Event planning can be challenging as you strive to master the right mix of expressing appreciation to existing clients and prospect for new business. The question most financial advisors ask us is, “Why don’t more clients attend my events and why won’t they bring a guest?”
The answer most often is that your event topic doesn’t capture their interest or is just plain boring. Events, like marketing messages, must be carefully crafted for a select group of people to garner their attention. If your topic doesn’t resonate with them, it’s highly unlikely they will attend.
Effective event planning relies on your ability to address pressing pain points in the lives of your target audience and create strategies to reach and influence them. Reframe your approach by utilizing the following outline when planning your events:
Identify Your Audience
Just as your marketing processes need to move away from an old school batch and blast method, your event planning needs to do the same. Segment your clients into groups who share the same profession, are in a related stage of life, or face similar obstacles and challenges.
Ask Clients For Their Opinion
Talk to your clients. Ask them what subject matters they want to learn about. Your clients concerns can create opportunities for event themes you may not have considered.
Schedule Smaller Events
Client events should not be a “one-size-fits-all.” Trying to please all of your clients, who have a wide range of different needs, is rarely effective. The better approach is to hold more events that are smaller in nature and appeal to a specific group of people. Small events give you the opportunity to spend quality time with clients showing your appreciation.
Plan to Prospect
We all know that not planning is planning to fail. Make a point to prospect on purpose. Once you have determined your guest list, allow time for research. Who is in your clients’ network that you want to meet? Rather than suggesting they bring a guest, ask them to bring a specific person you would like to get to know.
Pick Up The Phone
Call everyone on your invitation list to confirm their attendance. Let them know you have a spot reserved for them and their guests. A confirmation call creates a sense of accountability on the clients’ part.
Get To Know Your Guests
Make time to talk to your clients and guests at your event. Get to know them and show interest in their lives outside of the business world. What are their hobbies and interests? Shared pastimes can provide another opportunity for you to spend quality time with a new prospect.
Thank Your Clients
Call your clients and thank them for attending and for bringing a guest. Let them know you appreciate their loyalty and that you’ll be sending a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Mail the gift card with a hand written thank you note.
Schedule One-On-One Time
Make a personal phone call thanking new prospects for attending. Use this opportunity to ask for feedback and what questions they may have. Schedule a time to answer their questions in person, over coffee, or lunch. Scheduling a casual get-together is less intrusive than asking for an appointment immediately after your event.
Create A Sales Process
Keep new prospects engaged with your firm by moving them into your sales funnel. Develop a process to ensure you stay top of mind, continue to provide regular industry updates, and establish a stronger relationship with them.
Hosting small targeted events may require more work on your part. But the bottom line is; if you know more about your clients and their network of friends, you’ll create higher attendance rates and host a more successful event.
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