In this article, I am going to walk through the key elements of executing a highly effective seminar. At this point, you have identified your seminar topic and presentation and have worked on an invitation to mail out to your prospects. Assuming those items are in place, this naturally leads us into the three key areas that I want to discuss in further detail.
There are several things that are extremely important when it comes to maximizing attendance for your seminar. Too often, I have seen situations where advisors fail to have systems in place to maximize every individual who responds and wants to attend the seminar. Remember that you are operating in a very competitive market and you are trying to make your firm stand out. Content is the first step, but now we need to begin building the relationship. Below is a checklist of action items to improve your attendance and differentiate yourself.
- Call prospect same day: Have your staff call attendees the moment they reserve a spot for the seminar. In this call, you want to thank them for their reservation and let them know they will receive a packet in the mail.
- Mail packet out same day: After the call, place a packet in the mail that has directions to the location where the event will be, name tags, information about your firm, and any necessary disclosure required.
- Call two days ahead: You want to reach out and confirm reservation for the seminar two days before. This allows you to get a better sense of who will be attending.
- Call day of seminar: The morning of the seminar, reach out to those who you couldn’t reach previously.
- General notes: This should be your minimum amount of time to touch your attendees, because you want them to feel they are getting to know you and your firm before they ever walk into your event.
At the seminar, you want to have a strong presence to help your guests feel comfortable as well as excited to be there. My brother and I always remind ourselves and our staff that “the little things matter.” Below is a checklist of some of the key things that work well for us.
- Number of staff at event: We like to have a minimum of two staff members at every seminar. If you do not have that, then hire someone part-time to help you execute your seminars. We place the staff member who has been calling the attendees at the front of the restaurant, as she has begun to build a rapport. She helps guide guests and let them know that there is someone waiting to check them in. The other staff member is there at the check-in desk. If we have a third there, we will have that person roam around and engage in conversation.
- Materials for seminar: When guests arrive, we provide a folder that has a sheet for notes, more information about my brother and myself, reading material centered around that evening’s topic, and an attendance form to be completed and handed back to our staff.
- Branding of material:Again, this is an area that advisors often don’t consider seriously enough. You have to remember that you are competing against not just small/medium firms, but also national brands. If you want your attendees to take you seriously, then I would highly recommend that you take the time to develop your brand. Find a marketing firm to look at everything inside your company to create consistency.
- Appointment packet:We book office appointments at the seminar for those who want to come in. When this takes place, we provide what we call an “appointment packet” that has directions to our office, a financial questionnaire and additional educational material around the topic that was discussed that evening.
At our seminars, we book appointments for those who would like to come in and have a portfolio review. The next day, our staff comes into the office and executes around three groups that each have their own checklist. The following are those groups, with the different items we execute.
- Reschedule appointments: This group represents individuals who did not know their schedule the night before but wanted to book an appointment. We do not let them go more than 24 hours without getting on our calendar. Once they are booked, they move into the next group.
- Booked appointments: The next day, our staff will mail out a “thank you” that also notifies guests of the date for their appointment and reminds them to bring in the completed financial questionnaire.
- No appointment: This group has declined to come in for a portfolio review. Before we put them into our CRM system, we classify them into two different categories: (A) We feel that the timing was not right, but want to communicate future opportunities to connect. (B) There simply is not a connection with our firm, so we do not want to invest in that opportunity. Our CRM system is set up to then execute based upon these groupings.
I look forward to continuing to share different strategies that will help you grow your practice!