Improve Seminar Results

Money BulbNot every elite financial advisor conducts public seminars/workshops within their practice. But my educated guess (looking at advisors with our firm that write $10 million or more annually in FIAs) is that 70% do. The majority of producers use direct mail-driven, dinner-provided public workshops and work hard to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Today I’d like to highlight the success of one of the best financial advisors in the country and his seminar results! I had an opportunity to visit with Matt from Kentucky over the phone today and below are a few mind-blowing stats he shared.
Bottom line as you read this is – if you think public workshops don’t work, think again! In 2009 Matt was at a crossroads in his marketing. He either needed to abandon seminars completely, because the model he was using produced steadily declining results, to the point of being not profitable. Or he needed to tear apart every piece of the process and design it again from the ground up. He chose the second option and his results are astounding…

  • In the past 5 years Matt has seen over 12,000 seminar attendees.
  • In 2011 he spoke at 89 events and averaged a 1.89% mail response for the year! The end result was $14 million of new premium attributed to seminars.
  • In 2012 he spoke at 39 events (less than half), cancelled three scheduled mailers due to overflow and averaged a 1.79% mail response for the year.  That end result was $15 million of new premium attributed to seminars.
  • 2118 qualified leads were produced from his 2012 seminars.
  • Over 50% of Matt’s business comes from baby boomers. That allowed Matt to gather over $29 million in premium last year, due in part to additional business boomer clients bring him throughout their relationship together (opposed to senior clients that typically don’t come into additional funds).
  • He previously did workshops rotated at 13 different restaurants. Now he only uses two premier steakhouses. This caused his cost per meal to go up, but cost per lead to dramatically reduce and average “client value” to increase.
  • His high appointment ratio from seminars provides Matt a minimum of 60 future appointments at all times on his calendar. (He told me he gets “nervous” if it falls below that). Due to appointment volume, he needs to be very efficient in meetings and last year closed 75% of clients at the first appointment, 15% at second appointment and 10% appointments three or more.
  • Nearly $130 million came through his doors for an appointment in 2012!
  • Of that, Matt gathered $29 million in assets, disqualified $20 million for various reasons and the remaining $80 million is now on his “pendling tickler” drip file. Think that’ll produce future results?

Three’s a lot more to Matt’s seminars and the rest of his business. His TV commercials and 30 minute weekly television show on ABC are watched by over 10,000 people. He has the art and science of producing of direct response leads from television exacted. His appointment process and deliverables are incredible. Matt gets prospects to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ very quickly and with respect. I could go on and on…

I hope these results, if nothing else, give you hope that seminar results can improve! If it works for Matt, it can work for you. Let’s visit soon if you want to dig deeper on anything above.
Advise with Passion,

Top Seminar Restaurants

Eating-Money-Food-SavingFinancial workshops…seminars…classes…group consultations…whatever you call them.

To be successful, a number of factors are vital. Mess just one element up and it can ruin the ten you got right!
For example:

  • You mail a first class invitation
  • The presentation (PowerPoint or not) is updated, topical and powerful
  • Any PR is leveraged to the highest degree
  • Your procedures to prompt appointments are refined and
  • The appointment book next week has been cleared to prepare for new appointments
  • But…….you’re hosting the event at the wrong restaurant

Regardless of how hard you worked and prepared you might be, make one mistake of this magnitude and it’ll cost you $5000+; and valuable weeks of time!

What’s the solution?!?
The number one (by volume) seminar direct mail house in the nation just provided me access to a list of the top-response-driven restaurants of 2012, by state!  (And no, it’s not Ruth’s Chris at the top regardless). If you’re conducting seminars in 2013, maximize their results!

Comment below if you’d benefit from seeing restaurants in your state. I can assemble the appropriate list – showing restaurant, city, state and mailer reservation response rate from 2012.

Advise with Passion.

Women are “Head of Household”

Are you currently sending direct mail and seminar invitations to the man in the household? Or the woman?
If you’re like 99% of advisors it’s the man and I’d like to share simple logic to make you rethink that…

An advisor we consult from Florida recently shared how he started addressing seminar mailers to the woman in the home and instantly saw increased responses on his mail piece(s). Instead of finding another zip code, restaurant, age demographic, etc. to use on his next invite; he mailed to the same list but addressed everything to the women of the household. And it worked extremely well!
Admittedly, I don’t have a large amount of data yet to back this up, but the logic makes sense. Whether your response rates are lagging or thriving, this is worth considering as part of your seminar strategy.

