“Successful” Seminars

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WealthManager's picture
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<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> 
I’ll be running a few seminars over the next two months and I’m hoping to get some feedback/suggestions on increasing my success rate.
 
I’ve been able to gather $2k in support for each of my seminars.  I decided that I’d rather put most of the funds towards marketing rather than dinners for plate lickers.  My current plan is to host each event on a Tuesday and Thursday in evening at the conference room of my branch office.  I will be sending out 1,500 direct mails and will be following up with phone calls to each of the recipients.  Additionally I’ll be putting 10,000 8-1/2”x11” inserts into a local publication and getting the event listed in a community calendar.  My hope is that I will be able to attract people who are genuinely interested in the topic rather than just a free dinner since all that I’m providing are pre-seminar snacks and after seminar wine and cheese.  What types of attendance rates should I expect and what suggestions do you have to improve my attendance rate?
 
After I get people to the event I want to be sure to schedule meetings with as many of them as possible.  I’ve heard of one colleague who includes a list of available dates and times on the feedback forms.  He then has the attendees’ circle a date and time that’s convenient for them.  What other tactics are there which may increase my success rates?
 
--WM

silouette's picture
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Frankly, conference room and snacks sounds rather cheesy. In my experience, you gotta make a splash at a really good place, and even then, it may be break even at first. Depends on who, where, a lot of things.
The best way is to put most of the money toward food and wine and have your clients bring friends with $$$ who want to meet you informally. Forget about the general public, unless you put out a good meal in a neutral place, why put yourself through the trouble. Just my experience.

troll's picture
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WealthManager wrote:
<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> 
I’ll be running a few seminars over the next two months and I’m hoping to get some feedback/suggestions on increasing my success rate.

I’ve been able to gather $2k in support for each of my seminars.  I decided that I’d rather put most of the funds towards marketing rather than dinners for plate lickers.  My current plan is to host each event on a Tuesday and Thursday in evening at the conference room of my branch office.  I will be sending out 1,500 direct mails and will be following up with phone calls to each of the recipients.  Additionally I’ll be putting 10,000 8-1/2”x11” inserts into a local publication and getting the event listed in a community calendar.  My hope is that I will be able to attract people who are genuinely interested in the topic rather than just a free dinner since all that I’m providing are pre-seminar snacks and after seminar wine and cheese.  What types of attendance rates should I expect and what suggestions do you have to improve my attendance rate?

After I get people to the event I want to be sure to schedule meetings with as many of them as possible.  I’ve heard of one colleague who includes a list of available dates and times on the feedback forms.  He then has the attendees’ circle a date and time that’s convenient for them.  What other tactics are there which may increase my success rates?

--WM

I like your idea. I would even tell people that you aren't going to entice them with food like everyone else. You've got something worth while to discuss and if they're serious about improving their circumstances, you want them there. If not, it will just waste their time. You might only have 5 people there, but it will be the right 5.

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WealthManager wrote:
<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> 
I’ll be running a few seminars over the next two months and I’m hoping to get some feedback/suggestions on increasing my success rate.

I’ve been able to gather $2k in support for each of my seminars.  I decided that I’d rather put most of the funds towards marketing rather than dinners for plate lickers.  My current plan is to host each event on a Tuesday and Thursday in evening at the conference room of my branch office.  I will be sending out 1,500 direct mails and will be following up with phone calls to each of the recipients.  Additionally I’ll be putting 10,000 8-1/2”x11” inserts into a local publication and getting the event listed in a community calendar.  My hope is that I will be able to attract people who are genuinely interested in the topic rather than just a free dinner since all that I’m providing are pre-seminar snacks and after seminar wine and cheese.  What types of attendance rates should I expect and what suggestions do you have to improve my attendance rate?

After I get people to the event I want to be sure to schedule meetings with as many of them as possible.  I’ve heard of one colleague who includes a list of available dates and times on the feedback forms.  He then has the attendees’ circle a date and time that’s convenient for them.  What other tactics are there which may increase my success rates?

--WM

Hey WM, fellow POA here.  First up, Estate Planning will garner a better response rate than any other topic.  Second, direct mail, you can expect a 1% +/- .5% response rate.  Inserts in a paper will get far less response.
The best way to avoid platelickers is a pre-qualified list.  How you pre-qual in your area is your own business, but if you serve dinner, and get plate lickers, at least they will be HNW platelickers.
Last, book the appointment on the way out.  Do a seating chart and keep it at the podium where you are speaking.  When someone asks a question, jot the question down next to their name.  That way when you call to check back you can say "I noticed you had a question about gifting to your grandchildren to avoid taxes on your estate..." 
Good luck.

brandnewadvisor's picture
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As with advice you've heard from other forum members, here's what I'd suggest:


  • Don't hold events at your office.  You're much better off having them offsite at a local restaurant or boutique hotel.  Even if this means you have to put a $1,000 of your own money into the seminars.

