Advisor Today - September/October 2015 - (Page 55)

sales & marketiNg MARKETING By Sean P. Lee Holding Workshops? Where you conduct these classes really matters! D espite the growing demand for financial-training programs, the effectiveness of many traditional seminars or dinner events is on the decline. With poor attendance and uninterested "prospects," many advisors are finding that hosting these events is more time-consuming and expensive than it is effective. However, with the right approach and location, these workshops can actually attract some of the highest quality prospects in your area. The approach I have found to be successful is what I like to call knowledge-based prospecting, which consists of sharing my retirementplanning knowledge with the local community through a series of educational courses, focused on valuable information pre-retirees and retirees can gain from attending the class. While effective marketing and networking can play a significant role in the success of these courses, I have found that the location of these classes can be one of the biggest factors in boosting attendance. For this reason, I consistently hold my courses at not-for-profit locations like universities, community centers and libraries. These locations are often learning facilities where people expect to be taught something about a new subject or a skillset, or gain intense knowledge about a singular subject like retirement. By holding courses at these locations, attendees show up with their guards down and are eager to learn from my expertise. Rather than attending a similar event at a restaurant, hotel or country club with the expectation of hearing a sales pitch (and eating a free lunch or dinner), attendees show up with an open mind and a desire to learn. Hosting the classes at not-for-profit locations also boosts and supports my credibility. Prospects realize that I am there to help educate the public instead of attempting to persuade them to become my clients. As a result, I have found my course attendance rate is not only consistently high, but the attendees tend to be of higher income and overall net worth, too. As long as I make a conscious effort to host the class at an easily accessible, not-for-profit location with ample parking (this is very important), then I can generally expect the same turnout with the same types of attendees at each training course I hold. Other things to consider While location is important, there are additional aspects to consider. I charge a nominal fee, which may seem like a tactic that would decrease the class' popularity, but this has actually increased the quality of prospects who attend. Since the attendees are willing to pay, they generally are more serious and are looking for sound advice rather than a free dinner. I have had many high-net-worth clients walk through my doors since implementing this strategy because they see me as a resource of knowledge-not a salesperson with a product to peddle. Ultimately, this knowledge-based prospecting approach has helped increased my prospect-to-client conversion rate and has provided me with significantly more revenue than traditional seminars have in years past. To give you an idea, prior to developing this approach, I spent $121,000 on marketing and brought in $500,000 in revenue in 2013. Once implemented, I was able to reduce my marketing expenses to $79,000 and to more than double my revenue, bringing in roughly $1.39 million in 2014. Implementing the strategy To implement knowledge-based prospecting correctly, you must position your event effectively. Hosting the class at not-for-profit locations, charging a fee, and using effective, cost-efficient marketing materials will likely lead you down a successful path. For marketing, I typically mail one flyer for every two courses. In 2014, I sent out 8 mailers for 11 courses and gained 40 new clients. You must also take the time to properly structure the class. Many of us have sales presentations already on hand; start by transitioning these into comprehensive learning courses. It also helps to develop a course syllabus that explicitly lays out the content and lessons for each class. Typically, my courses span the course of two days, each with a five-hour session. By avoiding traditional seminars or dinner events, I have managed to establish myself as a credible, knowledgeable source in my hometown. This has also created opportunities to take the course to local businesses as well and get in front of even more prospects approaching retirement age. In the end, the amount of success you can gain from knowledge-based prospecting is endless. With the right approach and location, knowledgebased prospecting has helped double by business, and it could potentially do the same for you. Sean P. Lee, founder and president of SPL Financial, Inc., is Utah's Retirement Coach. Lee specializes in financial planning for retirement and in assisting individuals with creating retirement income plans. He is a community educator and teaches a "Retirement Elevate" 2-day workshop at local universities, corporations and community centers. For more information, visit or September/October 2015 | ADVISOR TODAY 55

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Advisor Today - September/October 2015

Why You Need a Mentor
The Key Attributes of Top Performers
Success Tips from a Golden Gloves Boxer
How I Use Social Media to Build my Practice
Getting Started on LinkedIn
Discussing Your Client’s LTC Needs in Retirement
How to Boost Your LTCI Production
¿Habla Español?
Providing a Retirement Safety Net
Ongoing Challenges, New Solutions
Four Under Forty
NAIFA’s 125th Anniversary
Demystifying CPA Alliances
Building Your Natural Audience
Holding Workshops?
Ideas to Help You Sell More
Special-Needs Planning
Planning for Divorced or Widowed Women

Advisor Today - September/October 2015