Why should you send direct mail to women of the house?
1) Women typically open the mail more than men.
2) Women are usually more worried about finances than men. This is especially true due to women’s concerns about finances post their spouse’s death.
3) Women are in general more conservative by nature than men. This means they’re more likely to respond to your messages of safety, protection and guarantees.
4) Women are less afraid to ask for help. Men are known to be too stubborn, proud, etc. to seek the help you’re offering.

Think about addressing your next mailers to the woman of the household and let me know how it goes. Make it a successful July in all you do!

P.S. Hearing this idea another advisor we consult in Texas immediately implemented it. She typically struggles to fill seminar dates, but this one (same invite and restaurant as 10 weeks ago) sold out in 2 days! She’ll be speaking to sold out rooms next Tuesday and Thursday. It appears to be working great for her and she’ll continue to execute! Hopefully this small tweak does the same for you.

Next Seminar Mailer

Need Help Solving the Seminar Puzzle?!?

When it comes to selecting the right mail house, there are numerous variables to consider.
If marketing isn’t your sole focus, it can be almost mind-numbing…

  • What type of invitation is getting the highest response rates?
  • What are the hottest invitation bullet points to use right now?
  • Should I consider a mail house with one-on-one, in-office appointment setting?
  • Do any mail houses offer financing options?
  • Which shops are best in the area of service so I can be relatively “hands-free?”
  • Can I just pay for the prospects who RSVP for my seminars?
  • What type of discounts are available to me (either thru my own volume or my marketing partner affiliations)?

As one of the most expensive components in an ongoing seminar circuit, choosing a mail house wisely is one of the most important decisions you make. DON’T MAKE IT ALONE. I’ve partnered with a number of top mail houses in the seminar marketing industry, negotiating exclusive discounts and special arrangements for advisors I recommend. It’s important your marketing partner(s) know the difference between each vendor, saving you money and giving you back valuable time. If I can help with this arena, contact me anytime.

Stop Screwing Up Financial Seminars

I was recently part of a co-authored “Seminar Planning Toolkit” and felt compelled to share. Because despite all the silver bullets and shiny objects in our industry about never doing seminar marketing again, it’s safe to say 90% of top-tier producers still utilize this form of prospecting. It works. Here are some of the best-practice seminar findings:

• Make an effort to hold your seminars at Restaurants. Hotels or convention centers make people think they will be locked in a room and sold. Adding logos of your location to the invitation adds impact and local familiarity and it may even reduce the cost of the meals when negotiating. (They are getting free advertising).
• Have the seminars on Tuesdays or Thursdays (Wednesdays are a good second choice). NEVER have a seminar on a Saturday. You must give prospects a choice of 3 separate seminar dates.
• You must provide a meal. Very few people show up just for the meals. In 400,000+ events marketed, dinners have achieved a much greater response than lunches. Breakfasts, refreshments, coffee and dessert, wine and cheese, hors d’oeuvres or brunch almost always generate a disappointing response.
• Make sure your event starting times are proportional to the ages marketed. Don’t target people in their 50’s and expect them to attend a 4:00 pm event..
• Confirm all reservations at least once, no later than 2 days before each seminar. RSVP call ins are diminished when using phone recorders to take in-bound calls. Live answer is suggested at all times. We can recommend someone.
• Follow up the next day after each seminar with the attendees who didn’t request an appointment to find out if they’re interested in meeting with you.
• Mail is delivered mostly via Standard Mail. It typically takes 7 to 12 days to travel in the mail. You cannot control the USPS schedules. All invitations should be scheduled in the homes approximately 10 to 12 days before the first seminar date.
Most advisors reading this post already perform multiple seminars each month and are very proficient at them. (You probably already know most of what’s in the guide). But with the cost of seminar marketing and the potential returns off them, even picking off 1 or 2 ideas can have BIG results! I’ve found the larger the producer, the more he/she is a student of “the slight edge”. 

So if you want the complete guide, post a comment or email me and I’ll be happy to provide it for FREE.