Do you want to know how to best sell your masterclass without feeling sleazy?
Listen in as Sue Clement shares how to silently and effectively sell your masterclass to gain visibility, credibility, and authority to land more clients for your business.
Do you want to know how to best sell your masterclass without feeling sleazy?
Listen in as Sue Clement, business acceleration strategist, shares how to silently - and effectively - sell your masterclass to gain visibility, credibility, and authority to land more clients for your business.
In this week's powerful episode "How to Best Sell Your Masterclass Without Feeling Sleazy" you will discover…
[00:00:00] Susan Friedmann: Welcome to Book Marketing Mentors, the weekly podcast where you learn proven strategies, tools, ideas, and tips from the masters. Every week I introduce you to a marketing master, who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books.
Today my special guest is a business acceleration strategist. For the past twenty-one years, Sue Clement has specialized in helping entrepreneurs expand their visibility, grow their profits, increase their impact, and scale to six and seven figures. Having performed hundreds of live and virtual presentations, Sue has created her signature masterclass conversion framework which she and her clients have used to convert clients like crazy and generate up to 6,000 in one 90-minute presentation.
Wow! That's amazing! A new friend and colleague, Sue, what an absolute pleasure it is to welcome you to the show and thank you for being this week's guest expert and mentor.
[00:01:05] Sue Clement: Thanks for having me here, Susan! I'm so excited to share and connect with everyone!
[00:01:11] Susan Friedmann: Yes and, Sue, you are a genius at helping clients with your special masterclass conversion framework. And I've had a little taster of that. I really want us to talk about this whole concept of masterclasses. And I think, the best place to start is always at the beginning, so let's look at the basics so that we really understand this verbiage and, you know, everybody understands exactly what is a masterclass.
[00:01:40] Sue Clement: That's a great question, Susan, because so often people kind of get them mixed up because it depends on where you come from and how long you've been in business and how things have changed over the years. But, you know, a masterclass - some people think it's a webinar, masterclass, and there's a bit of a discussion out there.
People sometimes think that a webinar is meant to sell and a masterclass is meant to teach. And from my point of view, it doesn't matter really what you call it. They're basically a virtual presentation and they should both teach and sell, from my point of view.
[00:02:15] Susan Friedmann: And I know that that's something that you really do well. With that in mind, how do you feel that it can help an author with their book and their message?
[00:02:27] Sue Clement: Well, absolutely! You know, when we think about doing a masterclass, ultimately, a lot of business owners do it because they're looking for a customer, beginning from the back end of it. But we're being short-sighted if we just look from that point of view, because, truly, doing a masterclass is a great way for you to use that credibility and become the authority on the topic.
It is also a way to get visibility and, of course, to get leads, to build your community, and, ultimately, to get clients if you're selling something at the end of it. But really it's truly designed for credibility and visibility. I call it the audience and authority building that it provides, it's incredible.
[00:03:07] Susan Friedmann: Is there a percentage of time that you would be sharing your expertise, let's say? And then, how much percentage of that time would you spend on that versus how much time would you spend on that, talking about, maybe, a product or a service that you wanted to sell?
[00:03:27] Sue Clement: I love that you asked that question because, frankly, that's one of the mistakes that a lot of people do. I call it "the sales-y weirdo" when people teach and then they sell. And it becomes very pitchy and they're uncomfortable, the audience is uncomfortable and, ultimately, it doesn't do what you want it to do.
My strategy and the way I teach my clients is that we sell all the way through, but we're not really selling, we're positioning our offer. We're silently selling and we can sell, basically, from how we get engagement at the beginning of the masterclass, how we set up the audience so that they are participating and then we get that enrollment and that engagement. How we position ourselves in our story, our hero's journey story as I like to call it.
We have to make sure that we tell people where we come from and then they can see that we are the experts, but also they can understand that we'd walked in their path, that we know where they at, you know, ahead of time. But, really, the selling happens through the content and the stories that you sell and how you pre-sell or pre-handle the objections right off the bat. So that when you get to make your offer at the end, it's not really a pitch or an offer.
You've taken the audience on this wonderful journey where you've shared information, where you've told stories, and where you've shared testimonials. Then, almost by the time you get to the end, they can't wait to hear what your offer is going to be, because they're so warmed up. They get to know you, you're credible, they're really looking to buy from you at the end.
