Since 2003, Pete Vargas and his team have booked over 25,000 events that have generated more than $40 million in revenue—and reached tens of millions of people through the speakers and organizations they serve.
Pete is the Founder and CEO of Advance Your Reach, a company that helps speakers, authors, entrepreneurs and organizations find and book stages, so they can share their message and scale their expertise to the world.
In today’s conversation, Pete explains why booking stages is one of the most powerful strategies to build your business. (Don’t miss the video replay here)
Maybe you’re thinking “But Hal, I’m not a public speaker, does this really apply to me?”
YES! In fact, the principles Pete teaches can be applied to any situation where you have to connect with someone on a deeper level. He even explains how his techniques can help you create more engaging moments with your kids.
And for the seasoned “Road Warriors” out there—who hate being away from your family—Pete will explain why you only need 6-12 stages per year to grow your business!
Ready to get access to Pete’s step-by-step process for sharing your message with the world and increasing your income and impact as a result?
- How he turned the challenges of growing up in a broken home into an opportunity to build his career—which has led to booking 25,000+ stages for businesses just like yours, all around the world!
- The 4-step Story Braid Framework that will capture the attention of your audience and give them a reason to take action.
- Find out why it’s critical to lead with your heart if you want people to listen to your message.
- How to use vulnerability in a powerful way to connect with your audience, while still positioning yourself as the expert—Don’t forget, practice & preparation are still key!
- The 5-step process to winning the stage of your dreams—Including a complete breakdown of the tools and techniques Pete uses to land stages like the White House.
- Learn the 2 most important factors for fully leveraging the stage once you’ve won it!
- And much more…
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TRANSCRIPTClick here to Read the Transcript
[00:00:31] Jon: Achieve Your Goals Podcast listeners, Jon Berghoff here. I’m here with Pete Vargas who has an incredible story to share and wisdom to bring to you on how to grow your business through speaking or growing a speaking business or to improve your ability to communicate through speaking on all these possible different platforms. And I promise you that if you either currently are or if you ever considered that for you, helping you to achieve your goals, being on stages, sharing a message might be a part of that plan then this is an episode. You’re not going to want to miss a single second. And if you’re used to listening to this at 1.5 speed or 2 speed, you might want to slow it down to the natural speed because you’re going to want to catch every bit of wisdom from our good friend, Pete. And last thing I’m going to add in my long-winded introduction is that Pete is going to be sharing with all of us at our Best Year Ever Blueprint Event. He is going to be sharing his wisdom at Entrepreneur Day on Friday, November 17. So, many of you have been picking up, reserving your seats left and right. We can’t wait to see all of you. If you’re still planning on coming and you haven’t picked up your seat yet, make sure you go to BestYearEverLive.com.
[00:01:44] Jon: But with nothing further, Pete, thanks for being here today with our Achieve Your Goals Community, our Miracle Morning Community. I’m looking forward to this.
[00:01:51] Pete: Yeah. Man, I’m really excited to be here. It’s an honor to be here and obviously, it was great being able to do this for one of your Elite Masterminds but I’m also glad to be here on the podcast and within the community today as well.
[00:02:04] Jon: Yeah. Just to set the stage for everybody, Pete, we invited you to share your wisdom with our Quantum Leap Mastermind Group and we’ve done a number of masterclass sessions like that throughout the years and your masterclass session was one of the most highly rated and people really appreciated the wisdom that you brought. So, that’s where a lot of my enthusiasm comes from and maybe a cool starting point would be if people could hear your story of how you got to this place of helping others to land on stages. It’s a fascinating story and it’s really inspiring.
[00:02:39] Pete: Yeah. Man, I appreciate it. I’m really geeky when it comes to stages and anybody listening to this podcast or watching on live stream, one of promises I love to make is two things. By the time we’re done here, you’re going to understand the importance of stages in your business. Even if it’s a digital stage or a physical stage, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to understand the importance of stages in your business. So, if you’re not implementing stages into your business today, I believe by the end of the time today, you’re going to have the tools and the desire to want to do that. But the second thing and it’s a really bold promise that I make is I also want to give you the tools to go win a stage and so there’s no holding back. There’s no fluff. You actually have the tools. I’m going to give you what I feel is the most powerful tool and the most powerful script to be able to go at any stage and it’s the actual script that I use to win the White House in 2007.
And so, one single tool that’s won the White House and that is one, we got the opportunity to be on Oprah with one of our folks. And so, I’m really excited about giving people those tools but I do geek out about stages. One of the reasons I geek out about stages is I’ve been really involved with speakers for over 14 years. Many people don’t know this but I’m just going to tell them why I love stages. I grew up in Dallas, Texas with my parents. One of the earliest memories I had was mom and dad tugging on me, mom on one side, dad on the other yelling and screaming at who’s going to keep me and who’s going to keep my sister. So, my dad that day won me and I wouldn’t consider that the type of win that you would want but my dad took me and my mom took my sister and that began this downward spiral of a relationship with my dad that was really, really terrible. My dad was an extremely verbally and physically abusive dad.
[00:04:32] Pete: Growing up in my elementary years, he didn’t know what it was like to be the father that he should be and leaving me at home in a trailer at second grade. Every time that the Cowboys lost, I knew what that meant for me and actually sometimes it brings back memories. Because yesterday the Cowboys got beaten really, really bad by Denver and this kind of weird subconscious memory came back like I remembered some of those times in elementary and what that meant to me. So, it was a really, really bad relationship with my dad. So, my grandmother took me in in middle school and she said, “Enough is enough. I’m not going to let you live with my son.” It’s my dad’s mom and so I was raised by my grandmother, went to middle school and high school and Herford, Texas. This small little town, 12,000 people and millions of cattle it felt like or it smelt like actually. It didn’t feel like it could smell like it.