  • Definitely use direct mail over inserts.  You have to remember that 90% of the inserts will not be received by qualified prospects; so you're better off seding only direct mail to a qualified list.  Remember the only accurate lists are based on age and income.  List brokers who purport to have lists with net worths or account balances are blowing smoke you know where.  When selecting the lists, use a staggered approach (ie. ages 50-60 incomes of $100k +, ages 60-65 incomes of $80k plus, ages 66-75 incomes of $50k plus).  Don't invite people under 50 as most will not have the time to come to your seminar or the assets to make it profitable.

  • Only expect .7 to 1.2% response rate on your qualified lists; and unless you have tons of time - don't bother calling everyone and inviting them via telephone.

  • Use the evaluation form with potential appt. dates and times on it and follow up the next day for confirmations.  If you try to book them at the event and for some reason their is resistance from a few people the spill-over effect could ruin the interested parties from scheduling.

  • Don't do events on Thursdays, only Tuesdays.  On Thursday events if you don't book the appointments within 24 hours there is a very slim chance you ever will.  Tuesday buys you three business days for booking.  Make sure you start your appt. confirm calls at 8:30am the following morning.

  • Make sure you feed them.  You have to understand that people who go to seminars often are going to a number of them.  An event hosted at a desirable location where a meal is served will get a better response than one done on the cheap.  The prospects will take notice and will judge a book by its cover.  Therefore, if a competitor draws twice the crowd and clearly spends twice the money - perception will be that he's/she's in more demand, knows more and is better.  While we'd love to think they're actually coming for the education - that's not what it's really about.  Seminar attenders are in one of two camps:  Plate lickers and interviewers.  Plate lickers will still eat your cheese and drink your wine - but it's the interviewers you're interested in.  They're interviewing potentially new advisors because whether they will admit it or not - they are not totally satisfied with their current advisor.

I hope this helps.

brandnewadvisor's picture
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fyi - I just learned this stuff from http://www.advisormarketingsystems.com - since I'm relatively new I can't personally say what works and what doesn't.  Sorry for the late disclaimer - just don't want to be perceived as another rookie know it all.

AllREIT's picture
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brandnewadvisor wrote:As with advice you've heard from other forum members, here's what I'd suggest:

I'd have a little evalution postcard, and do a drawing for a
book/bottle of champagne this way you can collect everyone's contact
info in one whack.

Also, circulate around the room during the diner phase. Try to get a
sense of each table. This is why its a good idea to extend the pre
dinner as much as possible. Try to create some interaction among the
guests, so when you hit a table, have people go around the table and
introduce themselves.

For food, offer a chicken dish, a vegetarian dish, a predinner salad
and post dinner coffee/pastry. The food should be flavorful yet not
challenging. The more food people have, the less they will listen; so
keep the total food intake reasonable. Messy food is a no-no.

Food should be served to the table, do not have coffee set up in one
corner of the room, as people will be getting up and going back and
forth. If nothing else, strong coffee and sharp table knives.

No booze. Absolutely nothing constructive will happen if the audience
is liquored up. You can't afford decent wine wine anyways. If you are
doing the seminar at private room in a restaurant, have the cash bar
closed.

Do a Q&A session. Give people paper to take notes on, with a logo pen.

Practice. Get a video camera. Listen to yourself and mannerisms.
Remember that you can't expect the audience to bring enthusiasm with
them, so make sure to bring your own.

Bring a flipchart, and practice doing your chalk-talk. This is
something people pay attention to. No one was ever sold on a
powerpoint.

WealthManager's picture
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Thank you for all of the suggestions and advice.--WM

WealthManager's picture
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This is scary!<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
 
My 1500 invitations were delivered almost a week ago.  We’ve received ZERO response.  I double checked the phone number and e-mail address on the invite, they were both correct.  There is still almost two weeks until the seminar, but I had hoped for at least a few responses by now.  The topic is identity theft and I have a tremendous guest speaker presenting.  I wonder if it’s the topic or if people on my list have just received too many invitations to other seminars.
 
I’ve been calling up as many people as possible.  Most let their answering machines pickup.  I have been leaving messages but no calls back.  My voice is shot and I still have about 800 left to call.  Thank God for Chloraseptic!
 
Hopefully people are waiting until closer to the event date to respond.  Maybe I’ll get a better response from the 10,000 inserts.
 
Any thoughts on how I can improve things?
 
--WM

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WealthManager wrote:
This is scary!<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

My 1500 invitations were delivered almost a week ago.  We’ve received ZERO response.  I double checked the phone number and e-mail address on the invite, they were both correct.  There is still almost two weeks until the seminar, but I had hoped for at least a few responses by now.  The topic is identity theft and I have a tremendous guest speaker presenting.  I wonder if it’s the topic or if people on my list have just received too many invitations to other seminars.

