Selling through seminars

29 replies
Hi Hope someone can give me a bit of advice. I believe that seminars would be a way forward for me. I have just started a new business selling to local businesses and although I have a great deal of experience in public speaking and conducting seminars they have always been 'in-house' asrranged by companies for their sales forces, I have no experience of driving a seminar from cold.

Could anyone give advice on the content of invitation cards and leaflets and other pre-seminar actions. I will have to hire a hotel room and believe that perhaps an audience of 30-40 would be sufficient to get my business going. I see the reason for charging entrance and reducing the cost of any service being taken up by the entrance fee, but having never charged like this for a seminar need a bit of guidance, when I have levelled a per head charge it always been gathered by the participating company and then my fee paid to me.

I like the idea of a 'goody bag of freebies' to take away which should contain relevant information not just goodies any ideas as to what it should contain would be welcome

I am putting a slide presentation together to back up my topic and I have gained a great deal of knowledge and ideas from the forum so far and I thank contributors for that.

here I stand in your midst appealing for help.....HELP!!!

regards

Dave
#selling #seminars
  • Profile picture of the author Dr Dan
    I have been doing seminars for realtors and mortgage brokers with success. You can do the same or any industry and really niche down. The best part is you can usually find someone that will sponsor the event and take care of the promotion too.

    For instance, you could go to a top realtor in your area and ask them to invite local business owners to an event you will teach them how to increase their business exposure using the power of the web. This would work for insurance agents or pretty much anyone looking to get local businesses to remember them and refer business to them.

    Its a win win for everyone.
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    • Profile picture of the author telsave
      Originally Posted by rockstarinlife View Post

      I have been doing seminars for realtors and mortgage brokers with success. You can do the same or any industry and really niche down. The best part is you can usually find someone that will sponsor the event and take care of the promotion too.

      For instance, you could go to a top realtor in your area and ask them to invite local business owners to an event you will teach them how to increase their business exposure using the power of the web. This would work for insurance agents or pretty much anyone looking to get local businesses to remember them and refer business to them.

      Its a win win for everyone.
      Thanks for that could be a good idea especially in these austere times when they are desparate themselves for new or repeat business I will certainly explore the idea.

      thanks for taking time out to try to help it is appreciated.
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  • Profile picture of the author Summertime Dress
    Check out this free email course...How To Market Seminars | Discover 31 Secrets to Jumpstart Your Seminar Promotions

    She has some really good info and I think I've seen her mentioned through other IM venues...
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    • Profile picture of the author sandraseeves
      Originally Posted by Summertime Dress View Post

      Check out this free email course...How To Market Seminars | Discover 31 Secrets to Jumpstart Your Seminar Promotions

      She has some really good info and I think I've seen her mentioned through other IM venues...
      Hi Summertime Dress,

      Thank you for the links about seminar promotion.
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    • Profile picture of the author telsave
      Originally Posted by Summertime Dress View Post

      Check out this free email course...How To Market Seminars | Discover 31 Secrets to Jumpstart Your Seminar Promotions

      She has some really good info and I think I've seen her mentioned through other IM venues...
      Hi

      Thanks for this I have sent for the course and the report so I think I will get some ideas from them.

      Thanks for taking the time to try to help much appreciated

      cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author InHwan Park
    i am planning a seminar with a non profit organization very soon. i have worked with them in the past, the company i worked for held wine tasting that were sponsored by the group. 100% of the tickets sold were donated to them.

    they have agreed to sponsor a seminar with me. 100% of the entrance fee will be collected by them personally. i don't see a penny from the seminar but they paid for the conference hall and some simple food and drinks. also, they have a list of businesses that make regular contributions, so the seminar if sort of a thank you gift for donating. so far 78 seats are full $100 ticket and ill will max out at 100 seats. i am not paid for the seminar/workshop but i should have no trouble landing a few clients during fruit punch time.

    one of the main focus is going to be compairing ROI. i will be teaching them how to calculate the exact dollar value per lead. also, how to calculate marketing cost per lead and show how much more ROI can be gained from SEO when compared to more traditional marketing...

    try contacting a few organization that will sponsor an event. they benefit a lot from these events. they keep the money from selling tickets and they will most likely collect emails and collect more donations down the line. it's a win-win situation.
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  • Profile picture of the author telsave
    Hi InHwan Park

    Gives me a lot of food for thought thanks I appreciate you taking time out to help.
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  • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
    I interviewed a friend of mine that specialises in seminars:

    Hope it's useful: Create a Memorable Seminar

    I also run a monthly seminar to get SEO clients. It works really well. Most of the people that come along I have already connected with on LinkedIn or other means.
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    • Profile picture of the author telsave
      Originally Posted by iamchrisgreen View Post

