Seminar marketing is an effective prospecting and conversion tool for advisors. Getting in front of a roomful of engaged consumers can help boost brand awareness, establish credibility, and present an opportunity to secure multiple appointments at once. That is, of course, if you can deliver a quality presentation.
There are several factors that go into a successful seminar. Everything from venue selection to the time and day of the seminar will impact the final results. Logistics and mechanics aside, focusing on the subtleties of your delivery can significantly increase your chances of success. Here are some things to consider:
Meet and Greet
Before the first attendee enters the room, you should be standing at the door ready to greet them. If you introduce yourself to guests on an individual basis, rather than waiting until you begin the presentation, they will be more likely to tune in once you do get up there. A simple handshake and “Hi, I’m _________,” will set a casual and comfortable tone for the rest of the evening. People tend to pay more attention to someone they’re familiar with than they would a complete stranger. When greeting guests, be sure to ask their name and thank them for coming. You want to keep the introduction brief to prevent a bottleneck at the door.
You can’t expect an audience to stay engaged with a speaker who isn’t engaged with them. If you spend most of your time glancing at notes, looking at the PowerPoint behind you, or looking over the crowd’s head, they’re going to lose interest. Try to maintain eye contact with different attendees as often as possible. Not only will this make you seem confident but it will also help you read the room during your performance.
When people want to see a statue, they’ll go to a park or museum. Not a financial seminar. An unanimated speaker will lose the room within a few minutes of introducing themselves. Once you’ve lost them, they’re gone. Make use of the space you have and move around the room while you speak. Hand gestures, facial expressions, and other forms of non-verbal communication will help give you a more commanding and animated presence. Just don’t over do it. Remember, there is a fine line between energetic and hyperactive.
Writing out and memorizing a script word for word is a recipe for disaster. While it might sound like a solid plan on paper, scripts can be constraining in the heat of the moment. A simple, yet unexpected question or unresponsive crowd can be difficult to handle if your presentation lacks flexibility. You also risk major embarrassment if you get lost or completely forget a line. This can leave you nervously stumbling through your notecards or, even worse, leave out important information.
Instead of scripting, use bullet points to outline the overall structure of your presentation. While you’ll want to stick with this structure, take a more conversational and adaptive approach when speaking to your crowd. If it helps, practice different ‘improvised’ iterations in the days leading up to the seminar. Remember, they came to hear you speak, not read.
End on a Good Note
A positive parting impression is crucial for converting the seminar guest into a new client. The final words of your presentation should be a positive call-to-action that leaves them wanting to hear more. Of course, to hear more, they’ll have to make an appointment. After the presentation, take the time to mingle with the crowd. Try to thank everyone before they exit and offer a few days and times that you can meet for an appointment. As exhausted as you might be at the end of the night, this post-seminar ritual can be the most important part of the event.