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Successful Seminar Strategies

Seminars have been a very popular way to attract and retain clients. Call them workshops, luncheons, or meetings, or whatever, seminars can be very profitable for both new and existing clients.

Who is your target audience? What is your target audience interested in? What is the desired result you want to achieve from the seminar. For example, if you do a seminar on tax planning, do the clients feel motivated to take any action during or after the seminar? Or are they just going to file the information away and see their accountant later.

If your giving a tax seminar, mention a case study where a client (similar to your target audience) saved thousands on tax using several different investment strategies recommended by the advisor. It is a sample of solutions which fit your target audience.

Here are some tips to successful seminars:

  • Plan your overall objectives

  • Plan your marketing mix of the seminar

  • Plan your invitations and approach

  • Plan your target group

  • Plan you target list of attendees

  • Plan your date and location

  • Plan your type of seminar- large or small

  • Plan your speakers and topics

  • Plan your venue and details

  • Plan your staff time and resources

  • Plan your budget

  • Plan your handouts and questionnaires

  • Plan your equipment

  • Plan your talk and time

  • Review all details over and over

  • Plan your follow up

  • Repeat and improve

Grant’s tip: The great debate. Some advisors say that seminars and meetings don’t work anymore. Clients and prospects see it as a sales push. These are the same advisors who are experts at seminars after holding two or three and finding out that they didn’t work for them. They are the same people that held public seminars.

Today’s advisor needs to hold targeted seminars. Let me give you an example. What if you sent out a wedding style invitation to people of a certain community and invited them to the local club about a topic that was important to them. For example take any affluent neighborhood in North America, get the mailing information (through post offices or directories) and mailed an exclusive invitation for residents of ABC Estates to discuss (a topic specific to their communities needs or concerns such as Ensuring your estate is taxed at the lowest possible rate through estate trusts.)

The invitation includes possibly a lunch or dinner and is at their local club. The club should help you with the meeting also so they can possibly attract new members and meet people as well. This is an example of targeted seminars and not just public seminars. How many exclusive communities are in your area?

Four keys to making your seminar work.

  1. Don’t educate- disturb

  2. Don’t inform, define problems

  3. Don’t offer solutions, provide a taste of solutions

  4. Don’t sell products, sell yourself
    ( courtesy of Deena Katz book)

Ask your board of directors or top clients what type of seminars or information that they might be interested in. Find top advisors who have completed successful seminars. I once had a representative say that seminars don’t work. When I asked him how many seminars he had done, his response was two seminars with little or no results. So now you’re an expert on seminars, I said. You need to practice, practice, practice and copy from the best to make seminars work. He delivered the seminar. Maybe next time if he brought in a well known speaker, his results might be different.

I have done several different seminars and after doing a dozen or so, I fund a formula that works. Have daytime seminars in a top notch venue with a targeted list of clients, and follow up with them until we get them into a seminar or two.

Some of the top representatives in the country have been doing the same seminar every month for ten years. They have a seminar so fine tuned that year in and year out, the representative doesn’t ever worry how they will grow their business from one year to the next.

A couple of ideas that work are client workshops, where you ask your clients to invite a friend. Birds of a feather flock together. You can mix your audience with clients and prospects, so that if they were to ask one of your clients after the meeting about you, a strong endorsement after your presentation makes the call to you much more inviting.

Second are conference calls. You can do a luncheon conference call with top managers for clients or prospects. A discussion after the conference call is why you should invest now. Make sure there is a sense of urgency created during the seminar and a recommended implementation schedule.

You can get creative with topics and speakers. Remember two things people remember. Picture and stories. Paint the picture for them by telling them a great story.

If you do a superb job at providing worthwhile information during the first 45 minutes, the 15 minutes at the end should be a breeze – because you’ve already established trust with your audience. Some of my clients report that 33 percent of attendees will end up becoming customers. And it will happen not because you invested money in marketing, but because you invested your time, energy, imagination, and expertise.

Some business owners improve upon that one-third closing ratio by doing one of three additional things:

  1. They have a different person take the stage during the final 15 minutes, someone with a knack for motivating groups of people.

  2. They have salespeople in the doorways exiting the venue, thanking people as they depart, and selling to them at the same time.

  3. They make a very special offer that’s available that day only.

Hold your free seminar at your own place of business, if possible. Market your seminars in online newsgroups and forums, in chat rooms, and in e-mailings. You might post signs in appropriate locations and announce your
session at community groups or in community newsletters. Since you won’t be charging for it, perhaps you can enlist the aid of the media.

Experiment by offering the seminar at two different times – something like twelve noon and seven in the evening. Experiment by offering it on Saturdays or weekdays. You can determine the best times and days based upon the attendance.

Copyright 2003 By: Jay Conrad Levinson and Grant W. Hicks, C.I.M - Co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing For Financial Advisors ", Trafford Publishing 2003.

You may use these articles in your marketing, newsletters and web sites as long as you retain the copyright information at the bottom, including the link to our web site and inform us where it is being used as well as sending us a copy of the publication.

Always check with your compliance office and or branch manager before implementing any marketing idea. The information does not constitute a recommendation for the sale or purchase of any securities or insurance.