      I interviewed a friend of mine that specialises in seminars:

      Hope it's useful: Create a Memorable Seminar

      I also run a monthly seminar to get SEO clients. It works really well. Most of the people that come along I have already connected with on LinkedIn or other means.
      That is really appreciated and helpful as I said usually I am engaged by a company to speak at a training seminar so not only is driving a seminar from cold new to me I am also in a new marketplace, fortunately I know that my knowledge of the market is 100% more than any attendees from my market research.

      cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author DukeNasty
    I do a seminar at least once a month (in two different businesses), sometimes twice, and personally, I would not buy anything from most people selling a "how to do a seminar" package because most of it is not real world. I have found that most of the sellers of this information are exactly that, people who sell "Seminar How To" information instead of people who give seminars on a regular basis.

    Bottomline, doing a seminar is not rocket science, and there should not be an ounce of "sales talk" during the seminar because most people are expecting you to sell them something. Be completely transparent, educate you clients, and you will have more business than you can handle because by being in front of the room, you automatically become the expert. Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author telsave
      Originally Posted by DukeNasty View Post

      I do a seminar at least once a month (in two different businesses), sometimes twice, and personally, I would not buy anything from most people selling a "how to do a seminar" package because most of it is not real world. I have found that most of the sellers of this information are exactly that, people who sell "Seminar How To" information instead of people who give seminars on a regular basis.

      Bottomline, doing a seminar is not rocket science, and there should not be an ounce of "sales talk" during the seminar because most people are expecting you to sell them something. Be completely transparent, educate you clients, and you will have more business than you can handle because by being in front of the room, you automatically become the expert. Good luck!
      Exactly my thoughts as I have never run seminars as a brash sellathon I trained sales guys and ran motivational seminars for companies I also agree about not buying "How to..." type packages that is why I asked the question on here to be advised by like minded people and I appreciate the help and comments I have received.

      cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author GoGetta
    I have also run seminars with success to local businesses.

    My advice:

    Start small and build up. Start with a smaller room and increase it each time. This will get you comfortable with your delivery, and when trying to filll the room, you are giving yourself the best chances first time with a smaller audience.

    There will be nothing worse than lots of empty space.

    Secondly, if you dont sell out, ask family and friends to sit in to make the room look full. This is all about impressions! ; )

    As for pre seminar and sales!

    Pick up the phone.

    If it is going to be a free seminar it is really easy to get interest cold calling as you are not selling anything, its FREE! Even if you don't get a YES on the phone arrange to send an email and get them to look over it. By calling first you have more chance of the email being read!

    Hope that helps,

    GoGetta

    P.S Got more tips if you need them, but didn't want to make a book of a post!
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    • Profile picture of the author TimCastleman
      Seminars rock.

      Here is my suggestion.

      Get a small room and make sure you invite more people then you have seats for. It creates a scarcity mentality.

      Also be sure to charge something - people don't really value free and if you don't charge something then chances are they won't show up. You can always apply what you charge towards the balance of the work being done or donate it to charity.

      I use direct mail, phone calls, and email to get people to show up. Also look at meetup groups, craigslist, etc to get even more people.

      This goes without saying but blow them away with content. Show them where they are now - and where they could be.

      Offer something for sale at the end of the event and offer a discount at the event to buy it.

      So normally it's X but tonight it's Y. If you can't buy tonight, no big deal, you can always buy it at full price.

      Good luck.

      Tim
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      • Profile picture of the author telsave
        Originally Posted by TimCastleman View Post

        Seminars rock.

        Here is my suggestion.

        Get a small room and make sure you invite more people then you have seats for. It creates a scarcity mentality.

        Also be sure to charge something - people don't really value free and if you don't charge something then chances are they won't show up. You can always apply what you charge towards the balance of the work being done or donate it to charity.

        I use direct mail, phone calls, and email to get people to show up. Also look at meetup groups, craigslist, etc to get even more people.

        This goes without saying but blow them away with content. Show them where they are now - and where they could be.

        Offer something for sale at the end of the event and offer a discount at the event to buy it.

        So normally it's X but tonight it's Y. If you can't buy tonight, no big deal, you can always buy it at full price.

        Good luck.

        Tim
        Tim I particuarly like the cost of attending going to Charity we have a very popular charity up here and I am sure that those who attend will like to see their contribution going to a good cause instead of my pocket and if I do that I could then offer a discount voucher in the bag of goodies I intend to give away. Do you give anything else away?

        cheers and thanks for you valued comments
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        • Profile picture of the author TimCastleman
          Originally Posted by telsave View Post

          Tim I particuarly like the cost of attending going to Charity we have a very popular charity up here and I am sure that those who attend will like to see their contribution going to a good cause instead of my pocket and if I do that I could then offer a discount voucher in the bag of goodies I intend to give away. Do you give anything else away?

          cheers and thanks for you valued comments
          Here's another tip for you.