I’ve been calling up as many people as possible.  Most let their answering machines pickup.  I have been leaving messages but no calls back.  My voice is shot and I still have about 800 left to call.  Thank God for Chloraseptic!

Hopefully people are waiting until closer to the event date to respond.  Maybe I’ll get a better response from the 10,000 inserts.

Any thoughts on how I can improve things?

--WM

Call them at night, when they're home.

WealthManager's picture
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Bobby Hull wrote:
Call them at night, when they're home.

 
I've been calling only at night and on weekends.

troll's picture
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WealthManager wrote:
Bobby Hull wrote:
Call them at night, when they're home.

 
I've been calling only at night and on weekends.

Dial *67 before their phone number to disengage caller ID.

entrylevelFA's picture
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WealthManager wrote:
This is scary!<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

My 1500 invitations were delivered almost a week ago.  We’ve received ZERO response.  I double checked the phone number and e-mail address on the invite, they were both correct.  There is still almost two weeks until the seminar, but I had hoped for at least a few responses by now.  The topic is identity theft and I have a tremendous guest speaker presenting.  I wonder if it’s the topic or if people on my list have just received too many invitations to other seminars.

I’ve been calling up as many people as possible.  Most let their answering machines pickup.  I have been leaving messages but no calls back.  My voice is shot and I still have about 800 left to call.  Thank God for Chloraseptic!

Hopefully people are waiting until closer to the event date to respond.  Maybe I’ll get a better response from the 10,000 inserts.

Any thoughts on how I can improve things?

--WM

WM,
We didn't get any response to the Identity Theft seminar, try estate planning.

AllREIT's picture
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entrylevelFA wrote:WM,
We didn't get any response to the Identity Theft seminar, try estate planning.ID theft isn't going to get people into chairs. That's like doing a seminar on avoiding auto accidents. Estate planning, making money in the stock market, beating inflation, getting rich with convertable bonds etc are going to be more of draw.

WealthManager's picture
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AllREIT wrote: entrylevelFA wrote:
WM,
We didn't get any response to the Identity Theft seminar, try estate planning.
ID theft isn't going to get people into chairs. That's like doing a seminar on avoiding auto accidents. Estate planning, making money in the stock market, beating inflation, getting rich with convertable bonds etc are going to be more of draw.
Thanks for the tips.  My next seminar is on managing the risk of an income shortfall in retirement.  It's scheduled for two weeks after the identity theft seminar.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
 
I'm hoping that a big part of the lack of response is that my voice mail hasn't been picking up.  Can you believe it?!?
 

doberman's picture
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I've had seminars where no one showed up. Yep, I had even called to confirm their attendance and still, no one showed. It was depressing. Looking back, the money I shelled-out to put on the event, I consider "tuition" for attending the School of Hard Knocks.
If you pull-up websites of the major B/D's, you'll find a section for upcoming seminars in a particular area. Unless it's a major metro area, you won't find any seminars being held. And the ones you do find are usually about estate planning, tax planning and such.
I've always thought this might make for an interesting seminar topic for an affluent metro area. Although I'm sure it's been done before, it might still be considered a fresh topic: How Art Figures in Estate and Tax Planning. (Note: You'll want a better title than this!)
In my opinion, it's a quirky enough topic to appeal but only to a very narrow group of people: the very affluent+, say $20-$50+ million in investable assets.
Your speakers could be a CPA, museum curator, estate attorney, art appraiser, etc. You might even be able to secure a museum meeting room for free, if the subject of "lending art to a museum, get a tax deduction" is given extensive coverage at your seminar.
Yes, that's right. You can agree to lend a work of art to a museum and receive a tax deduction, in return. Consult your CPA on the rules for this.
Just a thought...
 

AllREIT's picture
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WealthManager wrote:AllREIT wrote: entrylevelFA wrote:
WM,
We didn't get any response to the Identity Theft seminar, try estate planning.
ID theft isn't going to get people into chairs. That's like doing a seminar on avoiding auto accidents. Estate planning, making money in the stock market, beating inflation, getting rich with convertable bonds etc are going to be more of draw.
Thanks for the tips.  My next seminar is on managing the risk of an income shortfall in retirement.  It's scheduled for two weeks after the identity theft seminar.
 