And so, I grew up in this town. My dad came back into my life in my teenage years and, Jon, we tried everything. Like we took him to church. We tried counseling. We tried his seven siblings and his parents would constantly tell him to make things right with his son and nothing ever worked. And so, I just kind of assumed, lots of people listening to this, you probably come from a broken relationship and some of you have had the opportunity to amend that relationship with your parents and some of you haven’t. And I made the decision that I didn’t think this was going to happen. And so, long story short, I went off to college and thought I was going to be Jerry Maguire. I thought if I could influence athletes, athletes could have a difference on kids and I just thought I want to be the influencer to athletes and I love the idea of winning an athlete over to working with me. And so, I then figured out law school. No, thank you. I don’t want to go to law school. I got a call. I decided in college not to do the whole Jerry Maguire thing and I went the business route and I’m actually like Jon and Hal, a former Cutco sales rep at the beginning of my college days.
[00:06:34] Pete: I sold Cutco. I’m an FSM. I’m a field sales manager. I never got to SFSM but I am an FSM and so I was learning a lot about business and I had a big decision after school to go take over as like a sales manager in Dallas, Texas for another organization and it was a really, really high-paying job. And my pastor called me and he said, “Pete, I want you to come back to Herford,” the town I grew up with, with my grandmother, “I want you to take over as the youth pastor.” And I said, “Pastor, I don’t have any Bible training, no theology training. I don’t know anything about this,” and he goes, “Yeah. But I know that you love on kids because of your background with your parents, I know that you love on kids.” So, I went over and, Jon, as the story goes, he convinced me. He kind of sold me and he told me about this youth group that was doing good but he thought I could come add some fuel to the fire. So, I was expecting 50, 60 kids that first Wednesday night and when I showed up, there were three kids, Jory, Stacy and McKenzie and I thought, “Where are all these kids that he told me about?”
And I looked at those three girls and I told them something and I’m going to tell your podcaster listeners something too. I said, “Girls, we’re going to change this community. We’re going to get kids in here. We’re going to influence their lives and we’re going to do that by bringing in speakers who have a big influence and attract kids to come in and we’re going to change their lives. And you three are going to be the catalyst to this with me.” And so, that’s exactly what we did and I’m here to tell your podcast listeners, those girls believe me. And a few years later by using speakers to build our youth group, I mean, I brought in every type of speaker you could imagine, entrepreneurs, Super Bowl MVPs, stay-at-home moms, stay-at-home dads, financial planners. I brought them all in because I wanted my kids to be influenced. And little by little, that youth group grew and those girls believe me. They’re like, “Oh my God, he’s right. This is happening.”
[00:08:34] Pete: And a few years later and after raising $1 million to build a youth facility in that community because of the fact that our kids had heard about being givers and not takers from some of those speakers, they were the ones to raise tens of thousands of dollars of their own money. So, when I went to the board and I said, “Board, I want to build a million-dollar youth facility that’s going to attract kids from all of the local communities,” they didn’t even blink. They said yes to it all. And so, we built that youth group from three kids to 750 kids my last Wednesday night because of powerful speakers that I brought into that community. I’ve actually married two out of – I’ve officiated. My wife said, “Don’t say you’ve married two out of the three.” I’ve officiated…
[00:09:16] Jon: A bit confusing.
[00:09:16] Pete: Yeah. That is confusing. I’ve officiated two out of those three girls’ weddings and they believed me and I’m here to tell your community today, I believe speaking is not just the most powerful way to build your business. I believe it’s one of the most influential ways to have on our society and our world today and I get to see that in my hometown. And so, as the story goes kind of winding down the end of the story, about the 25th speaker that I brought in, his name was Darrell Scott. His daughter was the first girl killed at Columbine up in Colorado back in 1999 and just like every other speaker I thought this guy is about to make a difference on my kids. And I sat on the front row and he gave his final challenge and he said, “There are five people in your life that you need to go tell them how much you love them because you never know how long they’re going to be here with you.” And I was so convicted I thought I have to go tell my dad. I have to go tell my mom.
And so, I went home that day and I was an entrepreneur. I recruited my dad to come back to the night event because I thought, “I’m not going to tell my dad I love him. He needs to tell me he loves me.” And that’s by the way that’s wrong thinking but that’s just how I was wired. It’s like he’s the one who made all these mistakes. And so, he came that night back to the parent event. Darrell spoke and gave the challenges to the parents and at the end of the presentation, I feel like every single parent and grandparent in that room are telling their kids and their grandkids how much they love them but my dad didn’t tell me he loved me. He didn’t even say a word. And it’s so much like our entrepreneurial journey. We think that we’ve set everything up and everything up for success or our goals. It’s like we’re set up to achieve these goals. We’ve done everything that we possibly can do but then something happens that’s completely outside of our grasp that we can’t do anything about. And we have two options there, to give up or to keep moving forward and I want to tell you what, I’m not going to act like I was like, “Oh, I’ll win this over,” because that night I gave up on my dad.