          Guess who sits on the boards of many charities????

          Give up?

          Business Owners.

          Large Business Owners.

          So you can also ask them to promote the seminar to people from the charity as well.

          If you're REALLY smart you'll get free advertising from local radio stations as well who are REQUIRED to give X minutes of non profit air time a month.

          Decisions, decisions.
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          • Profile picture of the author telsave
            Originally Posted by TimCastleman View Post

            Here's another tip for you.

            Guess who sits on the boards of many charities????

            Give up?

            Business Owners.

            Large Business Owners.

            So you can also ask them to promote the seminar to people from the charity as well.

            If you're REALLY smart you'll get free advertising from local radio stations as well who are REQUIRED to give X minutes of non profit air time a month.

            Decisions, decisions.
            I like the giving to charity and I like even more the idea from you Tim to get the Charity to organise the seminar from their business contacts in exchange for the donation. Must think that one through.

            cheers
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    • Profile picture of the author telsave
      Originally Posted by GoGetta View Post

      I have also run seminars with success to local businesses.

      My advice:

      Start small and build up. Start with a smaller room and increase it each time. This will get you comfortable with your delivery, and when trying to filll the room, you are giving yourself the best chances first time with a smaller audience.

      There will be nothing worse than lots of empty space.

      Secondly, if you dont sell out, ask family and friends to sit in to make the room look full. This is all about impressions! ; )

      As for pre seminar and sales!

      Pick up the phone.

      If it is going to be a free seminar it is really easy to get interest cold calling as you are not selling anything, its FREE! Even if you don't get a YES on the phone arrange to send an email and get them to look over it. By calling first you have more chance of the email being read!

      Hope that helps,

      GoGetta

      P.S Got more tips if you need them, but didn't want to make a book of a post!
      I have never had the problem of filling the rooms before but I take your point I am not afraid of cold calling although it is a long time since I had to rely on it for business I lived on referrals. I may have to get friendly with my family to get them to come and listen to me though but a couple of them run businesses so they could fit in.

      Not sure about a free seminar as I do not know how folk appreciate free things I thought a nominal fee that could be used to offset some of my charges if we do business together. I also think text messages work if you can send them as 95% of text message are opened as opposed to emails.

      cheers and thanks again for your help as far as other ideas concerned I do not mind if you do not mind sharing. A broad spectrum of ideas enables me to see how my personality can fit in with ideas given to me. I appreciate them all. You can always email me
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      • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
        Originally Posted by telsave View Post

        Not sure about a free seminar as I do not know how folk appreciate free things I thought a nominal fee that could be used to offset some of my charges if we do business together. I also think text messages work if you can send them as 95% of text message are opened as opposed to emails.

        I've tried both. We have had some great clients from charging and not charging.

        However... when it's free you do get a lot of crazy people in the room expecting a lot for no commitment.
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    • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
      Originally Posted by GoGetta View Post

      I have also run seminars with success to local businesses.

      My advice:

      Start small and build up. Start with a smaller room and increase it each time. This will get you comfortable with your delivery, and when trying to filll the room, you are giving yourself the best chances first time with a smaller audience.
      Fully agree, I have been running seminars for over two years now and at the start it was hard to get people there.

      After a while you can get referrals from the people that turn up.

      After 12 months you build a huge momentum and people turn up from all over the place.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay Rhome
    Nice tread. The charity option is a great one.

    I had thougth of charging $20 upfront (or more) yet giving it back at the start of the conference (just so people show up as they said they would). That won't work in all situations, mostly in low level ones, but free = lots of no shows from my experience.

    More professional options = an entrance fee but provide wine & cheese, etc. (and partner up with a provider who gets free advertisement for their part, and no cost to you).
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    • Profile picture of the author telsave
      Originally Posted by Jay Rhome View Post

      Nice tread. The charity option is a great one.

      I had thougth of charging $20 upfront (or more) yet giving it back at the start of the conference (just so people show up as they said they would). That won't work in all situations, mostly in low level ones, but free = lots of no shows from my experience.

      More professional options = an entrance fee but provide wine & cheese, etc. (and partner up with a provider who gets free advertisement for their part, and no cost to you).
      I am grateful for the many brilliant suggestions that have come down over the wire on this thread. I like the idea of teaming up with a sponsor and will put my old grey matter to work on this.

