Selling From On Stage With Pete Vargas

PHP 13 | Selling From On Stage


Business is all about facing your fears and preparing yourself for a huge audience on a bigger stage. In this episode, Adam Lyons talks with the Founder and CEO of Advance Your Reach, Pete Vargas. Known as the Stage Whisperer, Pete is the leading expert on helping people get on stages to grow their audience, grow their business, and carry their message out to millions. Today, he shares some psychology hacks for overcoming fear from being on a stage. If you want to learn how to develop your story and sell from the stage, this show is for you.

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Selling From On Stage With Pete Vargas

On this episode, we are joined by the one and only, Pete Vargas. How are you doing, Pete?

There’s something about you that fires me up. It’s the most authentic and you’re like, “This guy cares for you.” Your community is blessed.

Thank you so much. For our audience, Pete is one of the most incredible people in the world. I want to share a story about why I think you’re so inspirational, Pete. One of the things that I’ve done to grow my career is travel around the world speaking on different stages. In fact, I made my debut in 2006 when I was invited to Hollywood to speak on stage for the first time ever. I was blown away. I went from nobody, no one knew who I was, to later on that week, on a very popular blog in the dating industry, I was ranked as the third best dating expert in the world, which completely transformed my life. It was huge. It built my entire career. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

I remember I was so nervous for a month being like, “Should I do this? Shouldn’t I do this?” I’m looking back, I can’t even believe I thought that I wouldn’t do it. It’s so obvious that it was the right choice looking back on it. There is one stage that I have always wanted to speak on. A lot of my friends have spoken on it, Pete. It’s the Grant Cardone, 10X stage. It’s my Moby Dick. It’s my white whale. One day, I want to stand on that stage and I want to transform people’s lives. What I love about that stage is everybody up there that I’ve seen speak on that stage is someone who I know, personally knows Grant, was invited or has worked with him for years. There was one person I saw go up on that stage and I’m like, “I don’t know how that person is connected to Grant Cardone.” I learned that that person had reached out, called and managed to get themselves the only speaking spot of that client that Grant Cardone has ever given. Pete, that person was you.

Being on stage and getting your message out hold the keys to unlocking a problem for other people. Click To Tweet

Yes, it’s crazy. There’s a major nugget that I want to reemphasize that you threw a golden gem out to your whole community and I want them to know that. I’ll tackle the Grant Cardone thing too. The golden nugget was he went from nobody, no name, best kept secret. He said, “I’ve got something that can change relationships and I’ve got something deep in me nobody knows about me.” One stage didn’t give him the profits, the money and the revenues that a stage can generate, it gave him positioning in the market. He moved to number three. What I encourage people, yes, stages are the fastest way to get your message out to the world. Stages are the fastest way to grow your business but they’re also the fastest way to position you because you’re no longer the one in the audience doing all of the networking, shaking the hands, kissing the babies. I’m being a little funny now but you’re the one that everybody’s looking up to. When you do a good job on that stage, you go from best kept secret to the third ranked.

I want people to know that because I talk a lot about your message getting out there. I talk a lot about the revenues that are generated from stage. Sometimes I can’t quite get across how quickly it will position you and you gave an incredible story of that. In regards to Grant, a lot of people are like, “That’s cool. You’ve booked 25,000 stages across the world for your clients in over a fifteen-year period.” What do they say normally? “Yes, but who’s going to want me on their stage? Nobody’s going to want me on their stage. I don’t have this big name. I don’t have this big message. I don’t have this big anything.” I want to tell you, Adam, the genesis story of how this even was created. You know the story but there was a gentleman by the name of Darrell Scott. His daughter was the first girl killed at Columbine back in 1999. He had this powerful message that he wanted to take into the educational system based on his daughter’s six diaries and a paper called My Ethics, My Codes of Life.

One of my mentors called me and said, “Pete, you’ve got to bring this guy into your town to speak.” I was a youth pastor at the time. I said, “I’ve never heard of him.” Pay attention to my words, a guy hiring the speaker, I’ve never heard of him. They do think that. My mentor, Bob, was like, “Trust me.” Before he got on my stage, he said, “Pete, I feel I can change the school system. I’m just struggling to make that happen.” I was like, “I think you can too. Good luck.” I didn’t have time to be able to help him. He gets on my stage, in front of my kids, my parents, a thousand people in the auditorium and at the end of that presentation, he says, “There are five people in your life that you need to let them know. The parents in here, you have your kids in your life. On April 20th, 1999, I had no idea my daughter was going to be the first girl killed at Columbine. I had no idea the last conversation I would have had with her was the one prior to that day.”

