Listen to the Podcast Episode Below (22:13)

Webinar Expert Shannon Bushman (Part 1)

In this episode Shannon covers his experience with webinars, tips for doing webinars, automated webinars and tips for blab.

Shannon was sitting in Fiji when he made the decision to do webinars.  Shannon Bushman is a Business Growth Strategist, specializing in moving struggling businesses into the fast lane.  Shannon spent 30 years in direct sales and marketing for some of the largest fortune 500 companies. He experienced first hand how companies succeed and how they fail.  He firmly believes that today Entrepreneurs can not only compete with large companies but beat them in the market with better marketing and sales practices.  He loves webinars because it exemplifies the old school adage that “People do business with people they know, like and trust” and there is no better way to do that today than in a webinar.

You can connect with Shannon at PeekCustomer.com, or Shannon@PeekCustomer.com

Click here to watch the entire interview in video format

Join my Facebook group to ask questions about webinars.

Read Full Transcript

Melodie:
I'm so excited to have Shannon Bushman on my show today. We're going to talk about webinars. Shannon's been doing webinars I think you said 3 years.

Shannon:
Yep.

Melodie:
Has it been more than 3 years? 3 years?

Shannon:
Yep, 3ish. Yeah.

Melodie:
You've been doing them for yourself and for clients. I thought today what we'd do is you could share with us some tips and tricks and things like that. Let's start off. If you can give a little bit of your background about webinars, what you've been doing, how you got into it. That kind of thing.

Shannon:
Okay. My history is in direct sales and marketing. I'm a firm believer that there's really no better way to sell anything than a face-to-face conversation with a customer. Right? That connection that you make with a customer just cannot be beat, when you're having that kind of conversation. Then it really just comes down to it. We all know that people buy from people that they know, like, and trust. If you can't build that relationship with them they're just not going to buy from you.

Fast forward to 2000 + and we start introducing all this technology. The next best thing to sitting across from a customer is a webinar, right? It's a way for you to build that liking and trusting and knowing process virtually. It's not quite as good as sitting next to them, but when you can reach out to 50 or a 100 or 1,000 of them at a time it makes a big difference in your scalability. To me, webinars make perfect sense to take your message out to your customer base as opposed to trekking around the countryside trying to meet with them.

My history comes from selling technology where you're selling million dollar type solutions. I wouldn't say webinars would be particularly good at replacing the way I used to sell. Most of the things that people sell sell particularly well using webinars just because they really ... It really gives you that opportunity to make that connection with the customer, right? That you're out pretty quickly. That you're not some nameless entity at a big corporation, some offshore we don't know what you are. All of the things that go through people's minds when they just, I don't know, see an ad or watch some glossy video.

Then there's this expectation that you should go buy this product or service or course or whatever it is that they want you to buy. To me, there's too much slickness going on in a lot of that stuff, and the webinar brings it back to reality.

Melodie:
I would agree with you. It's funny I've done webinars since I think 2001, maybe before, but around then anyway. It's funny. As live streamings come up, it took me a long time to feel comfortable on the camera. I did webinars. You have the slides up. It sounds like we have similar backgrounds. I did a lot of technology kind of sales through it. We did sell hundreds ... Maybe not millions but hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of software through webinars.

It was, like you said, you could demonstrate the software, you could make the connection. Even back then they didn't see us, but they could hear us, they could ask questions. I still travel quite a lot, but man, I don't travel like I would have to without webinars. I think that gives ...

Shannon:
Yeah, 80% of the travel requirement goes away. It doesn't mean that you don't still want to go out and see the occasional customer or go there to close the big deal, but if I can take 8 out of 10 visits out of the travel schedule because I can do them on webinars ...

I've run into kind of senior sales management people who are like, just totally against this whole idea. I'm like, "You know, the customer doesn't appreciate you taking that block out of their day all the time either." Right? If they can move it around or watch the replay or something like that to get through the 80th percentile of things that they need to know about, whatever it is you're telling them, without you showing up and hanging out in the lobby and all of that kind of stuff, it's a convenience to them.

It really is. A lot of them are appreciate the fact that we do webinars instead of trying to schedule a meeting and showing up and bringing the ubiquitous donuts or whatever happens. A lot of customers really do appreciate it.

Melodie:
They do. I would say not only do they appreciate doing the webinars because you can record and things like that ... The hard part is trying to get everybody in the room if you're doing something live.

Shannon:
Right.

