How to Conduct a Seminar

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Three Criteria For Seminar Attendees

It amazes me that big insurance companies and securities firms will go to great expense to create ineffective seminar programs to help their reps obtain new clients. Anyone can be effective at conducting a seminar with simple observation of human behavior and measuring what works.

Large financial institutions have a great focus on the presentation, the appearance of the slides, the handout materials and all other aspects of what will occur in the seminar room. NONE OF THIS MATTERS–THIS IS NOT HOW TO CONDUCT A SEMINAR THAT MAKES MONEY. The presentation and the handout materials are irrelevant if the seminar room is empty. Filling up the room with qualified candidates must be the absolute priority focus of any successful seminar program. So if you’ve wasted money on fancy looking seminar slides only to have a dismal failure, know that there is hope when learn how to conduct a seminar correctly and put all of your attention on attendance.

Filling up the room is a function of two main factors:

  • Invite the RIGHT audience
  • Construct an invitation that is EMOTIONALLY compelling

If you want to conduct a seminar that’s profitable, you need to select an audience that will come to a seminar. Note that some target markets will not attend a seminar so you cannot prospect everyone with seminars. For example, if your market is baby boomers, forget public seminars. Successful baby boomers are largely two-income professional couples working 10 hours a day, traveling coast to coast for their job, shuttling their kids to and from ballet, piano and soccer and trying to keep their marriage together.

You think they will come to your seminar “How to Plan for a Secure Retirement?” No way–this is not the audience you want to conduct a seminar that produces profit. You’ve selected the wrong audience who has no time to attend seminars and is not sufficiently motivated . (And why do you want to prospect these people anyway—isn’t most of their investable wealth locked up in 401k or stock options or their home?)

The right seminar audience has these features:

  • They have the time to attend your seminar
  • They have some EMOTIONALLY compelling issues that you can address
  • They have access to their money

To conduct a successful seminar, the two groups of immediate fit are seniors and business owners. Seniors have plenty of time and they are EMOTIONALLY compelled to protect their money.

Business owners have the time—ONLY AT LUNCH, and they are EMOTIONALLY compelled by a number of factors such as keeping their business alive, paying less taxes and having more time with their families.

So the first lesson in how to conduct a seminar is invite the right people!

This means you won’t make it work if you want to do a “product” seminar or talk about managed money, stocks, annuities, etc. You will fail because you are focusing on the thing you want to sell, rather than a specific, homogeneous, identifiable target market. So concentrate on who you want as new clients, not on what you want to sell.

Let’s discuss the second critical factor necessary to conduct a seminar that works —an emotionally compelling invitation.

For our example, let’s continue with the title above “How to Plan for a Secure Retirement.” This is a boring, unspecific, non-emotionally compelling title. Let’s say the same thing in a way that will move people to learn about becoming better savers and investors:

  • “Avoid the Two Reasons Why 95% of People Must Cut Their Living Standard When They Retire” or
  • ” Why Your Neighbor’s Children Can Afford to Attend Harvard and Your Children Can’t”
  • “Study Says People Between 35 and 50 will Never Be Able To Retire–Except for These 10%”

Do you see that by using powerful, emotional language, you can take the same idea and form it into a title that hits between the eyes? Below the title, your invitation should have six EMOTIONALLY compelling sub-titles (bullet points). You’re beginning to see that the “how to’s” of conducting a successful seminar happen BEFORE the seminar and it’s all in the marketing.

The third item regarding your target market is that they must have access to money. Retirees do. They have rolled over their retirement plans into a self-directed IRA. Business owners do—they control the investments in their retirement plans as well as their non-qualified assets.

Before choosing any market for seminar marketing, make sure they meet the three criteria listed above.

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