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Seminars and AUM?

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Oct 19, 2009 4:54 pm

I have been reading a number of posts about cold calling and its success, as well as some frustrations.  I have also been reading, on another forum, about the success some have had with Seminar marketing.

  I am curious if anyone here is a strong proponent of running seminars and if so, what sort of AUM have you been able to build with this marketing approach?   Also, i would be interested to hear from anyone who has had lousy experiences with seminars- not just running 1 and not bringing in 10MM in assets from it so you gave up- but someone who has tried several and has not found them to prove out.   Thanks!
Oct 19, 2009 5:22 pm

my branch as done many seminars.  We picked a target niche and cold call them all day long.  Seminar numbers turned out less than stellar.  The only thing i can say about seminars is that the people who show up are indeed serious, and it really helps that they get to see you and get to know you.  On the brightside, if your cold calling for a workshop and most of the people flake out, you’ve still established a ton of leads that you can follow up on and see how serious they really are, and if they are serious set appointments with anyways. 

Oct 19, 2009 5:31 pm

I echo gb0413…except we did mailings(i know, i know) to people who were on the DNC(no other way to get to them besides referrals,doorknocking). We had very low turnouts(think our mail piece was terrible)… Might try it again soon(why not).

What is the other forum… are they pitching EIAs because I think you would have better turnout with that product.

Oct 19, 2009 5:35 pm

I have been looking at doing this via a mailing company- dropping 5K invitations, etc.  The “pitch” so to speak would be asset management, as this is for an RIA. My target group is likley similar to yours, 55+ with some bands around income, etc. that change with age groups and inviting those with investable assets of $250K or more.

Oct 19, 2009 5:55 pm

Let us know how it works…

Oct 19, 2009 5:58 pm

Will do Squash1- btw, what firm are you with?  I saw the door knocking comment and was wondering if you are with Jones?

Oct 19, 2009 5:58 pm

Used to be a long time ago… Now i am part of that dreaded indy group

Oct 19, 2009 6:06 pm

I did about 7 seminars in 2001 area
It worked so well I stopped doing it…

If you can get by the up front costs ; $3500 for mailing and $750-$1,000 for top notch meal.
You will get clients; You need to commit to 6 seminars to may it pay off. (1/month)
If you do just 1 or 2 you need a lot of luck.

I’ve seen animals do 3-4 seminars a month for a year with great results and a small risk of burnout.

My dad who used to get 5 invites a week to seminars says he’s getting 1/month mmm?

Oct 19, 2009 6:12 pm

Great feedback Dash!  thanks!  I have a marketing budget set up and expect to put about $30K into doing 6 or so in the first year. After that I want to be on pace to do 1 per month for the second year- greater cost, yes, but also will have fees from year 1 efforts coming in to help cover.

  So out of those 7 you did back in 2001, what type of AUM or commission- whicher your measure, did you generate?   Thanks!
Oct 19, 2009 6:21 pm

we do about 5-6 seminars a year…we never mail though, since i’ve been in this field i was always told “you mail to fail” but i’ve never tried it, be interested to hear how the results are.  On the bright side we eliminate the $3500 mailing cost, and we pay under half of what dashover quoted for his meal, instead we provide little appetizers i guess you could say.  People who are actually interested in the material and not the free food don’t seem to mind we aren’t providing them with dinner. 

  seminars are definitely a good door opener for prospecting, that's our primary source of leads. 
Oct 19, 2009 6:22 pm

Good thoughts GB- what have your results been like?  What does your target client/attendee look like?

Oct 19, 2009 6:37 pm

well i’m at an indie so granted we don’t have the budget to put on seminars that others do…'08 results were horrible. i’d say on average our overhead for the seminar is under 500 bucks and we typically get about 10-12 people who show up (per workshop) typically within 10 years of retirement or less, at least retirement assets at or above 250K.  We have 2-3 advisors prospect for the same workshop and then they split the cost and the presentation.  1 of the advisors primarily only invites anyone with at least 500K-1MM and then the other, being in his 5th year, invites anyone with 250K or more. 

  however just having a database of prospects that I call every month and invite builds a raport, we talk, they now recognize my name, so i usually give them 2-3 chances to come to a workshop before inviting them to a meeting.  Refill the bottom end of the pipeline every few weeks cold calling.   did about 1.6 MM in new assets in Q3, i'm assuming everyone had a good third quarter compared to the first 6 months
Oct 19, 2009 7:18 pm

I really appreciate hearing how this is working for those who have tried it.  It sounds like you have a good system and that it is yielding results. Thanks for your insights!

Oct 19, 2009 7:37 pm

I have been doing several seminars lately, with mixed results.  I have pumped a lot of money into it, but I find that the turnout is just OK, but although many are serious investors, they have also been to 3 or 4 seminars in the past 6 months.  SO many aer over-loaded with data.  All-in-all, I think the ROI is positive, although I think there are less labor-intensive, capital-intensive alternatives to seminars in my area.  Now, if I had a kick-a$$ presentation on something unique (versus my B/D’s bland planning-focused presentation), I think my capture ratio would be higher, but until then, I don’t think seminars (the 5000 invite, big-dinner type) are the best option for me.  I think doing speaking engagements (Rotaries, Lions Club, Adult Ed, etc.) is a much more efficient and cost-effective route than “traditional” seminars. 

Oct 19, 2009 7:46 pm

Some good advice and wonderful insights B24- thank you.  Certainly, any way you can get in front of people and present, whether through seminars, teaching a class, presenting at a local club, have all got to help over time.

Oct 19, 2009 8:04 pm

Glad to hear seminars have worked for some people.  Unfortunately, they’ve never worked for me.  I think it has something to do with the market you’re in.  I get the sense that seminars are more effective in towns and smaller cities where people are more likely to know each and perhaps have already heard of you.  It’s also helpful to be directly affiliated with an organization that is well known and respected in your particular market (a blast email sent directly from the organization’s membership coordinator will help get attendees there and give you instant credibility).  I think seminars can get lost in the shuffle when you’re dealing with a major metro area.  But everyone’s approach and target markets are different, so if seminars work for you, keep doing it.

Personally, I’ve found that the time and $$$ required to put together a decent seminar are best spent on other forms of marketing.  

Oct 19, 2009 8:07 pm

Interesting points Georgia.  Given your final statement, where might you put those marketing dollars to work that you feel would provide a better ROI?  I am always looking for better more efficient ways to market.

Oct 19, 2009 8:32 pm

I’ll second B24’s opinion on seminar content. I’m a fair speaker - not Abe Lincoln or anything, but fair enough - but the content of our seminars doesn’t inspire action. If you’ve listened to Jason’s seminar … well, heck, I wanted to invest with him when I read “what rich people do”.

Oct 19, 2009 8:51 pm

i will also agree with georgicaclose…markets have a big influence on if people are willing to take the time to show up. now that the markets are starting to come back around i know i personally have seen better numbers

Oct 19, 2009 8:51 pm

Cold calling is most efficient and most cost effective way to prospect, imo.  All you need is a phone and a list of names and a reasonably good script and you’re good to go.