Having done hundreds of workshops, we have learned what helps advisors be successful. The following is a list of best practices that, when used, will greatly enhance the probability of success.
In the end, you are accountable for how many people show up at the workshop. We will do all we can to help you, but there are many things you can do to increase the number of people who attend.
START YOUR MARKETING
Begin your marketing efforts at least four, if not six weeks before the workshop. Get a head start. We would rather you have extra time to market than to run out of time. Do not procrastinate starting.
Share your workshop’s registration URL:
- on social media, like Facebook and LinkedIn
- to those who have previously attended, asking them to share
- to clients, asking them to share
Fed Pilot will email and text those who have previously registered but did not attend, encouraging them to join the next one. We will also reach out to those who have already attended, asking them to share with their co-workers.
STAY ON TOP OF IT
Check up on your marketing results frequently. At least weekly, if not several times a week. That will let you know if you need to increase marketing activity early, rather than panicking the last few days, wondering why you don’t have as many registered as you would like.
We highly recommend you make confirmation calls the day before the workshop. If you have a large registration list, you can split it up between the two days preceding the workshop.
Not any old call will do. We suggest you use this script. When you call be personable, friendly, and even energetic. If you don’t feel you have what it takes, have someone in the office call for you.
Using confirmation calls, we have seen the attendance rate be as high as 80%. This is an outlier, but it shows the possibility.
Once they have registered, we send them several confirmation emails and texts and encourage them to share with their co-workers. These messages prepare them for the workshop.
When they register, DO NOT email or text them until after the event. If they see different message from two different sources, they get confused and wonder if this is a scam and they likely won’t show up.
What happens in the workshop will decide whether they will meet with you or not. This is make it or break it time.
We have put together an engaging, thought-provoking workshop that will give the federal employees motivation to continue their learning with you. All things being equal, you should receive many requests to meet with you.
Here are some things for the workshop that will help increase the percentage of attendees of schedule meetings with you.
During this introduction, feel free to explain who you are and what you do, and a little about the workshop itself. Maybe even a story about you. We don’t want to hide who you are. Rather than tell them how good you are, we want to bring out your personality and let that speak for itself.
Oddly enough, you don’t want to talk about yourself and how great you are (although we all know that already!). Rather focus on them receiving the report and how valuable it is. Use wording that focuses on the report rather than meeting with you. Federal employees don’t want to be sold. They often hear talk about a meeting as an opportunity for you to sell to them. So don’t focus on you or the meeting. Focus on them receiving the report and the value of the report.
Making this one change has shown to increase their motivation to meet with you by 20%.
- Rather than saying, “my clients,” say, “the federal employees we have worked with.”
- Rather than saying, “when you sign up to meet with me,” say, “when we review your report.”
We can’t put a percentage on this one, but we will say that those who show their fun, energetic personality and who jive with the presenter will have a much higher meeting rate.
If you come on and are plain jane vanilla, monotone, and not enjoying the session, the federal employees won’t be as motivated to meet with you. The level of your friendliness-factor directly translates to their trust of you. The more engaging you are (but not over the top), the higher percentage rate will want to meet with you.
So let’s have a little fun during the workshop! Joke a little. Laugh a little. Smile a lot.
Now that they are motivated to meet with you, if you don’t follow up correctly, you could loose them.
This is all about time and talent.
Make the time and put in the effort to get them on your calendar. Call them. Email them. And do it several times consistently.
If you don’t feel you have the time or this is not your strength, I would highly recommend getting someone else to do this part for you so you can focus on meeting people and do what you do best.
Giving them what we promised – and not any more – is key to these meetings.
MEETING #1 – Data Gathering
There is only one goal of this meeting: To get the second meeting.
You do this in two ways. The first is to gather their data. The second is to instill trust. Take the time to get to know them and their situation. Show that you care and are not just meeting them to make a sale. In fact, for the first two meetings, don’t talk products.
When you set the first meeting up, you may just want to schedule both meetings at the same time. Make it easy on yourself and set the propper expectation.
The goal here is – you guessed it – to get the third meeting where you can present solutions.
For this meeting, all you are doing is going over the report. The key here is to show them what they get and compare it to what they could have and/or what they want. You want to create a gap in their mind of what they will actually get and what is possible.
Use phrases like, “Is that what you expected to see?” “Did you know there are ways to get more with less cost?” “Do you realize we can make this number higher/lower?” These phrases set in their mind that there is a better world waiting. But you don’t deliver that world yet. Just deliver them what you promised.
At the end you could say something like this…
“So there are your benefits. And you mentioned several times that, if we kept everything as it is, it’s not what you were expecting – nor what you need. But there are ways to make it better – we briefly talked about some areas. Would you be interested to learn more about how to bridge that gap and get your retirement to the point where you won’t need to worry about the numbers any more?
If they agree, that’s when you offer to set up another meeting to review your solutions for them.
How would you feel if you opened up registration and filled the event in 15 minutes without doing any marketing? Impossible you say? Not only is it possible, but it has happened.
This is a problem EVERYONE would love to have.
How do you make this possible? You get on the inside – within the agencies.
Every federal employee you meet is a potential link to the inside. Don’t waste the opportunity.
“Who in your office, when they send out an email, will all your coworkers make sure they read?” It could be a manager, a director, an admin, or just a regular employee who has proven to be a leader or a disperser of knowledge. Ask them to help you to get in contact with them.
Do this with everyone that you do meetings for. Eventually, you will find the right people. They send out the message of another workshop and, because the employees trust that person, they are more likely to show up.
In fact, they may even start requesting workshops and offer to fill them for you.
We can’t overstate the importance of getting to this level, and the effectiveness of it. In the end, this is your ultimate marketing goal. Make sure you are constantly revisiting this idea and working to make contacts within the agencies. The faster you get here, the less you will need to spend on marketing later.