Seminars have never been easy but with costs rising, audience sophistication growing and regulators cracking down, this time-tested marketing tool is in need of a major renovation.
Audiences are still packing the house and overall seminar attendance is strong in nearly every region of the country. This isn’t surprising since we have 78 million Baby Boomers reaching their most important financial life-stage. They need help with critical decisions and are seeking guidance, but their time is precious and they want more from an event than a free meal. Here are a few things you can do to breathe new life into your seminar program.
To be effective in today’s competitive environment seminars must do three things:
1. Engage. Get me interested and keep me interested. Make your message meaningful and connect it to my world and the things I care about most. Don’t just pitch products or you will lose me forever.
2. Enlighten. Give me some knowledge and wisdom that helps me take greater control of my life. Don’t dumb it down; challenge me to think and learn new concepts. Make me smarter.
3. Entertain. Don’t bore me with a canned presentation. Let me laugh, have fun and feel some emotional stimulation from the experience. I have a lot of things I could be doing tonight so make this event something to remember.
Here are 4 steps to take to re-energize your seminars:
(1) Clarify your message — What are you trying to tell clients and why is it important? Don’t overload the event with too much technical content. A seminar is not the place to teach the history of the universe. Build your seminar on 3 main points and use the hourglass format to structure your discussion. (See chart.)
For each segment of your talk ask yourself, “Why should my audience care about this?” (because that’s what they are asking). Tell people why your concepts are relevant to their lives; don’t make them connect the dots for themselves.
(2) Stop selling and detach the strings — Give your audience at least 3 practical steps they can take entirely on their own and that will improve their lives. Don’t attach any conditions to your content; people are too smart for that. Only by respecting and empowering your audience will you earn their trust. Also, giving them valuable insights without a sales hook displays confidence on your part and makes intelligent clients want to work with you.