“Successful” Seminars

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Apr 16, 2007 5:02 am

[quote=Danboy]

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. 

[/quote]

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.
Apr 16, 2007 6:48 am

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.

Apr 18, 2007 2:45 pm

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

Apr 18, 2007 6:09 pm

[quote=Philo Kvetch]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.[/quote]



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.

Apr 18, 2007 8:11 pm

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!

Apr 18, 2007 9:09 pm

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.

Apr 18, 2007 10:51 pm

[quote=WealthManager]

<o:p> </o:p>

I hope that this exceedingly long posting will help a few people.

--WM

[/quote]

It was not exceedingly long.  You put significant effort into sharing some useful information.  Thank you!
Apr 18, 2007 11:51 pm

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.



Apr 19, 2007 12:32 am

[quote=skeedaddy2]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 

[/quote]

Apr 19, 2007 7:54 am

[quote=skeedaddy2]

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.

[/quote]

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.

Apr 19, 2007 11:30 am

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.

Apr 19, 2007 3:55 pm

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.

Apr 19, 2007 8:52 pm

[quote=BondGuy]

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.

[/quote]

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?

Apr 19, 2007 9:20 pm

[quote=Registered Rep]

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.

[/quote]

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

Apr 19, 2007 10:14 pm

[quote=DMAN][quote=BondGuy]

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.

[/quote]

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?

[/quote]

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.

Apr 19, 2007 10:15 pm

[quote=Registered Rep]

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.

[/quote]

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

Apr 20, 2007 6:53 am

[quote=Bobby Hull][quote=Registered Rep]

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.

[/quote]

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

[/quote]

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.

Apr 20, 2007 7:13 am

[quote=BondGuy][quote=Registered Rep]

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.

[/quote]

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

[/quote]

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.

Apr 20, 2007 11:44 am

[quote=Registered Rep][quote=BondGuy][quote=Registered Rep]

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.

[/quote]

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

[/quote]

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.

[/quote]

Thanks for the detailed response. I for one would like to hear how this works going forward.

RR - Good post!  Again, thank you.