8 ways to ensure your seminars aren't DOAArticle added by Paul Mallett on August 8, 2013
Joined: September 27, 2012
Ranked: #19 (2,359 pts)
I’m a big fan of John Wayne movies. One of my all-time favorites is "Big Jake." In the film, the Duke plays a wealthy rancher that, because of his rough and tumble ways, separates from his wife and family and disappears for several years. A family crisis brings his character back to town, and because of his long absence, nearly everyone he comes across greets him with the line, “I thought you were dead!”
And such is the story of seminars. Over and over I hear that seminars are dead. "People are tired of them." "They just don’t work anymore." “People don’t have the attention span for seminars anymore.”
Don’t believe it. I agree that stale, boring, ram-it-down-your-throat-then-pressure-people-into-buying seminars are dead. However, fresh, focused seminars that educate, entertain and engage people are alive and well. In fact, if you’re not using seminars as part of your prospecting program, you’re walking away from a highly effective tool to attract, inform and qualify prospects.
When you’re ready to take action and improve the results of your prospecting plan, follow these suggestions to assure your seminars aren’t dead on arrival:
1. Deliver great content — Your prospects want you to teach them something they don’t already know that applies to them right now. They expect you to break down complex concepts into something they can understand and apply to their situation.
2. Choose a time and place appropriate for your target prospects — If you are hoping to attract retirees, choose a comfortable, informal venue and schedule it for 4:00 p.m. If you hope to connect with working professionals, choose a nice, upscale location and schedule it for 6:00 p.m. Know your target market, and know where they like to hang out.
3. Remember the purpose of your seminar — If your purpose is to make a sale that day, you’re probably wasting your time. Focus on connecting with prospects. Teach them something. Engage them in a dialog. Smile and make eye contact. Put them at ease by telling them you are not there to sell them something today. Make it easy and stress-free for them to make appointments with you hours, days or weeks after the seminar. Follow up with attendees after the seminar.
4. Know your stuff — If you don’t have time to prepare sufficiently, don’t waste your time. If you try to just wing it and rely solely on your self-proclaimed charisma and depth of knowledge, you will be disappointed with the results. Plan, prepare and practice. Whatever you do, don’t just stand there and read PowerPoint slides. That’s cruel and unusual punishment for your audience.
5. Include fewer slides, and fewer clicks per slide — The presentation should not be about the slides. The slides should complement your presentation. Nothing puts an audience to sleep like an endless number of slides and clicks. Use more attention-grabbing images in your slides, and fewer words. This is a great way to entertain while you educate.
6. Record yourself giving your presentation — You need to see your screw-ups to fix them. You need an objective and honest critic to help you eliminate any distracting habits, repeated words, mispronunciations, etc. Video allows you to be that critic.
7. Give attendees something to carry home — Give prospects supporting materials to review on their own time. And be sure to make them all personalized materials with your name and contact information. That sounds obvious, but it's critical enough to highlight here. Also, be sure to offer additional materials for attendees to pass along to loved ones or friends. Seminars are fantastic sources of referrals.
8. Be persistent — Give it a fair shot. Chances are you won’t hit it out of the park with your first seminar. It’s going to take some time. You need time and repetition to perfect your presentation, and you need to give word of mouth sufficient time to build momentum for you.
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