4 reasons seminars are still the best way to grow your practiceArticle added by Christopher P. Hill on October 31, 2013
Christopher P. Hill, RFC

Christopher P. Hill

Vienna, VA

Joined: January 08, 2010

There was a time when hiring a professional was as common and easy as searching through the Yellow Pages. Clearly, things have changed in today’s world. With the advent of the Internet, innovative technology, social networking, and more, people are searching for professional services in a variety of new ways.

When most people think about hiring the services of a professional such as a doctor, lawyer, CPA, architect, teacher, or personal trainer, two of the most commonly sought criteria are experience and credibility.

However, in the financial services industry, things are a bit different. Regardless of how people seek the help of financial professionals, the harsh reality is that we do not have enough people contacting us in the hopes of employing our services. Our inbox is not filled with inquiries from people seeking to hire us based on their Internet searches. People don’t stop by our office because we have an excellent sign or company name. Our phones don’t ring off the hook with calls from people who just decided they need a financial plan or life insurance policy.

The elevator speech we use and the networking events we attend are not creating a sizeable volume of new opportunities. Referrals are not coming in often enough.

Therefore, although we know most people need our services as much as we need their business, we have to go out and find them. The clients we would like to work with are rarely going to stumble across us, or proactively contact us.

The power of seminars

In my experience, there is no form of advertising or marketing better than seminars. Zero. If your goal is to expose yourself and your business to new prospective clients on a consistent basis, then you really should consider hosting regular seminars.

Our industry has a unique advantage that I firmly believe many financial professionals are failing to capitalize on: the need for a personal relationship to be present before any business takes place.

When people choose to employ the services of financial professionals, there are specific elements of the human touch that simply cannot be trumped by any form of technology. There is a personal relationship that needs to be developed.

Four keys to a seminar

Seminars offer a golden opportunity unlike any other form of marketing or advertising. You have a captive audience of qualified prospects for between 30 minutes and an hour. During this invaluable period of time, you have the unique ability to provide every attendee with four key answers they need to know before they consider working with you:

1. Do they like you? Yes, first impressions are important. However, quality relationships happen over time. After a reasonable period of time, most people can usually determine whether they like you or not. By “like” I mean they can answer certain key questions such as:
  • Can they see themselves enjoying spending more time with you?
  • Do they connect with you on a professional and/or personal level?
  • Can they see themselves inviting you to their home or to a party?
2. Do they trust you? In addition to the likeability factor, seminars also offer the ability to develop a level of trust. After spending a reasonable period of time with you, most people can determine if they view you as a credible and trustworthy professional. They are able to decide if they feel comfortable opening up their financial lives to you, and whether they can trust your professional advice and services.

3. Do they think you are competent? During the course of a seminar, you have an extended period of time in which to present your abilities, skills, knowledge, expertise and overall competency. People are able to come to a decision as to whether you know what you are talking about, if you are a qualified and trusted professional, and if they believe your advice and services can be of value to them.

4. Do they think you have their best interests at heart? Seminars provide you the ability to present your likeability, trustworthiness and competency, but they also allow the attendees to better understand the kind of work you do and how you work with your clients.

They get to see how you talk, educate and interact. Most importantly, they become familiar with important factors such as how you work with your clients, how much time and effort is required on their part, what they can expect when you meet, details about costs or fees, and how you are compensated.

Seminars: an art and a science

One of my favorite sayings is, “Experience is the name we give our mistakes, if we learn from them.” After hosting seminars for over 20 years now, you can rest assured I have made my share of mistakes. A high-quality and successful seminar requires lots of hard work, study, analysis, education, repetition and fine-tuning. Please don’t assume that hosting seminars is an easy task, nor that all financial professionals have the skills or inclination to host these events.

A seminar consists of two parts. One is the art and the other is science. In other words, there are a lot of other details that are important when hosting a seminar, including how to fill the seats, choose a location, provide handouts, select support staff, give an effective presentation, schedulie appointments, and much more.

My hope is that this article helps you see that, by hosting seminars, you are providing large numbers of individuals and families with these four key ingredients on a regular basis. Over time, this strategy is bound to help your business boom; however, nothing good comes quickly or easily, right?
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