The Greatest Lead Generation Scheme
For several weeks during May and June, a series of wildly exciting full-page ads ran in The Philadelphia Inquirer for a seminar titled GET MOTIVATED! to be held in the massive Wachovia Center, home of the Philadelphia Flyers (hockey) and 76ers (basketball).
Among the speakers with star power were Gen. Colin Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Steve Forbes, Zig Ziglar and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. The cost:
Only $4.95 PER PERSON. Or Send Your Entire Office for Only $19! That’s almost free! Admission at the door: $225 per person. Call immediately to take advantage of this limited time offer.
After seeing this ad three or four times, I did the math. The Wachovia Center seats a maximum of 22,000 people. If completely sold out at $4.95, gross revenue would be $108,900.
That amount would be completely eaten up by speakers' fees. Colin Powell: $100,000 plus private jet. Rudy Giuliani: avg. $80,000. Zig Ziglar: $25,000 to $50,000. Donovan McNabb: $20,000 to $30,000. I could not find Steve Forbes’ fee on the Internet, but it has to be at least $50,000.
The “GET MOTIVATED! Workbook” was an additional $4.99, so the final tally for me was $10 and change (tax). A full house at $10 each would generate $220,000. But speakers’ fees, hall rental, staff, audio-visual, etc., would create serious negative cash flow.
I smelled a rat and decided to sign up.
On May 25 I received a confirming phone call offering a seat in the first two rows for $45, or a seat on the main floor and close to the action for $25. Thanks, but no thanks, was my reply. I wanted to be everyman, sit with the hoi polloi, and feel crowd electricity and sentiment.
At 8:30 a.m., June 17, I arrived at the Wachovia Center, picked up my program and found a seat high up in the second tier. By my estimate the hall was two-thirds full—roughly 15,000 attendees. This was a very mixed crowd made up of celebrity hounds, minorities, business folks, male and female, young and old, retirees, and military. The setup consisted of a large, well-lit, boxing ring-like stage in the round on the main floor with two sets of giant TV screens—four in two tiers over it—so folks in every level had a good view. Even though celebrity speakers prowled the stage and turned their backs on one quarter of the crowd, thanks to expert camera work they were always facing the giant TV screens.