      Thanks for taking time out to try to help.

      cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author Kwin
    Great information, Thx for the replies. There are a million different ways to do it, but if you offer it for free you will most likely get a lot of people who want free stuff and you will not be able to make as many sales. It is better to filter the audience and make sure that you have people that they are serious and not looking just for free stuff.
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    • Profile picture of the author tanya7zhou
      Starting FREE is not too bad

      My Free Seminar will reveal 33 Business Building Systems That will Sky Rocket your Sales & Profits Through The Roof.......bla bla bla kind of headline

      Okay that is old school!

      But like what I was saying, starting FREE is not too bad, use that free seminar to polish your skills and to obtain feedback of how you were doing. It's not really free if you think about it

      You will gain testimonials, lets say you had 25 people or lessw, you will end up with over 20 testimonials. use those testimonials to sell the next paid seminar and off you go --boy!
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      • Profile picture of the author telsave
        Originally Posted by tanya7zhou View Post

        Starting FREE is not too bad

        My Free Seminar will reveal 33 Business Building Systems That will Sky Rocket your Sales & Profits Through The Roof.......bla bla bla kind of headline

        Okay that is old school!

        But like what I was saying, starting FREE is not too bad, use that free seminar to polish your skills and to obtain feedback of how you were doing. It's not really free if you think about it

        You will gain testimonials, lets say you had 25 people or lessw, you will end up with over 20 testimonials. use those testimonials to sell the next paid seminar and off you go --boy!
        Someone mentioned getting a retiring survey on course content, value of course, quality of speaker etc. which I think is a good idea,
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    • Profile picture of the author telsave
      Originally Posted by Kwin View Post

      Great information, Thx for the replies. There are a million different ways to do it, but if you offer it for free you will most likely get a lot of people who want free stuff and you will not be able to make as many sales. It is better to filter the audience and make sure that you have people that they are serious and not looking just for free stuff.
      I agree get them to put their hand up over the parapet by charging an entrance fee I know IM guys who charge $x thousand for a one day seminar and it is sometimes regurgitated stuff that is not taken up, by the same token I have spoken to a group of over 2000 at one seminar organised by a client company, but because they were told to atten (yes it was free) it was one of the hardest seminars I ever conducted (lots of crossed arms, etc).

      I like the giving to charity and I like even more the idea from Tim to get the Charity to organise the seminar from their business contacts in exchange for the donation. Must think that one through.

      Tnx M8
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  • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
    Have done a few seminars ,started small via charities and JVs.

    If going charity route pick one thats well established on the business networking scene if possible as that wil lalso help them promote the seminar on your behalf .
    Else look at JVs with businesses that have your target attendees in their client lists- show them where the attendees will be after attending your seminar (the value) and suggest theyd surely love to be able to offer this to their valued client base at a reduced entrance fee subject to them promoting it to their list on your behalf (if theyre big enough it can be their show) .

    Where abouts in the UK are you Dave (and others) ? Im in Cardiff, be great to meet up with many of you
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  • Profile picture of the author Fuze
    I believe seminars can be extremely useful if presented well.
    Otherwise, I wouldn't believe it's a good idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andrew Milburn
    As others have said, seminars are great ways of gaining new clients, but there are some rules that if you follow will help you. I have seen and been to seminars which are free, and you have gone knowing that the speakers there are going to pitch you on some latest course.

    Now while this is Ok, to new people they could end up buying loads of courses and services they just do not need. This happens because the been pitching are good at it, and it is how they make a lot of their money.

    How I think it is best.......................... You put on a seminar, if you can get it sponsored by a Chamber of Trade or business group better as they will also promote it for you. But if you cannot do that, hire a room, contact some businesses in the area and say you will be doing a Free seminar on how to get in to Google Places. (or whatever)

    When they come, do that, show them the nuts and bolts on how to go from setting up an account through to clicking submit. Now at the end say you are able and willing to do this and much more and for further details see the website.

    Or say as a special offer for the people in this room you will do it for them for £75.00 per business. And handout order forms. (You could have a price on there that says £200, but tell them to cross that out and put £75.00.

    Yes some will do it themselves, but others are too busy and will take you up on the offer, and from that simple presentation, you will get some orders, and nothing more. While others will take up your other services, and others still will contact you later to do something for them.

    But the main thing is give them the meat that you promised and then the orders will come.

    Hope this helps
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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    Just got back from a Trey Smith and Frank Kern event here in San Diego past weekend.
    One of the big topics was seminars/webinars. Record a webinar like you were giving a seminar and use this as a marketing method to get leads and new clients.
    They suggested using Stealth Seminar | Automated webinar playback and scheduling

    Good luck !!!
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