I mean, that's what one of my clients said to me. She was so amazed when she followed my framework. She goes, "I've never done it before that I had so many people waiting and wanting to hear what I was going to offer them at the end." And when we get to that, then it isn't like we're pitching, we're not really being that sales-y weirdo. We are, basically, just taking the audience on a journey and inviting them to take action.
[00:05:22] Susan Friedmann: You know, I love that, that "sales-y weirdo", that's going to stick in my head, I know. And I've seen you demonstrate this. It's brilliant and you're absolutely right because I attended a session where you taught the class and you were demonstrating the skills at the same time, while you were teaching this class. I was like, "This is brilliant!" Perhaps, you could give us a little taster of this framework, so to whet our listeners' appetite.
[00:05:56] Sue Clement: I like to break down the masterclass into three key areas, and the first is the opening sequence. Like anything, we've all heard that phrase and if you do any speaking at all, you know that you need to grab that audience in the first few seconds. They say that the first impressions are lasting. We want to make sure that we have a strong opening where we need to position, you know, we, first of all, need to engage the audience first, before we do anything.
We need to bring them on board, we want to take them on this journey with us, so we need to, you know, enroll the audience to participate with us. And then we need to position the topic, what we're going to be talking about.
We need to position ourselves, as I mentioned, the hero's journey story. We need to position the audience so they feel that they made a great decision and they're in a right place. And we need to position the talk so that they get excited to know what's coming so that they understand that they made a good decision, that they are in the right room, and that they can't wait to hear what you're going to be sharing.
My trick is that we want to position the offer, not make it, just position it at the beginning before we even get into the contents. So that's the opening sequence. That's phase one, so to speak. Now we have the content piece. Choosing what your content is, is so critical because if you have content that doesn't align with your offer at the end, you're not going to have the conversions that you're looking for. And I'm all about making sure that your masterclass or webinar converts.
We have to make sure we select the right content that's going to lead people to wanting our offer at the end. And we tell stories. We all know stories are memorable, they're viral, they're repeatable. Every time we get together with our friends or family members, what are we doing? We're telling stories about our day, our week, our lives, and what's going on. And so, we want to make sure that we position our content within the story. That's what really makes it engaging and interesting.
The people are learning, but they're learning in an enjoyable manner. And they're also, as I mentioned earlier, being sold to at the same time, but they don't really feel like they're being sold to. They're going on this wonderful journey of information and learning.
Then, finally, the third piece is we need to close off and that's the closing sequence. And my closing sequence is quite unique, it takes the audience on a journey. We just don't finish our teaching and go, okay! Now, let's, you know, make an offer, let's make our pitch. Instead, what we want to do is we want to do a solid review.
And then, you know, I call it "paint the dream", we want to show them what's possible if they were to take action. And then bring them back to the reality check and where they are so that when they make the offer, they now see a gap. And, you know, that's one thing when it comes to selling, your prospects need to be problem-aware and they need to see that there's a gap.
If they don't see that there's a gap, if you overfed them with content, they're not going to take action. It's really about making sure that you position the gap so that they see you as the credible expert that's going to get them from where they are to where they want to get to.
[00:08:56] Susan Friedmann: Yeah, because they've got a challenge, whether it's a problem or challenge, whatever you want to call it. There's something that's not working for them. They're coming to you with the hope that you're going to help them solve this.
What I'm hearing is that the content, stories, and everything are positioned around you showing that you are a capable expert and you are the expert, the authority to help them solve that problem. Am I with you correctly?
[00:09:28] Sue Clement: Absolutely! As I mentioned, the content is such a valuable piece. It's not like just throwing anything up against the wall and thinking, "Oh, I'll just talk about X." We have to make sure that that content is going to take the audience to... They learn some information, but they also learn what they don't know, that they're lacking in some manner.
And so, when you make your offer, they go, "Oh my gosh! I'm on one side of the bridge, and I want to get to the other side. And you are the person that's going to get me across this chasm." And that's really what the content is meant to do is to inform, and educate them. They need to feel like they've got a small win.
And that's one of the mistakes, I think, is the content and it's interesting because we can kind of diminish this as being, "Oh, I can just teach anything." But it's also not just what the content is, but it's the volume of content. And this was, oh my gosh, Susan, this was my biggest mistake I used to make all the time.