I'm hoping that a big part of the lack of response is that my voice mail hasn't been picking up.  Can you believe it?!?It's also the seminar topic. These days I almost always give invited talks on educational subjects. It's not to say that direct mail doesn't work, but the response is low even for the best of situations *and* you have no control over who shows up. Hence the platelicker problem. If you network alot, you'll get plugged into the circuit of people who are in charge of various groups, and if you get to know the programming director....

troll's picture
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One problem is that Registered Reps can't put anything on a seminar invitation that would actually make someone want to attend.

brandnewadvisor's picture
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see this link to learn more about seminar marketing - http://www.advisormarketingsystems.com/resource_det.php?rec_ id=4
If you're not gettting attendence your problem is likely the list (demographics) and your marketing copy.  If you sent invites in your firms envelopes 80% of them probably went directly into the trash.  If you did inserts as I think you'd said you did - they don't work particularly well.  Also, why would you do identity theft?  If you offer securities, advisory services, tax planning, etc.; then that's what you should be speaking about.  Lastly, don't use guest speakers.  Be a man a do the speaking yourself.  It's one of the few opportunities reps/advisors will get where they may not have to look like a stereotypical broker.

Danboy's picture
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WM,
Do you belong to a rotary,chamber of commerce or Kiwanis? I just recently joined the local Kiwanis and the nice thing is that they have guest speakers come in during their weekly luncheons. I have made arrangments to do a seminar in June on FA's during one of the luncheons.When I show up at the weekly luncheon, I make sure to sit at a different table and "plug" my upcoming seminar. I have received a lot of interest about my topic and I'm confident that there will be at least 30-40 people there(most of them whom I will have already met). Here's the best part: I have an audience who is interested in my topic(at least they are pretending to be) and I get the FREE lunch. Well not really free, $10 bucks a week plus my annual membership fee of about $100 bucks.(Still small potatoes). I 'l let you know how it goes. I can't see having to shell out all that $$ and time when I can leverage the power of networking through a channel that's already there.  
Hope this helps,
Dan
 

AllREIT's picture
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Danboy wrote:WM,
Do you belong to a rotary,chamber of commerce or Kiwanis? I just
recently joined the local Kiwanis and the nice thing is that they have
guest speakers come in during their weekly luncheons. I have made
arrangments to do a seminar in June on FA's during one of the
luncheons.When I show up at the weekly luncheon, I make sure
to sit at a different table and "plug" my upcoming seminar. 

I'd keep any sales aspect minimal. You start pitching VA's from the podium and you will burn out your goodwill real quick.

IMHO, I give a freshly made talk on useful subject. I.e the local muni
market (call your firms muni desk, and ask trader about conditions for
your state, whats in the pipe etc), TIPS,  how to develop a
withdrawl strategy for retirement, why annuities suck, how the
residential mortgage industry works, how to manage your cash. etc.

I like to keep the talk tangentially product focused. And basicly if
people are warm they will contact you. IMHO showing up with canned ham
branded with your firms logo is a no-no. Same thing for not knowing your subject cold. Generally you want to know about ten times as much as you are going to talk about.

We had a local RBC rep do this, and it he looked like an idiot when I derailed his presentation on bond ladders.

Philo Kvetch's picture
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Allreit, what does your compliance department say about you giving a
"freshly made talk"?

You might want to watch that. The legal eagles are getting surprisingly
touchy about folks speaking extemporaneously and not from a pre-
approved script.

WealthManager's picture
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The seminar has come and gone.  While I didn’t get the response I wanted, I do feel that it will ultimately be successful.  The reason why I don’t say that it “was successful” is because I will measure success on the amount of new assets that I will gather as a result of the seminar.
<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> 
I wanted to take share my experiences with others so that they can learn from my actions.
 
Scenario:
I hosted an educational seminar at our branch office from <?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />6:15-7:15PM.  I did not provide meals but I did have a wine and cheese reception afterwards.  I decided to take all of the money I would have spent on meals and I redirected it towards marketing.  My marketing included 1500 direct mails,10,000 inserts in the local paper and a two-line event listing in a calendar of another local paper.  I followed up the direct mails with almost 1000 phone calls.  I also phoned and e-mailed existing clients and leads that I had from other prospecting events. Here are my results:
 
1500 direct mails with 1000 follow-up calls:
Cost = $585 + many hours of my life and my voice
Results = 0 attendees!
 
10,000 inserts in the local paper:
Cost = $1750 + a lot of stress getting it together
Results = 1 attendee
 
Event listing:
Cost = $0
Results = 1 attendee
 
Existing clients:
Cost = $0
Results = 5 attendees
 
Existing Leads:
Cost = $0
Results = 3 attendees
 
Yes, all of my efforts resulted in only 10 attendees.  While that fell short of my target of 30, I can confidently say that all attendees were qualified and interested in the topic.  Everyone there also indicated that they were interested in setting up a follow-up meeting.  One of the meetings is to discuss if they should be putting a full $2MM or just $1MM into an annuity.
 
This is what I learned:
 
Many of the people on my purchased “qualified” mailing list aren’t really qualified.  Additionally, those who were not on the DNC list are numb from all of the cold calls and seminar invitations that they have received.  I also believe that the flyer style invitations that I sent were not appropriate.  My goal for the future is to trim this list down to 200 of the most qualified people and to use much nicer invitations.  I will also keep calling until my call is answered rather than leaving a voice mail.
 