[00:11:15] Pete: And I want to tell you what, a lot of times we give up and three weeks later, two to three weeks later I get a letter in the mail that says, “Here my son is having an impact on hundreds of kids’ lives and I can’t have an impact on my only son’s life. I’m sorry for the father I’ve been. I’m asking for a second chance to do things right and I’ll come back to that piece. I’m asking for a second chance to do things right,” and he told me for the first time in a decade he loved me. And so, I called that speaker Darrell Scott. I’m like, “Darrell, why aren’t you sharing this message with everybody across the world?” And he said, “Pete, I don’t know how to get my message out there.” And young naïve 23-year-old Pete said, “Don’t worry. I’m going to help you.”
And over the last 14 years we’ve been responsible for booking over 25,000 stages across the world which by the way, full documentation of every sales report since 2003 meaning every single one of those stages accounted for and I say that because a couple of people have asked us like that’s a lot of stages. Yes. Every single one of them documented but it’s not the stage that I care about. It’s what comes after the stage. It’s the products, it’s the services, it’s the mission, it’s the cause, it’s Front Row Factor, it’s Miracle Morning, it’s those things that people get to go deeper with that change people’s lives. In this community, I’m a part of this community. The things that they have to offer the world are unbelievable and I believe a stage is what will allow more people to want to go deeper with them. And so, we got to do that for him and many others over the last 14 years and that’s why I’m so passionate about stages, man.
[00:12:57] Jon: Yeah. Wow, Pete, hearing that story for the second time is like hearing it for the first time. That’s so fantastic to hear not only the story but we might as well call attention to it’s like a metacommunication here. You’re also embodying what it is that you teach others to do through sharing that story with us because you could’ve skipped the whole story and just said I’m here on this podcast today to tell you why stages are so important, right?
[00:13:23] Pete: Yeah.
[00:13:24] Jon: But by sharing that story and seeing people commenting, liking and be captivated by it, you’re helping us to connect with you personally in a very real way, in a very human way and you’re helping to give a level of depth and meaning to why you’re passionate about what you’re doing which is huge. So, that got you to this place where you’ve helped so many. We could go wherever you want with this but I’d love to know, you know, let’s consider who our audience is here and we’ve got a wide range. We have folks who are watching and listening who I know have a certain amount of experience getting themselves into opportunities where they could present and then we have a lot of folks who are probably they’re in an earlier stage in finding ways to get on stages. And you shared a lot of wisdom with our mastermind communities where you’ve gone really deep in a lot of directions but you’re a pro at this and I’d love to just let you reflect on what has been some of the big lessons that we can either all benefit from hearing either for the first time or being reminded of and you could start wherever you want, Pete.
[00:14:27] Pete: Yeah. One of the things that a lot of people don’t realize is that the power of their story and the power of what they have to offer the world. If you’re a beginner or you’ve been really out there in the world with your message, your business or whatever it is that you’re trying, even as a mom or a dad in your home like one of the things that I think that we don’t really realize is how to tell our story in a powerful way and how to really do that. And so, one of the things that I want to encourage people to do is really think about how you craft that story. I don’t care if you’re talking to your kid upstairs like I took my kids out for a tennis lesson last week that I gave them and I know how to move them forward. I know how to move them forward. So, if you’re with your kids or you’re with your significant other or you’re on a podcast like this, or you’re on a live stage, I believe there’s a framework that you can use to really think about how you take to move people to action, to see change in their lives and I call it the Story Braid framework. It’s trademark to our own proprietary process and I think everybody can glean from that and there are four pieces to it.
And so, the four pieces to that and I want to tell you, this will help propel you in your marriage, with your kids, in your business. It will help you. It’s like lead with the heart. Lead with the heart. Because once you open up somebody’s heart, their minds will listen. So, what you teach them will stick but if you try to go for the head right away, a lot of times it won’t stick. So, open with the heart and I’m going to come back on all of these. Move to the head. Once you’ve taught them then go to the hands. That’s them taking action on what you’ve taught them and then close with the heart. That’s the Story Braid framework.
[00:16:27] Pete: And so, here’s the importance of it. America was number one in academic achievement when the focus of the kid was the heart and as soon as it shifted to the mind, we dropped in many, many categories. And that’s not the only reason. So, for teachers in the community, I commend you. I love what you do. I think you’re one of the most underpaid positions in the US, in the world today. And so, this is not a knock on education. It’s a knock on the philosophy behind education. It’s that when the shift took place from the heart to the head, all of a sudden, the academic achievement went down and that’s ironic because you think when you go to the mind, academic achievement should go up. It’s kind of counterintuitive. And so, what took place is the focus of the heart left and it’s the same in talks and it’s the same with academic teaching. It’s like don’t start with the head. Start with the heart.
And so, there are three critical component pieces. I think Robert asked a question a little bit ago. It’s like what are the pieces, and I’m not seeing the questions like I did, but what are the pieces that help us really in a story? And here are the three pieces. I want you to hear them. People want to have a human connection with you. They want to connect with you. How do you connect with them? You tell them a story. You talk about your family. You dance. You laugh. You freestyle. Whatever it is your style like I’m not going to be dancing on stage. I’m not going to be rapping on stage. I’m not going to be singing on stage but you will see the picture of my family on stage every single time because it’s why I do what I do and 60% to 70% of the audience also has kids. So, they connect right away. So, human connection is the first piece of that opening heart. The second piece of that opening heart and I’ve listened to the story, go back and listen to the podcast where Jon interviewed the gentleman on the hero’s journey. The problem is people don’t usually take the hero’s journey into their talks or their speeches. So, the second piece of this is the hero’s journey.
