by Tammy de Leeuw
Mistress of the Marketing Blend
Most of us in the selling professions have realized that getting invited to speak or being able to participate in a conference is the cheapest, most effective way to gather warm leads.
When those invitations aren't forthcoming...seminars can be a useful tool and have been used for many years to attract prospects and buyers.
Unfortunately, the success rates for educational seminars have hit a flat spot in the past five years or so, which I believe to be the direct result of some of the inherent limitations of seminar selling.
1.Logistics and planning are time consuming and often frustrating. A well-planned event can take several months to execute. If you are a solo practitioner, you may find yourself short-changing your existing clients in the quest to gain new ones. There is, after all, only so much of you to go around.
2. Seminars tend to be expensive. I have been told by many in the industry that it is not uncommon to spend upwards of $5,000 for a dinner seminar. This is a rather risky investment considering the fact that many advisors are lucky to have 10 people show up. Of those ten, perhaps 1-2 will make appointments. It is not uncommon to do 2-3 seminars without selling anything.
The risk of overspending on a seminar is very real and people who invest in them can experience heart-palpitating stress; feeling compelled to make the seminar pay off...no matter what.
This is where what best-selling author Oren Klaff calls the "croc brain," comes in. The "croc" or "lizard" brain is the primitive gateway which helps prevent us from harming ourselves. It acts as a stone wall defense against threats both real and perceived.
One such threat to our survival is "neediness." When a person senses neediness or desperation in another person, he or she is more than likely to flee the situation. The croc brain sees any signs of neediness as a signal that another person is trying to take something away, rather than than bring value.
This is the primary reason that the more you try and CLOSE after a seminar, the more your prospects tend to RUN AWAY. In your desperation to achieve a return on your investment, you have positioned yourself as the one thing your prospect's brain hates the most- someone who is trying to harm the brain's owner.
Another reason seminars don't perform as well as in the past is that that every subsequent generation of would-be buyers is more sophisticated than the preceding one. They tend to research more, watch more information videos, and ask more questions. Because they are inundated with marketing messages, it is difficult to break through and reach them. Dismal stats for direct mail invitations bear this out.
Unless you position your seminar as something "sexy, exciting, and different," people will automatically decide that it's nothing but a sales pitch. If they do manage to show up, it will be to sop up the vittles and drink at the no-host bar. Not to do business with you.
Is buying leads an alternative or complement to seminars?
Many #advisors and #insurance agents have asked me for ways to improve seminar performance. In the coming months, I will be presenting a few of the things I have found that will work.
Buying quality leads from a reputable vendor can be one way to (1) increase seminar attendance and success and (2) provide a source of appointments in between seminars.
A good lead company (these are rare, I realize, but they do exist) will charge between $125-$175 per lead and a professional who knows how to correctly work a lead will usually close at least one of those.
In other words, spending $1,750 on decent leads could very well yield as much or more as spending $5,000 on a seminar. And surely spending $1,750 is a lot less anxiety-producing than $5,000.
One company that I have used for leads belongs to former broker Scott Brooks. You should check it out.
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