He said, “You don’t know how long you’re here with your kids. I want you to do two things. Either go tell them you love them or if you’re not in good standings with them, you go ask them for forgiveness.” A couple of weeks later, I got a letter from my dad in the mail. He said, “I’m sorry for the father I‘ve been.” My grandmother took me away when I was in sixth grade because of the things my dad was doing to me, raising me as a single dad and the abusive dad that he was. Now I’m 23 years old, reading this letter and it says, “I’m sorry for the father I’ve been. I hear my son is having an impact on hundreds of kids’ lives. I can’t have an impact on my only son’s life. I’m asking you for a second chance to do things right.” He told me he loved me for the very first time in a really long time. I thought to myself, “What happened? One message on a stage changed it all.” It’s the same story you said, different situation but same story. It elevated. It seems that made people take notice of you. It’s the same thing here. My dad finally said he was sorry.

PHP 13 | Selling From On Stage
Selling From On Stage: Stages are the fastest way to get your message out to the world and the fastest way to grow your business.


Here’s what happened. We got that man, I called him, I solicited him. This is part of that whole system. I’m going to be leading into Grant Cardone stage. I said, “Darrell, you’ve got to get this message out to the world.” He said, “I’ve been trying but I don’t know how. Nothing is working.” Two things, bright, shiny object syndrome. He was trying to do a bunch of things in the noisy world that everybody else was also trying to do and he wasn’t known in the educational system at all. He’s known on media because of the shootings but not in education. I said, “You get on one stage and this is very parallel to Adam’s story.” He goes, “I don’t know how to get on a stage in front of educators. Can you do that for me?” I was like, “I’m a youth pastor. I’ll hustle on the sides and figure this out.” I started calling, emailing, sending gifts in the mail. I started doing everything. There was no social media so I couldn’t do that. I was doing all of these things and all of a sudden, I got somebody’s attention. I remember her conversation, “Who’s Darrell Scott?” There’s a reoccurring theme here. As I positioned to tell her, she said, “I want him on my stage.” She hired him. Four hundred people in the auditorium, educators who make decisions about bringing school programs back into the schools and all of a sudden, she hires him.

We get paid to be on that stage. At the end of that talk, we’d give away a free gift. Three hundred and fifty of them turned in that free gift asking, “How can I work with you more?” As we quickly went to design a program that didn’t exist that day, over the next two weeks, he generated five times the revenues than he had in that organization in the last twelve months. Here’s the crazy thing. Fast forward now fifteen years and he’s impacting millions of people. He’s seen a teen suicide prevented a day, a school shooting prevented monthly. The crazy thing is everybody knows him now. They know his message. It all started with one stage. Why do I tell you that? The system that we created and the system that I taught on Grant Cardone’s stage is the system I don’t like to say no name, I’d like to say best kept secrets. People who have a message for this world. I had to create this system starting with Darrell and a handful of other clients that nobody knew.

I had to build the system that wasn’t about showing off their celebrity status or their New York Times bestselling book. I had to build a system around someone who had a powerful message and make sure that the people wanted to hire them based on that message, not based on their celebrity status. As I taught that at 10X on a stage of 30,000 people, the people were blown away. Adam, you’ll appreciate this. This answers your question. The very last slide that I brought up was a picture of all twelve speakers: Daymond John, John Maxwell, Sara Blakely, Jesse Itzler, Russell Brunson, Ryan Deiss, Grant Cardone, Elena Cardone. There were all six on the top and all six on the bottom. I said, “This week, I’ve been walking around the stadium, my team and I have. I keep hearing,” and then a box goes around my face on the right-hand side with an arrow pointing to me with the question, “Who is this guy?” All weekend long, I keep hearing people say, “I know this guy, I know this girl. Who’s Pete Vargas?”

