Successful Marketing Through Seminars
One of the best ways for potential clients to find out about you and your company is through public speaking. Free seminars attract potential clients. It is a chance for them to get information straight from you. You are the best marketing tool for your business. Speaking to groups is nothing more than a large conversation. It is powerful and efficient marketing.
By making the seminar free, you engender goodwill from your audience. By addressing issues of concern to them, you are validating their perceptions that the topic you are speaking about, is an important one. By offering good, sound, and thorough advice, you establish yourself as an expert.
A number of dynamics take place when you are in front of a group of people. First, you are the center of attention. Each member of the audience feels as if your are speaking directly to him or her. You're not an envelope that goes unopened. Your are not a telemarketing call that comes at dinnertime. You're not a television commercial that gets clicked off in favor of another channel. Speaking to a group puts you at the forefront of message delivery and effective communication. You are having a conversation with an audience. Sure, members of the audience can walk out of the room, but of those present, you have their undivided attention.
As you speak, you are also establishing credibility with the audience. Hopefully, this audience has potential paying clients. If they don't, you shouldn't be speaking to them. You establish yourself as an expert in whatever you are talking about. People like buying from experts. They feel comfortable buying from people they know and trust.
Give complete information in conjunction with your self-promotion. Don't hold back, don't offer just enough information to peak their interest. Elaborate on each topic you choose, supplementing theoretical information with case studies or anecdotes. Establish the depth of your knowledge along with your expertise.
It's important to understand, that speaking to a group is marketing, not selling. Your speaking should offer something of value, not a direct pitch. Potential speaking topics that are marketing and value oriented are things that are solutions to problems, such as weight loss or money management.
You won't get 100% of the attendees to become clients. Some people attend such events out of general interest rather than a particular need. But if you dedicate two or three hours of your time one of two evenings a month to addressing subjects with which you are already very familiar, you will see an increase in your client base that will repay your minimal expense and effort.
There are many types of potential audiences. These include community organizations, professional groups, trade associations, and civic groups. Your current prospects and existing customers are also excellent target audiences as well. Here's an example of how you could promote your free seminar.
Create an ad or mailing piece announcing a free 90 or 120 minute seminar on a subject of wide general interest. Relate the presentation to your specialty. For example, a medical doctor could talk about breakthrough techniques for overcoming, eliminating, or avoiding cancer or arthritis. Another topic could be ten medically safe methods of losing weight. A financial planner or tax accountant could present a seminar on sheltering income.
After a headline announcing the topic, the copy should talk about your credentials, accomplishments, achievements, and any articles that have been written about your practice or specialty. Here's an example of how your copy might read: "Dr. Wells is a specialist in this subject. He's conducted research and he's perfected techniques. He will present a seminar for people interested in the topic but who do not know the facts. This seminar will be held from______ to ______on_______.
Admission must be free but people need to have a reserved ticket in advance for admission. To do this simply give them a number to call or a Web address where they can pre-register. By doing this you can capture their names and addresses for future mailings. You could simply collect names at the door, but by having them reserve a ticket in advance it makes it more professional and easier the day of the event to have your attendees just present a ticket to get in.
Another way to create an audience for a seminar is to contact business and professional organizations, such as the Rotary Club or the local Chamber of Commerce. Offer to speak on subjects of importance to the group. For example, a medical doctor might speak about stress reduction to businessmen and women. A CPA might offer to speak on loopholes still available to corporations after recent tax changes. A lawyer might talk about how to write non-compete clauses, or how to write contracts, or how to patent or license concepts or ideas. In order for the group to invite its members and to get a good turnout, your topic needs to be of major interest to them.
Your seminar should be split into two parts. In the first half, peak their interest with anecdotal information. Then have a short 15 minute break During this break mingle with the audience, distribute your business cards, brochure, or any other information you've put together about your business.
In the second half of the seminar, offer some service that's free but designed to capture valuable information. For example, conduct a quick survey of your audience. This survey should be on something of interest to them, such as a personality profile or something else that ties in with the topic you're speaking about. Have them respond to 25 basic questions providing their name, address, telephone, and e-mail on the questionnaire. Then when you get back to your office, tabulate the results and send a brief summary back to them.
At the end of the seminar, you will have to establish initial contact for an on-going dialogue. Let them know that you'll be following up with mailing, or a phone call to get their feedback on the seminar. Let them know that because of their attendance they will receive a free subscription to your newsletter. You've captured their names and addresses to add to your prospect list. Don't let the seminar be a one-shot deal.
Whether your seminar is successful or unsuccessful, it has residual value if you record or transcribe the text. You can and should make a transcript or recording of your seminar and then make it available to both your prospects and current customers.
Send a tape or transcript of your seminar to prospective clients, along with a cover letter telling them that many people who attended your seminar told you that they learned a lot from the presentation. Indicate that you've taken the liberty of sending them the transcript or tape recording of the seminar in it's entirety, in hopes that they will benefit as well. Encourage them to read or listen to it and stress that you hope they'll find it useful and informative. If they have any questions, invite them the contact you with no obligation on their part.
If they are interested in your services, offer to talk to them in person or by phone to explain your expertise and how your services could benefit them. Provide some case studies. Tell them, since they were unable to attend your seminar, this tape or transcript is the next best thing. And always encourage them to feel free to call or e-mail you with questions.
You can use the tape or transcript in several ways. You can use it as a promotional piece to give to other groups who hire speakers. You can use it as part of selected marketing materials. You can use it to generate word-of-mouth marketing and referrals. Offer it prominently on your Web site. Always remember, the more your prospects and customers see your name, the more likely they are to think of you when they need your professional services.
The cost of speaking is free. When members of your audience receive something of value from you, even if it's information, they are grateful. When someone is grateful, you have the beginning of a great relationship. So, the more you can speak to groups about your services, the more audiences you can touch and start relationships with. And this means more potential business for you.
Copyright© 2005 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. He is the founder and CEO of JLM & Associates, a consulting and training organization, specializing in personal and business development. Through his seminars and lectures, Joe Love addresses thousands of men and women each year, including the executives and staffs of many of America's largest corporations, on the subjects of leadership, self-esteem, goals, achievement, and success psychology.
Reach Joe at: email@example.com
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