Inserts are too expensive and they don’t work well.
 
Free event listings are easy and…FREE.
 
Personal invitations to people (leads) who have met you work well.  While many I personally asked could not attend, all of them indicated that they wanted to be told about other events in the future.  Many also thanked me for thinking of them.
 
Existing clients can also be considered prospects.  I’ve heard a number of times that people in the accumulation phase of their lives typically have three or more advisors and that people in their distribution phase of their lives typically have only one.  This seminar “uncovered” additional assets that some existing clients never revealed to me and it also set me apart from their other advisors who are no longer courting them.  I expect that this approach will help me be their “one” advisor in the future.
 
I hope that this exceedingly long posting will help a few people.
 
--WM

AllREIT's picture
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Philo Kvetch wrote:Allreit, what does your compliance department say about you giving a
"freshly made talk"?

You might want to watch that. The legal eagles are getting surprisingly
touchy about folks speaking extemporaneously and not from a pre-
approved script.

I'm an RIA, so I am my own compliance department.

More seriously, I think that if you keep it clean (i.e no talk about
performance/products) you can pretty much say what you like. Just don't
invite compliance to the seminar.

doberman's picture
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Thanks for posting your results, WealthManager.
If you get the additional million to go into an annuity, your results will more than pay for your efforts!
Also, if you continue to go down the "seminar path" of marketing, you might try asking some of your existing clients what topic they would like to hear at a seminar. Chances are, prospects of similar financial standing would like to hear the same thing.
Good luck!

DMAN's picture
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Wealth Manager, thanks for posting your results. This has been a really informative topic. It was interesting to see the breakdown of the seminar attendees by class. I am a bit surpised that you couldn't get at least one attendee from the direct mail approach but it makes sense that you got the majority from existing clients. Good luck with that annuity. Keep the good posts coming.

troll's picture
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WealthManager wrote: 
I hope that this exceedingly long posting will help a few people.
 
--WM It was not exceedingly long.  You put significant effort into sharing some useful information.  Thank you!

skeedaddy2's picture
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WM thanks for sharing your experience. Seminars are a tough thing to
pull off. Today, I attended a half day seminar. I would say there were
about 150 attendees representing a broad mix of society.

The invitation read: At this conference you will learn, 1.) Lower your 2007
tax bill by up to 31%. 2.) slash capital gains to "0" when you sell stocks,
real estate or businesses, 3.) protect 100% of your personal assets from
all lawsuits, liens, bankruptcy or divorce, and 4.) get government
approved investments guaranteeing 9.6% to 32% returns.

These guys were CPA/attorneys and self proclaimed millionaires. They
were very polished presenters. Later I found out that they have toured
with the likes of Donald Trump, Tony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki?. They
have spoken in front of several thousand people at a time. At the end,
they were selling their programs for $5000 each.

I don't think a successful seminar will hinge on whether you serve cesar
salad or baby greens. You need to really have a compelling subject and
guest speakers that have both credentials and charisma in front of an
audience.

I sponsored only one true seminar in my career. I was a rookie in NYC at
Painewebber and 6 months in the business. I had just appeared in a
nationally circulated business magazine and I sent an invitation to all the
subscribers in the tri-state metro area. I invited Mary Farrell, then one of
the firm's investment strategist and a familiar face on TV and the media
to speak. I know that everyone was there to see and hear Mary, not me.
The turnout was about 60 people and I opened 3 accounts. One
eventually led to a big corporate account after a couple of years.

My suggestion is to focus (specialize) in one area and become an expert.
Always talk about that subject. Become a recognized authority in that
subject. Like the guys I saw today who can give that presentation
forwards, backwards and in their sleep. Drop the idea of a different
subject every week.

I only knew one broker, at E.F. Hutton, who actually made a great living
with seminars. The only product he presented was single premium
universal life insurance as an investment. He held two seminars a month
and had at least three brokers on his team. One to do munis, the others
stocks and mutual funds and they printed money.

Good luck.

