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.
MJN

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1 Seminar Handout — 3 Options

One Seminar Handout + One Small Change (3 Options) = HUGE Results!

How much impact can one small change really make? This week I’ll challenge your thinking and ask you to integrate the basic behavioral economic “dominated option” into your seminar appointment process.

A very successful advisor we consult in Louisville recently did exactly that and has experienced powerful results. Three months ago his seminar appointment ratio was declining. Where it used to be 45-50% at each event, things had started to slip closer to 40% and even more recently they were averaging closer to 35%. So only 1 in every 3 households at the seminar were setting appointments; and he knew something had to change! Matt looked to tweak the appointment process at the seminar, the message given during the event and even how the initial invitation read to prime the prospects beforehand. All of that was great education, but in the end, just one material change was made – integrating a “dominated option” to his evaluation form filled out by prospects. And success followed…

The “dominated option” of behavioral economics states if you’re persuading people to make a decision, giving them only two options isn’t optimal. Do you want a glass of water (Yes or No)? Do you like my shoes (Yes or No)? Do you want to meet with me in my office (Yes or No)?

With every choice in life, nothing is good or bad except by comparison. Every choice needs to have context. So instead of asking “Do you want a glass of water” (where most of the time you’d say ‘no’); what if I said “Do you want a glass of water? And do you like it better in a chilled glass or bottle?” What if instead of saying “Do you like my shoes” (where all of you would say ‘yes’…but that’s beside the point) I said “Do you like my shoes? And if so, would you like them better in brown or black?”

Those two small examples now give me a two in three chance of hearing a yes versus a no. So my odds are greatly improved. But let’s take it a step farther and look at the biggest advantage, the “dominated option”. What if I threw the question “Do you want to meet with me in my office” out entirely, and replaced it with “Do you want to meet with me in my office? And if so, would you like a free tax return this year/copy of my book/will established for free/(fill in your blank that’s better than just an appointment)?

Right now, I’m guessing your seminar evaluation sheet has two options. Option one is requesting a no-obligation meeting at your office and option two says no thanks. That’s polite, non-threatening and the easiest way to do it; but not the most effective. To improve, spend time crafting a third option. That third option should have someone requesting a no-obligation meeting with you AND something else in addition. Even though clients are still making the choice to “Yes or No” meet with you, adding the “dominated option” will noticeably improve the ratio of yes’s. Is it rational? Nope. Does it work? Absolutely.

Going back to Matt in Kentucky, he previously had two standard options for seminar prospects and it wasn’t working. Matt’s made the change and now has three options on his response form:  (1) No, I don’t want to meet (2) Yes, I want to meet and (3) Yes, I want to meet and a free complimentary copy of Matt’s book. Since making the change, Matt had a 70% response at their next couple events, and is consistently above 50% at each subsequent event since. Nothing else about his workshops has changed! So this is the only (and obviously powerful) variable in play.

Don’t delay in making this tweak!

And if you’d benefit from seeing Matt’s actual evaluation form – CONTACT ME – I’m happy to share it.

Advise with Passion,
MJN

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