Melodie:
And you can't get everybody in a room. Then you do a live meeting and some people didn't get to come. With webinars, you can record them, so the people that didn't get to come can watch them. In my case I do a lot of I call them knowledge transfer sessions. People could go back and review that information. They get started using software, and they go, "Oh, she showed me this. I want to go look at it." It's there. They're not having to call me up, they're not having to look at a book. They can see step-by-step what was done. I think ...

Shannon:
I don't know how many times I've sat through a meeting and about 2/3 of the way through we're getting really into the good stuff. Somebody looks at me and goes, "You know, Joe in San Antonio really should be seeing this."

Melodie:
[crosstalk 00:05:33].

Shannon:
All I can see is I have to go to San Antonio now. Yeah, right? I got to get on Joe's schedule and then I got to go to San Antonio. I got to give the whole thing again. I may not be as good at it the second time. You know what I mean?

Melodie:
Yep.

Shannon:
I lost my zeal by the time I got all the way to San Antonio with this message. By the way, there's value in these collaborators that are across the country from each other who have to help make a decision about something. Being together when sort of when the good juju for you happens, right? I present to one guy and then I go down and present to the other guy. I don't know what they said afterwards and what questions they had privately amongst themselves. There are a lot of things I think webinars solve along those lines that are just tremendous.

Melodie:
Let me ask you. Can you share some tips on either presenting, producing, or promoting webinars?

Shannon:
Make sure you're not using CamTwist. That's a [crosstalk 00:06:43].

Melodie:
We learned that today. [crosstalk 00:06:44].

Shannon:
We learned that today. I shouldn't be dissing on Leland's love of that. I shouldn't be dissing on CamTwist. It's probably a great product. Just sort of got in the way and I didn't understand how it even came about. Well, in fact, that's a big thing, right? When I have a customer ... You run into this when you meet that person who says, "What's with these webinars? Should we do webinars?" Then I have clients and I try to lead them down the path of let's go do some webinars because I believe it's a great way to reach out to customers.

We run into this kind of stuff. Technology and firewalls and cameras. It sort of becomes a real stumbling block for them. Then they worry that their hair's not right. They think they're going on television. I'm like, "Look, you're not doing anything different than if you hopped in your car and drove down to visit the customer. Look like you would that day and then just call it good." Right?

Melodie:
Yeah.

Shannon:
Don't fret about that stuff. You got to test the stuff, right? Because it's a timely thing. You told somebody ... It's like ... It's a lot like if you told a customer I'll be there at 3:00. You looked at your watch and said, "Well, it takes me 30 minutes to get there and I'll leave here at 2:30," but at 2:30 you can't find your keys.

Melodie:
Yeah.

Shannon:
Right? Then you go out to start your car and it won't start because it's too cold, and you got halfway there and you ran out of gas. You're not showing up for a 3:00 meeting. You really need to kind of hammer these things out a little bit in advance and make sure that the technology is going to support you.

There are a lot of moving parts, just like your trip to go visit that customer. If your car's not working right and you don't know ... You don't have directions to get there. When you get there you find out there's a security guard that won't let you in the building. All of those kinds of things. You're an hour late for a meeting.

It's a reality here in the ... It's no different, right? We're kind of used to our car being reliable and knowing where our keys are and stuff, but in this world there are stumbling blocks. Your car was working just fine and then you installed some piece of software that now I can't make the camera work. What on earth on going on?

Sometimes you end up reinventing the wheel an hour before a presentation. Rebooting a computer because for whatever reason ... Don't let those things dissuade you, right? They are fundamentally no different than having car troubles or snowstorm derailed you from your meeting. I tell customers, "Look, there are just ... Those are realities. If you have ways to mitigate that then great." Right?

I mean, if you've got a conference room where you like to do your webinars from and you can go put a laptop and a camera in there and kind of dedicate them to that task, great. That's perfect. Then nobody messes with it, right? Unless your [inaudible 00:09:45] admin did something to the firewall and all of a sudden it doesn't work anymore.

Go in there and test it, right? You're going to have a webinar today at 3:00. Why aren't you in there at 11:00 firing up a test version of the webinar? Just to make sure that all of your buttons and everything, the settings are where you're going to be. That kind of stuff, right? Fundamentals. There's nothing earth-shattering about it.

Melodie:
Yeah. I told people to have a backup plan. It's just like with this today. I couldn't get my camera to work on my computer, I pull out my iPad. I know it works.

Shannon:
Yep. Yep.

