referral seminar

Referral seminars are a great way to attract more of your ideal clients. Connecting with someone in person is more powerful than over email or on the phone. Seminars attendees are more likely to refer someone or become a client themselves based on that in-person conversation.

It’s easy to start planning your seminar strategy by asking yourself these questions:

  • Whom do you want to attract as clients?
  • What types of referrals do you want?
  • What type of referrals are you getting now?

5 quick tips for your seminar strategy

  1. Understand the power of storytelling

    A successful seminar, one that attracts your ideal clients and builds personal connections, rests on your ability to tell a powerful story. Sharing a personal story is an excellent way to address specific pain points your seminar attendees might have. This story could be about a formative moment such as a family event or personal experience. It shows how you empathize and understand the needs of your clients. Some key questions to consider [tweet this]:

    • How does that formative experience influence your work?
    • Does sharing that experience give you a unique (and relatable) perspective on the topic?
    • What are your motivations for sharing this story with your clients?
    • Is your experience, and what you learned from it, relevant to your clients?

    The first-hand experience you share will explain why you are a great choice as an advisor.

  2. Create your engagement funnel

    Your story may be key to the success of your seminar, but you will need other ways to maximize the percentage of high-quality referrals. Start with an engagement funnel. Think about what you want to achieve with the seminar and work back from your end-goal when creating the funnel.

    Start with a large number of people in your target demographic, then narrow that down to the people who fit your ideal client framework. These people may become loyal clients and offer the potential for powerful referrals in the future.

    Are you unsure about whom your ideal client is? Listen to our podcast about client segmentation and access free template resources to help you get started.

  3. Optimize your invitation list

    Your invitation list should focus on individuals who are your A+ clients, so consider both objective and subjective attributes; things such as income, professional network or life stage. Narrow down your list to clients who you feel are “true believers.” These are people who believe in your work, trust your process and are clients for life. These are also people who are more likely to refer their friends and family.

    You can further narrow down your topic of interest based on your ideal client analysis [click here for free PDF]. If your ideal clients are high-worth business owners, this can help you choose the topic and story you present.  

  4. Send an invitation

    Make sure to build your invitation list based on your desired client demographic, and understand your attendance goal for the seminar. Start at the top of your engagement funnel by sending an email invitation to your select list. In that email, encourage people to register for the event ahead of time.

  5. Nurture RSVPs leading up to the event

    Sending a series of short emails leading up to the event, as well as a personalized phone call, can help secure RSVPs from your invitation list. By creating a communications schedule for your follow-ups, you can warm up leads and keep generating interest in your seminar.

    Bonus: Create your own communications and planning schedule by using this calendar template [tweet this].


    6–8 weeks before the event

    • Set the date
    • Create your invitation list
    • Assemble your team
    • Select and book the event location

    4–6 weeks before the event

    • Prepare your seminar materials
    • Prepare your presentation
    • Plan your audio-visual needs
    • Invite your clients and request referrals

    4 weeks before the event

    • Follow up with clients and referrals by phone or email

    2 weeks before the event

    • Confirm client and referral participants by phone or email

    1 week before the event

    • Review and rehearse your presentation
    • Confirm all event details

    Day before the event

    • Confirm attendance of participants by phone

    Week following the event

    • Follow up on the call to action

Word of mouth is the best form of marketing, and a well-planned referral seminar, utilizing the quick tips above, can increase your chances of success.

Looking for more helpful hints? Leading advisors use our best practices to grow their business. Access our suite of resources on the Sun Life Retirement Resource Centre and gain access to quick tips, expert opinions, tutorials and marketing strategies.