Why are so many classes being canceled?

If you are in charge of the professional development for your company or association I’m sure you have experienced some sort of decrease in the attendance.  While it may not be directly your fault there are some serious things to think about as you continue to plan your next offering and be wise to the precedents you set as a result.

In the last 4 years I’ve only had 2 clients cancel and who knows why.  I’m not going to focus on that.  What’s important is all of the others that made their event a success from planning, marketing, and execution.

In my opinion it all starts with the right mindset.

If your mindset is more focus on a sacred price point then you have already failed.

If your mindset is centered around how little you can charge than you have lost.

If your mindset is what other groups have done in the past then you are doomed.

Let me share with you the most common excuses I hear…

  • There isn’t continuing education attached to it.
  • People don’t have the money to spend on education.
  • The time of year is wrong to have a class.
  • The market is down right now.
  • People just aren’t interested.
  • People don’t have the time.

Let me ask you one question…

What does it say about a company that has to cancel a marketing class because of poor attendance?

Seriously, think about it.

How good could the “marketing class” be if the marketing to support it wasn’t convincing enough to get enough people to attend?

Come on.  If you didn’t laugh at that then this this post isn’t going to help you.

What I see happening are groups discounting sessions to next to nothing or offering it for FREE and then expect to turn the tables and then charge a premium people the next time around.

People don’t value FREE.

They value RESULTS.

Each time you make a decision on planning for a class you are setting a precedent for the next time it is being offered.

Why do people attend?

They want to make more money.

They want to be seen as credible.

They want to save more time.

Here is another way of thinking about this.

What is the cost of not attending?

Keep on getting what you have always been getting.

Keep earning the same amount or less because consumer expectations change.

Keep spinning your wheels and making the same mistakes.

If you don’t mention the opportunity cost then others will see this as “just another offering” and won’t take it seriously.

An effective marketing piece must include:

  1. Attention grabbing headline
  2. The problem in the market
  3. A limited opportunity
  4. Benefits of attending
  5. Features of the skill sets
  6. Call to action based on desire to do more, earn more, or save time.
  7. Credibility of the presenter
  8. Guarantee or money back
  9. Call to action based on logic (return on investment)
  10. Cost of doing nothing
  11. Call to action based on fear of doing nothing

If you integrate these bullet points in your next marketing piece whether it is a blog post, flyer, video, or social media you will be able to command more money for your classes you charge, get more to attend, and have everyone happy they attended.

Have you ever had someone walk away afterwards and say that was totally worth it and would definitely come back again?

Some are truly shocked because the marketing didn’t reflect how good the class actually was.

What seemed like a big risk to them in the beginning ended up being a wise decision of both money or time.

The marketing must match the class.

There can’t be outrageous claims that say you will make a million dollars or work four hours  a week and be successful.  People will smell it.  Verify results with supportive testimonials in an electronic format.  You will be surprised that when others see their peers having success by attending an event they will make every effort to make the next one.

Do you need more help?

This issue isn’t going to go away unless you are honest about the current situation.  If you keep discounting everything you do then its no wonder others will discount the value you provide.  I’ve asked some of the best meeting planners in the industry and gathered their thoughts.

Meeting Planners Guide to Marketing and TechnologyHow did a professional meeting planner get over  100 people on limited budgets to fly to the Midwest in the dead of winter to attend a conference?

How does a 20+ year experience meeting planning veteran handle a conference of 20,000 attendees, 500 speaker proposals, and offer value to a diverse audience?

How does a meeting planner speed up the networking that takes place during a conference?

I’ve compiled audio interviews of some of the top meeting planners, video tutorials of how to create marketing materials, and a 22 page PDF guide to help you.

Download it here.


Organizations bring in Doug Devitre from St. Louis, Missouri USA when they want to dramatically increase operational performance, create breakthrough value propositions, and serve customers beyond geographical constraints on a minimal budget. For more than a decade he has been setting trends with how organizations engage customers with social media, video marketing, and custom-built software applications. Doug’s book Screen to Screen Selling published by McGraw Hill pioneered the way sales professionals sold homes without being physically present before the COVID-19 pandemic. He is one of a select few who have earned the Certified Speaking Professional Designation from the National Speakers Association and has experience as a REALTOR.

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