When I first started speaking- I'm kind of, I guess, a teacher, teacher-styled by method and I would really over deliver. It would be like this buffet information. I would take people up and down the buffet and there was no food there. But I would actually want to deliver so much content that what happened was at the end when I wanted to make my offer, there was no gap.
Because people felt that they had everything that they needed, so they would go, "Wow, fabulous training!" Oh, they would rave about me, they'd love it. And they'd never buy from me, because they'd go, "Oh, I have so much information, you've given me so much, I'm just going to go and consume this, and then I'll come back." But they never really would come back, because they got so stuck in this consumption mode.
And I actually, it's a disservice, because often when people get so much information, they don't take action. A week or a month later they haven't done anything because they've been so overwhelmed with it or they've just been so consumed by it that they just don't follow through. And by not following through they're going to look back at you and think, "Well, that workshop with that someone, that masterclass really didn't work for me."
And they, I shouldn't say, blame it on you, but they'll hang it on you. And so overfeeding the audience with content is bad. And then just like Goldilocks, underfeeding is just as bad. There have been some people that say, "Teach them the what and the why but never the how." Well, I don't agree with that, because teaching them the what and the why talking about the problem they have, they're sitting there and they're going, "I know the problem. I have a problem. What's the answer?"
People come because they want to get an answer. They want to get an insight, they want to learn something, they want to fix something. So if you don't give them any "how", they'll leave kind of frustrated, thinking that you don't know much. Because you weren't credible enough, you didn't share enough, you have to be generous enough to give them some information. They don't look at you as a credible expert because they didn't see any of your expertise.
So there's always that fine balance of showcasing enough expertise that they want to learn from you, and want to take that next step. But also not overdeveloping, over delivering, I should say, so that they feel so fed that they just don't want to do anything else with you. So that content piece is really important. Not only does it need to be the right content that's going to lead people to want your offer, but it has to be the right balance of not too little or not too much.
[00:12:45] Susan Friedmann: You've crushed so many thoughts and concepts that I've heard in the past, but one of the things that I really relate to is this idea of overfeeding. I mean, I'm really good at giving away the farm when I do a presentation. The farm, the house, the family and you know...
[00:13:03] Sue Clement: Take it all!
[00:13:04] Susan Friedmann: Yes, take everything! Yes, you're absolutely right. I mean, I know I even overwhelm myself and I think, "Well, they've got to know this and they'll want to know that." You said you give them some of the "how", but then, my question is how much of the "how" would you even give them without, again, giving the farm away?
[00:13:27] Sue Clement: It is a trick and a bit of an art and science to it, where we need to understand that we've helped them in some small way. People need to feel that they have a win, but they still have to see the gap between where they are and where you can take them. If they don't see that gap, they're not going to appreciate the offer, they're not going to take action on the next step.
You have to make sure that you- I'm not really like suggesting that we hold back information, but we have to make it small enough and really laser in. So making the topic narrower rather than broader will also help you, you know, fix it. I often call the difference of choice between like a sampler platter or a deep dish, sometimes. I'm talking about pizza there, but...
For my sampler platter, for example, I mentioned that my system has three - we have the opening sequence, the story selling, and then the closing sequence. Well, I could do a masterclass and the sampler platter would be saying, this is the framework and I could give you a couple of tips from each of the categories, but I wouldn't give you enough of any one category. But you would see that there's a journey and that there's a path, and there's a process to this. That would be a sampler platter where I just give you little bits of the whole structure of it.
Now, what deep dish is that I might showcase the whole framework, tell you these three pieces and I'd say, "But today we're only going into the first opening." And we would go deep in the opening and I would teach you everything you needed to know about the opening, but you still wouldn't know the story selling or the closing sequence.
Therefore, you know one piece, but now you recognize there are other pieces that you need to learn. That's the deep-dish style and the sampler platter is a little bit of everything. You can kind of take it from either version, but just don't go deep sample. Because then you've given them everything.
[00:15:11] Susan Friedmann: Yes. And it's holding back and realizing you don't have to give them everything. But I love that framework that, as you said, you've got three parts and either touch on each of them with a little taster of everything or you take one and go deep, you know, do a deep dive into that one and say, "Hey, the other two come with the package."
