Anatomy of a Seminar - National Achievers Conference - Part 7

The next speaker was a person by name Kevin Green. He claimed to be a real estate magnate who owns thousands of properties in the UK. He was here to give tips to Indians on how to become rich by investing in the property market.

He started by asking how many people own 1 property. Many hands went up. Then he asked how many own 2 properties. Few hands went up. Then he asked how many own 5 properties. Hardly any hand went up. Then he said that he owns 1000 properties!

In similar fashion as Peng Joon, he also started showing pictures of his affluence, his family taking vacation, his picture with Prince Charles and other dignitaries. I knew quite clearly what was the modus operandi. He was here to sell his training program again. I did not want to spend much time in the conference as I had some important family gathering to attend. So, I left, having been satisfied by listening to Dr Velumani.

I heard that there were some other speakers later who were quite good.

So, here is how the NAC format works. They line up speakers. One would be a motivational speaker who may not be selling anything directly, like Subodh or Dr Velumani. Then, alternatively, there will be others, who are basically hard selling their training programs. Though they also have something to tell, I felt they did not have a good message. Typically, these guys who are trying to sell something, are sourced from outside the country and may be for a reason. No one can in such case, do a background check on their credentials. They of course have a profile in the internet which can be created for anyone in matter of weeks.

It may also be such that while Subodh and Dr Velumani would have been invited by Success Gyan, the others who are trying to sell their programs, would have rather paid Success Gyan (or the Singapore company) to get the stage time. Also, Success Gyan may claim a commission on their training program sales. Success Gyan also partners with other trainers to offer programs like ‘Milionare Mind Intensive’ (MMI) etc. In such seminars like NAC, they sell discounted tickets to MMI

Now, Success Gyan also recruits an army of volunteers at each location. These volunteers work for free as ushers, stage managers, audio visual team, other support staff and probably have the benefit of being able to attend these conferences. They do much of the ground work. They also keep selling tickets (without commission). They get some other benefits as meeting some of these trainers personally, taking pictures with them etc.

I felt that this is network marketing for learning and development. You get good as well as bad teachers. It is part of the deal. The good part of it is one can learn a lot, but the bad part is one can lose a lot of money in this as well. The discretion is yours, where to draw the line because everyone tries to hardsell!

Anatomy of a Seminar - National Achievers Conference - Part 6

The next Speaker was introduced as someone who has created a Rs 2000 crore business from scratch. He was Dr. Velumani, the person behind Thyocare, a thyroid testing lab, which revolutionized the lab industry by lowering the test costs and introducing the franchise model. 

Dr Velumani was awesome! He had a rustic touch. Before he started his story, he said that he does not agree with the previous speaker, who told that making money was easy and one does not have to work hard at all for it. Velumani said that one has to work hard, really hard – Mehnat karo! Then he told his story, the same story that he tells in all events that you can find here. Here is an ET article on him. He was born in a village near Coimbatore. He is the son of a landless farmer. He studied there. From villages he learnt the practicalities of life! He went to school with a slate and a plate in hand.  

He said, you either Discuss or you Decide. If you discuss, you cannot decide. If you decide, do not discuss further! You cannot do both.

  • When he completed his studies at his village, he decided he go to Bombay. He did not discuss with his parents. He just left home! Had he discussed with them, they would have asked him to stay back!
  • When time for marriage came, he did not discuss with his parents. He decided to marry.
  • When the time of resigning his job came, he did not discuss with his wife. He resigned.
  • When he thought about reducing the price of thyroid testing from Rs 100 to Rs 60, he did not discuss with anyone. He just decided to do it and profits quadrupled!

He said he studied in BARC for 14 years! He did not work as he was studying all the time. He completed his MSc and PhD in Thyroid Biochemistry. Then he decided to go into business. He wanted to reduce the cost. He offered Thyroid testing at Rs 100 while the ongoing rate was Rs 500. He reduced the supply cost. He still made money because of volume!

His main ideas were do not go for loans. Go for a very simple life. Make others win!! Act Poor. Live Frugal. Consume only 10% of salary. Focus! Have a great story. Narrate it well!
Dr Velumani got the best response from the audience. I was totally impressed. He had a lot of humorous touch to his speech. Many anecdotes he told had the audience bursting out in laughter.

He said, his success was always because he helped others win! Jeetao!

I felt this was totally entertaining, learning and worthwhile among all the speakers that I had heard till then. There was something which left me awestruck at the end. At the end of the presentation, Dr Velumani showed a picture of him and his wife. He said, that his wife passed away in Hyderabad, just 1 month back. I realized that even before his wife passed away, he used to show her picture at end of all presentations.

He got a standing  ovation from the crowd!

Anatomy of a Seminar - National Achievers Conference - Part 5

Peng Joon was actually not selling his training program. He was selling aspiration. He was selling people the dream to become rich! To be an online entrepreneur. To make tones of money easily! He persuaded people that they need not be computer wizards to build a website. He told them that they need not know great English to write a book. Everything could be outsourced! He said, even if you have zero experience, even if you have been a complete failure in life, you can still be a successful entrepreneur.

He also told something good. He said, do not build a service on the internet. Because for a service, you have to be there all the time to provide it. So, build a product. Like a eBook. Once written, you can keep getting sales royalty! Take something that you are good at, say you are good at playing piano. Then create a 3 hour video of how to play the piano. Chunk it 18 lessons of 10 minutes each. Get a subscriber base and publish it to the subscribers on a weekly basis! Of course, I got some idea from this!

After the session by Peng Joon, there was a break for 20 minutes. The attendees were asked to go and have some refreshments, obviously by buying them. The vip folks were taken for a meeting with Peng Joon. Refreshments were organized for the gold ticket holders. So, I was wondering what to do when I saw another Toastmasters friend who is into training and has his own training Institute, sitting alone. I ambled up to him and started a conversation. Since he was already a part of the training industry, I asked him directly, would there be people who take these training? He said, yes, of course. But agreed in course of discussion that, some of them sign up thinking that they will set up online business. Others are clear that they just want the training and materials. The folks who take the training as a train-the-trainer, immediately get down to business by offering the same training and the same materials in smaller cities of Andhra and Telangana. They typically offer it for Rs15000. Thus, if they get 5 clients, they are able to recover the investment. Subsequently, they make money. The folks who spend money for online business quickly realize that they cannot make money so easily and they start offering the same training to others at a lower rate.

The guys who get the training at Rs 15000, offer it again in a small town for as low as Rs 3000. Again, with just 5 more people, they recover their investment. The cycle thus continues...

I thought this was a remarkable network marketing concept. The person at the top of the chain keeps churning new training and the business keeps running.

I asked my friend, is this not some kind of fraud? The person is saying he will help setup online business, but finally every one is into training. My friend said, most people know it is training business only. Some folks are lured by promise of online business. But, they somehow believe that they can make it. And the trainers believe that they are helping them genuinely!! If both parties are happy, what is the issue?

The 20 minutes break was over and announcement was made for the next Speaker. I returned to my own seat.