Single-session vs. Multi-session Seminars — Which is More Effective?


Seminars — The Big Difference in Effectiveness Between the Single-session and Multi-Session Models

My main prospecting tool has always been seminars. I pack 65 people in a room and raise $1 million per seminar. What could be easier?

Over the years I have experimented with the single-session seminar (a 90-minute presentation at which I solicit appointments right at the seminar) and the multi-session class style seminar (four-sessions over 4 weeks for 2½ hours each).

The people who market these multi-session seminar systems explain that the more times you have contact with the prospect, the higher your appointment ratio. Therefore, they contend, you will open more new accounts. While this is true, it ignores the quality issues:

  • Is the extra presentation time of a multi-session seminar (10 hours vs. 90 minutes) worth the higher appointment and new account ratio?
  • Is the quality of attendee the same?
  • Which system brings more qualified appointments and larger new accounts?

Having used both systems, I prefer the single-session seminar for these reasons:

  • I get better quality attendees. I have many people attend my one session seminar with net worth of $1 million to $5 million. These wealthier and often busier people, will not sign up for a multi-session seminar spanning 4 weeks.
  • I get more sophisticated attendees. I personally do not want prospects who have little investment experience. I want seasoned clients because they can distinguish between good advice and the run of the mill advice. These people make better clients because they have a better understanding of the game. They do not call every time the market drops.

Additionally, I noticed that the information packaged into the multi-session systems is basic or introductory. The more experienced, sophisticated investor is not interested in how a mutual fund works. They already know that.

  • I get more attendance. Many people are busy and will not commit to a four-session class. But I can attract many of these people to a short 90-minute, one-time presentation. Therefore, I have more attendees at the one session seminar.
  • I can do a single-session seminar every week if I desire, but a four-session seminar lasts the entire month. Therefore, the single session model allows me to meet more people during the same time span.

Bottom line: I get 23 appointments from the 35 households in attendance with a single-session seminar (65% appointment ratio) as opposed to 18 appointments from 20 households at a multi-session seminar (90% appointment ratio). Therefore, I am getting more appointments from the single- session seminar because I have higher attendance. Additionally, the attendee quality is far higher at the single-session seminar.

The people invited to the single-session seminar meet a qualification that they have at least $100,000 to invest. The multi-session seminar, often offered and advertised through an adult school or community college, is open to the public, and the attendee may not be very qualified. Many of these attendees want to know what to do with their $30,000 portfolio.

My seminar experience has taught me this:

A single-session seminar requests a short time commitment from the attendees. As a result, you can attract better qualified attendees and more attendees resulting in more assets gathered and larger new accounts