My team and I had a huddle because they were out there with me and that was the thing, so I played off of it. I said this, Adam, and this answers your question, “Pete Vargas is the guy who taught you the system and he’s the only guy on that screen that didn’t get a personal phone call from Grant or Grant’s team, inviting them to this stage because of how big they were or who they are, that celebrity status. He’s the only guy that didn’t get that call. He’s the same guy that used the same system to win this stage that I taught you to win stages in your life.” I tell that story because I think Darrell’s story is an important foundation of I had to build a system over fifteen years that made best-kept secrets notice.

When you begin to have a process, the beautiful thing is people within your company and your organization can share it. Click To Tweet

I love that story. It does emphasize that point. I want to give you a bit of a background to how we got connected. I don’t think you know this story. What I love about you is you have the ability to help anybody get on stages. Not only do you have that ability, as far as I’m concerned, you are the only person in the world that can do this and knows how to do it. Here’s how I know that. I was booked to do a training for a guy in Austin who we both know is incredibly influential. In return, he said to me, “What’s the one thing that you want?” I said, “I want to speak on more stages.” This was before I got introduced to you. He found twelve experts who could help me supposedly get on stages. Every single one of them, when they saw what I had already done, they’d seen the stages that I’d spoken on, in that I’ve been on the Today’s Show, I’ve hung out with Steve Harvey and been on his show. It caused all of them to, for whatever reason, back out of either wanting to help or feeling like they had nothing to give me.

Our mutual friends said, “There’s only one person for you and this is the person who 100% can give this to you.” For everyone in the audience, I’m a big fan of personal improvement and trying to improve my life. Pete was so kind, he invited me to take part in one of his workshops. I’m going to tell you right now, as someone who, since 2006, has spoken on stages all over the world, who is a well-renowned public speaker on my own right, when the late Sean Stephenson gave his last event, I was one of the keynote speakers. I was invited to go and speak there without me creating any of the amazing tools that you created. I got that myself. While I’ve considered somewhat of a professional public speaker, I was blown away by everything that you teach. It’s step-by-step and easy to follow. It’s so simple. I’ve trained my team how to do it on my behalf now, which is crazy.

Thank you for that. It gets powerful when you can take your message and other people can share it as well. I had one of the guys on our speaking team out on our company’s behalf. This whole idea of you have content that’s not a personality. Yes, you have such an energetic connection to people. I love that. That’s what I referenced at the frontend. You have content that’s about the content. It’s not about the personalities. It’s not like Adam’s riling me up. You have a process. When you begin to have a process, the beautiful thing is now people within your company and your organization can share it. Rachel’s Challenge story, the girl who was the first girl killed at Columbine, we took her dad and then we were able to see as many as 50 different speakers share the same message into the world because it had been about a process of change.

We’re seeing that right now. Dean Graziosi and Tony Robbins hired us to come in and do that and build their speaking team. We’re going to be with twenty of their speakers building their speaking team. That’s the beautiful thing is it doesn’t only have to be you. I want everybody to know out there stages are the fastest and most predictable way to grow your business. Why predictable? They’d been around for 2,000 years. They’re not going anywhere. Let me tell you why they’re not going anywhere. This core central of what they’re all about is human connection and connecting with people on a stage. Therefore, 2,000 years ago, they worked 2,000 years later. I want you to think about all of the marketing strategies in those 2,000 years that have come and gone. I call it the marketing medium graveyard.

PHP 13 | Selling From On Stage
Selling From On Stage: It gets powerful when you can take your message and other people can share it as well.


Somebody told me, “I got clients on Myspace.” You’re not getting clients on Myspace anymore. I got a client that’s doing this but that isn’t around anymore. It might’ve worked for a season. Sometimes the season is a few months, a few years, a few decades, but very rarely is it longer than a few decades. Let’s be honest, the beautiful thing and most predictable is that. Why is it the fastest? Because in one hour, you can go from no-name to the third ranked person in that field by people voting on it. You can go from no revenues to multiple six-figure revenues. That’s why it’s the fastest. It’s not a sales cycle of 6 to 12 months. It happens immediately. Adam, you know this. There are so many digital stages, eight different digital stages, eight different physical stages. I believe that stages for any of your audience that have a message, I feel like they will be game-changer like they’d been for you.

