue in the short term. That’s one option.
The other option is collaboration. There are lots of people hurting. How can you put together a bunch of different skills and create a new product in the interim.
The last thing I want to see is a bunch of people lowering their prices. It’s a race to the bottom. It’s harder to come back from that. Better to create new things that didn’t exist before and those could dissolve after word.
What is the purpose of strategy and how does it work?
Events have phases. There’s an entrance, engagement, and more. Above the phases there are three umbrellas.
For the longest time were were executors, in the late 90’s we got into true sophisticated planning. There’s planning planning planning and it evolved into a conversion of experiential.
What advice do you have for newbies?
Outside of this atmosphere, get out is something people have said. The first people I want to address is the people who have been in the industry for a while and cut that out. Your problems were of time, and building their problems are intellect and we can’t scare away talent. They are going to stand on your shoulders but don’t have your initial thing be “this is a tough industry”.
No matter your contribution, not everyone gets to create the strategy, but everyone should think strategically.
Figure out what you’re good at besides the thing you do. What are you good at the way you think?
Give us a little hope.
I am a generally pretty optimistic person. I do believe a little bit in business darwinism. As much as a recession is a terrible thing to waste. Everyone on the other side of this is going to be smarter and more educated. We might be able to evolve faster than we could. There’s an ability to overcome things that makes you resilient. This is the time to stretch.
Twitter: The Meeting Minds
Tell us how you got to where you are.
I am one of 9 children. The middle child, born and raised on Cape Cod. We were the ultimate party family most of the time. My mother loved to entertain. I learned how to cook with either my mom or my grandmother from age 12 on. I catered my first wedding when I was 15 years old. My grandmother took me in her Cadillac, we loaded the front, back, trunk, and loaded my mother’s station wagon. It was a wedding for 125 people, a little more casual but still I got my start at 15 years old catering weddings. I catered parties through summers and I dove into the world of cooking. I wrote my first cookbook in 1994 and published it in New York City. I went down to the city and never left since 94. I started early and it’s in my blood, it’s something I love. Have been through tough times and boom times. I was a big event planner for Wall Street. It was the world of waste. Then ironically I was a participant in the big climate march. You’ve never seen so many plastic water bottles left on the ground. That was my turning point, when I started inward point. A zero waste event business.
We basically developed an analytics and metrics to measure the carbon footprints of every event. How do you create a zero waste event?
How much extra work is it to do zero waste?
There is a fair amount of extra work. At the end of the day lets do something right and change the world in a positive way! Why get out of bed everyday if you can’t make a positive change. SO yes we are adding an extra layer. It’s not that difficult to call your rental companies and talk about social and environmental impact. Get them thinking. Climate change is real and we can be a part of saving the planet.
Let’s say someone is new, what is one thing they could do that is impactful?
Here’s the irony, of course I am the king now of sustainable events. But I am most famous for freeing up 200,000 plastic water bottles. I was not responsible for that. I’d eliminate plastic from events. That’s not hard, one baby step.
Listen to podcast to hear the FYRE FESTIVAL STORY.
Event Pet Peeves: Poor Service: The customer is always right.
Superpower: Willingness to do anything.
We need to think about what are our own superpowers. What can we do to change this event industry to engage this time right now of quarantine and social distancing? Your going to see a lot of cool stuff come out.
Advice to newbies.
Fail take the risks. Be humble. Get in there get your hands dirty, was them a lot too 😉 but be willing to do whatever it takes. That is going to be the secret ingredient.
Twitter: The Meeting Minds
This week were were joined by Frank Supovitz who wrote the book on “What to do when things go wrong?” While the world around us is changing, Frank shares hope and how we can and will pick up the pieces.
Give us your background.
I started at Radio City Music Hall as an usher and worked my way through the organization. Found myself in the special events department. We did the events outside Radio City: Super Bowl Half times, Olympic ceremonies. I was there for 16 years. Then I was head of events for the National Hockey League for 13 years. Then NFL for 10 seasons. Then started my own company Fast Traffic Events and Entertainment in 2014. I worked on the Indy 500, redevelopment of the South Street seaport, the new rooftop at Pier 17. Continued to work on more and more different things all the time!
You had a lot to planning super bowls!
I did for a decade, it was an incredible experience. The Super Bowl is so much more than the halftime show. It’s a mega event filled with everything from games, THE game, to fan festivals, to big parties and meetings. It takes over an entire city. SB actually take 4 years to plan. At any one time you’re working on 3 or 4 of them at once. You’re just at different stages of development. When I left in 2014 a lot of the plans I had put in place for Super Bowls were still going to be rolling out. When you’re working on an event with many details, and that many venues, that many things you have to worry about: something somewhere is going to go wrong for you at some point. Every single time. Sometimes they are tiny details only you know about them, sometimes a handful of people know about them, if you’re less lucky your audience finds out about them.
