If intermediaries are going to introduce seminars as part of their marketing strategy, they will need to make a few small but important changes to their marketing mix. The good news is that these changes can produce new income streams in their own right.
One of the most important points about seminar selling is that your presentation should not seek to sell anything except you and your expertise. Once clients have bought you as a person, they will buy your service.
One IFA wrote to me recently saying that his seminars would typically be attended by between 35 to 55 people. The conversion rate was always extremely high and often approached 100 per cent.
This sums up what seminar selling is about. Done properly, it is probably the single most effective way of acquiring new clients. But that is not the only thing. The fact that potential customers have bought into your expertise means that they become far more likely to make further purchases with you. This is where seminar selling becomes even more profitable.
Marketing your seminars
Give yourself a full five months to promote your first event, not because there is so much to do but because you need to do it thoroughly and have a business to run at the same time.
Second, have very clear objectives for your event and spell out the benefits clearly in all your promotional materials. I repeat – benefits, benefits and more benefits.
Third, do not make any assumptions about how you think potential attendees want to receive promotional material. Make use of all possible promotional media including online and traditional methods. Point out the benefits of your events on your website, in advertisements, on leaflets that go out with correspondence and at the foot of emails. Put a message on your answerphone for people who call out of hours. In fact, put something on absolutely everything that leaves your office.
Support your promotion by sending a press release to your local newspaper and radio station. Offer them articles on your subject matter. Being in print raises the perception of your expertise among potential attendees so writing articles for the local and national business press is a great way of building your reputation. After a while, you will begin to get known and this will increase the number of attendees at your seminars.
If you write several articles over a period of months, you will soon have enough to put together in a pamphlet. Depending on your budget, this can be bound and sold at your seminars. Even a spiral-bound pamphlet will sell if you put on a good quality event.
Alternatively, you can copy your articles on to CDs and sell those as well. Do not forget that different people like to receive information in different ways so make sure you offer a choice.
Another way to enhance the perception of your expertise and increase attendance at your seminars is to hold regular surveys. These can be run on your website, by telephone or by post. Your survey need not be a detailed Mori-style piece of research but enough to gather potential clients' views and concerns on a variety of financial matters. Not only will the results of your survey promote you and your business but they will also give you material for use in seminars and press releases.
Imagine the headline: “IFA survey reveals local concern over pension shortfall.” As soon as the results of your survey are reported in the local papers or on local radio, your views are considered to be those of an expert. People who attend seminars want to listen to experts.
Another way to be seen as an expert and to promote your seminars is to have a monthly email newsletter. Once existing customers or visitors to your website have opted to receive your emails, you have an inexpensive medium through which to provide high-quality financial tips and advice and with which to promote your seminars. Your emails should be short and should link to your website, where people can find additional information about your business and seminars. They could even purchase your written materials.
Seminar selling offers huge potential for intermediaries to grow their business in today's competitive marketplace. Do not hold back any longer – put a date in your diary now.