In this article we talk about how community educational presentations will produce the perfect candidates for Life Resource Planning. In article #6 we discuss generating leads through relationship marketing and through traditional marketing approaches. In article #7 we discuss how to produce planning candidates and additional fee income from at least 20% of the senior population by focusing on veterans benefits. In article #9 we will talk about networking as a source of candidate leads for planning.
The strategies outlined in this article are the primary focus of our Successful Senior Marketing System. Our experience over the years, doing hundreds of educational encounters, has led us to advocate the strategy that workshops designed primarily for education and not for selling products are a great way to create candidates for Life Resource Planning.
When family members attend our workshops, they are looking for solutions – they are not looking for products or services. These people will readily agree to doing Life Resource Planning with us and they eventually turn out to be good customers for products and services.
Educational Encounters As a Way to Acquire New Business
Marketing through group educational presentations always has been and will likely remain a great way to acquire new clients or customers. Meeting with individuals, face-to-face, who are interested in what you have to say over a period of hours or even days – depending on how you set it up – results in those individuals wanting to meet you. If you are sincere, honest and enthusiastic with your presentations, they will see that and they will have a desire to work with you. Because of the person-to-person interaction, this type of marketing is more personal than advertising or direct mail and results in a stronger relationship between you and your client or customer. Nevertheless, this marketing approach requires more involvement and commitment than a media or direct marketing approach. If you are willing to put in the time and the effort to learn how to use this marketing strategy, you will be rewarded for your efforts.
We Don't Sell Products, We Educate
Most workshop marketing that is done today revolves around inviting the public to a lunch or a dinner at a popular restaurant or at a high quality hotel. Such marketing, from the outset, notifies the attendees that the sponsor has something to sell. Nobody attends any of these presentations thinking that they are only going to get a free meal or sometimes a free night’s lodging and then walk away unscathed. People who are naïve enough to believe this are probably not the type of people that the sponsors want anyway.
Most attendees will go because they do enjoy a good quality meal and they will subject themselves to the sales presentation with the idea that they can exhibit the will to resist buying anything if they don’t think the product is suitable for them. The sponsor approaches these presentations knowing that the participants are expecting sales pressure. The sponsor also knows that many participants feel that they have an obligation because they have received something free and will therefore subject themselves to a free consultation with the sponsor. The sponsor’s goal is to hook them by getting them to attend and then reel them in using sophisticated closing techniques to sell the product. Those who attend know that they are subjecting themselves to a contest of wills and most attendees think that they can resist the pressure to buy. Generally, the sponsors are very good at what they do and often sell attendees the products or services that are being offered.
We do not use this approach with our seminar marketing. We do not have to lure any of our attendees with a free meal. Our approach is to reach out to those individuals who are seeking answers. We are offering education and advice. We are not selling products or services. However, please don’t misunderstand. Many of our attendees do need products or services and our helping them find solutions to their problems often leads these folks to request our products and services. We make them clients first by helping them plan for the future and as clients, they want to utilize our services. This type of marketing can double or triple your sales of services or products over your current direct marketing methods.
Sell Yourself and Your Advice
Our approach requires your offering a planning service for attendees. We have designed a formalized planning service for you if you. We call this service "Life Resource Planning." Our approach also lends itself to working with a team of experts who can provide services or advice that you may not provide. In return, you will provide your piece of expertise that the others on the team do not have. This team synergy results in your being able to reach out to individuals whom you have not been able to reach in the past through your traditional marketing activities.
Having an educational purpose for your workshops allows you to identify strategies that would induce people to attend your presentations based on planning. Instead of dwelling on how to sell products and services and persuading people to buy, your focus is now on what groups of people would be interested in being educated about the issues of aging seniors. By concentrating on those groups that have a need for education, you will be able to determine those organizations to approach to sponsor your presentations. This, in turn, allows you to identify the strategies you will employ to reach potential sponsors or attendees.
With our approach, you do not have to twist arms or use sophisticated closing techniques to get people to buy your products or services. If they like you, if you are sincere, knowledgeable and honest, they will buy you and what you offer them in the form of your guidance and expertise. Products and services will flow as a natural result of this relationship.
Identify Your Target Market
For those of us who work with aging seniors, it is no secret that we almost always deal with children or grandchildren or younger siblings of these aging seniors. Older individuals are frequently relying on younger healthy individuals to help them make decisions. Your marketing efforts will reach out to these younger trusted advisors. This does not mean that you cannot market directly to the aging senior. Generally, however, marketing efforts have to be designed in a way that the aging senior will seek advice from a child or some other trusted individual before making a decision to attend a presentation. And generally, this trusted individual will attend with the senior. Or the trusted individuals will often attend without the senior in tow.
You also need to understand that in our particular area of endeavor we are looking for seniors and their trusted loved ones who need information. Yes, they may also need products or services, but, the entire method in our approach is to educate. You must think of yourself as an educator first and a purveyor of products and services second. This is where our approach diverges from typical seminar marketing which is focused entirely on trying to sell some tangible product or service to someone who attends. We are selling nothing but ourselves and our expertise. If we are sincere, honest and upfront in what we do, the people who use our knowledge and expertise will also use our products and services.
