How to encourage prospects to attend your seminar

Often, the first step to converting a suspect into a prospect and then into a client is to schedule a face-to-face meeting. This can be tougher than it seems. Inviting prospects to a seminar is a good strategy to meet halfway. They are present in person, which shows a degree of interest. You can meet and shake hands, yet they are in a group setting, so they do not feel like they are being “sold something.”

Let’s look at 10 ways you can increase the chances your invitees will attend your seminar.

  1. The desirable location. Your seminar is held in the best and most historic hotel in town. The building has been featured in films. People don’t usually visit unless they are attending a wedding or going out for a fancy dinner as someone else’s guest. Museums count too. People attend because they want to see the famous building and tell their friends.
  2. Lecture hall. Some universities rent out classrooms as event space. If you hold your event at the local university in the evening, there is likely ample parking. Holding a meeting in a lecture hall at a college gives the feeling that the content is educational in nature.
  3. Feed them. People eat on a regular basis. If you hold a seminar at lunchtime or dinnertime, people will realize they are saving the cost of a meal they would otherwise provide for themselves. The logic is: If you feed them, they will come.
  4. Meal at a restaurant. This is a step up from feeding them. By holding your seminar during a sit-down meal, you are allowing your audience to enjoy the cuisine and ambiance of a restaurant with a great reputation. You have probably received these invites in the mail yourself, complete with the menu to be served. (Restaurants can often do a set menu at a reasonable price on off nights.) They can tell their friends they are going out to dinner at a fancy restaurant.
  5. Provide parking. When people consider attending an event, they evaluate the pros and cons. The cons can include parking. No one wants to pay for parking or cruise around trying to find parking on the street. If you provide complimentary parking, suddenly a major obstacle disappears.
  6. Their friends invite them. This is a version of the client/prospect dinner format. You invite clients to a dinner event and encourage them to bring another couple. Your client knows the dinner represents value and “the price of admission” is to bring guests. Your client “presells” the guests on the reasons they should attend.
  7. Tie into an affinity. You graduated from a local college. You approached the school and asked if you could organize a seminar for alumni on a topic that would be relevant to graduates. One idea is understanding college savings plans. The school likes the idea because they want the next generation to attend. Alumni feel there is an exclusivity factor.
  8. Compelling topic. An advisor explained it best: “Choose a topic they feel they need to learn about but would need to pay to get the information otherwise.” Recent changes to the tax law is a good example. You share the stage with an accounting professional. Attendees feel they are hearing something they must learn about.
  9. Famous speaker. A bestselling author lives nearby. They agreed to give a talk about their latest book. There is some tie into insurance or investing. Another variation is to have someone from law enforcement do a talk about cybersecurity. This is an educational topic. People want to attend because they will meet someone famous, or they will hear an expert in their field.
  10. Multiple presentation times. This ties into the question “How long have you rented the venue?” Suppose you rented a meeting room at a hotel or a lecture hall at a college for the day. You could repeat the presentation at noon, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Retirees might prefer midday. People commuting home in the evening might prefer 7 p.m. You are aligning with different people’s preferences for different time slots.

You want to make the decision to attend as easy as possible.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.

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