I wanted to get your insight into how do you know when to cancel?
Safety is not negotiable. People’s health not negotiable. If you have a situation where safety is compromised, first, second, and third priority is keeping people safe. It doesn’t necessarily even have to be like a situation we are facing now. It could have been anything. Any number of things could get in your way. If safety is an issue, it’s not even a question. You just have to bite the bullet, financial considerations come forth after safety safety safety. It’s a really hard decision to make because there are so many people that are dependent on an event moving forward. It’s not just the audience that gets disappointed. It’s all the people like us who manage the events, the people that work with us to manage and coordinate. If it just gets canceled and not postponed, it can really affect the ability to keep people employed. That’s a tough decision to make.
How should you know if you should cancel or postpone?
It really depends on the event. If you can do it, if the venues are available, it’s so much better to postpone and give people both your business and your fans something to look forward to.
We’re all talking about, “When will people pick events back up.” What is your perspective on this?
I don’t think it will be a switch you turn on and people show up. Once it becomes determined you can do these things again, there’s going to be skittishness in the marketplace. “Do I want to be the early adopter?” It’s going to take a while. I think it’s inside that 8 week period that we have been talking about, it’s a question of when the situation peaks, when it starts to decrease, when it becomes safe again. It’s not going to be something where suddenly you unlock a stadium and 80,000 people show up.
How do I get through this? That’s on everybody’s minds right now.
There’s something going on everywhere. I am doing it to: the first few days you’re unraveling everything you’ve done. That’s hard. The second thing is how do I stage myself to recover? Recovery is going to be slow. It’s not going to be instant. That’s what everybody has to focus on. People are keeping themselves relevant, top of mind, what are you doing how are you doing. It’s a people business. Freelancers should continue keeping contact all the time so when it does come back you’re top of mind. That’s really important.
Be creative, we’re all creative people. Stay on social media, write an article or two about what you’re doing and what you’re going through and what you see the future being. I think social media is the best self publishing opportunity and best PR opportunity for everybody. Just keep in touch with everybody in the industry. We’re all going through it.
People are really dedicated to what they do for a living. They know the meeting and event business is something that brings people together, it’s a way of communicating. It’s a way of entertaining people, those are basic human needs and the people who work in our business, really know what place they play if they are really passionate about what they do. They know how important they are.
I want to talk about your book, talk about who it’s for, what is it about?
It’s funny, I speak to a lot of event people. This book resonates with them, there’s a lot of important lessons told through event stories. The original idea was for project managers. It was all about providing business managers with a framework for how to prepare for a crisis and how to manage it if it happens anyway. Event and meeting people really enjoy the book because so many of the stories and lessons are told through the disciplines they know really well, which is an event planning. Planning is really the second step in thinking about how you’re going to manage a crisis. It’s something I learned along the way: we all know how to get to point a to point b. That’s the plan we create. But if you’re not imagining the things that could possibly go wrong, you can’t create the right contingencies. If it hasn’t happened to you, it just hasn’t happened to you yet.
How do we move forward and give us some hope!
We’re really at a turning point. Respond to what’s happening, don’t react to what’s happening. Reacting you make decisions without reasoning them through. That’s true of any crisis you face. Just take a breath, don’t panic. Panic really paralyzes decision making. Or good decision making. Take a step back and decide what the right course of action is.
We will recover, humans are social animals. We need to hear from other people, need to hear what others think. That’s why social media is such a big part of our lives right now. Just know that it’s going to come back together. We’re going to get people together as a group, we may change our business a bit and find there’s a hybrid of virtual and live that needs to be a little bit more ingrained in our lifestyle but that’s ok. Everyone will want to get back together again, it’s just a matter of time. I’m convinced. It’s just a matter of how long.
Tell us about you.
Growing up, my dad was a business owner, so I always kind of pictured myself owning a business or something that way. I started my first business out of my college dorm room in 2003. I had a bad t-shirt order and my roommate, Ryan looked at me, “Hey, we should start a business so nobody else has to go through what you just went through.” I was naive enough as a 19 year old, I was like, “how would we do it?” He goes over to our dorm room door, shuts it, and he pitches me the idea and I’m like, I’m in. That summer we worked hard. Thew next fall we started business, from there, by the time I sold that we had done about 500,000 pieces of apparel.
It opened so many doors. What I liked about running an online custom apparel business was, I built it from the dorm room where people had no idea that I was in 19 or 20 year old kid. They thought I was like a 40 or 50 year old man. What I liked about it was I practiced my skill of customer service or customer care in a way that, I built it so I would never have to meet my customers. I learned the soft skills of phone and email just as it was getting going in 2003, 2004, or 2005. I fit a ton of experience into those few years in college and then just grew.
