A number of advisors have told me, “Seminars don’t work.” True, many have failed to make it work. But for those who get it right — and yes, seminars do work — the results can be explosive.
Here is a look at 10 key concerns about seminars. Addressing these issues is critical if you are considering, or are actively engaged in, seminar marketing. Extra resources, including two recorded calls with an advisor who raised $100 million in two years, are available free online at www.billgood.com/successzone.
1. What’s the biggest challenge? You must identify and control all the factors necessary for seminars to work. If just one of these fails, your seminar will fail.
I have analyzed the six factors necessary for seminar success in my white paper, “Seminar Success Zone.” These success factors are: invitation acceptance rate, show-up rate, appointment request rate, appointment show-up rate, close rate and post-seminar management. There is a metric for each and each must be in a certain range.
These metrics working together put your seminar “in the zone.” Obviously, you can have an astute, penetrating presentation, but if only a few people show up, your seminar flops.
2. Why do most people fail? This question is almost a complete restatement of the first. But not quite. You fail for two reasons.
First, you do not stick with it long enough. Your first seminar flops, and you say, “Oh well, seminars don’t work.”
Second, you do not hold enough seminars close enough together to work your way through the six factors in the success zone.
To launch a seminar marketing campaign, schedule at least one seminar per month and be prepared for an overflow seminar. The optimum would be two events per month for several months.
I have coached thousands of advisors through tens of thousands of seminars. Maybe one or two got it right out of the gate. Odds are it will not be you. Seminar marketing is a complex and sophisticated activity. At a minimum, it takes several seminars to get all factors in the zone.
3. How do I find out what topics prospects are interested in? Competitive research. Ask six clients in different areas of your market to save all their seminar invitations for a few weeks. This tells you who is doing seminars, what topics they are promoting, and what kind of invitation they are using.
Now go look to find out which invitations are working.
One of your competitors has a seminar scheduled at that famous eatery, the Blue Lizard. Take your spouse or significant other to dinner that night. Walk by the room. Look in. See how many people are there. Is the room packed? Empty? Do this several times. You will get an excellent idea of what topics, invitations, and locations are producing an audience.
4. What’s the best type of invitation? As you inspect the mail your clients have saved, you will find two or maybe three styles of invitation: wedding style, letter style and, occasionally, flyer style. Odds are that you will notice one dominant style.
Match up a topic and style with the seminars that produced the audience.
Start a similar topic and invitation. If that does not work, it could be that your competitor owns that topic. At least you know what topics and invitation styles are working in your area.
5. How many invitations should I send? Start small. It is called testing. Instead of blasting out 3,000 or 5,000 invitations for a first seminar, send out 1,000 to 1,500.
If your invitation is “in the zone” and pulls at least 0.8%, increase your mailing next time. If it flops, and only one person accepts, round up a few clients, have a nice dinner, and try it again. Change your invitation, change your list, change your topic, change your location. Do not blow your budget on your first mailing.
Continue testing until your acceptance rate is “in the zone” (around 0.8% or better). Now calculate how many to send to fill your primary and overflow seminars. To do that, you need the answer to this next question.
6. How big should a seminar be? The optimum size for a seminar is no more than 24 people. This datum comes from countless instances of large seminars producing few appointments, and smaller seminars producing more.
It is really a bonding thing. Unless you are an outstanding speaker, you cannot relate to more than about 24 people.