Michael Gerber with James Strocel

Workshops and Seminars

Michael Gerber with James Strocel

Me and Michael Gerber

A couple of weeks ago I attended a seminar and luncheon hosted by E-myth author Michael Gerber called “The Dreaming Room”. It was essentially a sales pitch for Gerber’s attempt to create a franchise out of his E-myth coaching seminars. Sure, I paid $100 for the privilege  of sitting through a 4-hour commercial, (to be fair, they did give us lunch) but sometimes you just need to bask in the church of the entrepreneur.

It’s one thing to read about owning your own business, it’s another thing to actually see someone talking about it. Books can only take you so far, audio or otherwise. Socrates was on to something when he preferred oration to the written word. Body language, facial micro-expressions, and uncontrollable randomness of presence are all lost whether you’re reading the words out of a book or getting them channeled into your skull via earbuds. If one is to maintain the industrial grade levels of enthusiasm necessary to carry on a business enterprise, it’s a necessary expense to buy a seat in front of the myriad of motivational and business speakers that travel this world. You need to remind yourself that what you are doing is real, what you are doing is good, and that there are hundreds and thousands of people like yourself who are trying to make the world a better place through the power of their wits and hard work.

And speaking of those other people. These places are a great place to network. You might not come away with that big sale right then and there, but you are more likely to run into companions on your journey. Like you, they’ve left the comforts of corporate life to pursue something better. Getting to know more people in your situation reminds you that you are part of something greater than yourself. It’s that sense of connection that’s going to motivate you when times are tought.

Then there’s the speaker himself. Michael Gerber is a dynamite salesman. He oozes passion and authenticity from every extremity. Even if you don’t buy into his “Dreaming Room” program, you can learn a lot from how he sells to people. He truly believes in every word he says,  making him look supremely confident on the stage. He judiciously uses repetition and dramatic pauses to get his point across. When he wraps up, there is always a call to action, no matter how small. One of the questions at the end asked him how he would create an enterprise that was socially responsible. He launched into a story of a friend of his who was using his techniques to build a suicide hotline in the Southern United States called “Not On My Watch”. He called on members of the audience to put their business cards on the stage with pledges for donation. When I got up there, I noticed a surprising number of zeroes on some of the cards.

When you are trying to learn the art of the sale, being sold to is not a bad thing. We are expected to market ourselves the minute we leave school, so why not get out there and watch how it’s done? Seminars like these demonstrate sales techniques, and they also physically get you in front of people, which is the only real way to build a customer base anyway. So if you’ve been toiling away alone in that home office for too long, put on a nice shirt, head out the door, and see for yourself what real salesmanship is like.