The Sales Process
I took a gamble on a random LinkedIn message I received back in May. Apparently, I was a great fit for an “Outstanding Leadership Award” at the 2023 Internet 2.0 conference in Las Vegas. I got weird vibes pretty much every step of the way, but my curiosity somehow kept me wanting to know more. Prior to the conference, I found very little information about what I was getting into, so I’m hoping this post can shed some light for at least a few people in the future.
It started with a call to describe the award, the process, and the conference. It was instantly clear to me that I had just entered a sales call, but I wasn’t really sure for what. Next comes details about the conference. I’m told as an award recipient I’ll get a discount on my ticket. I’m still undecided on how I feel about the whole thing, but I feel like there’s a story here and I can’t help but dig.
I learn that there will be an application I need to fill out and a fee I need to pay in order to fill out the application. Apparently the fee gets refunded if I don’t get the award, which also sounded sketchy.
I fill out an application and pay the small fee to submit. The next day I have an email saying that I’ve been accepted for the award. Good news, in some ways, but now I need to decide if I’m ready to put my money where my mouth is.
A new call is arranged and I am walked through the different “packages” for attending the conference. Here I’m offered a free additional pass to bring someone else. More expensive options add other perks like speaking sessions and advertising spots. There’s very little talk about why I’ve been selected for this award and surely the short paragraph I wrote in my application is not enough to determine that I am actually an outstanding leader.
I tell the person I’m only interested in the basic pass and am asked to proceed with the payment right then and there on the call. Alarm bells are ringing at full force at this point. I tell him that I can’t do it right now, but can do it later in the day. They reluctantly agree to let me go, giving me more time to decide whether I was really going to spend money on something I had the heebie-jeebies about.
I finally accept that I’m willing to risk it to see what this is all about. When I attempt to pay I am brought through the clunkiest registration process I have ever seen. I’m supposedly attending “Internet 2.0 Conference” (don’t get me started on how terrible of a name this is when “Web 3.0” is trending) and this thing looks janky and full on didn’t work. I attempted to submit my payment twice and it didn’t go through. Feeling less confident about my decision at this point. Best case scenario, this is a disorganized conference…worst case scenario they’ve just stolen my credit card information.
I give the payment one more go and miraculously it goes through. The next few pages ask me to enter a bio, a photo, and to select what day and time I’d like to receive my award. Lastly, I book some flights and hotel and then wait for the day to arrive.
In my next post, I’ll dive into what the actual conference was like.