Identify the Venues Where You Will Conduct Seminars for Your Market
Armed with an understanding of who your market is and what you want to give to your market through your educational workshop marketing, it becomes an easier task for you to identify where you want to conduct your workshops and what you want to present. You can reach out to these people directly, but it must be in a way where you involve their children or the other trusted individuals that they rely on. You must find the venues where these issues come together. This might involve working with employers who have employees with aging parents, working with independent living and retirement care communities, working with members of church groups where perhaps the seniors and their children can attend presentations and a whole lot of other locations where you can get seniors and their loved ones to converge in an educational setting.
Conserve Marketing Dollars
In many cases our educational marketing approach can help you conserve your marketing dollars. This is especially true if you are putting a lot of money into media advertising or direct mail campaigns. It is true that you may use direct marketing to bring people to your seminars, but that will be highly targeted lists such as senior veterans with response rates of 3% to 4% instead of the disappointing response rates that direct mail marketing currently produces.
As a general rule, using our approach generally allows for organizations or successful individuals you collaborate with to sponsor your presentations. They cooperate with you because you are not peddling products or services – you are providing education. In many cases, these organizations or individuals will invite their members or clients directly or they will share advertising costs with you. Even if they do not provide any marketing support for you, we have designed a few approaches that work well under certain conditions and do not require media advertising or direct mail marketing to attract attendees.
Finally, we have already mentioned that our marketing approach almost always requires you to form a network of senior service providers and advisers to meet the needs of your attendees. Your network of providers and advisers can pool marketing dollars making the combined effort more efficient. The synergy created from having different types of expertise in your group generally results in creating more leads for each member of the group for less dollars spent than if the members were marketing independently.
Generate New Planning Clients
More Effectively Some of you may be working hard to produce 4 or 5 new leads a month. If you are a larger organization with deeper pockets you may be producing 20 to 30 new leads a month. Wouldn’t it be nice to do one educational encounter a month with each member of your network planning group in turn sponsoring that workshop and create an additional 14 to 24 new leads a month just from the workshop. If you organize it correctly and aggressively go after the proper venues, this is entirely possible.
For some of you this would quadruple your monthly business. For others it may double your monthly business. Even if it increased your marketing costs, the extra business would increase your bottom line and likely result in more profit and more potential income for you each year. Isn’t more personal income what we are all after with our own businesses?
Use a Different Approach from Your Competition
By using our educational encounter marketing, you are likely using a different approach from your competitors. A different marketing approach often entails finding new business leads from an entirely different market segment than the one you are currently targeting. These are typically the same types of people you are currently working with; but, they come from a pool of potential business leads whom you may never have come in contact with because you were not marketing to them.
Successful business people often do things or try ideas that their competitors are not doing. And even if your competitors are using this approach, they probably don’t have the power of the system that we have furnished you. They might just be nibbling around the edges or dabbling here and there. We are giving you a system that allows you to jump in with both feet and keep going.
Focus on Creating Clients Who Will Become Buyers
We have repeatedly stressed that the purpose of our educational marketing is to create planning opportunities for individuals who attend the presentations. A relationship between you and another person that is based on advice or guidance is a far stronger relationship than one based entirely on a one-time sale. These people look at you in an entirely different light and are likely to respond to suggestions that you make about services or products that they should purchase. By providing the planning first, you’re setting the stage for them to buy later.
Maintain Ongoing Contact for Referrals and Future Sales
By creating clients instead of buyers, you are creating a loyalty that you might not otherwise have. You can continue to contact them with relevant information through email. These emails could contain a monthly newsletter or you could send your clients to a blog service that you maintain. You will find over time that this loyalty – if it is deserved on your part – will result in referrals for your services.
As part of your marketing process you will also obtain the names and emails of individuals who may never actually attend a presentation. Or, you will find it is common for people who say they will attend not to show up. These people should remain on your mail list. At some point in the future they will either respond or refer someone else to you. We have experienced this reaction from potential attendees over and over through our experience with conducting hundreds of educational encounters.
Sometimes, two years after we have done a presentation, people have contacted us as a result of a brochure from that previous presentation. These old contacts now need help or want to attend a current presentation. People often retain brochures in their possession for a long time if these brochures are advertising the true purpose of our workshops – education.
Create Sign-Ups from Your workshops
The entire purpose of educational marketing is to have the majority of your attendees sign up for your planning services or for your advice or counsel. If this is not happening, you are wasting your time and your money. At least 50% to 70% or more of your attendees should turn in a consultation request. You cannot expect them to do this on their own. You must employ persuasion strategies that will encourage them to request your assistance. Never allow anyone to contact you on their own even if they are entirely sincere about their intentions. It just doesn’t happen. We will discuss in great detail In Our Successful Senior Marketing System how you persuade your attendees to request your services.
The Successful Senior Marketing System
In our Successful Senior Marketing System we provide you over 50 pages of detail instruction on how to set up educational encounters, how to make the presentations, how to put together quality workbooks for attendees and most importantly how to persuade those attendees to sign up to meet with you. We share with you years and years of experience in doing it right so that you will be successful.