Seminars are a great prospecting tool. There’s one problem: filling the room. Attracting attendees will account for most of your efforts when organizing these events. Here are seven strategies.
#1. Client and Prospect Events
These are the easiest to organize. Invite a group of clients and feature a compelling topic. Encourage clients to bring neighbors, co-workers or guests. Be sure to include food and drink.
Problem: Your client may have a difficult time explaining to a friend why he or she should attend.
Solution: Coach them with conversational examples. Click here for tips on how to do this.
#2. Cold Calling With Seminar
Advisors may find it less confrontational to invite investors to a free event. Many people who are already working with advisors are open to alternatives.
Problem: How do I measure success?
Solution: Set a goal of securing five attendees per day over a 20-day period. After 4 weeks you have 100 potential attendees.
#3. Prospect-Focused Seminar
Call prospects that haven’t committed yet. Suggest you meet face to face in a group setting. Get them interested in the topic.
Problem: They really aren’t interested in investing, but don’t know how to tell you.
Outcome: Now you know. If they decline your invitation without a logical reason, they aren’t interested.
#4. Cold Walking With Seminar
Visit an office or industrial park. After introducing yourself, ask the receptionist if you can meet the owner or manager. Put her at ease and hand her a seminar invitation.
Problem: It feels like door-to-door sales.
Solution: You are out in the sunshine! If you are turned away, get business cards or names, and prospect by phone.
One of the best strategies I’ve heard was from a team of advisors in Pennsylvania who targeted small medical practices. They walked in with the objective of making friends with the receptionist. They had only one request: hand-deliver each of these personalized invitations to the doctors when they are seated behind their desks. This increases the odds the doctors will give the invitations a serious look.
#5. Prospect Business Owners
Choose a topic that’s owner- or industry specific. Try to get them on the phone. If you can’t, get precise mailing information.
Solution: Focus on the specifics of the seminar’s date and time. You want to ask if the owner can attend.
#6. Newspaper ads, Radio Spots
Effective because of the large audience.
Problem: It’s expensive.
Solution: Can your branch plan an office-wide seminar and advertise? Plan your own and request sponsorship support from a product provider.
They can reach a wide audience. They might be physical surface mail, e-mails or wedding-style invitations.
Problem: Professional services do most of the work but it’s expensive.
Solution: Do it yourself, building the list from your prospect pipeline.
People get busy and forget things. You might have a 40% no-show rate. A three-call confirmation system helps improve your chances.
First Call: The prospect expresses interest and agrees to attend.
Second call: One week before the event. You’re confirming your headcount. Is she attending? Will she be bringing her spouse or friends? If you’re serving food, offer two entrée choices and ask her to choose one now.
Third call: The day before the seminar. Confirm date and time along with your intention to start and end on schedule. Do they need directions? Where can they find parking?
Read: Get beyond cold calling