Big Taco's picture
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skeedaddy2 wrote:WM thanks for sharing your experience. Seminars are a tough thing to pull off. Today, I attended a half day seminar. I would say there were about 150 attendees representing a broad mix of society. The invitation read: At this conference you will learn, 1.) Lower your 2007 tax bill by up to 31%. 2.) slash capital gains to "0" when you sell stocks, real estate or businesses, 3.) protect 100% of your personal assets from all lawsuits, liens, bankruptcy or divorce, and 4.) get government approved investments guaranteeing 9.6% to 32% returns. These guys were CPA/attorneys and self proclaimed millionaires. They
So what investments are guaranteeing 32% returns these days?  Or is that the 5000 dollar part? 
and they printed money. 
hilarious 

entrylevelFA's picture
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skeedaddy2 wrote: The invitation read: At this conference you will learn, 1.) Lower your 2007 tax bill by up to 31%. 2.) slash capital gains to "0" when you sell stocks, real estate or businesses, 3.) protect 100% of your personal assets from all lawsuits, liens, bankruptcy or divorce, and 4.) get government approved investments guaranteeing 9.6% to 32% returns. These guys were CPA/attorneys and self proclaimed millionaires.
First, you can tell they are CPA's and attorneys because there is no way any compliance department would let a Reg. Rep send that invite out.  Second, the only investment returning 32% is to put together a program and sell it to Schmoes for $5000 a pop.

BondGuy's picture
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There is a wealth of information posted on this thread.
I will add this:
To make siminars work you have to fully commit. To use the bacon and egg breakfast analogy, the chicken was interested but the pig was fully committed. What is a full committment? Commit to doing at least one seminar a month for the rest of your career. Take December off. Send out 5000 simple return mailer invitations. The invitations should be along the lines of a highline wedding invitation. Half the game is getting the target to open your mail. Mail only to people within a 5 mile radius of the restaurant. Only mail to those not on the DNC. Hold the seminar in a nice upper end restaurant that people in your area would enjoy going to. Per plate costs, even at a nice place, can usually be held to the $30/plate range. Hire callers to call your list of non repliers. If you're not going to call non repliers increase the size of the mailing. if your response rate is not up to spec go through your mailing and change one thing at a time and remail. The last thing to change is the list.
All up a well run seminar program costs about $3000 a month to execute.
Cheaper alternatives:
1. Service clubs like Rotary. thes clubs are begging for guest speakers. Become an expert in something you are passionate about, put together a 15 minute talk and have at it. Built in audience and a free dinner for you.
2. Workshops at the local library. Low cost and it will work.
3. Teach evening investment course at the local HS/commun coll.
4. The 4 week look see - Develope a 4 to 6 hour investment basics/retirement/estate planning/tax management course. Use your company's pre approved seminars to take from in building the course materials and content. The course is delivered one hour at a time on the same day of the week over a 4 week period in your office conference room. Some subjects can run overtime. Attendees are given a choice of morning, afternoon, or evening.( in the beginning offer only one time) As time goes on and the list builds you can expand to offer the course several times a week. Seating is limited to 5 to 10 per class. This ensures all will get the attention needed to bond with each attendee. Your job is to fill every class, and then give a polished, informative presentation. If you do this right after four weeks everybody knows everybody and the prospects can't wait to sign up.
 
 

Registered Rep's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-18

Wow..lots of good thoughts on this thread.  All I can tell ya is I give AT LEAST one seminar per month (been doing so for at least 5 years).  In fact my April seminar is tomorrow.  Sometimes it's a full house with about 20-25 butts.  Other times, like tomorrow I only have 9 butts. Sometimes I pull out 500k or more from an event, othertimes I pull out $0.  It just depends on how the stars line up for that particular event.  What I can tell you as somebody else has already posted is...commit & don't stop doing them until December.
In my area, there is no correlation to the quality of the restaurant and the quality of the prospect. I have pulled great clients from lunch & learns @ Red Lobster ($8/head).
In my area mass mailing have not worked. For jokes I mailed out 10,000 self mailers 6 months ago & got zero response.
 

DMAN's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-13

BondGuy wrote:
There is a wealth of information posted on this thread.
I will add this:
To make siminars work you have to fully commit. To use the bacon and egg breakfast analogy, the chicken was interested but the pig was fully committed. What is a full committment? Commit to doing at least one seminar a month for the rest of your career. Take December off. Send out 5000 simple return mailer invitations. The invitations should be along the lines of a highline wedding invitation. Half the game is getting the target to open your mail. Mail only to people within a 5 mile radius of the restaurant. Only mail to those not on the DNC. Hold the seminar in a nice upper end restaurant that people in your area would enjoy going to. Per plate costs, even at a nice place, can usually be held to the $30/plate range. Hire callers to call your list of non repliers. If you're not going to call non repliers increase the size of the mailing. if your response rate is not up to spec go through your mailing and change one thing at a time and remail. The last thing to change is the list.
All up a well run seminar program costs about $3000 a month to execute.
Cheaper alternatives:
1. Service clubs like Rotary. thes clubs are begging for guest speakers. Become an expert in something you are passionate about, put together a 15 minute talk and have at it. Built in audience and a free dinner for you.
2. Workshops at the local library. Low cost and it will work.
3. Teach evening investment course at the local HS/commun coll.
4. The 4 week look see - Develope a 4 to 6 hour investment basics/retirement/estate planning/tax management course. Use your company's pre approved seminars to take from in building the course materials and content. The course is delivered one hour at a time on the same day of the week over a 4 week period in your office conference room. Some subjects can run overtime. Attendees are given a choice of morning, afternoon, or evening.( in the beginning offer only one time) As time goes on and the list builds you can expand to offer the course several times a week. Seating is limited to 5 to 10 per class. This ensures all will get the attention needed to bond with each attendee. Your job is to fill every class, and then give a polished, informative presentation. If you do this right after four weeks everybody knows everybody and the prospects can't wait to sign up.
 
