Thinking about sponsoring seminars to reach out to new clients? Think again. Theres a simpler, cheaper way to get in front of prospects.

Getting the public to come to a seminar takes time, money and effort. Youll need to do a direct mailing and/or place a newspaper advertisement. The cost runs about $40 per person, because youll need to provide a meal or substantial refreshments and rent a room. Additionally, you must have a support system to follow up by telephone with people who say they plan to attend. Even with all that, you never can predict with certainty how many people will actually show up.

Instead of holding your own seminars, look to speak before local groups such as the Rotary, Lions, senior citizens groups, clubs for retired military, business groups, investment clubs and so on.

These groups usually draw 20 or more people for lunch or breakfast meetings. The organization does all the work arranging the meeting and advertising it to members. How else can you get before 20 or more prospects at once so easily?

This is simpler, cheaper and just as effective as running your own seminars. In fact, youll avoid the tire-kickers who attend seminars just to get a free meal.

How can you uncover speaking opportunities? Start by asking your customers. Whenever you get a chance, ask if they belong to any groups that ever need speakers. Or simply send a letter alerting your clients that youre available to speak before local organizations. Ask for the name of the person in charge of securing guest speakers for their club or organization.

Next, youll need a topic. Consider speaking about planning for long-term care. This is a compelling topic because almost everyone worries that a long illness or stay in a nursing home could bankrupt them or their parents. But few people have actually done anything to protect themselves. Only about 5% of seniors have long-term care insurance.

How can you make the most out of your speaking appearances before local groups? Here are some tips:

Offer a door prize. It can be anything with universal appeal, like a good book on personal finance. Ask everyone who attends to fill out a card and drop it in the bowl with his or her name and phone number for the drawing that youll have later that day. You choose the lucky winner at the end of your talk. (Make sure you tell the host that you want to get the slips at the end.) As an additional bonus, tell the folks at the meeting that you offer no-obligation appointments to help them determine which plan would best suit them and their budgets. This helps spur prospects to meet with you that week.

Give a fact-filled but entertaining speech. Keep your audience interested and entertained. Spice your talk with some striking facts and statistics, but make sure its easy to understand and not overly technical.

Provide an informational handout. Make sure its educational, not self-promotional. For example, pass out a sheet of questions to ask an agent about long-term care protection. Of course, put your logo and contact information on the sheet. Many people will save the handout for future reference, and your phone may ring next week, next month, or even years later.

Follow up the next day. With the right audience many people will approach you and ask you for help. In any case, the next day, call up attendees who did not schedule an appointment and thank them for attending the talk. Ask them for an appointment that week to talk about long-term care. If theyre not interested in talking right now, add them to your mailing list. Youre building your referral base and business for the long term.

With a little persistence, youll get plenty of local speaking engagements, month after month. If you can close consistentlyand you can, with the right sales approach–youll make more money and achieve more career satisfaction than you ever dreamed possible.

Wilma G. Anderson, president of Senior Care Associates. in Littleton, Colo., teaches how to sell LTC insurance and other products to the senior market. She can be e-mailed at wilma@theLTCcoach.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, September 24, 2001. Copyright 2001 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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