Seminar selling is one sales method that is gaining in popularity. Some producers only sell through seminars. Don’t be fooled, though. Those producers who present successful seminars know that gaining business from one is both an art and a science.
There are many ways to define seminar selling:
? A marketing method to attract qualified prospects.
? A consultative and educational process.
? A mass marketing approach to group education.
? A short, concise, benefit-oriented program that solves problems.
But all of these definitions mean one thing: Seminars are an efficient way to convert qualified prospects into clients.
Step 1: Get an attitude (just make sure it’s the right one!)
Many agents take a product sales approach in their seminars. This quickly turns people off. To be successful in the seminar business, you need to show the audience that you can be trusted, that you’re knowledgeable, and that you’re sincerely interested in solving their problems.
Step 2: Set goals
Obviously, your number one reason for conducting a seminar is to get appointments. This requires setting benchmarks for success. Just ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish by delivering this seminar? What action do I want attendees to take? How many new sales do I want and how much do I want to generate in business?”
Preparing benchmarks is crucial. It helps you decide what to include in your seminar; if the seminar content doesn’t support the benchmark, don’t do it.
Step 3: Target your market
Many seminars are unsuccessful because the audience had been defined as “everybody.” You need to define your target market (those who have a common need or interest), determine your prospect profile and then use that information to guide the other elements of your seminar.
Step 4: Create your budget
The needs of your target audience will dictate how much you spend. But since that may be difficult to quantify, you should budget for these items:
? Pre-seminar activities — mailing lists, postage, invitations, advertising.
? Seminar activities — room rental, speaker fees, seminar materials, hospitality expenses, equipment rentals.
? Follow-up activities — telephone expenses, postage, envelopes, thank you letters, post-seminar marketing materials.
Step 5: Choose a topic
Although you may already have a topic in mind, you need to make sure it meets the needs of your targeted audience. You can do this by asking a few members of your targeted audience if they’d be interested in the topic. Or you can read newspapers to see what other agents or agencies are doing.
Step 6: Select a speaker
Should you use a guest speaker? The answer depends on your public speaking skills, topic, time and budget.
If you are comfortable (and effective) speaking in front of groups and thoroughly knowledgeable about the subject matter, consider being either the key speaker or one of a team of speakers. If not, consider inviting a guest presenter or team up with other agents or financial professionals (like an accounting or law firm). With a co-sponsored seminar, you’ll share expenses, rewards and administrative burdens.