3 mistakes certain to screw up a Social Security seminar

By William Meyer


The lunch is hot and the presentation is cool, but after all the time and expense to produce a proper Social Security seminar, few meetings are booked and even fewer prospects request more information. What went wrong?

Any number of excuses are routinely mentioned: “Regulations are tough; they’re finding it on the Internet; the market is saturated.” But ask yourself when regulations, technology and new market entrants haven’t materially changed a business model. The real reason rarely presents itself in outside factors like these; more often than not, it’s you.

I’ll go further to say Social Security planning is an especially hot topic due to widely discussed age and demographic factors. They have questions (lots of them) and you have answers; if you can’t convert prospects to clients, it’s a sign of bigger issues. We work with thousands of advisors, which affords us the opportunity to learn from our peers about what works and what doesn’t.

With that in mind, here are the top three mistakes that inadvertently sabotage a Social Security seminar:

1. Show, don’t tell:Too many Social Security seminars focus on rules, which are necessary — to a point. They quickly become overwhelming, causing the audience to tune out. The solution is to create examples and case studies that represent your audience. Demonstrate your expertise, not your memorization skills, by showing them how the rules are applied using situations to which they can relate.

2. No clear call-to-action: Agents and advisors often fail in the post-event follow-up, or ignore it altogether. The solution is to figure out how Social Security fits with your client experience and develop the appropriate call-to-action. Many advisors use a free report or free meeting. I would suggest a compelling hook to highlight your firm's core investment philosophy. An example would be “How to fill gaps in Social Security with other forms of guaranteed income.”

3. Generic tools: Unprepared presenters are dead on arrival, and simple calculators do not prepare you for questions from prospects and clients. Even though they might say they run all relevant scenarios, many leave off key strategies. With thousands of claiming options, you need a software tool that is accompanied by a detailed report to help you explain the options. It will ensure you look professional, build trust and move to the next step in the planning process.

Don’t fumble with silly mistakes that cost you from converting prospects. Failing to avoid any of these pitfalls will reveal you as unprofessional at best, incompetent at worst. Many individuals and couples are attending multiple seminars in a search of the “right fit.” Make any of the mistakes above, and you’re sure not to be it.