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.

The American Who Quit Money

ManWhoQuitMoneyThis week I had an advisor share with me his new seminar closing and I was fascinated. I’m here to share it with you; but before I do want to preface something. I realize everyone likes to close their presentations in a different fashion. So this might fit your style and it might not. But one thing’s for sure; it’s unique.

During a typical hour-long financial class, the first 50 minutes of material are fairly standard. It’s a solid presentation and does the job well. But this is to focus on the final 10 minutes, where he transitions to the close by playing a short 4 minute video. This is the time (in his words) to “flip the switch” and show the crowd how he’s different than any other (again his words) “money person” out there.

Before I cover the script he uses, here’s the video:

The American Who Quit Money To Live In A Cave from David Eckenrode on Vimeo.

It gets you thinking, doesn’t it? Obviously the financial advisor isn’t going to suggest clients live in caves and eat from dumpsters. But he believes this video quickly has the crowd asking themselves questions like,

“How important is money to my happiness?” 

“What do I really need money for?”

“What’s truly important to me?”

Then the final close comes. In those last minutes he boldly states that retirement isn’t about achieving the optimal rate of return. It isn’t about how to get 10% or 20% on your money and it isn’t about continuously trying to find the hottest sector of the economy to invest in. It’s also not about policies that politicians in Washington DC or banks executives in the local town decide to do. All of those things are important – but rates of return and macroeconomic decisions beyond our control shouldn’t define retirement.

What is retirement about? At ____his firm____, they know retirement is about the genuine quality of life. The really important things like travelling with family, gardening in solace, smiles over dinner with friends and knowing you have money there everyday to enjoy it. Worry free retirement is about enjoying what you’ve worked so hard and saved so much to achieve, without needing to read Wall Street Journal or watch CNBC MarketWatch every day. At ____his firm____, they’re definitely not going to tell you to “quit money” like Daniel Suelo in the video. But they’re committed to putting a plan in place for you that matches your priorities.
If you want to chase double-digit returns at the expense of quality time with your grandkids to do it, we’re not a good fit. But if you’re willing to put your  vision, goals and dreams into a financial plan, and work with ___him___ to produce a proven and worry-free way to achieve it, let’s talk.

I enjoyed the viewpoint and thought it provided a unique and heart-felt perspective. If you decide to use it, I’d love your feedback.

Advise with Passion.

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.