Seminar Marketing Q&A

You need to first know exactly who you want to invite. At the library, find the Standard Research and Data Service (SRDS). It’s a catalog of every list you can rent. For simple age and demographic lists both CIS and Americalist are high quality. These are the lists we use for our seminar systems. What’s the best way to invite people to a seminar, to market your seminars? Direct mail allows you to target exactly the audience you desire. Also, direct mail produces a higher quality seminar attendee than telemarketing or newspaper ads

Most of the time, low attendance results from a non-compelling invitation, i.e. poor seminar marketing. Your invitation must be emotionally compelling. For example, this seminar title will bomb: “Investment Opportunities for 2003.” This title has a good chance of succeeding: “How to Avoid the Three Biggest Threats to Your Estate—for Owners of Apartment Buildings.” This seminar title is focused on a narrow audience (so when people get the invitation they say “this is for me!”) and people are much more motivated to avoid threats (avoid fear) than they are to pursue opportunities (a logical, rather than emotional motivator). You can learn to write better invitations by studying books such as The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy, Magic Words That Bring you Riches by Ted Nicholas, Cash Copy by Jeffery Lant. If you want to excel at seminar marketing, you must learn copy writing or hire someone that has expertise..

You maximize your appointments in these ways:

  1. Get people to like you
  2. Show them that you have their interest as a priority and that other advisors (and their current advisor) does not
  3. Understand that your job at a seminar is NOT to educate people. They may get educated as a by-product, but educating people WILL NOT get you appointments. You get people to like you by telling stories, telling jokes (if you like to), smiling, answering questions succinctly and clearly, becoming a good speaker (join your local Toastmasters Club), being polite, and making friends as attendees arrive. Like them and they will like you.

You show your superiority and the fact that you are on the side of the investor by introducing each topic with a phrase like: “I think most advisors don’t explain this very well, and maybe on purpose…” “As you know from reading the newspapers, Wall Street does not have your best interest in mind. Here’s what they seem to leave out when selling you mutual funds…” “I think that most investors never get the following explained to them by their advisors…..”

Your entire seminar marketing effort will be for naught if all you do is stand in front of a room, present some good ideas on slides and recite your memorized script. People are not interested in hiring robots.

You need to set your income or net worth criteria on your mailing list higher. If you are using ads or flyers, you must insert a criterion in your ad or flyer like “For investors with investment portfolios of $500,000 or more.”

Your sales skills or sales process needs work. Either take the Dale Carnegie sales course, the Sandler Institute sales course or get a quick fix system at

Why bother to market seminars if your selling skills are not top notch?

The interest and “hot buttons” of your market change, and if you keep sending the same old invitation, it stops working. You must listen closely to your prospects to find out their current “hot buttons” and change the topics or approach of your invitation. One key to successful seminar marketing is to survey your prospects–send a survey or do a focus group or call them on the phone and ask what financial concerns they have. DON’T GUESS.

A restaurant is best even if you are not serving food. Plenty of restaurants will rent a room to you or rent a room with coffee only.

That depends on your audience. For business owners, it’s lunchtime or breakfast Tuesday through Thursday. For seniors, it’s during daylight hours and varies based on the area of the country.

Send a monthly newsletter. Any less frequently than monthly is a waste of money as people are too busy to remember you after 90 days. The newsletter must have your picture and be sent monthly. For a newsletter that gets people age 55+ to contact you, see

Many advisors have this problem. We recently did a presentation on this topic attended by over 300 advisors. The one-hour presentation with accompanying PowerPoint can still be obtained here.