[00:18:23] Pete: And that is the one thing that you want to know is people want to know you know what it feels like to walk in their shoes. You just have a solution or an answer that they don’t know about. You slay the dragon and you defeated the giant. So, if you skip this part you’ve missed it. As soon as they understand that you know what it’s like to walk in their shoes then they hear that you just slayed the dragon and defeated the giant, they’re all ears. Their heads are open. They understand that there’s a gap in their life and you had the answers and you’re about to teach that to them. That’s the second piece of the heart. The third piece of the heart is actually showing a little bit of the highlight reel or the social proof. Like you want to show them that you’ve done what you did in your own life. How did I do that a minute ago? I told you I booked 25,000 stages across the world. You give some of the social proof. Once you’ve connected and once you’ve shared your story, if you can do that, that opening heart piece, it is critical. Then and only then do you shift to the head.
And I want to tell you what, Jon won’t see this. Jon won’t be able to see my teachings in great detail on Entrepreneur Day. If you haven’t picked up your ticket for their weekend, Hal and Jon and the rest of the team, they put on an amazing event. And I’m going to go really deep into this then but I want to tell you the second piece is that head. You now have the opportunity to go teach for three to five critical steps and these three to five critical steps are how you got the results that you did in your life, your business, your relationship, whatever it is that you’re in the market doing. It’s the three to five critical steps. This is your proprietary process. That is the second piece of that, Jon. It’s the second piece. The third piece and I’ll bring this full circle.
[00:20:20] Pete: The third piece is give a call to action. Have them take some action like give them something for free. Challenge them. What did Darrell Scott do? Darrell said, “Go tell five people how much you love them.” And guess what I did? I went and told my dad that. Darrell told my dad, “Go write your kids a letter.” Guess what, my dad went and did that. When you get people to take action, they will if you go in this sequence, heart, head then hands and then bring it full circle with the closing story. Close the loop, close the story. At the very end, that drives it all home.
I’m telling you if you will do this and apply this even with your kids, last week in a tennis lesson instead of like telling Keith and Maia what I needed to do like I was teaching them forehands for the very first time. And instead of getting to the technicality of the forehands, I helped them speak to their hearts a little bit. I help them understand how dad’s forehand was the strongest part of his game growing up and that’s what made dad so powerful is this forehand and that’s why we’re starting here and then I got into the technicality of teaching them the forehand. I even applied that with my kids in a tennis lesson where they might have been bored or they might have been like, “Oh, I don’t want to know this technicality of this forehand.” I brought the forehand to life with my kids. And so, whether you’re on a stage in front of 1,000 people or you’re on a stage with the most important people which is your kids and your wife, this is something that you can use in any area of your life, Jon. So, that’s what I would really encourage the audience to grasp onto.
[00:21:53] Jon: Hey, really, it’s awesome to have you break this down for us. I want to comment on something and then I want to come to a question that was just posted in the live stream and I reposted that question, Pete, in our own chat box that you and I have and you’ll see it there. It’s about vulnerability. So, as you’re finding that, I just want to reinforce something that you just said for everybody, this idea of leading with the heart. So, as an entrepreneur, I often find that when I experience something that works, I don’t often need to see the data or the science behind it, because I feel like if I’ve seen it work, I’ve seen it work. And I’ve not only seen this work but I’ve also had the fortune of being taught by teachers who are actually leading researchers and scientists on the topic of emotional intelligence. One of them was a professor of mine, Richard Boyatzis, who his MOOC on Coursera I think has had almost half a million people or more go through it. He’s the leading teacher on emotional intelligence and he has a video. I think you can find it right now in YouTube.
And, Pete, again, you might already know this or you certainly know it through your experience but I just want to share with everybody that there is research that is being done. And we’ve only known this for the first time in the last couple of years. We know more about how the brain and the body works than we’ve ever known and there’s research that they’re doing right here in Cleveland at Case Western Reserve where through MRI imaging, scans of the brain and of the body what we’re seeing is that when people are in an audience of any kind, this really is just a human connection science, when people are connecting in the workplace and this applies to presenting and speaking, we often get either tempted or drawn into having a very analytical or left brain conversation very quickly. And what Richard Boyatzis and his team of researchers are now proving out which is something that intuitively we all believe but neuroscience and the positive psychology field are really giving us a lot of evidence for this, they’re showing something really interesting. Which is, first of all, number one, that we are not able as human beings to simultaneously have a left brain and a right brain conversation at the same time or what we might just call a head and heart conversations simultaneously.
[00:24:07] Jon: What we do is we actually switch back and forth very quickly between the two. So, that’s the first interesting discovery but the big one, Pete, that really reinforces what you’re sharing is what they have found is that if a speaker or a communicator starts off on the left side of the brain and just imagine any meeting of any kind, any presentation of any kind whether it’s one-on-one or one to a thousand, if it starts off analytical or left brain or too logical, what they’re finding is that it’s actually very difficult to get over into the heart, to get over into that human-centered connection, to get over into that place where we connect at a deeper level where there is a deeper sense of purpose or meaning or values or any of these human-centric values that really we connect to those when we get into the right side of the brain.
So, what their research is showing is that if we start off too analytical, we actually struggle ever to get into a relational side and they’re also showing that the inverse is true that if you start on the relational side, it’s exactly what you said, that actually finding that if you connect with people in a deep meaningful value, human-centric way which you could call that right brain, you could call it heart, whatever you want, they’re finding that people’s ability to then have an analytical conversation it’s not just a little bit more effective but in some cases it’s exponentially more effective.
