Last month I introduced myself so you could get an idea about my background and marketing strategies. This month begins a series of articles regarding public seminars, which can be the cornerstone of success in building your business.

The first question we have to answer is, do seminars still work? The answer is a resounding “yes.” It’s hard to find another marketing strategy that will produce appointments with 30 new prospects every month — folks who asked for an appointment.

The first thing we should talk about is the economics of seminars and investing in your business. Let’s say you could make an investment of $6,000 and in a few months get back $15,000. Would you make that investment? Of course you would. There is never going to be a better investment that you could make when you invest in yourself.
Let’s start by giving you some reasonable expectations based on national averages. The cost of the seminar process will be around $6,000 and should return something like $15,000 if you are doing a reasonable job. If you don’t have all the processes set up and get a bad result, it can be very expensive, which is what drives many people out of the seminar business. When you master the process, the returns are exceptional and will return at least twice the national average.

There are several steps to putting a seminar program together, the first of which is to determine your geographic market area. If you live in a place like Southern California, for example, you tend to have a bit of traffic congestion, so it takes some time to get from point A to point B. Typically prospects will drive 10 miles or 30 minutes to your office, if that’s where you choose to do appointments (versus house calls). You can go to www.mapquest.com and enter your office zip code and it will produce a map of the area with your office in the middle. Simply draw a circle around your office with a 10-mile radius; this is your geographic market area.

Now comes the hardest part of the whole seminar process: You need to find locations within that area where you can do seminars. Where is it best to hold seminars and what will be the most effective? Some feel it’s important to serve a meal, whether it’s a lunch seminar or dinner seminar, in order to get the attendance you need. You have plenty of options on locations, including hotel conference rooms, banquet centers, country clubs and local restaurants. It seems that the latter is always going to be the best venue.

Which type of restaurant works, and which type could give you poor results? You have to remember that the seminar attendee does not know who you are; all they know is that the topic is financial. The restaurant is always going to be the draw for attendees. In next month’s column, I will discuss which locations seem to work the best (you’ll be very surprised) and which ones have a low draw appeal.

Craig Randall is the president of Randall Wealth Management Group and CEO of Randall Marketing Group. Send comments or questions to feedback@seniormarketadvisor.com.