Don’t talk about fundamental issues at your financial planning seminar
You embarrass yourself in front of a room when you talk about the difference between mutual fund A and B shares, or the difference between value and growth funds, or the contribution limits for an IRA. No one really cares about facts that they can look up, and they’re certainly not impressed when you regurgitate them. Most importantly, you lose credibility in your financial planning seminar with the experienced and wealthy people in the audience–exactly the prospects you want to meet! So beware–if someone gives you seminar slides (especially if they are free) and you see that they are really “investing 101,” don’t use them unless you want to build a book of small investors seeking to move their $8,000 IRA.
The topics you want to speak about in your financial planning seminar are those issues where the facts are either little known or aspects of investments or financial planning that few other advisors talk about. For example, in my financial planning seminar, I explain the difference between a bond and a bond fund (the differences are huge). But no one ever explains this as every planner wants to sell fully loaded bond funds (bought by small ignorant investors) and not talk about bonds (which have smaller commissions and bought by wealthy investors). Or you can explain risk and reward in a way which people have not seen before (i.e. risk is actually volatility and the average investor does not understand that). Or you can explain how the chances of losing money in the stock market is 30% over the course of one year and falls to 0% over 15 years (based on results since 1926). The point is, in your financial planning seminar don’t talk about the same basic trivialities that experienced investors already understand. Show them something new or an old concept in a new way. Your goal is to have every attendee at least once during your financial planning presentation say, “I’ve never thought about that before” or “I’ve never seen it explained that way” or “I didn’t know that.”
Use your financial planning seminar to juxtapose yourself to the attendees’ current advisor
Even if you show people the greatest ideas in the world at your financial planning seminar, they will take your ideas back to their current advisor. So in the nicest way, you must discredit their current advisor and show why you are better. Here’s how you do it—several times during your financial planning talk, you make a comment as follows: “so if anyone in the room has been sold bond funds—it’s no wonder. Your broker makes 4 or 5% commission and probably only 1% or 2% on an individual bond. So on behalf of Wall Street, I apologize that you don’t always get the best advice. Let’s move on…” In just 20 seconds, I have shown why their current advisor is part of the “club” of people who don’t have their interests at heart and I do. At your financial planning seminar, you can do the same with virtually any topic because people get bad advice every day. Just show them what the other advisors are doing and the way you do it that’s better. They will never want to go back to their current advisor when you do this a handful of times during your presentation.
Entertain at your financial planning seminar — Get People to Like You
If you have a PhD in finance, that’s great. But it won’t get people to meet with you. During the financial planning seminar, people decide if they like you. The more people like you, the more appointments you have.
In our culture, the easiest way to get people to like you is to entertain them at your financial planning seminar. There are many ways to do this:
- Tell jokes appropriate to your topic
- Visit the local magic store and buy some tricks you can build into your presentation
- Turn your financial planning seminar into a game show and hand out $5 each time a member of the audience answers your question correctly
- Compose poems, memorize and recite about financial issues. Haikus and clever rhyming poems are especially effective
- If you play an instrument, compose some funny songs and play your guitar and sing them during your seminar
It does not matter what you do, but do anything that’s comfortable that will entertain people.
Be the Advocate at your financial planning seminar
Most advisors at a financial planning seminar turn it into a sales pitch by strongly advocating some investment or service. Don’t do that. Be the attendee’s advocate. When you present an idea, show your audience who should consider it and who should not. In other words, show them you an an impartial advisor and want them to do the best thing for their situation. Use phrases at your financial planning seminar like “this is not for everybody but it’s extremely lucrative for people in this situation…” Most people in our industry say “this is great—everybody should do it” and they lose credibility, they come off like a huckster and get few appointments.