So, if people want to find it, they can just google Richard Boyatzis, Emotional Intelligence. They’ll see this research. But I just wanted to point out, there’s actually real science and evidence that is proving out to be true and a lot of us may hear and think, “Well, it sounds nice,” and maybe we’ve seen it to be true but when it’s backed by a level of evidence, it is really hard to deny. It gives you a lot of confidence in saying, “Hey, I really should try and take this approach with my work.” Not that it’s easy to do as it is to just talk about.
[00:25:55] Pete: Yeah.
[00:25:55] Jon: But I think that leads us actually to this question that someone brought which is about being heart-centric or being vulnerable. And it’s a great question here. Pete, how do you express this human connection, this vulnerability in a way where you’re being careful because you’re still supposed to be an expert or a coach? I think that’s a really interesting question. Do you have any thoughts on that?
[00:26:19] Pete: Yeah. You know, I think it’s a great question and I think that people also want to know, people don’t want – so here’s what I’m going to tell you. Being vulnerable, the question that I get asked a lot is how do I be vulnerable if I haven’t made things right or I don’t have healing? If you don’t have healing in your life around what you’re talking about, don’t share it. I mean that like I hadn’t shared my dad story until about two or three years ago because I didn’t have complete healing from it. And so, first of all, getting vulnerable from a place that you haven’t gotten like complete healing on, that’s the first thing that I really want to encourage people to do is I get asked that question a lot. Now I want to tell you what, that’s the problem is that we think that we have to be perfect and there’s this trap of perfection that we think we have to be perfect. And I told you the first thing that people want to know is that you understand what it’s like to be in their shoes and that you’ve walked in their shoes before whether you’re helping them with their business or their relationships or their kid or you’re their pastor or you’re their teacher or their coach. They want to know.
It seems like it but your vulnerability helps them understand that, “Oh, he or she knows what I feel like. He or she also isn’t perfect. They get it,” and they know that we’ve walked in that shoes. And so, I want to tell you what, nobody ever has come up and said, “I don’t want to work with you because I saw your imperfections.” It’s quite the opposite. They come up and say, “I want to work with you because of the fact that you understand what it’s like to be where I’m at right now and I can see that you’re not this person who comes out and just proclaims perfection.” And here’s the thing, here’s the shift in the market. Let me tell you the shift in the market. The old school said come out and talk about how awesome you are and then maybe talk about a little bit of – that’s how the old school came out. It’s like let’s talk about how incredible we are, how perfect we are, how we’re the biggest baddest thing ever and quite frankly, there’s a lot of data and proof and a lot of stuff showing that people are very turned off by that, extremely turned off by that.
[00:28:20] Pete: Which is why I say I want you to talk about how great you are but not until you’ve human connected and shared your hero’s journey story that they understand you know what it’s like to walk in their shoes. Then and only then do they want to hear about you. And so, I think it’s okay and I think Robert that’s a great question, being vulnerable, there’s still a way to position you as the expert which is why that human highlight reel or the highlight reel, the social proof is still part of that because even in your imperfection, you’re about to show them how you slayed the dragon and defeated the giant. That’s why that piece is part of that opening heart.
[00:29:00] Jon: I would add something and I’d love your opinion on my unprofessional uninformed opinion on this because I don’t teach this the way you do, Pete, but one of the things I feel like I personally experienced and also seen in this comment that you make, I think there’s so much depth to this that we could easily miss about, A, if I haven’t completely healed around a certain area that I’m teaching around, I ought to be careful about taking a stage around that area. I’ve seen for myself and for others especially those that run multi-day events. It’s almost impossible to predict what’s going to come up in an event from an audience and as a teacher and I’ve seen this where the healing fortunately or unfortunately is happening from the stage and that’s not always the best thing for the audience. And one of the things that I feel like I’ve witnessed through my own error in judgment or sometimes the only way to learn these things is by falling down on my face is realizing that vulnerability or what I would call unfiltered, complete, irrational or vulnerability that doesn’t have any thought to it can actually be really damaging also.
And I’ve seen myself or others do this where they get this idea that, “Okay. I need to make a human connection,” and they go too far where they share vulnerability around an area of their life that really it didn’t have anything to do with what they needed to arrive at and what they’re teaching. I’d be curious what your thoughts are on that and I would also add, I would suggest to everybody that in your own journey of figuring out, “How do I create more of a human connection?” that if you’re going to make an effort to connect in a way that you’ve never connected before, maybe one of the most important things you could do is make sure that before you do that in front of people that you rehearse it multiple times in private.
[00:30:52] Jon: And what I’ve taught people when we’re teaching about speaking, just purely the art of communicating, is when rehearsing something and this could be with an audience of any size, even one person, your spouse, your kids, if you want to have an emotional impact, if you want to make a heart-centered connection, you have to actually be able to create all of the emotions necessary in private when there’s nobody else there. So, that if you want to reconnect on stage without the story taking over and the emotions grabbing control of you, it’s really a practice in mindfulness. You actually have to rehearse getting into the story, connecting with the emotions that you want, not letting them take over, not letting the story take over long before you’re doing it in front of others. So, that’s my advice on this topic. I think it’s such a big topic. I wanted to just share how I’ve learned through my own mistakes there that deserves a little bit of preparation on this. You have any thoughts you’d add to that?
