1. Show conviction when you present a seminar

The fastest way to lose an audience of any size is to not believe in what you’re talking about. Unless you believe in yourself and what you are saying, why in the world should anyone else? Conviction, passion and enthusiasm can win over even the most skeptical audience.

2. Make your audience smile

Nothing will build a bridge to each member of an audience faster than by getting them to smile. You do not have to be a stand-up comedian to make this happen. Instead, tell a quick anecdote, some personal story or a cute, non-offensive joke that takes no longer than a couple of minutes to tell. I’ve found that if I can share a story about my family or myself, it endears people to me, and it will do the same for you. Once you can get an audience laughing, you’ve got their attention and have their hearts and minds for the remainder of your seminar.

3. Keep it simple

Seminar speakers often fall into the trap of trying to win audiences over with their intellect and credentials regarding the subject matter that they are presenting. Essentially, we try to “wow” them with how much we know. We feel like that should easily lead to success in the form of appointments booked. If this is the philosophy you subscribe to, you are wrong. People make purchases from an emotion that they experienced and not just the reasoning as to why they should make the purchase. This even includes folks that are, by nature, more detail-oriented such as engineers and accountants.

4. Life’s not all sunshine and rainbows

Life mirrors the economy; we are either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or heading into our next crisis. In our Social Security Seminar, there are a lot of unsettling hard-truths that must be shared with our audiences. Do not take the approach of not wanting to upset your audience by what you say for fear they may not like what they hear and thus won’t book appointments with you. You need to stir up the audience’s emotions. It’s easy to shine a light on someone else’s portfolio but when the spotlight is focused on our economic reality, it’s a watershed moment that can cause a lot of heartache. However this will ultimately be the reason that audience members turn into clients.

5. Tell your audience what you’re going to say. tell them. then tell them what you told them

Most people will only remember the “bread” of the “sandwich” portion of your seminar – the beginning and the end. They will not be able to retain most the “meat” of your seminar. If you do not have the strongest presentation during the middle of your seminar, but you have a memorable and emotional open and close, you should have a better response rate than the industry average. Open with something that gets people to smile, provide them with the evening’s agenda, including how long they can expect to be there. Tell them what you’re going to say. Tell them. Then, tell them what you told them, which will culminate in a call-to-action.

6. Do not hide the fact that you are looking to book appointments with each audience member

If you go to the doctor and provide only one reason why you are visiting, what are the odds that they will be able to provide you with a thorough and accurate assessment? Why would you not be “up-front” with your audiences about why you are all gathered together for your Social Security seminar? Tucker Advisors has found that the faster you introduce this to your audience and are able to bring it back up a few more times during your hour together, the higher the booking ratio you will have. Tell them that you are only able to cover the tip of the iceberg regarding their specific questions and scenarios. Take it one step further and tell them when, not if, but when they schedule their free, no-obligation consultation with you, they will be able to get a personalized prescription that accurately diagnoses exactly where their portfolios are versus where they want to be. They will happily meet with you and bring their entire portfolio to obtain your invaluable expertise and recommendations.

7. Create camaraderie between audience members

You can do this in a variety of ways I suggest setting up the room with round tables. Round tables should have only enough chairs so that each table’s seats are in a half-moon with the audience always focused on the presenter. This eliminates the guests having their backs to you, and more importantly, forces complete strangers to talk to one another and build rapport. This opportunity is lost if you have long tables that prevent people from making eye-contact or interacting with one another. When you ask for the yellow appointment sheet to be completed, the process of turning in the appointment sheet turns into a feeding frenzy. Once one person sees the value that others perceive by setting an appointment, you are well on your way to being busier with appointments than you have ever been before.

8. Do not give away everything that you know

You want to provide your audience with enough information to wet their appetites and leave them wanting more (in the form of booking an appointment with you.) If you answer all of their questions, there is no incentive for them to come to you for an additional consultation. In fact, I begin every seminar by saying, “While each of you have several questions about Social Security and your specific scenarios, if I answered everyone’s questions, we would be here for a week. You committed one hour of your time tonight, so out of respect to everyone else, please write your questions down. If it is not answered throughout the course of the seminar, bring it with you when you and I meet for an additional consultation.” I’m often asked how I handle it when an audience member raises their hand or blurts out a question during my presentation. I simply reference the statement I made at the beginning of the seminar. I do not answer the question and respectfully move on.

9. Position yourself as, “The Income Expert”

What is an, “Income Expert”? This is the exact response that each member in the audience will have amongst themselves and others. You just created a fantastic opportunity for multiple ice-breaking conversations with your future clients that you would not have had if you told them you were a CFP, Stock Broker, Accountant, Insurance or Annuity Specialist. Using the title of, “Income Specialist”, you have placed distance between yourself and all of the people in your town with titles that everyone can identify.

10. Address a common OBJECTION in the room – “I already work with a stockbroker”

We have all heard this one, right? To make it more complicated, often times, the stockbroker is a relative or family friend. Take this objection head-on. I usually say something like this, “You are an outlier, Mr. and Mrs. Client. Many of my clients do not have the acumen to work with a financial professional, and I am glad to hear that you both do. Let me ask you this, if the stock market has had two “bear” runs in 2000 and 2008, what has your stockbroker done differently with your portfolio to protect you against the next bear market? What if the next bear market took place while you are retired and are counting on the nest egg you’ve built to provide you with the lifestyle that you have worked a lifetime to enjoy? If you and your stockbroker have done nothing differently, then your portfolio will undoubtedly experience the same dramatic downturns or worse than you experienced in 2000 and 2008 at a time when you have no earnings to help alleviate the pressure on your investments. Don’t you think you deserve a free, no-obligation second opinion?”

I wish you great selling,

George Hametis

Seminar Coach