If you are concerned that many have caught on to the power of seminars as a “new client acquisition” strategy, you are not alone. There are thousands of events being held around the country and if you live in an area of wealth and well-to-do individuals, rest assured that they are continually getting invited to attend these presentations by many different industries… Financial Advisors, Estate Planning Attorneys, Franchises, Home Improvement, Senior Living, Travel, to name a few.
They work, that is why you see so many being done. For over 22 years, the social dinner event approach we originated has drawn over 17 million individuals from that ideal target audience of 55+ years of age, with disposable money to invest or buy. The events give them a safe, ideal and comfortable setting where they can get educated, have a chance to shop, and the opportunity to gather more information about products and services that they are interested in. These are motivated individuals that respond to your invitations and willingly come see you present your services or products. Keep in mind; they are still very guarded since so many companies want their attention. Knowing and understanding that psychological and social reality allows you to utilize techniques to break down the barriers by making your event stand out, be more appealing, different and more memorable.
Your new client opportunities will come from approximately 40% to 50% of your attendees. Please do not get overly concerned about the other 50% that do not make an appointment… it’s absolutely normal. Also, it does not matter why those folks came. They attended and helped you fill the room. That in itself is a great dynamic that makes you look very good. You commanded a full room and that type of impression is invaluable on that day and even for later (I will explain.). You are never going to convince 100% of the audience. You did nothing wrong in your presentation, it’s just the math and the numbers of doing seminars. Making a great impression at your events will also help you later because those that chose not to make an appointment with you for whatever reason, will compare you and your event when they attend someone else’s event. Remember, those folks are still shopping so they will see the difference if you did a good job. You will then have a greater opportunity to get that call when they finally decide to make a decision to meet with someone.
So here are some very simple and proven ways to elevate your event to a social and more memorable experience for the audience.
- Play music while they are showing up and signing up at your table…as loud as you can (within the venue rules). Many events I have attended are too quiet and solemn with folks whispering and just sitting there staring at each other while they wait for things to get started. That is a terrible way to kick off an event. Instead, create a welcoming atmosphere of comfort and sociability.
- Hand out some credibility information before you start speaking… something like your accomplishments, testimonials, your professional bio, family background, financial tips, trivia facts about their age group (see www.americannostalgia.com), serve snacks, have a video playing in the background with facts/sayings (like in the movies), etc.
- Open by explaining why you are hosting a dinner event and share how many you have done (or will be doing), and tell them why you chose that non-selling, no lecture approach. In other words, sell the event. Clarify why it makes sense for them to learn, gather valuable information, question, and get a second opinion on their current plan or what they had in mind for retirement. Start by easing their concerns before you present anything. Set the mood.
- At some point in your presentation, explain clearly what will happen when they meet with you privately, one on one. It is critical that they understand what they are going to experience and what to expect. Explain who are the right types of people to meet with you… describe who you can help. What situation do they need to be in for you to be able to give them advice? Be transparent and genuine.
- This one works really well. Include door prizes, raffles or giveaways at the end of your event. You will not believe the anticipation that this will create. People LOVE to win things. It helps you create a fun, memorable and comfortable environment. You could use these as a way to collect comment forms, feedback sheets or appointment cards as the entries to the raffle. YOU have most likely experienced this dynamic before. Let me explain… you go to trade shows and pick up chachkis (for your kids, yeah right), you have probably sat at clubhouses after a golf tournament and waited until dark when they raffle all of the sponsoring gifts, maybe you have attended charity auctions and hope to land some of the top prizes displayed…right? We have all experienced that winning feeling. It makes people feel involved and it closes your event with a feel-good ending. You can use gift baskets, flower arrangements, wine, gift cards, pies (yes, pies), books, music CD’s, picture frames, etc.
In summary, it’s all about the setting, the mood, and your audience that day, not what’s convenient for you. You cater to them by creating a social environment where you can gain trust, credibility and acceptance. That is what truly generates more appointments. Your presentation is important but more important is that they have a great experience. That is what will make your event memorable and more effective. I always say that it’s what you do and what you say between your slides that connects you to the audience. Without these dynamics it’s just another workshop, sales pitch or lecture.
Like I said at the beginning of this article, there are thousands of dinner presentation events being promoted around the country, many in your own backyard. They really work, that is why you see so many. You can fight it and not participate or you can take advantage of this proven social prospecting phenomenon by stepping up and standing out. If you don’t, your competition will. Following the marketing formulas, and you can realistically expect to get in front of 600 to 1,000 motivated prospects over 12 months using the dinner event approach. Everything can be done for you except presenting and managing that audience in that room. That is where you come in, you determine your success. The amount of appointments you procure will be 100% in direct proportion to how you present and how you connect with the attendees that day.
Jorge Villar is the President and Founder of RME360, a $24 million-dollar marketing powerhouse. With more than 26 years of direct marketing experience, he is known in several industries for his ability to create campaigns that garner the highest response rates. He is the innovator of the National Seminar Success program that for the last 17 years has accounted for more than 65% of the seminar events being held nationwide, with over 17 million attendees. Mr. Villar has also been very successful marketing to physicians and business owners regarding Succession Planning and Asset Protection. RME360’s marketing programs are presently being utilized by over 10,000 clients, including: top producing financial advisors, estate planning attorneys, large financial organizations, health care organizations, franchises, universities and many other industries. Mr. Villar is a frequent key note speaker at national financial symposium and marketing training conferences.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128
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