[00:31:43] Pete: Yeah. Jon said two really important things there and that’s why I say the reason that a lot of times they see your imperfection in an unattractive way is because you haven’t healed from it yourself. So, it’s not sharing that story. It’s that you haven’t healed from it that you’re not sharing it in a powerful way where they can find themselves in it. You’re sharing from it in a way that’s like, “Oh my gosh, he is – I feel, oh gosh.” It’s just like you can tell somebody hasn’t healed from that story. And so, when you do feel like you’ve healed from your story, Jon is right, preparation is the key. Preparation is the key. A couple of times where I’ve shared stories for the first time where I was healed from them was on Brendon Burchard’s stage. I shared my three minutes and I practiced more for those three minutes than I had ever had probably in my entire life but you could also see the people who took the stage that hadn’t practiced and that it just felt like a mess up there like it was like they were just like – and I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way but it was just this vomiting and everybody was like, “Ugh,” and there was no practice and I think that’s a really important thing like I just think that’s so important.
Make sure you’re healed first and foremost and that you’ve gotten reconciliation around that but then make sure that it’s something you practice. Like I practiced it. And I do want you to know, I get asked the question a lot, “Hey, Pete, what if I’m telling a story about something or someone or an instance in my life that could offend that person?” Before I ever told the story of my dad, before I ever put the video on my website that talks about my dad, I actually called my dad and I said, “Dad, I just want you to know I feel like I’m supposed to share this with the world and you’re a part of it but I always am going to honor you and, Dad, it’s not going to be – they aren’t going to hear about the bad dad. They’re going to hear about the great dad that you’ve become as a result,” and so I actually had that conversation with my dad too. So, I just want people to know those are a lot of questions that people get asked around the story side of it.
[00:33:43] Jon: That’s awesome. That’s a great insight. So, Pete, I got two more questions for you as of right now. One of them is for anybody who’s listening, any advice you could share when they hang up or they’re done listening to this episode, actions they could take to immediately get onto a stage? You could take that any direction you want. Then my follow-on question is going to be when they do or for anybody who has access, the most important advice you could give them on how to capitalize when they are on a stage?
[00:34:14] Pete: That’s cool. Yeah. So, on the stage, this is my genius, this is my sweet spot, this is what I love like I want you to know that there are people out there that don’t know how to get on stages but they have the product suite that when they actually do get on a stage, people want it. So, I’ll give you a perfect example of someone. I want to use a case study to teach you. So, a good friend of Hal and I is Nicholas Kusmich, one of the best in the world at Facebook advertising. Amazing guy who’s really on a journey to find stages. He had the suite of products. He had the digital courses. He had the intensive workshops. He had the Done For You agency but he just needed stages.
And so, I want to use Nicholas as a case study and I want to use our good friend Hal Elrod as a case study here in just a second that I think it’s going to really drive home to the community. So, what did we do? What do you have to do to get on stages? There are a few key things that you have to do to get on stages. And I’m just going to walk you through those five keys really quickly. You’re going to have to trust that I know the first one but I’m going to tell you the next four really quickly. Number one, the person who controls the stage is defined as a meeting planner. A meeting planner is simply someone with directly or indirectly controls the stage. So, Best Year Ever Live, who controls the stage, Jon? I’m asking you that question.
[00:35:35] Jon: Yeah. We do. I do and Hal. Yeah.
[00:35:37] Pete: So, you’re the direct but who indirectly might control the stage? Who if they brought you a recommendation, you probably would listen to?
[00:35:45] Jon: Anyone who we have our relationship with.
[00:35:47] Pete: Exactly. So, that to me is my definition of a meeting planner. I know it’s not the market’s definition but my definition is anybody who controls the stage directly, Hal and Jon, or indirectly, anybody who has a relationship with.
[00:36:02] Jon: That’s a great way of looking at it.
[00:36:04] Pete: It’s an amazing way that most don’t look at. Now here’s why I look at that in that way. I have spent 10,000 hours plus on the phone or in conversations with direct or indirect meeting planners and you’re just going to have to trust that I know what they’re looking for. So, first thing is you need to know the mind of the meeting planner. Pete knows that so let’s skip to step two. Step two to getting a stage is you have to have a few positioning elements. A few positioning elements that stand out. Maybe it’s a nice one-page PDF document that really showcases you. I call that a speaker kit. Get a little speaker kit designed like a one to three-page document that’s just like, “Oh wow. This person is really, really good.”
Here’s the most important piece to everything that you put out, solving a problem of their community. If you don’t solve a problem, a major problem that their community faces that they don’t currently solve, they’re not going to hire you. There’s going to be a smaller chance that they hire you. So, like the foundational thing to everything I’m about to tell you is make sure that you solve a problem for them that you solve a problem for them and their audience. That’s the number one thing you need to do. So, in this PDF piece, make sure that you address their problem in that but you also show through your talk titles and through your bio and through all of that that you can solve their problem. So, number one piece, to position yourself is a simple one to three-page like PDF speaker kit. Number two is a website. Even if it’s a one-page website, take the PDF and tell somebody to put that as your website. You could get that up and running quickly like we have a friend named Amber. We have ClickFunnels. There’s a lot of resources out there to get a speaker page up.
[00:38:05] Pete: So, you want to show some validity by having a speaker page. And then the third thing to position yourself is some video. Like I want you to have video. There’s video that’s really important to just let them see that you’re really good. And so, you’ve got to position yourself first and foremost. The second thing that you got to do is you’ve got to know the stages that exist. Jon, I’m going to include a document at the end. There are 35 different online stages and 35 different offline stages that the listeners can be on. And so, you’ve got to make a decision is do you want online stages? Do you want off-line stages? Do you want a combination of them both? You have to know the stages that exist because if you will simply inventory three to five of those stages that you want to be on based on your lifestyle, based on your season of life, inventory three to five of the different stages you want to be on. So, that’s the second main piece is know the stages that you want to be on. The third piece is find those stages. You have to find those stages. And guess what, there are millions and millions of events just happening in the US alone.
