As you may know, dinner seminars have been a part of the Fixed Annuity world for many years. Everyone plans these events a little differently but it most cases the seminar can be large or small and typically offers a meal along with the ability to learn more about retirement planning options, the firm and their approach to wealth management. This sixty to ninety-minute window is intended to be engaging, address clientele and their concerns, as well as capture new leads.
Unfortunately, many of these types of meetings take on big sales pitch scenarios, which cheapen the experience. Attendees loose interest by feeling disconnected. Selective prospecting combined with a refined approach can single out your best potential clients. Eliminating the hard sales tactic and opting for a softer, more thorough approach, may capture stronger leads.
A recent Nationwide article addresses this subject. A wealth management firm invited a physician and his wife to dinner. The physician and his wife had expectations of this prospecting dinner, but were completely surprised by the firm’s approach. They were engaged with members from the firm over an elegant, private dinner. Only seven prospects were invited and each person had time to speak with the representative from the firm. The physician and his wife were able to connect on a personal level which allowed them to develop a strong working relationship with this company.[i]
Create an intimate setting of your own using the following four steps:
- First Step is the venue and the invitation. Find a location that suits your target audience. Consider the character of the venue, because it can be enhancing or distracting. Private dinning rooms should be thought about, especially if the prospecting is focused on a smaller, more intimate party.Whether large or small, make sure your materials properly target your audience. If it is a large gathering, appropriate materials should be distributed in a timely manner no more than a month and no less than two weeks out from the event. There should be an RSVP attachment, whether the invitations are electronic or hard copy.
- Second Step is to engage your attendees. Do research on invited guests. By expressing knowledge about them, you can add an extra dimension to the event. These simple ideas can enhance the experience, making it memorable. It may also dictate how clients respond to you and your presentation. Enrich the encounter even more by having multiple team members there to welcome and dialogue with attendees. This will leave a positive and lasting impression.
- Third Step is the end of event follow up. Follow up with a form that engages guests. A questionnaire / handout that inspires an appointment is important. It should have branding that is tasteful along with relevant highlights from your presentations. There also should be some thought provoking questions that will capture their interests. This will open lines of communication about your services and what those offerings can do for their financial future.
- Finally, follow up through personalized direct mail or email with a relevant asset to the prospective client (White Paper, Case Study, Infographic, E-Book, etc). Assets should be connected to the target audience and the subject matter (offerings/plans) that were a focus at the event. Use professional materials for thank you cards, mailers and other collateral. A drip campaign of multiple assets can be set up over a short period of time as well. The advantage of following up with an asset provides the ability to continue nurturing the prospect. This is a strategy that will keep you on their mind and emphasize your brand.[ii]
By following these simple rules and engaging over a dinner event, you can boost your response for appointments. This approach can also be instrumental in initializing long term customer relationships and trust. Taking a few extra steps can help you build stronger relationships and ultimately turn prospects into clients.