Hands down, the best way to build your practice is to deliver a killer seminar. Can you think of a better way to showcase your skills, value, smarts, and market your business? Just as important, seminars are fun. I have an absolute blast when I deliver presentations as part of agency kickoffs, corporate initiatives, new hire trainings, top producer roundtables, recruiting focus groups or sales meetings. I meet people that actually want to listen to me, learn from me, work with me and refer me – and they’ll even invite others to my next seminar. In fact, if I were a financial advisor, I would deliver presentations to audiences on a regular basis. And when I say regular basis, I mean up to three talks a week!
So why don’t all advisors deliver seminars? What gets in the way?
I asked similar questions at a firm yesterday in a public speaking seminar I was delivering. The attendees were advisors at all levels ranging from brand new to conference qualifiers. Here are some of their responses.
- I need to overcome my fear of public speaking.
- I lack the knowledge of my topic.
- I don’t know how to make my topic interesting.
- I don’t know how to begin and end my presentation.
- I’m not sure how to engage the audience.
- I have a fear of being asked questions I can’t answer.
- I’m not sure how to ask my audience to hire me without being too salesy.
Do any of these sound familiar? Here are a few concepts that may put these concerns to rest.
Overcoming your fears
Public speaking is ranked as the No. 1 human fear according to The Book of Lists. Death ranks seventh. So, as Jerry Seinfeld says, at a funeral you would rather be lying in the casket than delivering the eulogy. But I digress.
How can you overcome your fear? First, you have to know your material backwards and forwards. Insurance, retirement, annuities, long-term care – whatever it is, you must know your stuff cold. If you don’t, you have no right to be speaking to an audience. It’s a waste of your time and theirs. To solve this problem, you may want to co-present with an advisor that knows more than you, to help you learn the ropes. Once you know your content, practice, get feedback, and practice again. Getting feedback is important because if you just practice, you could be rehearsing your mistakes repeatedly. Not good. Get feedback on your material, delivery and rapport with the audience. Toastmasters is an excellent resource to get your practice swings in.
The elephant in the room
One of my favorite approaches to speaking is introducing the elephant in the room upfront. By “the elephant,” I mean concerns that may be on your audience’s mind, which can create tension and prevent listeners from being more engaged. In most seminars offered by financial advisors, the audience knows that you’re looking to sell them something, so that may be your elephant.