(Photo: Shutterstock)

Do you do seminars?

Have you seen a drop off over the last decade or more?

Does it take a much bigger budget to fill the room?

Do fewer attendees become clients?

You are not alone.

(Related: How to Tackle the Advisor Victim Mentality)

It used to be you could fill a room with qualified prospects with only a few thousand invitations. That was before every advisor started doing seminars and the market became oversaturated.

I told Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington the other day on our SharkPreneur podcast that you could eat out almost every night of the week for free if you went to a banquet hall and said you forgot to RSVP.

You wonder why you have plate lickers showing up for your free food. The biggest picture on your seminar invitation (or the biggest type) was a picture of free food (or the name of the restaurant)! You advertised free food and you can’t figure out why people show up for free food?

Doing a seminar isn’t enough anymore.

You need a more specific targeting list to mail to. You can’t just mail to every affluent baby boomer. If you mail to every affluent baby boomer, what do they have in common? Nothing! Other than the fact that they eat, which is why those big seminar mailing companies do invitations that are all about the free food. What if you tried something like this?

What if your target market was affluent baby boomer Republican hunters with money? It’s a much smaller list, so you can mail it more than one invitation in a row. (Big Secret #1 right there.) Plus, you know what they all have in common (Big Secret #2), so you can send a customized invitation about being a conservative hunter.

You also need a better invitation. Back during the election season, since we were mailing to Republican hunters, we could send them an invitation warning them about how Hilary Clinton was going to take their guns away and decimate health care. You think that might have gotten a better response?

You need social media marketing. You need Facebook fan page with engaging content, with your target market as fans. Then you need posts about your seminar, videos about your seminar, and ads about your seminar.

You need a better presentation. Are you using what your FMO gave you? Or do you have a presentation where every slide leads to the sale of an appointment with you? What if you didn’t sell the appointment? What if you sold a financial plan at the actual seminar? Then you get to skip the first meeting, and go straight to getting hired.

You need better follow up than just having your assistant call everyone. You need multiple snail mail touches before the seminar. What about a seminar confirmation shock-and-awe box?

We had one VIP advisor client crunch the numbers, and figure out that he was paying $4,000 to acquire a client (seminar mailing, dinner, expenses, etc.). Cameron Herold (1-800-GOT-JUNK), his business coach, asked him to ask us this brilliant question: “Where else can I go buy clients for $4,000 each?” This has led to the creation of a very outside-the-box marketing program for him, skipping the seminar entirely.

To get off the seminar hamster wheel, you’re going to get your game on and stop acting like a hamster.

— Read How to Read Your Clients’ Minds for the Best Referrals on ThinkAdvisor.