[00:15:34] Sue Clement: Absolutely. People need to see the journey of where they could go.
[00:15:39] Susan Friedmann: Yes, and that journey is so... Well, it's a transformation. It's like, they have this challenge, issue and they don't know how to get from here to there. As you rightly said, you're taking them on this journey and you want to make this journey as smooth and as comfortable and fun, and exciting as it can possibly be. Otherwise, why would they want to work with you?
[00:16:03] Sue Clement: Exactly, you know, you raise a really good point there, Susan, that they do need to see that there's a journey. And you don't want to overwhelm them, over confuse them, over baffle them, make them feel stupid because they didn't get it. I don't know, I've been in some audiences and I'm not quite catching on and it doesn't make me feel very secure about wanting to take the next step.
We do want to make it consumable. I think the word that I love to use is - is the content consumable? Can the audience consume it? Do they make sense of it? Can they apply it? Because if they go away with a small win, they're going to be way happier. But then, if they go away with no win or so much that they can't even tell top from bottom.
[00:16:43] Susan Friedmann: So you talked about the mistake of either overfeeding or underfeeding. What are some other big mistakes that you see presenters, authors, coaches, trainers, whoever does these masterclasses? What are some of the bigger mistakes that they tend to make?
[00:17:04] Sue Clement: Well, the content is a big piece of it. The second piece we've kind of touched on a bit is the sales-y weirdo. And I'll go deeper into that because, I think, a lot of people, gosh... We're doing the masterclass because we want to have the audience make the next step with us. Whatever that is, whether it's buying something or a service, or a product.
But what happens is, if you're uncomfortable selling, you'll either do, I find, one of two things. You'll either overpitch. It's like, "But wait, there's more!" And then you have all the bonuses and the time limiters, and there are only five spaces, and you have to buy in the next twenty minutes. That type of over pitching, that's a sales-y weirdo because people are not going to feel engaged or really feel your authenticity.
If they won't really love you, won't like you, they're not going to buy from you. Being that aggressive salesperson because you're maybe awkward or you've seen it done that way... There are some people out there teaching that you have to have all these bonuses and- We call it "the value-stack", and they stack up the value.
And often some of those values are, I shouldn't say fake, but yeah, they're elevated, they are inflated. We often kind of want to inflate those values that we're offering, these bonuses that we're throwing in to make it more enticing. And if we overdo that, people are not going to really feel comfortable or confident in taking action with you.
And on the flip side of it... I call it "the humble Canadian", where in the end I've seen so many people do this. They do a great presentation. They've given valuable content and you know they're an expert. But then at the end, they go, "Well, if you want to take action, if you want to get my program, or you want to do whatever, just send me an email." And it's a very light, soft pitch. Actually, you can't even call it a pitch.
They're too uncomfortable to stand in their power and to invite people to take action. That's kind of being the sales-y weirdo but from a different point of view. It's a very demure sales-y weirdo. And they're losing out on opportunities because they don't know how to make the offer. There is a lot to structuring your offer and then, how you frame the offer.
Often people get stuck on- It's kind of the difference between features and benefits. Often people will get stuck in this and well, it's so many sessions and so many minutes and we get into the logistics. Well, logistics will never sell for you. It's about the transformation that you're offering, or I like to call it the impact.
We always have to, I use the phrase "so that". And this is where a lot of my clients get stuck. When I work with clients, we spend a fair amount of time making sure that the offer is going to fly, that the offer is going to be sound, instead of just saying, "My program is going to walk you through XYZ." Well, that's a thing, that doesn't give me a sense of why I'd want it. We always need to put the "so that".
So it's one thing to say, "My program is going to walk you through XYZ so that you'll be able to have harmonious relationships," or "so that you'll be able to double your income in 90 days", "so that" and whatever the transformation, the impact that you're program or service is offering. That's really key. We want to make sure that how we position our offer is going to be compelling and interesting.
And the audience can actually see the transformation and the reason why they'd want it. And then we can position our offer in such a way that we're not underselling, we're not overselling and we are actually compelling them by using the right wording and the right structuring. That's what makes you not be a sales-y weirdo.
[00:20:36] Susan Friedmann: I love those two simple words, "so that".
