Are you making these 3 seminar mistakes?
By Matt Eilers
I’ve been bombarded lately by countless examples of advisors wasting their money on a seminar. Why, you ask? Well, it’s because most of them invested in a system that didn’t follow the basic rules of seminar marketing. We all know, there are dos and don’ts in this business, and when it comes to seminars, there are some rules that shouldn’t be broken … unless you're OK with flushing your marketing dollars down the toilet.
Seminar mistake No. 1: Letting somebody else give the presentation.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good speakers out there, and arguably, there are folks that understand the subject matter of your next seminar better than you do. But putting them up at the podium is a mistake. Your positioning is destroyed. They may make an attempt to put you in the spotlight as the “guy to go see” with any other questions, but at the end of the day, if they gave a compelling presentation, the audience is going to be drawn to the main speaker; not you.
The solution: Give the presentation. Better yet, have somebody introduce you as the main speaker!
Seminar mistake No. 2: Giving away a “freebie” just to get the appointment.
Have you ever attended one of those timeshare presentations just to get free tickets to the local amusement park or dinner show? If you have, then you undoubtedly remember sitting on pins and needles through the “Tommy Boy” hack job of a sales presentation. “Get me to the end of this thing; I just want two free tickets. And please God, don’t let this guy go get the “manager” so I have to listen to his sales pitch, too!”
Imagine what prospects think sitting in your office if you are positioned as the sales pest that is going to show them the next magic investment or product, all with the bait of a software-generated report that they get just for sitting through the meeting. If you give somebody an out, they usually will take it — especially if they have even an inkling that you are trying to sell them something.
The solution: Create real value at the podium. Give them a real reason to come and see you, not some hokey freebie that you automatically devalue the instant it is offered up for nothing. Create differentiation as to why they need to meet with you. There are plenty of compelling ways to bring people into the office; position the meeting in their favor, and yours. Seminar mistake No. 3: Being a one trick pony.
I understand that most seminars have a main topic or theme. It’s important that the audience knows and remembers that it’s not the only thing that you specialize in. OK, I’ll address the elephant in the room: Social Security. Everybody and their brother is doing Social Security marketing; many are doing seminars. If somebody is attending one of your events, and they leave thinking you are the “Social Security planning guy/gal,” then you’re done for. Good luck transitioning them into a new planning client. I’m not saying you can’t, I’m just saying it will be more difficult.
The solution: If they leave the room remembering that you are a “comprehensive financial planner” and Social Security is just one of the arrows in your quiver, the positioning is extremely different. These prospects will be more apt to start talking about everything in their financial life first, rather than just wanting to come in and talk to you about Social Security.
Let’s be honest, marketing isn’t cheap. And if it is cheap, you should probably run for the hills because you typically get what you pay for. Next time you are going to run a public event, make sure you are plugged into the right system. And make sure that system is tested, tried and true. If you are making any of these seminar mistakes at the podium, just remember, your competition thanks you!