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What a Vegas slot machine can teach you about the value of holding a public seminar

Jul 23, 2014 @ 10:50 am

By Brad Johnson

casino, rock star, public seminar, return on investment, ROI, slot machine, practice management
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Imagine you just stepped off a plane into the hot desert air of Las Vegas. As you drive down the Strip, you can already feel the excitement and anticipation growing.

After checking into your hotel, you decide to try your luck at the slot machines. You find what looks like the luckiest slot machine in the house, and you say, “This is my first pull of the trip. I'm going to go big.” You put a $100 bill into the machine and you pull the lever. Cha-ching! You win $400 on the first spin; a four-to-one payout! You're excited and you high-five your friend. You think, “What the heck, I'm going to try it again.” You put another $100 bill into the machine and pull the lever. This time you win $350! Now you're starting to wonder what's going on. You glance over your shoulder for the casino security personnel because the machine is obviously broken. Just to make sure, you put another $100 bill into the machine. This time you win a $500 jackpot!

What's crazy about this scenario is that these are actually common returns on investment for the typical public seminar. The only difference is, many advisers are afraid to put the $100 in the slot machine and pull the lever in the first place. By not knowing the ROI, they're costing themselves potential clients and prospective business growth.

The key is not to be afraid of putting that first $100 into the slot machine. You must take the risk to enable the reward. To help you get started, here are four tips for hosting a rock star public seminar:

1. Upgrade the experience by playing the part of a professional speaker

Rather than taking the traditional path, have some fun with it and make your seminar unique. Build a stage backdrop with pop-up banners. You can incorporate great images that include your company tag line or motto, contact information, etc., for around $1,000. Also, invest in a high-end speaker/microphone system to make you look like a professional speaker. Tony Robbins does it!

2. Treat your seminar like a Broadway show

Include "real tickets" in the invite and require attendees have them to attend. After all, what concert or sporting event can you attend without a ticket? Also, offer free valet parking. There is nothing worse than struggling to find a place to park and/or having to walk a long way to an event. Seniors, especially, will appreciate this.

3. Keep it first class

Use only high-end venues to host your seminar. Surveys show the best restaurant options are American steakhouses followed by Italian. If a prospect gets a competitor's invite for the same night, would they choose to go to Outback or Ruth's Chris? You will also find your prospects dress nicer and are willing to come from further distances, and you'll benefit by associating a high-end brand's logo with yours on the invite.

4. Change your mindset

Just as you can't make a movie without extras, you don't want to host a seminar where half the room is empty! Not every person that attends your seminar is going to become a client, but keep a positive mindset and thank the people in attendance, even if they are just there for the free meal. Having a packed room makes you look "in demand" and helps create a high-energy atmosphere!

Taking a gamble on something new or unknown is always a risk. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But one thing is for sure — you cannot win if you never play the game.

Brad Johnson is a vice president at Advisors Excel and can be reached at info@bradj.net

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