Some advisors find that sales seminars aren’t as effective as they used to be. Regulators have tarnished the reputation of this proven sales technique with warnings about the use of free-dinner-with-a-presentation gatherings to generate unsuitable sales of financial products to senior citizens. Because of the negative publicity, prospects of all ages are shying away from sales seminars.
A different approach
Maybe that’s not so bad. After paying for lists of prospects, marketing and a decent meal at a reputable location, dinner seminars can be costly. We favor a different approach, one that has become extremely popular among field agents because it is effective, inexpensive and fun–for the hosts as well as the guests.
We call it client event prospecting. An advisor partners with local vendors of popular products or services and they all invite their clients to an event they co-host. The gathering results in exposure to new prospects for all of the hosts, who also use the occasion to cement relationships with existing clients.
The event can take any form an advisor believes will work in his or her market. One of the advisors, for example, partnered with 3 other professionals to hold a “Feng Shui Your Finances” event. The meeting was held at the home of a stylist with a large clientele. A realtor helped host, and the Feng Shui expert delivered the bulk of the presentation.
Each of the 4 professionals was introduced to the clients of the other 3 and bolstered their relationships with their own clients for about $500 per host. Though it’s hard to quantify the impact of any marketing strategy, this advisor is confident that the Feng Shui event more than paid for itself in new revenue.
Another advisor co-hosted an event with a BMW dealer where guests had an opportunity to drive new and classic cars and later–over wine and hors d’oeuvres–heard about the advantages of developing a financial plan. One of our female advisors floated the idea of co-hosting a Botox Bus with a local plastic surgeon. We gave her credit for being creative, but did not encourage her to move ahead with that plan!
Another of our female advisors conceived a similar idea that is less risky. She is teaming with a stylist and career coach for an event called “Facelift Your Finances, Style, and Career.” Each of the guests will receive tips about hair, makeup, wardrobe and timely advice about career and financial planning.
Each host will speak for about 20 minutes, but the presentations are more of a discussion than a lecture and are completely non-confrontational. Because there is time to network, the guests help spread the word about the benefits of working with each host, generating instant favorable word-of-mouth advertising.
It’s easy and fun for everyone involved–including the hosts, who do not have to labor over lengthy, dry presentations. We find that many advisors traditionally have taken a very transactional approach to building their businesses. These events are relationship-building and they are productive because they are fun!
Our male advisors have latched onto the client event marketing concept, too. We’ve helped with several events centered on demonstrations of sporting gear. Demonstrations are much more cost-effective than inviting clients and prospects on hunting, fishing or golfing outings. Cigars and microbreweries also have provided themes for events hosted by men. Seasonal ideas work well, too. Tax season is a good time to co-host an event with a tax preparer or attorney–or both.