The secret to a successful seminar is diligent planning and marketing. Let’s say you are getting ready to produce a life insurance seminar. It would be worth a couple of hours’ of attorney’s fees to acquaint yourself with your state’s department of insurance rules before you begin. Also, if you are associated with an insurance firm, you will need to follow your firm’s compliance policies and receive approval for the seminar.

Next you need to decide how you want to contact your prospective seminar attendees. There are many marketing companies that can help you prepare and distribute your seminar advertisement. Look for one that fits your style and will protect your intellectual property (and not show it to competitors.) The company will be representing you to the prospect and should project a professional and articulate image.

Before you solicit your first prospect, you must submit your seminar materials to your firm’s compliance department. After a compliance officer has signed off on your presentation materials, you must maintain a copy at your office for two years and up to five years at an offsite location.

If you are an independent agent and do not have a compliance department, state regulations may require you to submit the materials to your insurance carrier’s compliance department. However, some carriers may not be aware of the laws in your state. In such an instance, you may need to educate the carrier regarding their duty to help you.

Some carriers have begun shifting this responsibility to marketing organizations that are paid by the carriers to provide you with marketing ideas and support. While some marketers can be a good source of training, many are unfamiliar with state regulations. Remember that it is your license that is at stake if something goes wrong, so be sure to receive written proof that they are familiar with your state’s regulations before you engage in any new marketing strategies.

When you come to craft your advertisement, try to avoid such statements as “nothing will be sold” or “guaranteed 12 percent return.” It is also a good idea to follow the word “seminar” with “and insurance sales presentation.” Additionally, you should include your name, license number and contact information (including your mailing address.)

Try to use good sense and professionalism when organizing, promoting and conducting your seminar. For further information visit FINRA’s website, www.finra.org/reports, and search “sales seminars.”

David Hollander is an elder law attorney in Oakland, Calif., and president of www.libertygroupllc.com. Responses and questions can be sent to feedback@seniormarketadvisor.com.