Talk the talk with best practices for seminars.

Here are some of our best ideas about seminars.

You have a lot of choices when you’re giving seminars. Every detail matters — and although there may be no wrong answers, each part of your plan affects your prospects’ experience. You want to turn these people into clients. That means architecting everything they experience with you in such a way as to communicate your intentions to them.

They need to know you’re honest, hard-working, and interested in their goals. So, here they are, in no particular order.

Location, location, location.

Venue selection sets the tone for everything that follows. We recommend colleges, universities, and libraries for hosting workshops. They’re just different than dinner seminars. The scholarly atmosphere attracts potential clients who are ready to learn about their wealth-management (or retirement income) options.

Make sure the locations are accessible. Rooms should be easy to find; parking should be close by and easy to navigate, too. You can also print signs off at your office and put them up the night of the event, to help people find their way. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it just has to be clear.

You might want to do a dinner seminar instead, but there’s something you should probably never do: Host an event at your office space. People aren’t as comfortable. We see very poor turnout at these events.

What if I want to do a dinner seminar?

If you’re going to host a seminar at a restaurant — and that’s also a good choice — you need to select a place where your demographic feels comfortable. You don’t want a place with a playground attached, probably, unless you’re looking for families with young children. Probably you’ll want a sit-down restaurant with a private room. The venue needs to have a good menu with a variety of selections — at CreativeOne, we recommend having steak or salmon as an option, by the way.

Stay away from buffets, diners, catering at non-restaurant locations, country clubs, and hotels. Avoid restaurants who insist on having a minimum, if you can. We can work with that, but it’s not ideal.

Always do your research and check out the restaurants starred reviews first.

When should I hold my seminar?

The short answer? 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. That’s when we see the best attendance. Earlier may not allow ample driving time after work, especially in areas with rush hour traffic. Anything after 7 p.m. is too late. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings work, but Thursday is the best, for whatever reason, across all demographics.

We don’t recommend lunch and learns, but they can sometimes work, in the right market. It depends.

Workshops can also work on Saturday mornings — we recommend 10 or 10:30 a.m.

How do I follow up on registration?

CreativeOne sends the confirmation e-mails for you. We also send reminder e-mails and texts. We highly recommend, though, that agents and advisors also follow up with a phone call. It’s much more personal that way.

Twenty-four hours after registration, and 24 hours before the event — those are the best times to call. This helps build a rapport by talking to a real person and helps them feel more committed to going. They should know that they are taking up seats that could potentially be used for someone else.

Lastly, consider using tickets for people who register — it’s a physical object that they need to keep track of, and helps them commit to showing up, in a way. It just makes it “more real” for people.

At the event, what do I do?

First, make sure everything is in order. You want comfortable seating in a room or space that’s closed off. You can’t have it too noisy. People need to hear what you have to say.

If you have technology for visuals, or something like a microphone, make sure it works. You want your equipment set up and ready to go by the time people arrive. Make sure people in the back will be able to see and hear you.

Give people a workbook or blank sheets so they can take notes. A nice, clean branded folder or notebook goes a long way toward impressing potential clients. People look for details like that.

Successful seminars are about building rapport with your audience. Content matters, but that’s just one part. People need to like and respect you to do business with you.

Here are some things you can do to build rapport: Bring pictures of your family. If you’ve written a book or been featured in the news, use that to your advantage. Use power phrases like “Write this down” during the presentation. Or say things like, “When you meet with me, we’ll cover [this topic] in more detail.” Things like that. Set proper expectations about what it’s like to work with you. This is your dress rehearsal. Use signs and banners to help people know they’re in the right place. Use them to show off your accolades, so you don’t have to brag.

Don’t take too many questions. Have someone with you at the dinner who can set appointments for you and help you work the room when the dinner is complete.

Whatever you do, put people at ease. Don’t make your future clients anxious.

For more great ideas, call us today: 800.992.2642.


Related terms: Marketing

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