How I Punked a Roomful of Internet Marketers

(Update: The following was posted in July 2012, but the prank might become reality, as the WF was just sold to Freelancer.com!  I figured that was good enough reason to give this article a bump.)

I spent this past weekend in Las Vegas for Dr. Ben Adkins’ “End of the World” marketing event.  It was an amazing weekend with amazing speakers and amazing attendees.  The only downside was the fact that the nearest craps table could only be reached by cab.

Dr. Ben had asked me to be one of the presenters a few weeks ago.  Immediately, I decided that I wanted to do something out of the ordinary, something to make the audience start thinking a little differently.

All of the other speakers had elaborate PowerPoint presentations and speeches prepared.  This is something that I normally do when speaking at an event too, but I wanted this one to be different.  Instead, I decided to walk on stage with hardly anything prepared and just start speaking from the heart for about 20 minutes.  After my ramblings, I would play Price is Right and call a few of my expert friends up from the audience to chair a makeshift panel.

The one thing I did have prepared was an email that I was considering reading out loud to the audience.  When Dr. Ben introduced me, I still had not made the decision whether or not to read the email.  To be truthful, as I walked up to the stage, I was still unsure of what I was going to say.

For those of you that know me, you know I am one that likes to tell it the way I see it.  As Ben handed me the microphone, that was when I decided to do.

Approximately 80% of the audience were active sellers on the Warrior Forum.  Many of the presenters before me spoke about launching a new Warrior Special Offer (WSO) in the forum.  I remember one presenter telling how he made $50,000 in just  few days launching a recent WSO.  That’s great, but what did he do after those few days were over?  Unfortunately, he moved on to building his next WSO product.  I commented about how much money he was throwing away by not continuing to market that product outside the Warrior Forum.

I explained that the Warrior Forum is just a pimple on the ass of the actual market of buyers and so many talented product creators are losing money by simply focusing on that one demographic.  After that, I pulled out my cell phone and told the audience I had an email that I was asked not to share, but felt it was too important not to.

I read the following out loud:

Dear EBR,

I am writing to you and about a dozen other supporters of the forum. I ask that you please keep this quiet until it is publicly announced.

I have decided to accept an offer and sell the site. We will be closing the deal on August 14th. I am contractually obligated to keep the buyers name a secret until then, but I can tell you it is a major magazine that starts with an E.

I will continue to operate things for one month after the closing. They will take full control on September 14th. The new owners are adamant that they want the forum to be informational only and no selling will be allowed.

During the last month that I am in charge, my job will be to phase out the paid listing sections of the forum.

I hope this will not have a detrimental impact on your business.

Again, thanks for you support over the years.

Allen

I paused long enough to see the color fade from many of the faces in the audience.  After all, the Warrior Forum is a fantastic way to make sales and generate leads, but my main point is that it’s not the only way to make sales and generate leads.

I asked for a show of hands from the people that were freaking out.  Very few people raised their hands.  The rest were liars.

After a few minutes of chatting with some audience members about what they will do to replace their WSO income, I let the cat out of the bag and told them I wrote that email myself the night before.  A sigh of relief came over the crowd, as well as thunderous clapping.

Later, many folks came to me and said they were too shell shocked to raise their hands.  People said they were busy going through in their heads what they were going to do next.  Over the next couple of days, dozens of people told me that I had opened their eyes.

My goal was to drive two points.  The first being that there is a world of buyers outside the Warrior Forum and the second was for the audience to learn the dangers of putting all of your eggs in one basket.

My email was a fake, but it certainly could have been real.  The Warrior Forum is a privately owned business, run by one man a few moderators.  It could easily go away tomorrow.

After my little practical joke, I called up Colin Theriot, Mike Carraway, Don Wilson, Mick Kiltor, Anthony Aires, Ben Littlefield, and Dan Ardebili.  I would give my opinion on a topic and then call on one of them to give their take.  These guys are so smart and talented that it sadened me to see the “10 minutes left” sign shown from the back of the room.  I stretched as long as I could, until I got the “GTFO” sign.

Later, Dr. Ben said he wished he had allotted at least another hour for us.

A big thanks to all of my panelists and to Dr. Ben for an amazing event.  I also want to thank the audience for being such good sports about my practical joke.

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