Have you ever wondered why your closing ratio on seminar buying units never exceeds 40 percent? The reason is in the numbers. Twenty-five percent of seminar attendees are “plate-lickers” — many seniors actually look for seminars offering free meals to get a complimentary night out. Another 15 percent barely have enough gas money to get to the restaurant.

Effectively, only 60 percent of those who attend are actually qualified and willing to book an appointment.
Call the RSVPs and pre-screen to separate the wheat from the chaff. Here are four questions you need to ask before every seminar.

  1. What about the seminar invitation attracted you? Optimally qualified prospects might say, “We are worried about running out of money during retirement and would like to hear about our options.” Pre-retirees may say, “We are retiring next year and don’t want to make any mistakes.” Those seniors you don’t want to attend may respond with, “Hey Mildred, why are we going to that dinner?”
  2. What do they want to gain as a result of attending? The five biggest concerns of seniors during retirement are running out of money before they run out of life, the government getting their money instead of their heirs, market and investment volatility, catastrophic illness and retirement taxes. When you hear these or similar reasons for attending your seminar, you know they are ready and willing to hear your message.
  3. Do you have an advisor? Are you happy with them? The average financial advisor speaks to his clients every 18 months. A rule of thumb is to disqualify anyone from your seminar who has seen their advisor in the last three months. This shows a strong relationship. The prospect will merely take what they heard from your dinner seminar and ask their current advisor if he can sell it to them.
  4. “Would you say that your retirement account has more than $100,000 or less? Would you say that money outside your retirement account has more than $100,000 or less?” Why sell to those who can’t buy? If you allow seniors who exist on food stamps to attend your dinner seminars, you are wasting your time. Your time is worth a lot more that you think. Even if you book many appointments from a seminar, but expend time and resources trying to sell those who can’t buy, you have only added insult to injury.

Use these techniques and you will spend less and make a lot more money.

Kerry Johnson, MBA, Ph.D., is a best-selling author, coach and speaker. Responses and questions can be sent to feedback@seniormarketadvisor.com.