The top 3 methods for bringing in new clients are: 1) Introductions from engaged clients, 2) Introductions from Centers of Influence, and 3) Seminars – virtual and in-person.
The seminar environment can be a powerful way to add value to your existing client relationships AND position yourself as a valuable resource to prospective clients.
Many financial professionals like to combine these strategies to achieve maximum prospecting effectiveness – to meet your new clients in the way they prefer to meet you.
Leverage Every Seminar with Referrals
If you use seminars as a prospecting tool (or a client service tool), make sure you leverage the time, money, and energy you’re investing by employing the referral process at every opportunity.
Many of your clients who may be reluctant to play the traditional referral game of making introductions to people for you to contact directly, may be perfectly willing to let their friends, colleagues, and family members know about your educational events.
I’ve seen some advisors get names and addresses from their colleagues to invite to their educational events.
Collect Referrals at Your Seminars
There are two basic types of introductions you can gather at your seminars. First, you can get introductions to new people to invite to your next seminar. Second, you can get introductions to folks to contact to set up appointments. Here’s a real-world example of how I coached a top producer who wanted to leverage his seminar programs.
Michael Flanagan hosts about 8 seminars per year. When COVID hit, he went from in-person to virtual. Now he’s planning on doing about 4 in-person and 4 virtual programs each year.
Before he and I worked together on a program for introductions, he was getting people to attend in two primary ways: 1) through direct mail, and 2) his weekly radio show on personal finance.
Since he had to pay for the radio air time, and since direct mail can be rather expensive (and worth it only if it produces the desired results), his cost per lead was very high. I suggested that if he added the element of referrals to this process, his cost per lead would drop significantly, and his seminar program would become more profitable immediately.
Michael didn’t want to ask for direct introductions, but he did want to get introductions for upcoming seminars. The solution was simple.
Michael charged $20 for his seminars. He found this nominal charge increased the quality of the attendees. So, we created special invitations that were made available to all his seminar attendees allowing the recipients to attend at no charge. These special invitations were to be given free to anyone they thought should experience Michael’s powerful ideas.
The success was overwhelming. People asked for two or three. They called in later to have others sent to their friends, colleagues, and family members. The percentage of his attendance went from 10% referral based to over 40% referral based. He was soon able to cut down on his direct mail, resulting in a highly profitable program.
When Do You Bring Up Introductions at a Seminar?
This is a question I’m often asked at my seminars and private coaching. I apply the same formula here as I apply toward asking for introductions in a 1:1 setting. Ask for introductions when value has been delivered and value has been recognized.
With about 5-10 minutes left in the seminar – after you’ve delivered your important value to your attendees, ask them what information in the program they found particularly valuable. If you have them discuss it briefly with a partner first, they’ll be more inclined to share it with the group.
Then say something like:
I’m glad so many of you found value in this program. That was my goal. As we went through the material this evening, it’s quite common for people to think of friends… family members… and colleagues… who should have been here. True? (Heads will nod.)
Well, you can give them a gift – the gift of knowledge. You can let them know about this valuable program and the important aspects of financial planning they need to consider.
We have special invitations for our next seminar – next month – that you can hand deliver or mail to people you think should hear what we have to say. If you have their addresses with you, we’d be happy to take care of the postage. Just be sure to write a personal note somewhere on the invitation so they know it’s from you. Kathy – wave Kathy – has as many invitations as you’d like, just see her as you leave.
There are infinite variations on this approach. Be creative. Make it fit your situation. Whatever you do, if you’re hosting seminars and not leveraging them for referrals and introductions, you’re clearly leaving money on the table!