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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

The 7 deadly sins of financial seminar marketing

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When done right, seminar marketing is a great way for financial professionals to bring in more clients. When done wrong, seminar marketing can be a nightmare.

With that in mind, here are the seven deadly sins of financial seminar marketing and how to avoid them.

Deadly sin #1: Doing a seminar with a half-filled room

Many financial professionals believe it’s better to do smaller events with 10 or so people in the room. They like this because it’s more comfortable to present to a small group and it provides a more intimate experience for the attendees.

But I can tell you from experience, it’s much better to have one seminar at full capacity, depending how many the room holds (usually 30+), than it is to have two seminars at half capacity.

The real idea of doing these events is to generate appointments with people who are interested in meeting with you. If you think about the time and effort to put this event on, you’ve got to measure your “Time to Appointments” booked ratio.

You can go through all the time and effort for half an audience, or you can put in the same amount of time and effort for a full group. A full group will generate more appointments when done right.

Think about it, 5 buying units at a smaller event, 15 at a larger. If you get 100 percent of the room booked in a small setting, you only need a 40 percent appointment-setting ratio in a larger group to get more appointments per time worked.

Remember, your comfort zone is all in your mind. For example, I once saw Tony Robbins speak to a group of “just” 100 people. And yet he was uncomfortable because he was used to speaking to thousands. Adjust your frame of reference so you’re comfortable talking to 20-50 people at a time and increase the appointments you can get per event. Your time is valuable.

Wrong people in seminar

Having a lot of people at your seminar is useless if they are the wrong people. (Photo: iStock)

Deadly sin #2: Fill a room, but with all the wrong people

So you want to fill a room with more people. But the quantity is not the only thing you should consider. You’ve got to fill the room with the right people. Who are the right people? This starts with 1) knowing your ideal client and what their most common concerns are and 2) identifying how you are able to best help them.

Your advertising and marketing should attract your ideal clients and repel everybody else. Start your marketing by attracting them for the right reasons, and your time will be much more efficient, profitable, and fun.

Bonus: A good way to figure out what your ideal clients would respond to is by surveying your best clients about what their top concerns are.


Your seminar will not be successful unless you stand out in a sea of sameness. (Photo: iStock)

Deadly sin #3: Setting up your event like everybody else

You have to stand out in a sea of sameness. Go over the top with everything you do. A few things I suggest you do:

  1. Get professional banners made for your seminar.
  2. Have a trained staff member give you a professional introduction before you get up to speak.
  3. Have a greeter welcome people as they walk in.
  4. Get professional handouts made for attendees.

If you want to get more appointments from your seminars, then everything needs to scream that you are a successful financial professional with a successful company. Do this and you will find that you standing out in a much different way than your competition.

Too much data

Numbers may fascinate you, but they probably don’t fascinate your audience. (Photo: iStock)

Deadly sin #4: Making the seminar all about numbers, charts and financial projections

Remember, the people in your audience are probably not as excited about numbers, charts and financial projections as you are. In fact, the average person will find this kind of talk boring after a few minutes. Their eyes will glaze over and they won’t be paying attention to you any longer.

To really engage your audience, you need to connect with them. And the best way to do that is to tell good stories. These stories can come from your personal experience or they can be stories you’ve learned from experience — so long as your audience can relate to them and are entertained by them.

Keyword: Entertained. Yes, you must entertain your audience, this will make for a better experience and increase the odds that they’ll want to talk with you further.

Reliance on slides

Slides should enhance your message, not be the message. (Photo: iStock)

Deadly sin #5: Relying on your slides to do your work for you

You are the one that should be sharing your message, not your slides. Slides are designed to enhance your message, not be the message.

I’ve seen advisors run through 60 slides during a 60-minute presentation. Click, click, click. Every minute they flip to a new slide. There are two problems with this approach. First of all, the audience may become bored with your mechanical presentation. Second of all, the audience will be looking at the slides, not you. (And you want them to be looking at you.)

You should not use a lot of slides, but when you do use one, remember, they should enhance your key points in a visual way; they should not be your point. Your slides shouldn’t be filled with text that you just read off the screen either. In other words, your slides are not a script.

Too many topics

Less is more when choosing how many topics to cover in your seminar. (Photo: iStock)

Deadly sin #6: Trying to hit too many topics at the seminar

It’s much more impactful to go deep with one or two or three topics than it is to cover 10 topics briefly. The more topics you cover, the less your audience will remember on any one topic. 

You don’t want them to leave and then ask, “What was that about again?”

To make sure your audience remembers your message, pick three of the most important topics and do a thorough overview of them. Dig deep. This is much more impactful than trying to talk about “everything.”


A seminar attendee who leaves without an appointment is a wasted opportunity. (Photo: iStock)

Deadly sin #7: Not efficiently setting appointments at the seminar

If you really want your seminar to lead to new clients and new business, then you need to set appointments before people leave the event. You won’t be as successful if you try to chase them down a day or two later.

Your seminar should be designed so the attendees get to know you and want to meet with you. Once the seminar has done its job, strike while the iron is hot. Don’t miss the opportunity to get the appointment scheduled right then and there.

When you set the appointment, schedule it within two weeks of the event they attended. If you can schedule the appointment sooner, that’s even better. Remember, an old lead is a cold lead. If they cool off too much, your chance of them cancelling or not showing up for your appointment increases dramatically.

One advisor I was working with was wondering why 40 percent of his appointments were cancelling or no-showing for the first appointment. Guess what? He was scheduling appointments three weeks out because he was too busy. Set your first-time appointments within two weeks of the seminar they attended and your success rate will be much higher.

Stop being a seminar sinner

Most financial professionals commit at least one of the “sins” listed above. Many commit two or three or more!

If you want to get the best results possible from your seminars, then you need to stop being a “seminar sinner.” Stop committing the seven deadly seminar marketing sins listed above and you’ll immediately get more appointments which in turn, will get you more clients.

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