by Jeffrey Gitomer
Are you using free seminars to find cash flow notes and investors?
Picture this: You invite prospects to a seminar/party. You present some information about seller financing and cash flow notes. After the short talk, they are fed well, and because they’re in a quasi-party atmosphere, they all buy.
Sound too good to be true? That’s because you never tried it.
The financial services industry has mastered the concept of seminar (promotion) selling, and has turned it into an opportunity to gain credibility and acceptance as well as clients. They started with the (correct) premise — for example, everyone hates insurance, everyone needs insurance, most people don’t know about insurance, no one wants to spend an evening with an insurance salesman (except maybe his wife and kids)
This approach to selling is such a soft sell, that it’s often used by people who usually aren’t considered salespeople, yet may have to market (sell) to build their business.
Seminar selling can cure anemic sales fast:
You can start a seminar series tomorrow.
You can sell sponsorships and partner with other (non-competing) vendors — lawyers, accountants and stock brokers, financial planners, real estate brokers…the list goes on.
You can partner with your vendors (for example, you speak about how to take back a mortgage and sell it, a title company presents the processs).
You can use this approach to sell any product or service. For example, Dr. Gary Berebitsky was just starting his pediatrics practice, and he used for free seminars to help his practice through its infancy (no pun intended). His hospital sponsored prenatal care seminars for expectant mothers, and he taught those seminars free. It was a great public service for both the hospital and Dr. Berebitsky, and both gained new patients.
Here’s the main concept: Take the information that your potential clients, (such as FSBO sellers or investors looking for a higher return on their funds, etc.) would find valuable and present it via seminar. Here’s the formula.
7 ingredients for Successful Seminars
1. Your seminar must appeal to a specialized market or niche.
2. You must identify and invite good prospects from your market.
3. Your subject must be something that your potential attendees or sponsors want, need and have interest in.
4. You must be recognized as an authority (or get an authority) on your subject.
5. The seminar room must be first class — to reflect your image.
6. You must serve great food.
7. You must have good sales skills — and use them if you want to close the sale after the seminar.
OK, you got your act together and want to pull off your first seminar: “What are the benefits? What’s in it for me? Show me the new business!”
Benefits are bountiful, Bubba. Seminar selling provides many advantages over other forms of more aggressive tactics like telemarketing, advertising, and direct mail campaigns.
The following are some of the most obvious benefits of this power approach:
1. You make new contacts and network with existing customers.
2. You provide networking opportunities for those in attendance. Get people talking to one another.
3. The atmosphere is relaxed and open. A buying atmosphere — not a selling one.
4. You educate others about your product, service, or point of view without them feeling like it’s a sales pitch.
5. You strengthen your company’s image.
6. You build credibility by positioning yourself as “the expert” in your niche.
7. You motivate others to action. The more they learn about your expertise the more they are willing to consider it.
8. You make sales. At the moment your seminar is finished, close at the end — the prospect will never be hotter — ask for the business when the prospect is most likely to buy. If you ask for the sale, you’ll turn “contacts” into “contracts.”
Last note: have a walk away wow — give each person in attendance something to take home that they will show others — and tell about their positive experience with you.
Sell your note business by seminar. Your competition will if you won’t.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible and president of Charlotte-based Business Marketing Services, gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service.