Melodie:
I could've panicked with this, and go, "Oh, we'll just reschedule." We're both here, we both can work toward it. As long as time is ... You've got the time then have a little bit of back up and just be patient.

Shannon:
Yep.

Melodie:
The truth is I don't want to scare people. I've done thousands of webinars. I mean, literally. The percentage of problems I've had are small. They happen.

Shannon:
Yep.

Melodie:
But they don't happen on each one of them. Honestly, I'm trying to think the last time I had a problem other than an internet connection. I travel [inaudible 00:10:54] companies and sometimes we have trouble getting on their internet, which has nothing to do with webinars. You just have to have internet to do webinars.

Shannon:
Right.

Melodie:
I honestly do not have issues that often. Today we had them. I think both of us had ... Maybe it's the new year. This is the first one I've done in the new year at home.

Shannon:
Most people will forgive you for them, right?

Melodie:
Oh, yeah.

Shannon:
They understand computers can be a technical challenge and things happen. Whatever. You know, there's simple stuff you can do, right? I have a checklist.

Melodie:
Yep.

Shannon:
My particular favorite tool is WebinarJam. When I use WebinarJam I have a series of things that I like to have set up. I like the chat room set up a certain way and I like the questions to be put in a certain way. Of course I usually have some videos to inject and some offers to make that pop up. Those kinds of things.

In order to make that work I have a checklist for that stuff, right? I open my little checklist before each one. I go, "Okay, I did that and I did that and I did that." Sometimes just to tickle my memory. Oh, yeah. I remembered I like to have the chat set that way. It doesn't always ... I don't always get it done, but I made a checklist. I made a checklist. It's something I can refer to, so why not? Right?

Melodie:
Exactly.

Shannon:
Now I have an item on my checklist to make sure CamTwist isn't going to do something.

Melodie:
Well, I use a WebinarJam Studio as well for my stuff outside of my corporate job. With the corporate ones I get on 30 minutes early. I just do. I want to be on. I want to make sure everything's set up. I don't want to rush through it because I forget things when I rush through it because [crosstalk 00:12:40]

Shannon:
Yeah. I did a webinar today. I have it set up. I have a a countdown timer video that I start. I usually start at least 5 or 6 minutes, actually, I have a 20 minute video that does the countdown. I try to start somewhere between 20 and 5 or 6 minutes early. I always start that countdown video. If somebody comes to the room, they're seeing my countdown video, but I'm in the room checking to make sure things are set up right. That I know the thing's going 100%, that the camera's working, that as soon as the timer's done I hit click off the video and boom I'm live.

That makes a mess of the replays I figured out a while back, but I don't do replay. I really don't. Replays are not my favorite thing to do. They don't convert well. They generally convert horribly, particularly for any kind of high ticket item. They might work great ... A lot of automated systems ... Nothing against automation in this world, I love it, but when you're trying to sell a really high ticket item, you really don't have the time to do that. Right?

Melodie:
Yeah.

Shannon:
I mean ...

Melodie:
Yeah, I have to say, there's been a lot of stuff on automated webinars. There's been launches and I think it's real popular right now. I like aut- ... There's things that need ... You can do and be automated, but the one I struggle with the most is people will come on and go, "Well, I can't figure out why it's not converting." I'm like, "Well, did you do it live first? Did you make sure it was working before you made it automated?" Otherwise once you make it automated, you don't know what's broken. You don't know what to change.

Shannon:
Right. Right.

Melodie:
If it's converting live, and then you go automated, it's probably you're not sending the right traffic to it. Maybe it's not the right thing to be automated. There's different things. If you go straight to automated, unless you're ... I know there's some experts out there that do automated and that's pretty much all they do, but they've been doing it a long time. They know what works for them and their audience, but most of us don't. Most of us aren't there yet.

Shannon:
Personally I like that the webinar gives me the kind of more real connection, right? I can sit there and Joe is asking 15 questions. There's a really good chance if I answer Joe's questions, all of his questions, that he's going to become a customer.

Melodie:
Right.

Shannon:
Right? To me, this is part of ... Part and parcel of closing a deal. I really don't always care for that concept of let's disconnect from those people and maybe pretend that we answered all of their questions. We really can't necessarily do that.

Now, that being said, I have a particular client who has a $200 product. They've been using videos, just a video sequence, for a while to sell that. I said, "We need to move to an automated webinar." I knew well, perfectly well, I wasn't going to convince them to run 4 webinars a week for a $200 product.