And so, the number one way that you can find stages, I’m just going to tell you is, A, through champions, people in your life who believe in you or, B, through Google. Yes, they’re Google. So, if you feel like, I would simply email. This is what I did. I’ve never been on a stage a year-and-a-half ago Jon and I sent out an email saying, “Hey,” to my five champions. “Hey, first name, thank you for believing in my message so much. I know that it’s time for me to be on stages. Here are the three to five types of stages.” Remember, know the stages you want because now you’re about to put that out to the world. “Here are the three to five stages I’m looking to be on more of. Can you make any connections to those? Are there any that you think I need to be on?” And I’m telling you, I got emailed back some of the biggest stages that I have now been on as a result of that.
[00:40:07] Pete: You can do it that way or you can go straight to Google and search those three to five stages that you picked in the industries that you want to be on. What industries do I need to be in, Pete? It’s the industries that people who buy your products and services. Those are the stages that you want to be on is people who buy your products and services. So, the third piece, I’m recapping because I’m teaching a lot. The positioning elements. Position yourself in the minds of how the meeting planner thinks and solve their problem. Know the stages that you want to be on. Inventory the three to five stages and once you get this handout, you’ll be able to do that. Go find the stages through your champions or through Google.
And then if you can go find five to ten online stages that you want to be on, I’m going to show you how to win those right now. This is the last piece of the equation. It’s the winning. So, there are five mediums that we use in like a very complex campaign. We use direct mail, we use email, we use video, we use phone and we use social media. And we combine all five of those to build out the campaign that’s responsible for 25,000 stages. Most solopreneurs can’t do all of that and so there’s only one piece of that that I’m going to recommend. One piece and this is the piece that actually won us the White House. I’m going to recommend one piece and I’m going to teach them how to do it.
[00:41:34] Jon: Awesome.
[00:41:35] Pete: And so, here’s the tool we use. We use a tool called BombBomb.com/Reach and you can go see why I use it. It’s such an easy tool. I’ve used it with Jon. I’ve used it with Hal Elrod. I’ve used it with a lot of people. I’m like one of the leaders of most BombBomb video email sent. It’s a video email platform. And so, here’s the beauty, if you can find the stages that you want, I want you to now reach out and send them a video email, a video email that’s less than two minutes long and you’re going to do six pieces in that email, six pieces. Number one is you’re going to try to connect you and them to someone that you commonly know. So, even if nobody’s recommended you to them, maybe you go to LinkedIn and just find a common connection. So, you’re going to connect them to somebody that you know, “Hey, I see that we both know so and so,” or, “Hey, Jon referred me to you,” so you’re going to make a common connection. I want to tell you this and then I want you to see it in action.
Number two, you’re going to talk about them, the research that you’ve done on them, the great things that they’re doing in this world, how awesome their stage looks. You’re going to talk about them and only them and commend them on the great things that they’re doing in the world. The third thing that you’re going to do, you’re going to talk about the problem that you can solve for them. It comes back to that through everything, the problem you can solve for them. Fourth thing, you’re going to give them social proof on how you solve that problem. The fifth thing is you’re going to create a win-win scenario. And the final thing is you’re going to give a call to action. If you will go find a bunch of online and offline stages and all you do is get really good at doing this script, I’m telling you I can give you testimony after testimony and across the country of people including myself who have won stages just with doing one piece of our big campaign.
[00:43:43] Pete: Remember, we have a big campaign and I’m going to show you how to get all of the training on that here in just a second but I just want to teach you one piece because if I can get you a win, I believe that’s like you will be grateful and thankful to me for that and that’s what I want to do. So, here’s how I did the White House. I found out on Google, I had a Google search and I found out that there was a Safety School Symposium happening at the White House. And so, here’s how the script went. See if you find those six pieces in the script.
“Hey, so and so, it’s Pete Vargas. I know you don’t know me but we’ve got a common friend by the name of Foster. I know Foster is obviously a huge believer in what you all do. He’s also a huge believer in what we do. And so, I was looking and I just googled, just alerted me about the Safety School Symposium that’s happening at the White House. I’m blown away that you guys have called this at the White House to make our schools safer. Thank you for doing that. I can’t believe you’re bringing in so and so and so and so. I know them both personally and they do such great work in schools across the country. Thank you for helping us end the suicide and these teen shootings in schools across America. I just want to commend you for taking action at a federal level. I know you don’t know me. I’m the national marketing director for Rachel’s Challenge. Rachel is the first girl killed at Columbine back in 1999 and over the course of the last 14 years, her writings and journals had been the catalyst movement for helping in-school shootings and school suicides in schools across America. And I would love the opportunity to find out how we could be one of the speakers or one of the panelists at the Safe School Symposium. You see, we’ve had X amount of suicides prevented and X amount of school shootings prevented in the last five years and we really believe that we can help bring some value. So, here’s what I want to do. I want to make our whole community aware of this. We have a big list and a big following.
[00:45:43] Pete: We’re going to let them all know what’s going on at the federal level and we would also love to talk to you about potentially being one of the speakers at the White House. So, down below are my details. I would love for you to schedule a call with me. Let’s hop on the phone and really get on the phone quickly here.” All of that two minutes, quick little video. Within seven to ten days, Jon, we got confirmation that we would be at the White House. You can go see it online. You can Google it but if the community will just begin to find those stages that they want to be on and begin to take these actions, now Nicholas Kusmich is on a lot of stages and now, as a result, we’re seeing great things happen when he’s on those stages because he has the ways that people can go deeper with him but he didn’t have the stages.