There’s something that I think about when I think about stages of law and the impact they can have. Many people who read this and they say, “I can’t do that. I don’t have a mission. No one cares about my story.” It’s important that people understand that, first of all, the number one fear that human beings have is to get into the psychology hacking of this opportunity is the fear of public speaking. It’s a universal fear. Everyone has a fear of it because when you’re willing to stand out, there is a chance that you’ll be rejected, that people will not like you for who you are and what you have to say. That fear tends to hold people back. When people are being held back, it’s an opportunity for those of us who are willing to do the scary thing, to stand out from the crowd and be adored, be revered and have people hear our message.

Why I think the message is so important? It’s like, “Yes, it will grow your business. It will make you money.” You can become a famous expo or number three in the world or one in the world, whatever it is that you can be. What you do when you stand on a stage and speak is you give hope. Hope is the one thing that truly drives human beings. If everything sucks, we can become used to life sucking. As long as there is hope that it will get better, we’ll keep pushing. I’ve got a new client who’s a school teacher. He came to me and he said, “I’m on a very low salary. I love what I do. I like helping people. What do I do with that?” I was like, “You’re an educator. There are people getting paid millions of dollars to teach different subjects to be able to do things.” It turns out that this guy overcame a debilitating speech impediment that would mean he couldn’t be a teacher. He overcame that in his own life and has a step-by-step system to overcome speech impediments.

He developed it for himself so he could be a school teacher. I said to him, “That message has to be shared. You have to get out there and tell people you solved something.” How many people are suffering from a speech impediment but would love that cure that that person solved? To the audience, you’ve solved something. You have a problem in your life that you overcame. Believe it or not, you’re the expert at that. There are other people out there in pain, suffering who don’t know how to solve it. You hold their hope in your hands. If you’re brave enough to go up on a stage and share that story, you’ll change their lives. To me, that’s what’s so important about what you do.

It’s crazy that people would rather be the person in the casket than the person giving the eulogy. Click To Tweet

That defines what we do. I had this dream when I was 23 years old, and I’m not trying to sound like MLK, that I woke up and I told my wife about it and she said, “Tell me about it.” I was like, “It’s never been so vivid and it never felt so true.” There were people all across the world sharing their message and nobody knew who I was but I was the one behind the scenes that had opened up the doors for them to share their message. You gave me another extension to my dream so that they could unlock the keys, so they could unlock the doors for the people going through the same problems that they had also overcome. That’s crazy what you just said.

They hold the keys to unlocking a problem for other people and having the roadmap of how they overcame it themselves. This whole journey is about me figuring out how to get a man on a stage because of him impacting my dad and I’s life. You said it. I have a moral obligation now to make sure that everybody that’s trying to get their message out there can get on stages. Illustrating what Adam said, I have the hope and the key to unlocking messages being expanded. That’s beautiful. I always saw I’m the one behind the scenes and I have an indirect connection with all of the stages my students are on but they also have the key. They also have that key and that’s such a beautiful thing. I’m excited to say in the last several months, our students have booked 47,000 stages, both physical and digital stages.

For our audience, Pete has done us a wonderful thing. He’s given us access to training that talks more about how you can get booked on stages or what you might do if you got booked on stages and how to go about doing it. What I love about that is Pete’s training helps you to find the message, helps you create it and helps you share it. If you think that maybe you’ve had a tough life and maybe you’ve overcome something or maybe you’ve got a business that you want to get more people, get the word out because you think it’s going to make a difference. Pete, if you had a psychological hack, something to give somebody maybe that can help them be more successful or help them get over their fear about talking on stages or expanding their reach, what would you say?

First, I’d say I’m excited. Thank you for the workshop that we’re doing. It’s going to be phenomenal. We do it one time a year. It’s a few weeks long and we’ve charged a few thousand dollars in the past for it. We’re going to pull their messages out of them, help them craft that message, help them win stages. We’re going to give them a few thousand stages that we’ve already done the research for them and show them how to win those stages. We’re going to help them understand how to create revenues from their genius, their expertise, what they’ve overcome. We’re going to do all of that over the course of a couple of weeks. Please take advantage of that.

