Private Events That Pay Off
You may hold a superb session for clients and prospects, but it won’t matter if you don’t achieve what you actually set out to do, John J. Bowen Jr. says.
You may hold a superb session for clients and prospects, but it won’t matter if you don’t achieve what you actually set out to do.
PRIVATE CLIENT EVENTS CAN HAVE a strong impact on the success of your practice, helping you build credibility with existing clients while also attracting new business. And yet, these types of organized events are overlooked or implemented poorly by many advisors.
Understand that these events are different from the seminars or presentations you may be used to. Private events are designed to speak to a small group of select invitees who you truly want to work with.
Many of my firm’s coaching clients have told us that the affluent prefer events that feel exclusive over big seminars that they feel are too mass market. So, try to limit your audiences to no more than 30 people to create an intimate, comfortable atmosphere. A smaller group also will give you more opportunities to address questions from the audience and make personal contact after the presentation.
With that in mind, here are four techniques that elite wealth managers use to design and conduct high-quality private events that increase their top lines.
1. START AT THE FINISH LINE
Think about your ultimate end game before you get going. That way, you’ll never lose sight of your event’s key purpose: generating a stream of prequalified, pre-endorsed prospects. Everything you do regarding your event needs to have a purpose.
We have seen some advisors spend a great deal of time creating terrific content and lining up amazing speakers for their presentations, while completely overlooking the key component: the follow-up — that is, the desired outcome they want to achieve by holding the event in the first place.
If you’ve ever conducted a presentation and felt a post-seminar letdown, you know what I’m talking about.
After the warm glow of the backslapping and congratulations fades, you realize you didn’t do any significant business. Why? Because most advisors have only a vague idea of the big picture — more clients — and they get so caught up in the event that they forget why they’re there.
To avoid this classic mistake, plan out your event marketing series for the next 12 months, starting with the results you want to achieve and moving backward from there to the actual event. For wealth managers, the focus should be on one action: getting qualified prospects to attend introductory meetings where you can provide them a second opinion on their financial situation.
Try to limit your audiences to no more than 30 people to create an intimate and comfortable atmosphere.
2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
As you turn to the task of designing the event itself, keep in mind that at each event you will probably have three types of attendees and that you should set specific goals for each type.
• Clients. Your goal with existing clients is to solidify the existing relationships and to continue to reinforce that you are the go-to expert for meeting their needs.
• Prospective clients. Your goal with this group is to allow them to “test drive” you in a comfortable environment where they do not have to make a commitment.
• Other professionals. With strategic partners or members of your expert team who attend events, you have two goals. The first is to cultivate joint business development opportunities. The second is to have these partnering professionals see you through the eyes of clients and prospective clients. You want them to see the impact that your insights and communication skills have on attendees.
3. MARKET INTELLIGENTLY
Send invitations to your events only to existing clients or to individuals who are qualified for your service. You have three fertile sources for these qualified individuals:
• Existing clients. When you invite your ideal clients to your events, invite them to bring along their affluent friends.
• Strategic alliance partners and your expert team members. Clients of your strategic partners and expert team members should be invited to your events.
Depending on your arrangement, invitations should be sent out directly from your partner or team members or jointly by both of you. These clients should also be welcome to invite friends and associates.
• Affinity groups in your niche. Affinity groups are any associations, clubs or other organizations of people who share a common interest or goal.
Don’t use prepackaged seminars as they often appear off-theshelf and won’t position you as an expert in your specific market.
The leaders of many of these groups are always looking for ways to add value to their members — something you can provide through your events — and will be willing for you to invite members.
4. CREATE A ‘WOW’ PRESENTATION
Your content should tackle the concerns and issues of your niche in ways that capture the attention of the audience and that show them that you are
the wealth management expert for that niche.
In today’s environment, this may mean a presentation on the major areas that affluent investors are concerned about — such as protecting wealth, mitigating taxes, taking care of heirs, protecting assets from being unjustly taken through litigation or divorce, and charitable gifting.
Another way to ensure a wow presentation is to make it action-oriented. Hand out blank personal action summaries to all attendees.
As you present your content, encourage them to write down the actions that they feel they should be taking to address their financial issues.
This will make them more inclined to follow through on your invitation to meet with you for a second opinion. It will also remind them how much they have to do to manage their financial lives and will position you as the right advisor to help them.
Warning: Don’t use prepackaged seminars here — even ones designed to appeal to affluent investors. They often appear obviously off the shelf, and they do not properly position you as an expert in your specific market. If you have written any white papers or conducted retirement planning research, create presentations from this content and distribute the white paper as your handout, which can further enhance your credibility among attendees.
Private client events aren’t the key to success for every advisor out there, of course. But if you enjoy public speaking and work with a target market that attends such get-togethers, you will find that these events help you stand out and position you as a go-to advisor among the people you most want to serve.