Country Club Invitation

A successful financial advisor we consult from Maine was frustrated recently. He wasn’t just a little frustrated…but a lot frustrated. Most of it stemmed back to a large decrease in the response rate to his dinner workshop invitations. Nothing had changed either; we were using the same mailer and process he used regularly to prospect for new clients that’d been steadily working. Dissecting it on the surface, nothing was glaring wrong to cause the drop off: same message, same high-end locations, same mailing company, demographics and socioeconomic statuses, overall same “formula”. But thinking a bit deeper, therein we found the problem. Everything was the same! And ultimately this advisor wasn’t surrounded by enough ideal prospects to accommodate mailing area rotations that kept up with his seminar frequency, so he was saturating the area.

What’s the solution?!?
I’d like to take credit, but can’t. He found this on his own and it packed the room!

This advisor was networking with friends, one who worked at the local country club. It’s a well-known and prestigious country club in the area, attracting a high-end crowd. A lot of people in the area would enjoy eating and/or playing a round there. But similar to a lot of country clubs in this economy, they were struggling to get new members and had actually lost more members than they’d gained recently. The country club was worried. In hearing this, a “light-bulb-moment” happened for our producer!

Since the country club was a place affluent retirees hadn’t seen on a workshop invite (thereby increasing the likelihood of higher mailer response) and the club itself needed more long-term members and short-term immediate revenue (2 birds, 1 stone), they combined marketing efforts. Simple enough, right? Well yes, where most advisors could think to hold their seminar class at the club and hope for better results. But not so simple because this advisor went a couple steps farther! The process looked like this:

  • Strike a deal on seminar date, meal, price, separate room, etc.
  • Visit with the club’s marketing director about using their logo’d envelopes and letterhead for the invitation (which they agreed to) &
  • Inquire about mailing to the country club’s membership list (which they agreed to).
    • This list was mailed to in addition to the advisor’s purchased mail list.
    • The country club did this because they’d find immediate dinner revenue.
    • But even if the club wouldn’t agree to this step, the envelopes and letterhead would be more than enough to call this a success!

RESULTS?!?

The seminar set preceding this involved 7000 mailed invitations, receiving a pitiful 31 reservations (0.44%) – filling just one night.
With this new process, the advisor mailed 6800 invitations (total) and received 104 reservations (1.52%) – packing three nights of workshops!!!

He was thrilled and the results should be exponentially more appointments, business placed and clients helped. Another positive side effect is he “took a break” from other seminar mailings and should see a pickup in response when he goes back, since it’ll be more fresh.

I’ll challenge you to think about the same circumstances in your area. Could your seminar invitation “take a break” for a while and see better results down the road? Do you have local, well-respected country clubs that would benefit from immediate dining revenue and exposure to potential clients? What about other venues you could partner with? Think outside the box…jewelry stores with a giveaway? Luxury auto dealerships with a test drive? Wine markets or clubs? Where do the affluent (your target market) like to go and are they open to partnership opportunities and increased revenue?

Advise with passion.
MJN

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