PHP 13 | Selling From On Stage
Selling From On Stage: When you get on stage, think about the transformation that you are about to offer to your audience, not about you and your fears.


Here’s my psychology hack for overcoming specific fear to maybe the thought of being on a stage. What happens when you get on a stage and you have a fear? It’s crazy that people would rather be the person in the casket than the person giving the eulogy. They would rather be dead, with what statistics tell us, than the one on the stage giving the eulogy. I’m like, “No, I don’t want you in the casket. That means your message is dead with you too in there.” Most people at age 25 die but they’re not buried until they’re 75. What happens is psychologically and mentally, they start thinking about themselves, their fears, shakes, sweats, PowerPoint, this and that. For me, it was body image. I was 330 pounds so I had a fear. I avoided speaking when I started this new division of our company. Even though I knew how to get people on stages, I was never the guy on a stage. What I learned, what Michael Hyatt told me he learned when he overcame his fear, the same thing for me, Michael and everybody else.

A lot of people that I talked to is beginning to shift your mindset around thoughts of me and my fears and my stuff to shifts of them. Meaning the audience, the crowd and your genius. If I go from, “I’m overweight. What are people thinking about me? I’m nervous, I’m shaking,” to “What happens if that crowd gets my content today? What does that mean? It means thousands of stages. What does thousands of stages mean? Millions of people impacted.” Make that the central core. Before I meditate and I get on stages, that’s exactly what I do. As I stood on Grant Cardone’s stage and I was scared, 30,000 people, I was afraid, shaking, sweating. I didn’t realize I was sweating. I didn’t realize I was shaking because I had to have a handheld. I never use handhelds because I still shake on stage. Before I got on the stage, I began to meditate and this is my final thought going on the stage. You tell people that your big, hairy, audacious goal is to help your students get on a million stages by 2027.

That’s why I know how many stages our students have been on the last several months because we track that every year. I said, “If that’s your BHAG, do you realize that this audience could do that by themselves in the next three years?” I thought, “That means I could hit this big, hairy, audacious goal in 2 to 3 years with this audience if they get my genius now, if they get my content.” That was the final thought. I went on stage, I was shaking. I didn’t know it. I was sweating. I’ve seen the video, I didn’t know it. In the past, I did know it because it was the central thought of my mind getting on that stage. At the end of the presentation, as I talked about my dad who was a terrible dad growing up, I got the opportunity to talk about my dad getting a second chance at 49 and having another kid with my stepmom at 48. They had a miracle baby. I talked about the first time that I met my little brother, JT. I went home and I saw something different in my dad. My dad was hugging them, loving them, everything differently. When we were leaving to Colorado to come back home that day, my dad took me by the car before I got into drive and he said, “I want you to know you’ll always be my little boy but I feel JT is my second chance to get to do things right.”

My dad now is the most amazing dad to JT but he’s the most amazing grandfather to my four kids and my sister’s three kids. The beautiful thing is I got to talk about this dad that I forgave and asked me forgiveness. I got to talk about this amazing dad. The very first time that he ever heard me share that talk was on Grant Cardone’s stage. They brought him on the big screen. He was in tears. He was crying. People got on their feet for my dad that day. Here’s what happened. I had a thousand customers come into our business. I saw multiple seven figures come from that one stage. The coolest part is one person who wasn’t afraid, who overcame their fear of sharing their message was responsible for the impact that was made on a father’s life, which that guy who shared that message has no idea how many generations that impacts in my dad’s life. That is what I want you thinking about when you get on stage is the transformation that you are about to offer those folks, not about you and your fears. That’s my psychology hack.

Thank you so much. For our audience, go get access to that free training from Pete. If nothing else, it gives you some more insight and see if this is right for you. Pete, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us.

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About Pete Vargas

PHP 13 | Selling From On StagePete Vargas is the founder and CEO of Advance Your Reach…

He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the USA with his wife and kids.

Pete and his team are responsible for booking over 25,000 stages worldwide in the last 15 years. He has booked legendary speakers like Ryan Deiss and Shark Tank’s Daymond John.

Pete has been educating speakers about how to book stages for over 10 years. He has helped speakers, entrepreneurs, nonprofits and small business owners land speaking stages and leverage the stage to grow their businesses.

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