Author’s Note: A perfect plan for a perfect event includes invitations, checklists, confirmation scripts, and much much more … far more than I can include in this article. You can find models of these at www.billgood.com/perfectevents. Free, from me to you.
Virtually every financial advisor will produce events, sooner or later, many or few.
Some will be poorly planned, poorly executed or both. This will lead some to think, “Seminars (or whatever) don’t work anymore” — which is emphatically not true. Well-planned, well-produced events work all the time.
Poorly planned and poorly run events will, in turn, be poorly attended which, in turn, will generate poor word of mouth. Perfectly planned and produced events create buzz, which builds toward your next event. Perfect planning makes perfect events.
Perfect Events Start with a Perfect Plan
The event-planning process involves perhaps a half-dozen checklists, a set of job descriptions, a budget and a timeline. Yes, it will take you a few hours the first time you do it. As you get better, it takes less time. Finally, you will get to the point where you have one or more events “in the can.” To produce one, you tell your staff, “I want a golf outing Friday afternoon the 5th.” Your job then is to show up and present, or preside over the event.
The reason for stressing perfect is that one overlooked detail can ruin an otherwise perfect event. Suppose the chairs are not comfortable. During a break, one or two people may comment on it. A few others chime in and agree. These little drops of acid burn holes in an otherwise perfect event, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of your guests — all because you didn’t send someone to the meeting room to check out the chairs, the lighting, the sound system, etc. This otherwise perfect event is OK, but an OK event does not generate the word of mouth and referrals you seek.
Or consider a loud noise during the event in an adjacent meeting room. This happened to me at an event my company produced at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. The room next to mine was filled with gospel singers who were having a great, foot-stomping time. Their event may have been perfect. Mine was not, because I failed to find out who was in the adjacent room.
No matter who your guests are, you want to produce a memorable experience. It’s that experience that alone determines how many follow-up appointments you will set, and how many referrals you receive. You will only produce a great experience if you nail all the tiny details. That’s why you need a perfect plan.
What is a Perfect Plan?
Your perfect plan must take at least eight categories of activity into account. In summary, they are:
o The Goal
In business, in life, or even with something as small as a single event, the person without a goal will wind up somewhere. Without a goal and a plan, you will not enjoy your final destination.
Here’s my goal for a seminar I rolled out in July. Produce a two-day seminar that kick-starts the prospecting effort by showing the participants proven strategies, and a proven way to implement these strategies.
Here’s a possible goal for your event: Produce a client educational seminar so precisely targeted to known client interests that at least half the clients attending will bring a guest when asked.
o Communications Plan
To have a perfect event, you need great content. Content is king. Without an informative and entertaining seminar, don’t think for a second that your guests will set an appointment. They most certainly will not.
The starting point for developing content is actually the invitation. Writing the invitation forces you to conceive the details of the event itself. Once you are done with the invitation, you should have a very clear idea of what your event will be.