Use Referrals to Boost Seminar Marketing Attendance and Results
By Bill Cates
Marketing through educational seminars can be very effective for certain types of businesses. If you are using this powerful method for presenting yourself as an expert in front of prospective clients, then make sure you add a referral component to reduce your cost per lead and maximise your results.
When You Ask for Referrals
Many of your clients who may be reluctant to give you referrals for you to turn into prospects, may be perfectly willing to give you names and addresses of their friends and colleagues to invite to your seminars.
If they like you and your work, this is usually a very easy referral for them to give. I’ve seen many salespeople and small business owners get lists of names and addresses from their clients.
Produce an Endorsed Mailing
To take the above idea a step further, you can ask some of your satisfied clients to send letters to their friends and colleagues endorsing your seminars. You offer to pay for everything (letterhead, envelopes, and postage).
They write a letter urging their friends and colleagues to attend your seminars. In with their letter can be your invitation. Or, the letter can foreshadow the invitation that will be “coming in the mail soon.”
Either way, you leverage the trust your clients have with their friends and colleagues (often hundreds per client). If your clients are likely to be attending your seminar, they should state that in their letter (“Hope to see you there.”)
Collect Referrals at Your Seminars
There are two basic types of referrals you can gather at your seminars.
- First, you can get referrals to new people to invite to your next seminar.
- Second, you can get referrals to turn into prospects and attempt to set up appointments.
Here’s a real-world example of how I coached a top producer who wanted to leverage his seminar programs.
Michael Flanagan hosts about 8 seminars per year.
Before we worked together on a referral program, he was getting people to attend in two primary ways:
1) Through direct mail, and
2) His weekly radio show on personal finance.
Since he had to pay for the radio air time and since direct mail can be rather expensive (though worth it if it produces the desired results), his cost per lead was very high.
I suggested that if he added the element of referrals to this process, his cost per lead would drop significantly and his seminar program would become more profitable immediately.
Michael didn’t want to ask for direct referrals, but he did want to get referrals to upcoming seminars. The solution was simple.
Michael charged $20 for his seminars. He found this nominal charge increased the quality of the attendees. So we printed special invitations that were made available to all his seminar attendees.
These special invitations were to be given free to anyone they thought should experience Michael’s powerful ideas.
The success was overwhelming. People asked for two or three. They even called in later to have others sent to their friends, colleagues and family members.
The percentage of his attendance went from 10% referral based to over 40% referral based. He was soon able to cut down on his direct mail, resulting in a highly profitable program.
When Do You Bring Up Referrals at a Seminar?
This is a question I’m often asked at my workshops and private coaching. I apply the same formula here as I apply toward asking for referrals from clients. Ask for referrals when value has been delivered and value has been recognised.
With about 5-10 minutes left in the seminar – after you’ve given them some important things for them to think about – ask them what was it about the program they found valuable?
If you have them discuss it briefly with a partner first, they’ll be more inclined to share it with the group.
Then say something like, “I’m glad so many of you found value in this program. That was my goal.
As we went through the material this evening, you probably thought of friends… family members… and colleagues… who should have been here. True? (Heads will nod.) Well, you can give them a gift. You can let them know about this valuable program.
“We have special invitations for our next seminar – next month – that you can hand deliver or mail to people you think should hear what we have to say.
If you have their addresses with you, we’d be happy to take care of the postage. Just be sure to write a personal note somewhere on the invitation so they know it’s from you. Kathy – wave Kathy – has as many invitations as you’d like, just see her as you leave.”
There are infinite variations on this approach. Be creative. Make it fit your situation. Whatever you do, if you’re hosting seminars and not leveraging them for referrals, you’re clearly leaving money on the table!
Bill, like all the Marketers Club Mentors, is all about action. If you want to get a different result, you have to implement what you learn.
To learn more about Bill, you can find him at www.referralcoach.com
P.S. If you missed Bill’s previous blog on Elevate Your Referrals to Higher Quality, it came with a bonus report packed with great referral generation ideas, you can Grab it Here
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