Few financial professionals understand the amount of time, effort, and planning that goes into hosting a seminar. The process involves far more than simply throwing up a few pop-up banners and going through a presentation. From the pre-seminar planning, day of set up, and post-seminar follow-up, here is an overview of some of the steps involved to execute a successful seminar.
The first steps in your planning process should start 6-8 weeks before your event date.
- Set a Goal: If you’ve read our previous blogs, you'll know that before you implement any marketing campaigns, you should determine your goals and make them S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. If you don’t set goals, you won’t have anything to measure against to evaluate success.
- Budget: Before you fill your calendar with workshops, take a step back and figure out how much you can set aside to support your efforts.
- Venue Selection: Look for a location that is reasonable driving distance to your office, cost-effective, easily accessible by roadways, has ample parking, provides proper AV equipment, and is well-lit. Libraries, community centers, and hotel conference rooms work well.
- Lead Generation: There are many strategies to fill the room with qualified leads; from direct mail to digital advertising to an omnichannel approach. There are pros and cons to each method; consider the ones that work best for your business. For the advisors we work with at DMI, we provide a recommended list of vendors for each method and can help you find a solution that works best for you and your budget.
- Internal Process: Having staff to assist you with the coordination and execution of your seminar is crucial to success. Who will be performing the confirmation calls? While you are greeting guests, who will check them in? Who will collect your evaluation forms at the end of the seminar and schedule appointments? Finalize details well in advance of your event to prevent scrambling the week of the seminar.
- Marketing Materials: Giving attendees materials such as a corporate identity kit, business cards, and educational handouts will present you as a trusted resource.
- Practice: Practice your presentation, and then practice and practice again! DMI actually trains our advisors through a comprehensive program to help them learn the content so they can be confident and prepared for their first seminar.
2. Day of Seminar
First impressions are everything. For the majority of guests, this is the first time they will be meeting you and your staff. It's essential to make it a positive, enjoyable experience for them.
- Get to the Venue Early: You should arrive at the venue two hours before the start time. This will give you time to ensure your AV equipment is working correctly, arrange snacks and beverages, and organize your check-in table.
- Check-in Process: You should have a staff member on-site to check-in attendees. When the attendees arrive, they should receive your marketing materials, evaluation form, pens, and paper to take notes.
- Greet Guests: Don’t hide in the back of the room waiting for the start time. Greet guests at the door as they walk in, or walk around the room and introduce yourself to people who arrive early. This will build rapport and make your attendees feel at ease.
- Closing the Seminar: As you close the seminar, remind people to make an appointment with your staff member as they leave.
Are you leaving money on the table? Ensure you have the appropriate follow-up strategy for each segment of your registration list. This allows you to prevent leads from slipping through the cracks.
- Follow-up: Within 24-48 hours of the seminar, you should be sending an email to each segment of your registration list: people who attended and made an appointment, attended and requested an appointment, attended and did not request an appointment, and people who registered but did not attend.
- Build Your Contact Database: Now that you’ve obtained qualified leads through your seminar marketing efforts, do you have a strategy in place to continue to market to the ones you don’t close? In the world of financial sales, it’s not a “NO,” it’s simply a “not yet.” When a prospect says “NO,” what are you doing with his or her contact information? Building a contact database and implementing an email marketing campaign to stay top of mind is key to growing your business.
- Evaluate: It's important to track the results of your seminars to establish a return on your investment. Remember those S.M.A.R.T. goals you set? Now it’s time to look back and evaluate your efforts and, if necessary, make adjustments to your strategy.
Do you want to master the art and science of hosting a successful seminar? If so, DMI's Workshop Bootcamp could be for you. Click here to learn more.