 

BondGuy, this is good seminar information. I really liked the idea in number four about the investment class. Who are the ideal attendees? Qualified prospects who aren't yet clients?

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Registered Rep wrote:
Wow..lots of good thoughts on this thread.  All I can tell ya is I give AT LEAST one seminar per month (been doing so for at least 5 years).  In fact my April seminar is tomorrow.  Sometimes it's a full house with about 20-25 butts.  Other times, like tomorrow I only have 9 butts. Sometimes I pull out 500k or more from an event, othertimes I pull out $0.  It just depends on how the stars line up for that particular event.  What I can tell you as somebody else has already posted is...commit & don't stop doing them until December.
In my area, there is no correlation to the quality of the restaurant and the quality of the prospect. I have pulled great clients from lunch & learns @ Red Lobster ($8/head).
In my area mass mailing have not worked. For jokes I mailed out 10,000 self mailers 6 months ago & got zero response.
 

For jokes, they probably took your money to send out 10,000 mailers and didn't send them.

BondGuy's picture
Offline
Joined: 2006-09-21

DMAN wrote:BondGuy wrote:
There is a wealth of information posted on this thread.
I will add this:
To make siminars work you have to fully commit. To use the bacon and egg breakfast analogy, the chicken was interested but the pig was fully committed. What is a full committment? Commit to doing at least one seminar a month for the rest of your career. Take December off. Send out 5000 simple return mailer invitations. The invitations should be along the lines of a highline wedding invitation. Half the game is getting the target to open your mail. Mail only to people within a 5 mile radius of the restaurant. Only mail to those not on the DNC. Hold the seminar in a nice upper end restaurant that people in your area would enjoy going to. Per plate costs, even at a nice place, can usually be held to the $30/plate range. Hire callers to call your list of non repliers. If you're not going to call non repliers increase the size of the mailing. if your response rate is not up to spec go through your mailing and change one thing at a time and remail. The last thing to change is the list.
All up a well run seminar program costs about $3000 a month to execute.
Cheaper alternatives:
1. Service clubs like Rotary. thes clubs are begging for guest speakers. Become an expert in something you are passionate about, put together a 15 minute talk and have at it. Built in audience and a free dinner for you.
2. Workshops at the local library. Low cost and it will work.
3. Teach evening investment course at the local HS/commun coll.
4. The 4 week look see - Develope a 4 to 6 hour investment basics/retirement/estate planning/tax management course. Use your company's pre approved seminars to take from in building the course materials and content. The course is delivered one hour at a time on the same day of the week over a 4 week period in your office conference room. Some subjects can run overtime. Attendees are given a choice of morning, afternoon, or evening.( in the beginning offer only one time) As time goes on and the list builds you can expand to offer the course several times a week. Seating is limited to 5 to 10 per class. This ensures all will get the attention needed to bond with each attendee. Your job is to fill every class, and then give a polished, informative presentation. If you do this right after four weeks everybody knows everybody and the prospects can't wait to sign up.
 
 

BondGuy, this is good seminar information. I really liked the idea in number four about the investment class. Who are the ideal attendees? Qualified prospects who aren't yet clients?

The class is for prospects. I'd mail to a qualified list explaining that the best investor is an educated investor, or something along those lines. Follow up with a phone call.

BondGuy's picture
Offline
Joined: 2006-09-21

Registered Rep wrote:
Wow..lots of good thoughts on this thread.  All I can tell ya is I give AT LEAST one seminar per month (been doing so for at least 5 years).  In fact my April seminar is tomorrow.  Sometimes it's a full house with about 20-25 butts.  Other times, like tomorrow I only have 9 butts. Sometimes I pull out 500k or more from an event, othertimes I pull out $0.  It just depends on how the stars line up for that particular event.  What I can tell you as somebody else has already posted is...commit & don't stop doing them until December.
In my area, there is no correlation to the quality of the restaurant and the quality of the prospect. I have pulled great clients from lunch & learns @ Red Lobster ($8/head).
In my area mass mailing have not worked. For jokes I mailed out 10,000 self mailers 6 months ago & got zero response.
 

How do you get the butts to attend? What's your approach?

