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.

Financial Planning - - CONTENT - By John J. Bowen Jr.

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.

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