A photo with Antonio from realmenrealstyle.com.
*This is a review of the Menfluential conference in Atlanta
Antonio Centeno from RMRS (realmenrealstyle.com) has 1.7M youtube subscribers and started hosting a conference called “Menfluential” 4 years ago. He is the guy you want to market your product or learn key essentials to improve your image. Now, since I am not writing the longest blog post ever, I will focus on key aspects that I feel make him so successful, and a point or two to make your next (or first) conference more successful.
Antonio is a military veteran that went to a top MBA. About two years ago, I wrote him asking about his MBA experience and he responded with a video. His answer is here. Long story short, he says an MBA is good for some, but a waste of time for others. His honesty and approachable nature is key in this video, along with giving you action steps to make his suggested alternatives to an MBA possible.
One other thing he did was answer me with a voice email. He did not do this every time, but it definitely connected with me to hear an influencer speaking to me directly vs just in the written format. I am not sure how many other influencers you follow, but to have someone put that kind of effort into following up with you when they get an incredible flow of emails, that is rare.
Since Antonio, has learned to connect so well with his audience, they are ready to take action on his recommendations. Or even, when he asks for help directly with his business. For example, I saw a video for him talking about fixing his website and saying he was open for recommendations. Therefore, even though I have no direct benefit if he chose a designer I selected, I am more than willing to take the time to write an email. He has elevated himself from trustworthy to likable time and time again.
What about hosting a conference? This is a great status elevator for Antonio. He has a huge following across social media and works hard to engage on a personal level. He uses terms like “guys” and “gents” and people feel like he is speaking to them. As a leader at a conference you control the speakers, the event coordination, and get to meet your audience. This increases loyalty and influence. I bought products and books from almost every vendor, because I trust that Antonio surrounds himself with exceptional people. In my mind, I want to be a great business man and influencer, so seeing a lot of these influencers on stage got me fired up to bring my “A” game next year and argue for a panel position the following year. It sets up a level of accountability.
This is a very cheap conference in Atlanta for conferences of comparable value. This conference is $150 for two days compared to the social media world conference that might cost you $1500. It’s a no brainer to me because I know how committed the leaders are to churning out a great experience. Plus, since this is maxed at 400 people, you keep an intimate environment to connect with lots of influencers and make new friends.
Keys to success at the event:
Buy from the vendors and books from influencers even if you don’t know them well. Not only does this send a message of respect, but it starts a relationship with people that can really help you later on. Plus, my dear marketers, there are strong principles of reciprocity in action. If you buy from someone, they are much more likely going to be responsive down the line when you reach out to them. Plus, you can really amp up this principle, by sending them a review of their book after you read it.
Here is my “acorn” or nugget of knowledge that should help you at your next conference. Find the most social guy at the event that goes up to everybody. I met an awesome guy that would literally introduce great people to meet me without asking. Think about how a great introduction to you immediately builds trust before you even speak. Guys like that led me to many more meaningful conversations with my target audience and really improved the quality of the event for me. He is an influencer in his own right. He could start a whole business on this concept.
After the event:
My initial goal is that I follow-up within 5 days of the conference. I want to make sure everyone I was able to connect with knows how much I appreciate them and that I remember the unique insight I grabbed from each. A year from now, I cannot wait to see where some of our businesses are, and how we can work on collaborations. Hopefully, maybe someone will tell me that I inspired them to start their own business.
How many of you are attending conferences this year? How can you enhance the trust factor like Antonio in your own life?