I believe that if they went to an automated webinar they'll do really much better than they're doing with the slick willy videos that they've got pitching their product. It's because those videos are even just 1 more level of disconnect between the creator of this product and the consumer of this product. I just love the fact that the webinars take away that slick feel.

Melodie:
Yeah. Yeah.

Shannon:
There's too much slick.

Melodie:
Your client, they've already proven that the webinar works. That's always [inaudible 00:16:33].

Shannon:
Yeah.

Melodie:
Prove that it works. For a $200 product, you're sending people through your funnel. It may be the right place. I just don't believe it's a starting point if you're doing webinars.

Shannon:
No.

Melodie:
That's my belief. Other people argue differently. I know people are having success either way.

Shannon:
Yep. Yep.

Melodie:
I always tell people to test. You know?

Shannon:
Always try things.

Melodie:
Right. I'm going to say this is my opinion and what I've seen, but you're not in my market. You're in a different market, you're different customers, you're attracting different people. Different things may work for you. Yeah, I mean, I'm a firm believer do it live first. That's just [crosstalk 00:17:11].

Shannon:
Right, and do it live several times.

Melodie:
Yes.

Shannon:
I've had a few clients that after I've gotten them into the webinar thing I realize that they're just terrible at presentations. Was sort of the wrong pick to say, "Stand up in front of the room and give a presentation." After they do it 5 or 10 times they relax, they get better at it, and they get more fluent. They get a little more anecdotal. They're not stuck on reading the things off the slide. Pretty soon after half a dozen or dozen passes at the webinar, wow, they're remarkably good.

Melodie:
Yeah. That's exactly what we do in my corporate job. We do these ... We have a series where usually there's hundreds of people on there. Eventually we'll record it and make it on demand. We'll still do it live sometimes because these are like knowledge transfer. Like you said, people like to connect with a real person.

When we first started doing this, they're like, "Oh, we want you to go record it." I'm like, "No, I'm not recording it until I've done it a few times live because I can get the kinks out, I can see does the slide flow work, does my flow work." Like you said, after 3, 4, 5 times then it's ready to be recorded to be put out there on demand.

Shannon:
Yeah.

Melodie:
I've done presentations for 20 years. It's not like I haven't stood up in front of people, put together content. To get your words out and to get things to flow, most people that's not a natural skill they have right off the [inaudible 00:18:48]. Working through that and making it better I think is what [inaudible 00:18:52].

Shannon:
Well, it's the typical problem of let me jam a camera in your face and make you speak.

Melodie:
Yeah.

Shannon:
A lot of people they turn into deer in the headlights the second that the little light comes on on the camera. They realize that people can see them. It scares them or whatever. Yeah, it takes a while. By the way, if I detect that, I always have at least a few dry runs, right?

Melodie:
Yeah.

Shannon:
If I detect that's a problem, we have a few more dry runs. Then we have a few more dry runs. We keep dry running until it starts [inaudible 00:19:23].

Melodie:
Yeah. I get a lot of people asking me, "How do I get started? I'm scared to be on the camera or I'm scared of public speaking or I'm scared of techno-" ... There's lots of things. I'm like things like Blab, to me, are great. You can get on here, you can used to talking, you can get used to seeing yourself on camera.

You know, your audience, you may have people that come that you've invited. Overall your audience is going to come and go on here. Some people are going to connect with you and stay. Some people aren't. I think some of the fears you have, it kind of alleviates it because you get used to it. On this particular thing, I get used to people dropping off and coming on. I get used to putting comments in there so I can kind of see the comments, whatever people are saying.

Shannon:
[crosstalk 00:20:07] really nice guy like Leland who'll help you fix a problem.

Melodie:
Exactly. As far as I've seen on Blab, and this is why I recommend it, people are pretty helpful. I mean, I've had a very positive ... Once in a while you get a troll, but nothing like I got. I was using Meerkat and Periscope for a while and I got a lot ... I call them trolls. I don't know if that's the right word but people who really weren't interested in me or what I was talking about. If you're not interested, just go away. I mean, I don't mean it to sound that way, but it's ... Don't cause problems.

Shannon:
Right.

Melodie:
I got some of that on there. I think I've had 1 person on here, as many blabs and stuff I've done. They weren't horrible. I just kicked them off. You know, they had their own agenda and it wasn't mine.

Shannon:
As long as you can kick people off it's great.

Melodie:
Yes. You can do that on here.