[00:20:41] Sue Clement: Oh, absolutely, yes!
[00:20:42] Susan Friedmann: And that makes you say, "Okay, now I've got to what is that "so that", what are they going to get from it?" Because as you rightly say, that's the transformation, or the impact that you're going to have and that's what they want. That's what they're going to buy because they see that it's almost like the light at the end of the tunnel, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, whatever cliché you want to use there. But yes, I love it, it's just so simple.
[00:21:13] Sue Clement: And with the “so that” often we might take one concept and we might need to ask the "so that" question three or four times. I'll often do this with my clients. They'll say something and I go, "Well, so that?" And they'll answer and I'll go, "Well, yeah, so that?" And they'll answer that and I'll go, "So that?" And finally, after two or three layers down we get to the really good gold.
That's where the real good stuff is that we can put on our marketing language and in our offer so that the audience really sees the value to that. That's one thing to say it has succession. Well, why? Well, so that I can cover all the content. Okay, and if you cover all the content so that, what would that give them?
You have to keep digging down deeper and deeper until you really hit the gold. But it truly is the jackpot when it comes to figuring out how to use the marketing language to position your offer so that the audience really does get the impact. Because it truly is about- They have to believe it, they have to see it. And they have to understand the impact that your product or services are going to be offering.
[00:22:13] Susan Friedmann: Yeah, very much so. As you were saying that, saying, you know, you do this, keep going with the "so that" with your clients. I'm thinking, yes, that reminds me of the five why exercise. You ask why, why, why?
Except that it's not as compelling to say, "But why do you do that?", you know. "So that" is much nicer. What I like about everything that you're saying, Sue, and I know that our listeners will relate to this so well, is because they come to me so often and say, "I don't like to sell. I don't want to be sales-y."
And then, when you talk about that sales-y weirdo, this whole idea that everybody's got this or many people have this impression of sales, you know, the car salesman and all these sorts of negatives one thinks about. As you say, the people who overpitch. I mean, it's too sales-y, they can't see themselves doing that. And they think that that's what they have to do in order to sell. And what you're doing is that you're making it so much more comfortable so that they feel like, "Hey, I could do that!" And that's brilliant.
[00:23:27] Sue Clement: Absolutely. You know, it truly is the frame that I always go through is, I call it "high-low". High intention, low attachment. I have a high intention that I can serve the audience. I have a high intention that when I make my offer, then I'm intending that people will take action and I'm intending that I can give them the results. I have a low attachment, whether they do or don't.
Because when you detach from the outcome, it creates less pressure for you to make the offer. You're just standing in service of the people and I always think of it as not, we offer the word "offer" or "pitch" for some people, but really, it's an invitation! And just inviting people, the right people, and I call forth them actually.
That's the other piece. When I go to make my offer, I will talk about the value of what I'm offering but I also then call forth. "This is for you if..." And you want to set that bar high. If you are overambitious, if you want, you know, and you kind of use the language that people are going, "Yes, that's me!"
One of the things that I haven't said, but all the way through your whole masterclass you want to get micro yes. You want to be asking rhetorical questions, so people are saying yes all along so that when you get to your offer and you're telling them, "This is who it's for and this is who it's not for" and you're inviting them.
I like to think that I'm calling forth the right people to take action with me. And I often say that - this is for you if, you know. And if it's not, that's okay! That's great! There are other resources or other people you can go and work with. "But if this is you, then step forward." And I like to, you know, as I say, call forth, create the space.
But always have low attachment to the outcome so that you don't feel so much pressure and you're not, therefore, putting that pressure through onto the audience, as you're making the offer. It's just an invitation, you got to remember that.
[00:25:20] Susan Friedmann: That's such a beautiful segway, Sue, into sharing with our listeners about you, about your services, your invitation as to how they could potentially work with you if they feel that you were the right person to help them.
[00:25:40] Sue Clement: There you go! Well, this is for you! No, I'm just kidding you. But for anyone who wants to explore how a masterclass could help them in their business. Help them either sell a program, or sell a product, or sell a service, whether you're a coach or a consultant, or an expert of any sort, it's a great way to build visibility, credibility and of course, your list or your audience, and, ultimately, get clients as to do a masterclass.