Registered Rep's picture
Offline
Joined: 2006-07-18

Bobby Hull wrote:Registered Rep wrote:
Wow..lots of good thoughts on this thread.  All I can tell ya is I give AT LEAST one seminar per month (been doing so for at least 5 years).  In fact my April seminar is tomorrow.  Sometimes it's a full house with about 20-25 butts.  Other times, like tomorrow I only have 9 butts. Sometimes I pull out 500k or more from an event, othertimes I pull out $0.  It just depends on how the stars line up for that particular event.  What I can tell you as somebody else has already posted is...commit & don't stop doing them until December.
In my area, there is no correlation to the quality of the restaurant and the quality of the prospect. I have pulled great clients from lunch & learns @ Red Lobster ($8/head).
In my area mass mailing have not worked. For jokes I mailed out 10,000 self mailers 6 months ago & got zero response.
 

For jokes, they probably took your money to send out 10,000 mailers and didn't send them.

I know you are just trying to be a funny "butt" but a self mailer is a preformatted lunch or dinner invitation that my staff personally does all the prep work for including addressing the envelope, stuffing, adding bulk postage and mailing.
In years past I have used third party mail company's to do mass mailings...Call me paranoid ...but whenever I have done this I have always inserted a "ringer" invitation to my own house under a false name just to be sure they actually mailed out my stuff....so your comment does ring a bell.

Registered Rep's picture
Offline
Joined: 2006-07-18

BondGuy wrote:Registered Rep wrote:
Wow..lots of good thoughts on this thread.  All I can tell ya is I give AT LEAST one seminar per month (been doing so for at least 5 years).  In fact my April seminar is tomorrow.  Sometimes it's a full house with about 20-25 butts.  Other times, like tomorrow I only have 9 butts. Sometimes I pull out 500k or more from an event, othertimes I pull out $0.  It just depends on how the stars line up for that particular event.  What I can tell you as somebody else has already posted is...commit & don't stop doing them until December.
In my area, there is no correlation to the quality of the restaurant and the quality of the prospect. I have pulled great clients from lunch & learns @ Red Lobster ($8/head).
In my area mass mailing have not worked. For jokes I mailed out 10,000 self mailers 6 months ago & got zero response.
 

How do you get the butts to attend? What's your approach?

I am constantly tweaking my process to keep it fresh and relevent. I use newspaper print to get the word out. I don't use the large city news paper because of the ROI for me has been low. Instead I use a local "discount" paper whose readers are looking to buy or sell "stuff"....cars, household goods, boats, you know stuff. I take out a full 8 1/2 x 11 insert that is packaged inside the paper. The readers of the paper are either in "buying or selling" mode. Either way they have been receptive to my invitation. I can target specific areas for distribution ...usually within a few miles of the restaurant where I hold the seminar.  I can also target the volume of the distribution which is usually 10k-30k. The cost is no greater than placing an ad or 2 in the big city paper on page xxx which will only be seen by a very small percentage of mass readers. The paper I use is direct mailed to households within the targeted zone and has better penetration than the city paper. I have been using this approach for about a year now and have committed to it for at least the remainder of 07.

BondGuy's picture
Offline
Joined: 2006-09-21

Registered Rep wrote:BondGuy wrote:Registered Rep wrote:
Wow..lots of good thoughts on this thread.  All I can tell ya is I give AT LEAST one seminar per month (been doing so for at least 5 years).  In fact my April seminar is tomorrow.  Sometimes it's a full house with about 20-25 butts.  Other times, like tomorrow I only have 9 butts. Sometimes I pull out 500k or more from an event, othertimes I pull out $0.  It just depends on how the stars line up for that particular event.  What I can tell you as somebody else has already posted is...commit & don't stop doing them until December.
In my area, there is no correlation to the quality of the restaurant and the quality of the prospect. I have pulled great clients from lunch & learns @ Red Lobster ($8/head).
In my area mass mailing have not worked. For jokes I mailed out 10,000 self mailers 6 months ago & got zero response.
 

How do you get the butts to attend? What's your approach?

I am constantly tweaking my process to keep it fresh and relevent. I use newspaper print to get the word out. I don't use the large city news paper because of the ROI for me has been low. Instead I use a local "discount" paper whose readers are looking to buy or sell "stuff"....cars, household goods, boats, you know stuff. I take out a full 8 1/2 x 11 insert that is packaged inside the paper. The readers of the paper are either in "buying or selling" mode. Either way they have been receptive to my invitation. I can target specific areas for distribution ...usually within a few miles of the restaurant where I hold the seminar.  I can also target the volume of the distribution which is usually 10k-30k. The cost is no greater than placing an ad or 2 in the big city paper on page xxx which will only be seen by a very small percentage of mass readers. The paper I use is direct mailed to households within the targeted zone and has better penetration than the city paper. I have been using this approach for about a year now and have committed to it for at least the remainder of 07.

Thanks for the detailed response. I for one would like to hear how this works going forward.
RR - Good post!  Again, thank you.

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