I love Co-Ed Monkey, still buy shirts now. They have great customer service.
I’ll step back quick and say in 2008, when the economy tanked, every business really struggled. I stepped back and I went into debt. It was bad, and I looked at my business and I hated life. I was a probably 20, $30,000 in debt and had no idea how I was going to pay it back. And I looked at the business and I hated it. I hated waking up in the morning. I hated answering emails. I hated every single thing about my business. I remember I sat at Starbucks, I kinda hit this low point and I call it my Starbucks experience.
In business you’re always told like dream about, you know where you’re going to be someday. I pictured a corner office and all these things and what we would be building. And I realized that amidst all the busy-ness of business in the dreaming, the one thing I forgot to dream about was my customers and what they should expect out of my business. I thought about how much money I would make, everything and I forgot about the customer. So I call it my Starbucks experience because back then the internet at Starbucks was very bad. So I couldn’t answer my email, I couldn’t do anything. And I sat there with a white piece of paper and I just go, if I could build a company for my customer, what should they expect? That changed everything. I started dreaming and before I knew it then that changed everything about my business. I looked at it, there’s either customer service or there’s customer care. Services is reactive, cares is proactive. Once you find the thing that you do different. Once you find thing though, you’re one, two, maybe three things different than your competition. You double down, double down, double down.
How do you stand out? How do you make your events stand out? How do you make your business stand out?
Let’s break it right down to the event thing. I think today’s events, it’s not about putting on events, it’s about curating pieces that people will talk about. I think it’s about somebody that comes to your event. They go to how many events, how many galas, and they see how many MCs and MC is an MC. They’re all funny. The stage is now in the middle or it’s up front. You know like you can only do so many different things, but I think there are the little touches that make people go, how did they think of that? Like when the speaker says, I want you all at your table, I want you to stand up and shuffle around. Now I don’t want you to just to sit at your table anymore. And actually forces networking. It creates touch points, elbow rubbing moments where now you’re forced to meet people you didn’t come with.
It’s like the flowers. You know how many events, especially if you’re talking about weddings, it’s like “who did those flowers? Who did that?” I think as an event planner, I would want people going “who did that?”. I’d want so many “who did that” moments coming out of my event because that’s what makes people go, I want to go back to their event. It’s not just coming up with something new, but it’s more thought and it makes that needle and thread through your brand and every event feel like it’s the same thing.
It makes me start thinking about how do you create the standout moments in all of the elements of a show?
A great thing that is totally under utilized the events space, cause I get to speak at a lot of events, and one thing I started offering to any place I speak at I say, “Hey, I love it coming into your event to do the keynote for you.” I go in there just like every other speaker. I do the speech for 45 or 50 minutes. And now what I like to say is, “Hey, I love the idea though of your people going back to their people and talking about what I talked about. So for you, I want to offer a webinar. You plan it, it’s going to be an hour long. They can invite anybody they want on it. We’re going to talk about what we talked about that day. And the event’s going to keep going.” Everybody gets pumped about that. 25% of them actually do it. These people already move on to the next thing and then they wonder why their event struggles later.
It’s because they’re not doing the little things that separate them from every other brand.
So the question is how do you set yourself apart from being lazy? I think one of the big things you talk about that I really enjoy and maybe you could go deeper on this is how do you make your yourself stand out as an individual?
I think it’s holding yourself to a standard and going, when people hear my name, what do they think about me? Maybe it’s not all what you want, but I think we can strive for that. My team at CloseSimple, that’s my real estate software, we basically created like a pizza tracker for the home closing process. Before this there was nothing. What’s been really fun is we’re instilling culture now in our people and we’re having them read the Gary Keller book, the guy who founded Keller Williams One Thing. Now my entire team has their one thing. Each person has a different one, which is different than in traction, the rocks that they might be doing. This is my one thing for my job, not for company, but for my job that’s going to push the company forward.
It’s clarifying what your one thing is. If you can only accomplish one thing this week that’s going to actually create momentum for you to do other things, what is that? If I’m going to do an event, what’s the one thing I can do leaving this event? Outside of the typical stuff, there should be a checklist. If I’m going to be exceptional and something that people actually want to be a part of, what’s something additional.
What other books do you love?
I think a great book, just one of the best books of all time. If you’re looking for that next idea, how do you stand out? Made to stick. It’s why do some ideas stick and some don’t. It’s unbelievable. Chip and Dan Heath, brilliant guys. If you want to get the book awesome. I love the book, but this is one of the rare audio books that you listen to and are like, it’s better audio than reading.
Super power: I am amazing if I’m at a conference or business, looking what people wear, sizing them up exactly and knowing like where to shift the conversation based on like what they’re wearing. Often it’s going to start with what they’re wearing, it creates the conversation.
Twitter: The Meeting Minds