Anyone who’s attended a conference, seminar, webinar, or any other informational meeting – either virtually or in the flesh – can attest to the old (albeit apropos) idiom, You don’t get something for nothing.
I have an innate hunger for knowledge. And early in my career, I’ve admittedly been excited to attend special presentations with high hopes that I’ll leave with lots of valuable intel – only to feel duped and resentful that – not only did I leave empty-handed, but the time I spent listening to an infomercial will never be redeemed. Sort of reminds me of that scene in the movie “A Christmas Story” when Ralphie finally hears Little Orphan Annie’s much-anticipated members-only “secret code”.
In today’s “microwave” society with jammed-packed schedules, increased competition, and expectations to perform and produce at an all-time high– feeling precious time slipping through your fingers feels yucky. Feeling money slip through those fingers for an overpromised/under-delivered service feels even worse – especially when it’s your money.
Particularly during the past six months, I’ve received (on nearly a daily basis) numerous invitations to webinars, promising “valuable insight” into various marketing, career search, and general business techniques to help land that dream job, stand above the crowd, gain more revenue, and conquer the world. As time permits, I occasionally tune into these webinars, just to gather whatever free info I can extract. Afterwards – as always – comes the pitch for exclusive information and services that’ll help reach your business goals. And, of course, these are limited-time offers so you better act fast! Special add-ons – such as eBooks and extra expert consultations – are packaged in to add even more value. And then you hear their asking price, which is always way lower than their regular fees.
Most of the time, I simply refuse the bait and hang up. On very special occasions, I’ll conjure up an internal feud with a dialogue that resembles this:
“Well, what if this really does work? Sometimes ya gotta take risks.”
“That’s such a waste of money – money you shouldn’t be spending.”
“Yeah, but I could consider this to be an investment in my career.”
“Ummm…don’t you think you can get this expert advice cheaper somewhere else? Or maybe free? There’s a world of info available on the World Wide Web if you look hard enough….”
“But what if I can’t find it anywhere else?”
I will admit – some of these “business experts” who are selling their services do make a strong case for themselves. And, with any significant financial commitment, I do search for reviews prior to taking the bait. I’ve sought out reviews for a few of these services – only to come up virtually empty-handed. Not sure why.
Then, out of curiosity, I posted the following question on some of my LinkedIn groups:
I’ve been receiving quite a few emails with invitations to webinars on various marketing topics. Of course, I’m fully aware that there’s an ulterior motive for offering free webinars (i.e., promoting services, etc.). That said – I’m wondering if anyone has decided to engage any services promoted at the end of a particular webinar. If so – what was it? Did you find any value? Or, did you find it to be a scam to make a quick buck, particularly from job seekers?
I only received a couple of responses so far. Here’s one of them:
Not recently, but what I found is: If the content (free) during the webinar is outstanding, the product usually is. If their webinar is pretty general and vague, (because they’re saving the goods for their product they say) then it’s a red flag.
Hmmmm….makes sense to me.
What do you think? If you’ve received an invitation to a webinar discussing a product or service, hosted by a company that provides that particular product or service – have you ever taken that next step and hired them? If so, what was/were the deciding factors? And, did you find value in what you received?