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

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

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!
MJN

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.

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.

Seminar Income Kit – Mount Everest

For several of the top producers I consult, this resource has proven to be a great story-selling tool for use in closing their seminars. It’s a great way to differentiate yourself from other advisors who may focus primarily on accumulation;  thereby positioning you as the trusted specialist who can help clients safely to and through retirement!

When used correctly, this kit will help you:

  • Increase appointment setting ratios
  • Achieve higher “stick” ratios of prospects attending appointments – often times with all account information in hand
  • Write larger cases as a result of taking a closer look at prospects’ entire financial picture

The Mt. Everest Income Planning Seminar Kit comes complete with:

  • A fully-scripted seminar close
  • High-resolution, full-color Mt. Everest slides for inclusion in your existing presentation
  • (2) Poster-size room visuals positioning the need to help clients “safely down the retirement mountain”

TO GET YOUR COPY OF MATERIALS…Post a comment or email me directly!

Make it a great week.
MJN