So, any of you listening to this and you think, "Well, gosh, maybe a masterclass would be my next step." Then I'm going to invite you to take action with me. I work with people individually, and I also work with people in a group, but today, I have a gift for people, and I'm going to share that.
It's my Money Making Masterclass Blueprint. And much as I talked about the opening sequence, the story selling, and the closing sequence, this blueprint walks you through all three of those areas. People can opt-in and grab their copy by going to sueclement.com/gift. Short and sweet. They can just download it there.
There's also a bit of a gift within a gift, like the Russian doll. For those people that get the gift and they want to take action, I invite people to book a strategy call with me. And that's where we hop on the phone and we talk about your specific situation, ultimately to see if the masterclass is your best next step. And if it is, how potentially I might be able to help you, what that could look like. There's kind of two in one.
[00:27:15] Susan Friedmann: This is incredible. And listeners, I invite you to re-listen to just that portion because what Sue did there was demonstrate all the skills or many of the skills that she had been talking about throughout this interview. I really invite you to re-listen to that. It was brilliant.
I loved it, Sue, I'm going to re-listen to it because the way you said it, and it was so beautiful, because as I said, you demonstrated exactly what you were talking about, so thank you. And we always love it if our guest would share a golden nugget with our audience before we sign off. What's yours?
[00:28:01] Sue Clement: I guess I want to go back to the "high-low". I think that that would be my nugget today. The "high-low" and "so that" we've kind of discussed well already, but we all have a gift to share. We're not serving the world if we're hiding it under a bush, so to speak, if we're not stepping out in the spotlight. You know, writing a book and I've written a book and I have also two additional compilation books.
But writing a book is you putting yourself out there, but doing a masterclass is you putting yourself out there further. So putting yourself out there in a book is kind of passive and masterclass is a little bit more active, because it's live and it's you. The value of the masterclass is that it's live and it's you, but it also can become an evergreen product, you can create tons of more content off of it.
And actually, one of my books I wrote from doing some, telling seminars back in the day, took the recordings and made them into a book. Now, masterclass can create great content for yourselves. My golden nugget really is that get out there, get visible. Invite people to experience you because we all have that gift and we need to let that gift out. So often we tend to hide it. It's not as difficult as you think and you've written a book, so get out there and share your message in a masterclass and that would be my last thoughts for the day.
[00:29:18] Susan Friedmann: That's great. And the fact is that it doesn't matter if, you know, you slip up. You are going to, but you learn from each of these and you redo it and you try again, and again. And you get better and better at it and, as Sue said. I mean, she didn't start off the way she is now. She learned how to be that and me too.
I mean, I've done the road warrior thing, doing seminars in every city in the US. I think almost every one, it felt like every city. And yeah, and you do. I mean, if I think back to my first session, it was a disaster. I lived through it! I lived to tell the tale.
[00:30:03] Sue Clement: Yeah, I mean, you didn't ask me any of my faux pas, but oh my gosh! That would be another hour, I'm sure. But yes, I have done a lot of masterclasses that didn't convert or a lot of speaking gigs. I mean, all the lessons that I teach my clients and in my program, in the blueprint, they all are personal lessons that I learned the hard way.
Then I went and figured out how to perfect my mistakes and overcome them. That's what I teach clients. I've been really fortunate. I sought out to learn from the best gurus, from selling from the stage people. Because I figured if I'm going to do this and I love speaking, it's like I should learn how to convert.
And so, I've learned from gurus, invested my time, invested my money, and kind of taken them all and blended them together and used my own experiences and this is what I've done as my framework. But yeah, it's all based on true real-life experiences and what worked and what didn't work. And this is my best effort. And it is an evolution. I continue, every presentation I go, "Wow, I should've learned something from them."
[00:31:08] Susan Friedmann: Yes, I always say, what would I do if I had to do it all over again? What can I do better? So that's wonderful. Sue, you've shared so much wisdom with us. Listeners, as I said, re-listen to this, please, please, please. You're doing yourself a service, because there are so many golden nuggets all the way through, gems, treasure troves, and stuff, so yes, the wisdom has been amazing.
Sue, thank you and thank you all for taking time out of your precious day to listen to this interview. And I sincerely hope that it sparks some ideas you can use to sell more books. Here's wishing you much book and author marketing success!