Events can be a great way to help enhance relationships with current clients, position yourself in front of qualified prospects, and build important mutually beneficial relationships with Centers of Influence (COIs). Filling your Events Funnel will inevitably lead to a spillover into your Referral Funnel and Public Relations Funnel. At the end of this article, you will be invited to envision three different events and to pencil in the initial framework for a successful event.
There are a number of reasons to host an event and they vary depending on whether you're targeting current clients, Centers of Influence or prospective clients.
A Client Connection Event can be a great way to:
-- Express your appreciation for your clients, their individuality and their trust in you
-- Remind them of your value-keep yourself in the forefront of their minds
-- Provide a quality experience for everyone involved-think of this as a party where people have fun
A COI Relationship Building Event provides an opportunity to:
-- Introduce yourself to COIs in your community
-- Position yourself as an expert who could be a valuable resource for them
-- Offer the added benefit of providing CE credits in their field
A Prospective Client Event can help you:
-- Create awareness within a specific community
-- Build trust and establish credibility
-- Educate and inform potential clients
A business development or prospecting event may seem like the most important option. What financial advisor doesn't want to bring in new clients? But getting people you don't know to attend a traditional seminar has become a real challenge. There was a time when offering an informative presentation and free dinner at a decent restaurant was enough to get qualified prospects to attend. This is no longer the case.
Because a seminar-type prospecting event is less targeted than client or COI events, it can easily be a resource drain, with no appreciable results. That said, depending on your community and the way that you leverage the event, you can still get value out of a prospecting event, as long as you are aware that the benefits may have a very long tail.
DETERMINING THE GUEST LIST
Who do you want at your event? Well, that's easy, isn't it? Just like with a party, you want nice, interesting people who will get along with each other and who are interested in you and what you have to say. Easier said than done. So remember, target your audience with care. You are looking to develop a trust far beyond money management and financial planning. You want to build deep, long-lasting relationships with people who will be good-fit clients.
Small affinity events for existing clients can be a great option. Take a careful look at your clients. What is your market niche? Are there commonalities among clients? What do they like to do?
Are they sports fans, travelers, doting grandparents? Are they urban sophisticates, suburban country club members, simple rural folks? Are they community volunteers, philanthropists, educators? Do they like crafts? Do they share a religious tradition? You get the idea.
CREATING A THEMED EVENT
What kind of event will you have? Do you know enough about your clients to really produce an effective event?
You should have enough information from your initial client questionnaire in your CRM database to enable you to create some manageable groups - and there may be some overlap.
There are a number of different styles and formats for events, with traditional seminars being just one option. You might want to consider a town hall meeting, which is a less formal informational event. Social gatherings and themed activities, held at special locations, can be fun and interesting. For these, you are really only limited by your imagination. You might also consider a weekend getaway.
The location or venue can "make or break" the event. Aim for a unique venue that suits the event. Here are a few ideas:
-- A walking tour of all the art galleries downtown with food and drinks along the way
-- A theme park with a picnic pavilion and catered lunch mid-day
-- A progressive dinner with guests driven in a stretch Hummer or Limo from place to place