[00:46:33] Jon: That’s awesome. That is so cool. Pete, hey, can we make sure we give out the URL? You may have done it already but one more time for people to get this insight that you’re going to offer as a gift. Is it AdvanceYourReach.com/Elrod? Is that right?
[00:46:50] Pete: Yeah. AdvanceYourReach.com/Elrod. And so, yeah, that’s where you can get so it’s the entire training around our campaign that win stages. So, it’s all 10 steps of breakdown, details, how to do it and it’s a breakdown of how to use the training to be able to get stages for sure.
[00:47:11] Jon: Awesome. Thank you. And I appreciate the generosity to share your wisdom here. It’s really cool, Pete. Hey, last question to finish with. It will have to be a rapid fire in a couple of minutes or less only because I’ve got to get to a yoga class.
[00:47:25] Pete: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:47:26] Jon: Full transparency. Best advice, somebody lands a stage. They’re going on stage tomorrow. Best advice on optimizing the value that is created from that experience when we are on stage?
[00:47:40] Pete: I’m glad. You couldn’t end with a better question because here’s the deal, you got the opposite side of the spectrum, Mr. Hal Elrod himself that can get as many stages as he wants to get like he is in demand in the market. And Hal and I, Hal was just with us this last week and we got to work on Hal and we didn’t work on Hal from a stage perspective. We worked on Hal from a leveraging the stage perspective. And so, there are two key things that everybody has to do in order to leverage the stage. First and foremost, you have to have a product or service. If you don’t have something in your product suite right now, a digital course, a service, coaching and consulting, a mastermind, something else, fundraising like our good buddy Jon with the Front Row Foundation, something else that goes beyond the stage then you’re not doing yourself justice.
And so, what we did we worked with Hal to create what we call create a product or service that can go beyond the stage that people can go deeper with you in. That’s the first thing that you have to have is one of those. And then what we want you to do is we want you to capture people’s names as you’re speaking. Right when you’re teaching one of your strongest points, at that point give away a free gift that takes them deeper into that point. Maybe you all saw that get done three minutes ago at AdvanceYourReach.com/Elrod while I’m teaching stages. I taught you one piece of a 10-step process. So, in the middle of your presentation, figure out what the strongest piece of your teaching is and at that point, give away a free gift. You can do that with text opt-in, URL, the contact card which is actually a physical card on their table where they write their information down.
[00:49:35] Pete: We give people all three options during presentations and we capture 80% to 90% on the high end, 50% to 70% on the low end of people that are sitting in our audiences. That’s physical stage but those are the two things that people need to do is, A, make sure you have a program just like Hal. So, Hal had the stages but he didn’t have his program and we helped him create that and design that, Jon, but, B, make sure that you capture their names right in the middle of your greatest teaching by giving away a gift that’s congruent with that teaching.
[00:50:11] Jon: Awesome. Super practical. Pete, this is so great. I got a text from somebody listening during this that they made a request. They said, “Hey, during the Best Year Ever Blueprint Live Event, could you just give Pete the whole day on Friday for Entrepreneur Day?” We could. Maybe we’ll have to expand whatever our plan was for you, Pete, but I can’t wait. It’s going to be awesome. This was great.
[00:50:33] Pete: Jon, I love and my kind of last closing thought, I love how you make things consumable for people and so I’ve talked about three big ideas today. I talked about the idea of like story. I’ve talked about the idea of stages and we’ve talked about the idea of scaling past the stage of your products and services. Anybody that’s listening to this now or in the future, I would say identify the one today. Not all three, identify the one area that you need to focus on in your business in your life today. Maybe you’ve got your story dialed in and you’ve got your product suite and you’re like Nicholas Kusmich and you’re like, “I need stages.” Or maybe you’ve got so many stages and you’re the road warrior and you don’t have your scale dialed in and you need to get that dialed in. Or maybe you’re just getting started and you’re like, “I got to dial in on my story.” Pick one of the three and focus on that one because you see the cool part of my dad’s story is a decade ago, I got a call from my dad. He got remarried at 49 and 48 to an amazing lady he told me was pregnant and this was before I had kids.
Actually, my stepmom was pregnant and this is before I had kids. I went back to meet my little brother for the first time in Texas and my wife and I saw something really different in my dad that weekend. And we were just laughing and cracking up because we didn’t have kids but that day my dad took me out to the car when we were leaving. He walked my wife into the car, closed the door, he walked me to the car and he said, “I want you to know that you’ll always be my little boy but I feel like JT is my second chance to get to do things right.” And here’s the beauty of that story. The beauty of that story is the first time my son heard me tell my dad story, my son said, “How you talked about Grandpa Pete at the beginning is not the Grandpa Pete that I know.” It’s not the Grandpa Pete that my kids know. It’s not the Grandpa Pete that my little brother, JT, knows and it’s because of someone who is bold enough and brave enough to go out and get on a stage in front of people who needed to hear their message. And this community, dude, is full of people with powerful messages that need to be heard from the world. So, I hope that they’ll take action today, Jon, and go get out on those stages because people need to hear them.
[00:52:44] Jon: Pete, that was beautiful, buddy. Start with heart, finish with heart. That was wonderful. Hey, thanks for your time today, buddy. I appreciate it.
[00:52:51] Pete: I appreciate you, man, Have a good day at yoga.
[00:52:53] Jon: Yeah. I will. Thank you. See you, buddy.
[00:52:55] Pete: Bye.
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